Finally! We had the pleasure of reviewing, what many consider the 'holy grail' of all Android phones; the one; the only - Galaxy Nexus. Just like the Nexus One and the Nexus S, if you want the purest Android experience, then this is the phone to get. Not only that, it is the first phone to get any new update from Google. Speaking of which, the Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to come with Google's brand-swanky-new OS, Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich as it's fondly known, out of the box. With all the hype surrounding this phone, we could wait no longer for Samsung to officially bring this phone over to us, so we went and got it for ourselves. So, is it everything that we hoped it would be? Does it live up to the hype? Let's find out.
On video: Galaxy Nexus + ICS
Design and Build
Unlike the previous Google phones, Samsung has decided to lend its Galaxy branding to the new comer. Thankfully, that's all they've lent to this phone. One thing's for sure, Samsung know how to make a sexy phone, as they've done a splendid job with the design, like the way they did with the Nexus S. Mercifully, the entire phone does not have a candy gloss coating, so fingerprints aren't much of a problem. Although the Galaxy Nexus comes with a curved 4.6-inch screen, it doesn't feel overly massive in your hand. It's still a bit of a stretch, if you're typing and need to pull down the notification bar, but there is nothing you won't get used to. It's fairly slim at 8.9mm in depth and light as well at 135g. The sides are smooth, however, and don't offer much grip, so it's easy for the phone to slip out of your hands, while using it, so you need to be careful, because it's not like you have any warranty to fall back on at the moment.
Since Android 4.0 has done away with capacitive shortcut buttons, all you get is a sweeping sheet of glass from top to bottom, which looks absolutely sublime. Samsung has used their 1280 x 720 pixel resolution Super AMOLED screen, which falls just shy of the retina display, in terms of pixel density at 316ppi. However, the screen is actually a step back from the S II, since if you've read carefully, they've used a regular Super AMOLED screen and not the Super AMOLED 'Plus' used on the SII.
Similar bulge at the bottom, like the S and S II
The volume rocker sits on the left, while the power/sleep button is on the right. You’ll also find three golden pins on the side, which is used with a dock or some accessory. The microUSB charging/data port is placed underneath besides the 3.5mm headphone jack. You remove the back cover by peeling it off from the top, which feels very thin and delicate. Snapping it back into place will require a little effort, as not all the notches latch into place in one go. Overall, we really liked the design and the build of the phone, even though it's mostly plastic.
Now for the good stuff, sweet delicious Ice Cream Sandwich! The phone came with 4.0.1, which wasn't too stable and apps kept intermittently crashing, bringing back nightmares of our first encounter with Honeycomb. After a fair bit of cursing, we found an update was available, which upgraded it to 4.0.2 (still not the latest which is 4.0.3). After this, everything was fine, no random app crashed and the phone was smooth. If you're coming from Gingerbread, then it will take some time getting used to, as ICS is quite different.
Slick, streamlined and fresh
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