Galaxy Nexus Review

Introduction

Google unveiled their Nexus line of phones starting back in January of 2010 with the Nexus One built by HTC. The main goal of the Nexus line is to display the pure version of Google’s software. On most phones not designed by Google that are running Android, you get a custom “skin” which resides over the pure Android experience.

That skin can add more features to the software and typically changes the look of Android, but the thing is they include preloaded software which cannot be removed, thus hogging device memory. Also, that skin cannot be changed or removed, thus decreasing device performance, especially on lower-end devices.

With a Nexus device, you are typically at the front of the line for software updates as most other Android devices must have their software tailored for them as they have those custom skins that must be modified to run properly with new APIs (application programming interface). The Galaxy Nexus is a big leap from the Nexus S, the predecessor featuring a new dual-core processor, larger screen, thinner chassis, and more. Move on past the break for more.

Hardware

With the Nexus S back in late 2010, we got a device that was all plastic, a step down from the metallic HTC Nexus One. The same can be said about the Galaxy Nexus. It features and all plastic, yet glorified build quality. The battery cover is a thin piece of plastic and also non-interchangeable. The device has a contoured design so looking at it from the side will show its subtly curved display and hardware. The Galaxy Nexus has the same 5 megapixel camera as the Nexus S, but with added ability of being able to capture 1080p video and take pictures with virtually no shutter lag between pictures so taking pictures should be almost instantaneous. The devices incorporates a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera for video chatting, probably intended by Google for Google+ video chatting, but what can you say? Stepping up from the single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor found in the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus features a TI (Texas Instruments) OMAP 4460 dual-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz per core. This will mean relatively faster processing speeds all around the device, as well as improved battery. The phone comes with 32GB of storage preloaded with 1GB of RAM and unfortunately, this is not expandable via an SD card.

The device also features a massive 4.65 inch Super AMOLED HD display with a resolution of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels. The Super AMOLED provides jaw-droppingly stunning colors and clarity, producing the darkest blacks possible, rather than washed out. A very small portion of the bottom of the actual display functions as the soft-touch buttons to go “back”, “home”, and access the multitasking interface. In some apps, a menu button is added to the bottom as well. This portion of the screen is only active when the screen is on and they are capacitive buttons so you don’t need to press them in, only touch them. They are not built directly into the phone. Below the screen is an LED light that blinks when you have a notification, something that is missing from most devices, except BlackBerry’s, these days.

The Galaxy Nexus supports HSPA+ and regular HSPA (4G and 3G) speeds on AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as Verizon’s LTE network and 3G network. You’ll find the typical WiFi raadio, as well as the usual sensors such as a promity sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, a compass, and a never-before-seen barometer. A Sprint variant will be arriving during the summer as Sprint’s first LTE device.

Camera

Although no upgrade in the resolution department, keeping the 5 megapixel camera, the Galaxy Nexus is capable of 1080p video recording and playback. Any 1080p videos you take can be uploaded directly to YouTube from the device as well. The shutter speed has been greatly improved and is probably the fastest in the mobile device industry. Pictures can be taken within a second or less after the last. With the new Android 4.0 update that comes preloaded on the device, panorama images can be taken now as well. Image effects and camera recording effects can now be used at your disposal.

Software

The software running on the Nexus has already been reviewed comprehensively so it won’t be explained in depth here, but if you’d like to read up on it, check out my review by clicking here.

In general, Android 4.0 brought lots to the tablet. Included on the Galaxy Nexus are the previously explained camera software features, a revamped home screen with new widgets that can now be resized, a new widget selector screen, updated lock screen with Face Unlock, and some preloaded core apps have been changed to fit better with the new theme and font.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Nexus was released to the general public on November 17th, 2011 for Europe, 29 days after it’s announcement by Samsung and in the US on December 15th, 2011 on Verizon. As stated earlier, it’s available on AT&T SIM unlocked (this model is compatible on T-Mobile, because T-Mobile doesn’t have their own model yet), Verizon, and soon, Sprint. The SIM unlocked version for use with T-Mobile and At&T will run you $799.99 and on Verizon, you’ll be $299.99 with an upgrade or new two year agreement.

This device is definitely one of the best Android devices out on the market now, that is, until HTC’s quad-core phones start rolling into the US. If you already have a dual-core Android smartphone, don’t bother upgrading, but if you have a lower-end phone and you’re considering upgrading to a better Android device, you’ll definitely want to check this beast out.

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