Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM)

9.0
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Reviewed by ock (Currently owns)

The Galaxy Nexus feels great in the hand, despite being made mostly out of plastic. There are discussions on the bendy back cover and how it feels “cheap”. However, when it is secured in place, the whole phone feels very solid to me when gripped.

The Galaxy Nexus has one of the first 720p screens on a mobile phone. At 4.65 inches diagonally and featuring SuperAMOLED HD technology with its unmatched contrast ratio, it is a real joy to watch videos on this device. The thin bevel enhances this experience. The pentile display has attracted a fair amount of debate. To my eyes, the visibility of subpixels isn’t a major concern. However, the screen does seem to have some issues with colour consistency, which is more apparent at low brightness levels.

Ringer volume is relatively weak in my opinion. Downloading Volume+ off the Market fixed this problem to a certain extent. Strangely, YouTube videos do play quite loudly (with clarity). Voice quality is good but volume could be louder.

The LED notification light makes a welcome return. There are no built-in options to control it, apart from turning it on and off. Apps like Light Flow come in handy.

GPS lock time is reasonable, based on a test inside my house and near a window, taking 28 seconds for a full GPS lock with a data connection enabled. The location is slightly off, with my actual location outside the location radius.

Storage space as seen from Windows is 13.0 GB. No Micro-SD slot here, so there's no physical storage expansion option.

Camera performance is adequate but not outstanding. Zero shutter lag enables one to take many photos quickly once the auto-focus is locked. Auto-focus is quick, both when taking videos and photos. Panorama shots can be taken with an intuitive sweeping motion. The video recording mode has a couple of tricks, one of which is the time lapse feature. The silly faces feature is great for a few laughs and works well.

Swipe gestures are now utilized in many of the updated core apps. This is a welcome move, since reaching for tabs on the top part of the screen would be an issue on large screens.

The new web browser brings bookmarks syncing capabilities, plus plenty of options, including quick controls. Scrolling in general is smooth; graphics-heavy sites such as the main page of The Verge scrolls less smoothly. Text reflow works only on a double tap - there’s no dynamic reflow after pinch-zooming.

The keyboard now detects words with a missing space between them, and spell-checking is now available across the OS.

Battery-wise, I was able to get through a day with moderate use, including 4 hrs of screen-on time.

Performance seems snappy on the Galaxy Nexus even after loading up my usual collection of apps. Using some of the live wallpapers such as Microbes does cause jerkiness when swiping between homescreens.

The Breakdown

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  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 9
  • Display 9
  • Camera(s) 7
  • Reception / call quality 8
  • Performance 9
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 7
  • Ecosystem 9
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