x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

Samsung GALAXY Nexus

Posted: , by Ray S.

Tags:

Pages

Our is now published - click here to read it.

Interface and Functionality:

Being the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus represents a true milestone for the Android operating system. Ice Cream Sandwich was one of the most-anticipated Android iterations ever, since it finally bridges the phone and tablet experience. What this means is that both Android phones and tablets will run Ice Cream Sandwich (and the versions after it), and not two separate platforms, like it was until now with Gingerbread and Honeycomb.

The case with ICS is that it's built on top of Honeycomb and not Gingerbread. Because of this, ICS brings a brand new experience to Android phone users, equal to a complete redesign of the platform. Unfortunately, our prototype unit has a very early build of ICS installed, and it's not even optimized properly, so we can't draw any general conclusions about the platform yet. However, we do get to explore its main functionality with its interface and most core apps.

First of all, if you have used a Honeycomb tablet, you'll feel right at home with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, although it's not so much of an Android experience compared to other phones on this OS as well. As always, your homescreen is divided into multiple pages, on which you can place widgets, app shortcuts and so on. The beauty in this is that you can get instant access to various features of your handset like email, weather, etc., whereas on a device with a more static homescreen, like the iPhone, you have to launch a separate application in order to get to such information. Both approaches have their pros and cons though, and the one in Android isn't flawless by any means. More stuff on your homescreen means a more complicated environment and higher demand for system resources, but overall, it basically comes down to personal preference whether you'd prefer a more “open” approach like in Android or a more streamlined one like in the iPhone.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the very first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich


An interesting aspect of the ICS software is that, similarly to Honeycomb, the navigational keys “Back”, “Home” and “Multitasking” are part of the interface, and not separate touch-sensitive keys. So, these buttons do take a certain part from your screen real estate, but the Galaxy Nexus has enough of this with its 4.65” display, so there's still enough room for the important stuff. But of course, don't think there's so much of a benefit associated with this all-screen thing. Indeed, it looks cool, but that's pretty much the extent of it.

The notification dropdown has remained, but overall, notifications have improved, as now they can be swiped away one at a time. They are also accessible from the lock screen.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Lock screen - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Multitasking - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
  

Lock screen

Multitasking


The higlights of the new UI start with the brand new People app. This replaces the Contacts app and is a much cleaner, visual solution to showing your contacts. “Visual” because the person’s image occupies a much larger space, and “cleaner” because it gets rid of all boxes and many delimiters, leaving some nice blank spaces between fields, so you don’t feel in a clutter. Contact images borrow a magazine-style UI in Google’s words, but the Windows Phone community cried foul that ICS is borrowing Metro UI elements. The Phone app has also been redesigned allowing you to call contacts with a single tap.

Dialer - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The new People app - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

Dialer

The new People app

 

The Calendar has been swipe-enabled, so you can now use gestures in the Calendar. Here, though, by swiping you switch between days, weeks and months. You can also pinch-to-zoom for a more detailed view of your agenda.

Overall, Google is moving to a simplistic interface, just as the one it launched on its web services. An example of that are the new messaging and email applications. Now, they are even better as Google has also improved auto-completion of recipients, among other enhancements. However, we can't comment on the usability of the on-screen QWERTY keyboards, as our prototype unit didn't function as it should.

Calendar - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Email - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Messaging - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

Calendar

Email

Messaging

 

Second comes an overhauled Browser. We could argue that the average user would spend as much if not more time in the smartphone browser rather than calling, and that's why the change here is of paramount importance The browser now includes a “Save for offline reading” option and redesigned tab switcher looking much like the vertical multitasking list. In addition, the user can also “request” to see the desktop version of a site, without having to scroll to the bottom of the page in search for a special link. We couldn't get Flash Player to work on our prototype, but from what we saw, the web browsing experience on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus promises to be pretty smooth in terms of navigation. Furthermore, the ultra-high HD resolution makes reading of text very comfortable, as even very smallish letters are legible, similarly to the Retina Display on the Apple iPhone 4S.

The overhauled Browser - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The overhauled Browser - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The overhauled Browser - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The overhauled Browser - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

The overhauled Browser


Google promised to strip shutter lag off the Camera app, and indeed we found the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to be extremely speedy with its camera operation. In addition, there’s a new panorama mode baked right in the application allowing you to take panoramic shots with a single motion. Live Effects are added to the video capture, so you can fool around with the Silly Face effect or change your background to a custom image.

The Camera app - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Camera app - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Camera app - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
The Camera app - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

The Camera app


Here are a few test samples taken with our prototype Samsung Galaxy Nexus for you to check out, but don't consider them as being indicative of the quality that will be presented by a final, retail unit. It might be pretty close, but we can't be sure.

Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

Outdoor samples made with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus


Strong - Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Medium - Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Low light - Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Darkness - Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview

Strong

Medium

Low light

Darkness

Indoor samples



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Indoor Sample Video:




Expectations:

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
As we said, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is an attractive handset. That's not only because it looks good, although a bit more neutral than what we'd like, but also because it comes with the newest Android OS – Ice Cream Sandwich - preloaded. Indeed, the Galaxy Nexus marks the advent of a whole new experience for Android-powered phones, and we're greatly excited about that. Not only does it come with a complete redesign (for the better), but it also promises to make life easier for developers, eventually leading to a higher-quality app ecosystem.

As a smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a pretty strong performer. It features up-to-date specs, although nothing really groundbreaking. Yes, the camera is only 5MP, but if it does turn out to be capable of producing quality shots, we can live with that. At the end of the day, the Galaxy Nexus will be able to offer you a beautiful HD Super AMOLED screen, presumably fast performance due to a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, and a much-improved Android experience, all included within a relatively thin, curved and, unfortunately, plastic and uninspired body.

To draw our final conclusion about the Galaxy Nexus though, we'll have to wait until we get to play with a final product, which will happen sometime in November, when, however, the Motorola DROID RAZR will also set its heavy foot on the stage, challenging the Galaxy Nexus for the crown of the ultimate Android phone. As it seems, the Nexus will have the early advantage, due to the fact that it will come directly with ICS, while the DROID RAZR will rely on customized Gingerbread, but it will only be a matter of time before Moto's offering gets its ICS boost as well, and then... it will get interesting.


Samsung Galaxy Nexus Video Preview:


Our Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review is now published - click here to read it.

Pages:

94 Comments
  • Options
    Close






posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:18 10

1. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


android owners dont need a flashy phone device. thats what an iphone is for. Id rather have it be all steak in the inside, instead of all sizzle on the outside. :)

those camera shots are pretty decent. no over saturation or anything like that. you should put them up against some cloudy day shots vs the SGS2 and i4s to give a comparison. I know its a non final unit your using, but its probably not going to change that much in the final.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:43 5

6. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


I don't know what PhoneArena was expecting in terms of materials and build quality. It's no better or worse than the SGS2 from what I can see/read. And at least they gave it a non-slip back cover. Based on the Nexus S and SGS2, is anyone surprised that Samsung's next Nexus is also plasticky?

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:54 1

9. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


i dont think theyre conveying shock as much as continued disappointment. i guess there may have been some speculation a bit back that samsung would step up their materials for this very hyped device.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 09:05 1

14. Synack (Posts: 677; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)


We were just hoping for a premium feel phone since that seems to be a big up for the iPhone and it would've made sense for Samsung to at least throw a premium feel back to it. At least kevlar or something. At least make the phone white if it's going to be plastic. I want my meat AND potatoes @remixfa :D

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 09:10 1

17. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


Kevlar? why not get the RAZR? I cant recall Samsung for using anything other than cheap plastics on their top of the line devices.. so if you are looking for a premium feel, forget about Samsung.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 09:11 4

19. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


If Samsung had put "premium" materials on a phone this size and with this much stuffed into it, the phone would be excessively heavy. This is Samsung's MO - great hardware in a lightweight, plain body. Samsung isn't going to turn into HTC when people are still buying their phones by the millions as is.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 15:42 5

63. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Yes, looking at the millions of sales the SGS2 has, I'm pretty sure there are millions of people who are just fine with the plastic design. Myself included, I actually perfer it. I always have a cover for the device, the thinner and lighter the device is with the cover, the better.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 09:43

82. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)


The point is that on a premium device, one should expect premium materials. I don't care to have my phone feel like it was made by Fisher Price. Not knocking anyone else's choice, just saying that Sammy can and should do better. Galaxy S II is a nice device, but it just feels cheap. They don't need to build an HTC like brick, but just step it up to "classy."

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:11 4

29. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lol.. both is great, but if you had to choose sizzle or steak, i dont know about you, but i prefer an actual steak to the sound of one.. lol

I really liked those prerelease fan renders they did of the nexus prime.. that metallic nexus1 throwback was nice.

I know im in the minority, but i prefer samsungs use of light weight yet durable plastics and gorilla glass over heavier and more easily broken or dinged up glass and aluminum like HTC and Apple uses. Give me premium "dropped phone" quality, over percieved quality by material use.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:43 1

38. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


well i guess it doesnt matter whether these phones are made with wood, aluminum, glass, kevlar or plastic, they arent made or designed to survive inevitable 4 or 5 foot drops..

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 11:41 4

42. Synack (Posts: 677; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)


Have you seen the Galaxy S2 dropped flat on it's face at about 5.5 feet or so? It survived.... Gorilla Glass is the s**t.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 11:50 1

43. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


well, i don't think thats enough though, and theres still a lot of aspects to consider when it comes to drops.. it still depends on the surface where it will be dropped, how it will land the surface and some other things.. i have dropped my inspire 4g several times and had it roll over my stairs and its still alive.. but im not assuming it will still be alive next time..

and i agree that gorilla glass is tough but its not only the screen that can be wrecked..

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 00:03

80. NeXoS (Posts: 288; Member since: 03 May 2011)


Step up to what? Glass on the back? This is iPhone "quality" glass for ya!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIKsztSG63M

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:22 2

33. Alantef (Posts: 288; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


Yea im shocked that everyone else is shocked about this...im getting this phone and getting an otterbox case with it (hopefully they make it) so i can care less about the build quality only....its whats on the inside that matters

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:32 1

34. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


And ironically the iPhone 4/4S with its vaunted premium glass exterior is rarely seen without a case. Why bother making it pretty when everyone covers it up?

Meanwhile I can rock my Nexus with nothing but a screen protector and enjoy its thin profile.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:41

37. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


samsungs plastic may not feel that great but they usually are more durable then aluminum which dents or glass which shatters into pieces (still dont get why you would layer the front AND back pf a phone with glass) apple is so dumb.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 12:24 3

49. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


I may be in the minority, but around the house I use my iPhone 4 out of the case. It's weird, but I still appreciate the design even after 13mos.

Then again, I like to sniff glue, love the smell of magazine print fresh out the plastic bag, and I was dropped on my head as a baby.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 15:43 2

64. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Yea one drop is all it pretty much takes from an iphone to shatter it. "oh man look how pretty my shattered iphone is! yep sooo much better than having a plastic phone that doesnt even have a scratch on it" lol

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 14:01

57. yungmel0 (Posts: 39; Member since: 18 Jun 2011)


That's the beautiful thing about otterbox it fully protects your phone. But if you have a chance look up ballistic cases they look good and offers the same protection.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 10:47 1

39. McLTE (Posts: 874; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


How the F is this phone uninspiring and why is plastic so bad? If it feels good.. the weight savings is beneficial as long as the durability doesn't suffer.

I love reading how this phone is uninspiring designwise.. yet the Nokia N9 is freaking amazing??? WTF PA.

I don't know.. I find this phone FAR more sexy than the N9, regardless of the materials.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 14:55 1

60. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


The N9 looks like my '08 iPod nano. Sure, it's more distinctive than the Nexus, but that doesn't make it original or practical.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 12:12 2

47. ph00ny (Posts: 1263; Member since: 26 May 2011)


As long as they use metal skeletal structure just like SGS2, i don't see a huge problem with plastic shells. Perceived quality can only go so far

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 15:34 1

62. Jasonhunterx (Posts: 111; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


You can just buy a metal cover if your worried about build quality

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 19:00 1

73. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


This is the next step for android and is great leap in os standards. This phone is indeed itself and flashy phone and prob the most high tech there is to buy today.

The only reason it won't seem as flashy to the general public is that there won't be dozens of cring worthy "wow this is cool" "ooooh you love this" "this changes everything again" ads the likes apple uses to try make their devices appeal to their prime buyers which indeed as phonearena have said in an article here is teenage age group,the young who simply buy iphones to look cool,trendy,flash and in the most basic needs seem to 'fit in with their friends'.

Most know nothing of the phone just its cool,most would call a sony mp3 walkman an ipod and wouldn't know the difference. Unfortunately for all others Apple is very astute at taking maximum advantage of these vulnerabilities in their market age group and with patent absurdness will try to ensure onl;y their way will survive in the market

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 19:02

74. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


This is the next step for android and is great leap in os standards. This phone is indeed itself and flashy phone and prob the most high tech there is to buy today.

The only reason it won't seem as flashy to the general public is that there won't be dozens of cring worthy "wow this is cool" "ooooh you love this" "this changes everything again" ads the likes apple uses to try make their devices appeal to their prime buyers which indeed as phonearena have said in an article here is teenage age group,the young who simply buy iphones to look cool,trendy,flash and in the most basic needs seem to 'fit in with their friends'.

Most know nothing of the phone just its cool,most would call a sony mp3 walkman an ipod and wouldn't know the difference. Unfortunately for all others Apple is very astute at taking maximum advantage of these vulnerabilities in their market age group and with patent absurdness will try to ensure onl;y their way will survive in the market

posted on 31 Oct 2011, 05:18

86. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Flashy device? If nexus prime, galaxy nexus or whatever would be made of paper or tic tac plastic box would you say the same?
Interior must be as good as exterior. Otherwise it's nothing special.
We all know that sammy has never built nothing "wow" (except wave), so it's nothing new that nexus doesn't look to good...."premish" as it should be.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:18 2

2. Mozarrt (Posts: 301; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Lots of hype building around a phone with pretty boring specs.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:34 7

4. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


how is it "boring"? it the first phone with ics the first phone with a 720p screen. it may not be the first 1.2ghz ti omap 4460 but when it gets overclocked itll be a lightning fast phone. just because it only has 5 megapixels doesnt mean its not a good cam for a high end android it also has to do with aperture and other camera technology. why was the iphone so hyped if it had barely any upgrades whatsoever? you know what ios gave you? a voice recognition system big f'n whoop. and you stole androids notification system and wp7 social integration idea.and apple sues samsung over a design and os simmilarity. screw you

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 08:47 3

7. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


People must've expected something mind-blowingly new, like a 1.5 Ghz Exynos, 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB storage and a 12 MP camera. None of which was seriously rumored for this phone. Galaxy Nexus about the ICS experience and the HD screen, not the specs. I'm not making apologies for the phone, people just didn't have realistic expectations.

posted on 25 Oct 2011, 09:09

16. Synack (Posts: 677; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)


They didn't need to, there is NO reason for any current ICS phone to be running faster than what the Galaxy Nexus is pushing out. The hardware is finally optimized and there are no games/programs or anything else out there that needs a processor/RAM/GPU combo faster than what is given here. Don't forget we ARE trying to deal with power consumption (battery life).

Now what would be badass is it we could buy mini sticks of RAM for the phone, along with overclocking the CPU/GPU, which we already can on the CPU.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Samsung GALAXY Nexus

Samsung GALAXY Nexus

OS: Android 4.3 4.2.2 4.2.1 4.2 4.1.2 4.1 4.0.4 4.0.1 4.0
view full specs
Display4.7 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (316 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
TI OMAP4460, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1 GB RAM
Size5.33 x 2.67 x 0.35 inches
(135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1750 mAh, 17.66 hours talk time

Latest stories