Samsung Galaxy Nexus Preview
Introduction:

The advent of the third Nexus handset has been one of the most anticipated events in the mobile universe this year. Why so? Because these Nexus phones represent important milestones for the Android operating system. Produced in tight partnership between Google and a major phone manufacturer, each Nexus arrives to the scene along with an important update to the OS, introducing lots of new features and goodies for consumers and developers. While the first device in the series, the Google Nexus One, was manufactured by HTC, the production of the following model, the Nexus S, was taken over by the largest Android phone manufacturer in the world today – Samsung. The South Koreans have obviously managed to establish some pretty good relations with Google, as they have kept the privilege to work on this year's model as well – the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

So, what does the Galaxy Nexus bring to the table in order to excite cell phone fanatics? The answer seems pretty obvious – it brings the latest iteration of the Android operating system – Ice Cream Sandwich. And this is not your usual update like Gingerbread or Froyo. Ice Cream Sandwich is a much more ambitious project, aiming to completely redesign the Android platform in and out. We now have a prototype unit of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, so let's explore this amazing package and see where its ups and downs might be hiding.


Design:

The Nexus smartphones are special, not only because they come with a brand new version of Android, but also because they offer something which other, more “typical” Android handsets lack in most cases – they actually look good. The Nexus One was one of the most considered Android devices from design standpoint, while the Nexus S came with that attractive curved glass on top of its display. Now, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, we again witness this curved design, as well as some other little treats. For example, the back cover uses the so-called Hyper Skin finish, which provides a better grip, and an overall nice feel to the touch. However, the phone's body is still entirely made of plastic, which translates to a relatively light weight, but also to a somewhat standard feel, which fails to captivate or wow the user. There's nothing premium with the build quality and construction of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and this is our biggest disappointment with its design.



You can compare the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Yes, there's still this curved glass, but we don't consider it as being something beneficial in any way. The curve is actually very slight, so we really see no difference between this and a completely flat glass. Otherwise, the display below it is quite impressive. The Galaxy Nexus sports an enormous 4.65” screen with an HD resolution of 720x1280 pixels. And even with a screen this big, we're happy to report that the pixel density is 316 ppi, which means that all kinds of fine details and small text that appear on this display remain clearly visible. The Galaxy Nexus sports an HD Super AMOLED screen, which uses an RGBG PenTile matrix for pixel arrangement. This actually shouldn't trouble anyone, as we don't find the overall image quality to be inferior compared to what you see on standard RGB matrix-based displays. More on this can be read in our dedicated article. Naturally, having an AMOLED screen, the Galaxy Nexus offers those characteristic high contrast levels and very saturated colors that kind of bring images to life.


For the first time in an Android handset, you won't find any buttons below the screen. That's because the Galaxy Nexus has been designed to run Ice Cream Sandwich, which now features on-screen keys for navigation in Android, just like in Honeycomb tablets. As a result, the front side of the device is completely clean and looks very cool. Around the device we find a standard microUSB charging port, 3.5mm headset jack, volume rocker and a power key. Interestingly, there is also a three-dot connector on the handset's right side, which will be used for docking the device with some kind of a docking station. On the back side is what many would consider the Galaxy Nexus's downfall – a 5MP camera, instead of something more contemporary like an 8MP one. While we would have really liked it more if it had an 8MP shooter, we'd still be satisfied if the Galaxy Nexus manages to produce some good-looking results.



Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a well-made device, but it lacks personality. The neutral color scheme and the basic materials in use don't help as well. Finally, if you're not the type of user that would want their smartphone to have a premium feel, the design of the Galaxy Nexus should fit the bill.



Samsung Galaxy Nexus 360-degrees View:



FEATURED VIDEO

94 Comments

1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

6. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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?

9. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 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.

14. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 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

17. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

19. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

63. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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.

82. gtrxman

Posts: 137; Member since: Sep 10, 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."

29. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

38. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 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..

42. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 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.

43. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 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..

80. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Step up to what? Glass on the back? This is iPhone "quality" glass for ya! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIKsztSG63M

33. Alantef

Posts: 288; Member since: Sep 14, 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

34. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

37. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 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.

49. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 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.

64. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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

57. yungmel0

Posts: 39; Member since: Jun 18, 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.

39. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

60. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

47. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 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

62. Jasonhunterx

Posts: 111; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

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

73. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 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

74. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 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

86. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 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.

2. Mozarrt

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

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

4. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 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

7. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

16. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 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.
GALAXY Nexus
  • Display 4.7" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor TI OMAP4460, Dual-core, 1200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1750 mAh(8.33h 3G talk time)

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