Being the very first handset to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus represents a true milestone for the Android operating system. Ice Cream Sandwich is 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 has been until now with Android Gingerbread and Android 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.

First of all, if you have used a Honeycomb tablet, you'll feel right at home with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Most of the UI elements are preserved, and pretty much the whole interface follows the same logic. If you haven't had the chance to work with Honeycomb yet, there'll be a slight learning curve, but very slight indeed - we promise! After all, this is still Android.

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., right from your homescreen, 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”, customizable approach like in Android or a more streamlined one like in the iPhone. A new element in ICS is that you can create application folders by simply dragging an app shortcut and placing it over another one, just like in iOS. The styling of the new folders is also quite appealing.

No buttons design:

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 more than enough room for the important stuff. But don't think there's so much of a benefit associated with this all-screen thing, at least for now. It looks cool and is useful for some apps like the video player, where the on-screen buttons disappear to allow the app full use of the display. Unfortunately, not many apps take advantage of this feature right now, as you may imagine. If developers decide to optimize their apps for this feature in the future however, we do see some pretty sweet possibilities.

The notification dropdown is now transparent; and overall, notifications have been improves with the addition of the 'swipe away' gesture to remove unwanted items. They are also accessible from the lock screen. The Settings app has also been enhanced to have a more organized feel, though there are still some unintuitive elements like the way you get into the screen which was previously called “WiFi Settings” (the one where you get to pick a Wi-Fi network).

System performance:

As a whole, Google has made terrific progress with the beautified interface and stramlined functionality of the Ice Cream Sandwich platform. Using an Android phone has never looked or felt better. On top of this, the handset treats us to a spectacular performance. It just flies no matter if you're swiping through homescreen, scrolling long lists, webpages, or opening and closing heavy applications. The occasions where we noticed a slight slowdown (like when switching to landscape QWERTY) were so few, that we'd go as far as to say that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is one of the fastest smartphones out there today. This is probably due to the ICS software being well-optimized to work with the TI OMAP 4460 processor that's inside the Nexus. The processor itself sports two cores, clocked at 1.2GHz, so you can rest assured that you'll be able to take advantage of the potential performance boost that comes with applications and games, optimized for dual-core CPUs.

People app:

The highlights 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.


Overall, Google is moving to a simplistic interface, just as the one it launched on its web services. A good example of this are the new messaging and email applications, which are very easy and pleasant to use. Google has also improved some other aspects like auto-completion of recipients, as well as auto-correction, among other enhancements.

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard has been vastly improved. The portrait option is very comfortable to use with one hand only, despite the phone's not so compact dimensions. To make things even better, the landscape QWERTY is one of the very best that we've ever used. It's keys are very nicely sized and spaced from each other, thanks to the 4.65” screen, while the haptic feedback is doing wonders to improve the overall experience of typing.

Setting up and operating with email (and Gmail) is a trouble-free process. While straightforward in their nature, the Email and Gmail apps are still equipped with lots of options to let you customize and refine your mail usage. Strangely, you can pinch-to-zoom in the Email app for a better view of the content of an email, but you can't do that in Gmail, which can make viewing of certain messages (some picture-rich newsletters, for example) a bit cumbersome.


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, which can be really helpful when you have set lots of appointments.



1. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Wow the best phone this year, KILLS the Apple iPhone 4S. Great job Google, this is an amazing phone!

61. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Don't kid yourself. the GN is a nice phone, for a Samsung phone, but it pales in comparison to the 4S.

66. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Leave the cat alone. There's no point arguing specs and features and bugs with a dedicated iPhone user. The truth is that BOTH the iPhone 4S and Nexus are great devices. Which one is the better phone is up to the customer. The Nexus doesn't "kill" the iPhone, nor does it "pale" next to it. They're different devices for different users.

79. rayjones09

Posts: 149; Member since: Dec 16, 2010

Thankyou for the rational and logical comment. I was thinking something similar.

70. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Lol, you mean like the signal issues people were reporting with the Epic Touch 4G among other things? Get off your high horse, Android phones have more problems in the end than iOS phones do.

76. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the epic4g touch is a singular SGS2 variant. what happened with that was not indicative of all SGS2s. What happens with one i4s is happening with all of them. And that was still one issue. And do you really wanna compare connection issues between devices? lol. Antennagate anyone? :) no phone is perfect miz as they are just electronic devices built as fast as possible on an assembly line. but dont try to call out kettle, when you are definitely the pot.

96. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Oh bringing that one up again are we? It's always nice to grasp at the straws when your argument has been crushed. Apple knew there was a problem and rather than sit on their asses like some OEMs do with Android phones, they took steps to correct and fix it. How long has it taken Samsung to fix the problems with the Nexus S phone lol? And don't even get me started on HTC phones, to whom I think lacks a quality control department. Oh and btw, keep thumbing my comments down and getting them a low rating. Prove my point. It doesn't hurt me in the least bit lol as you're not hurting my feelings.

114. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

what exactly did apple fix on the i4's antenna problems? you mean telling customers they are holding it wrong and issuing free gel skins for all of 3 months?? they let that phone ride forever with that issue, even after being launched on VZW 6 months later.. heck it STILL has the problems even today. If you buy an i4 right now, it will STILL have that issue. They didnt fix a darn thing with the i4. Android phones get recalled and fixed.. apple phones are never bad, its always the customer's fault. Kinda seems like everything opposite of what people learn in customer service.. lol BTW, i havent thumbed down any of your comments today. would you prefer i did? :)

129. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Oh you m ean like HTC sitting on their asses with all of the problems their Thunderbolt had? Or what about Samsung and the notorious signal issues? And how could we ever forget the phones that never got GB or even Froyo that people are still stuck with lol? Apple supports their products.

130. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Lol 28 thumbs down, a new record. Keep it coming lol

132. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

you've been lol'd

134. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

just for you, i thumbed you down so you would break 30 reds. lolol

131. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Miz! congrats! you broke the record for the number of thumb downs right below SuperAndroidEvo broke the record for thumbs up!

64. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Very true, the best Androids are the Nexus phones, nothing can beat the stock experience at all, not TouchWiz, HTC Sense or anything else. Even if you'd offer me a Quad-Core Android, I would still go for a Nexus any day!

118. ThisIsaPOS

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

The Nexus Galaxy: laughable camera OLD A$$ GPU ugly pentile display just as the reviewer said its cool and all but until you at certain "stuff" in a certian "way" than... well... dum dum dum these are FACTS only idiot gawk at POS devices just because it's new and someone ELSE says it's great I bet PA just gave this phone a 9.5 to shut everybody up hope you all feel better now

119. readingthissh1t

Posts: 303; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

^haters gon' hate

124. RageQuit

Posts: 44; Member since: Sep 05, 2011

You dont need the best specs to be the to make an awwesome phone, its all about how they come togather. To make an epic phone all you need to do is make the some parts of the phone so good the bad parts become negletable. look at the origonal iPhone, no mms or 3G even though they were in many of the compeditors devices, the Stunning UI allowd for these short comings.

135. rahulcena5565

Posts: 57; Member since: Nov 01, 2010

Jealous you iOS Ass licker

80. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

She immediately compares it to the iPhone. Well now we know who you think is the best.

83. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I really wish people would drop this comparison. iPhone is iPhone, Android is Android. It's not 2009 anymore, can we please stop questing for an "iPhone-killer" and enjoy our Androids in peace?

104. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

The funniest thing is that android fans started this "iphone killer" battle so they shouldn't be suprised that iphone lovers bashing their newest and greatest beloved android phones which supposedly are "new iphone killer". Each time we saw new a android powerful phone it was announced as a iphone killer. Do I smell some complex? I don't like IOS. I don't like Android. But let them be as they are. Seriously guys. Can't you just enjoy your phones without comparing and bashing each other and try to convince which is the best? This crazy race should be over. And Nexus...looks like a great phone but I still prefr RAZR. When it gets ICS it will be even better. And rooted:))))))

126. rayjones09

Posts: 149; Member since: Dec 16, 2010

You have some really good comments on this website.

97. narley

Posts: 357; Member since: May 14, 2009

wow 9.5, good review.

99. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

I smell favoritism in that review.

100. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Yes, PA clearly favors the Nexus over other new Android phones. Moving on...

115. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

you smell favortism from the guy that was just yesterday called an itroll and all sorts of names for his i4s vs nexus browser comparisons? lol, poor ray can never catch a break.

111. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

This phone definitely looks great but why the need to talk about the iPhone? That Android inferiority complex held by fanboys is mindboggling. You guys hate all the news, comparisons, and mentions that the iPhone receives but love to comment in iPhone news posts. Stop feeding the beast lol.

143. gunnerlixa

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

LLOOOLLLL You´re funny, "kills the iPhone 4S...", that´s not what PA says... Read the final conclusion: "A decent, but not as good alternative is the Motorola DROID RAZR, which is constructed much better, using higher-quality materials, but is also wider and not as comfortable in the hand, and runs Gingerbread (though it will receive an update to ICS later). The HTC Rezound is another suitable alternative on Verizon. And, if you feel like trying something non-Android, feel free to check out the iPhone 4S – it will present you with similar performance and rich ecosystem, but a significantly smaller, 3.5” screen as well."

2. LewsTherin006

Posts: 140; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

good review guys, it lines up with all the other reviews out there. Now if we can only get the best phone of the year released......

3. Mr.Mr.Upgrade

Posts: 474; Member since: Aug 30, 2011

Flawless victory, now get over here, nexus prime,

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

  • 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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