Internet:

We were especially thrilled upon opening the ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Being one of the most used applications on a phone today, the web browser needs to be flawless. That's exactly what we find on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. All kinds of navigation like scrolling, panning around, zooming in using pinch-to-zoom and double-tap work very smoothly, which is very important for us. If we have to compare it to the iPhone 4S, the Galaxy Nexus is a few frames-per-second behind, but the difference is negligible. The Android browser has always offered very quick page loading times (when coupled with the right hardware), and this tradition has continued with ICS on the Galaxy Nexus.

You may think that when all high-end Android phones lately have come with support for Adobe Flash Player, the latest and greatest newcomer will have this feature as well. Think again, as Adobe is yet to optimize Flash Player for ICS. As you've probably heard, the company has also announced that it's dropping support for Flash Player for mobile, but the good news is they will at least support Ice Cream Sandwich, so Galaxy Nexus user wannabes don't have a reason to worry.


Now, the browsing experience itself is awesome, not only because of the outstanding responsivenes, but also because of this giant screen with an incredibly high-resolution. Naturally, the bigger the display, the better your experience, as long as the pixel density is kept high, and in the case of the Galaxy Nexus, you can be sure that its HD resolution, providing for a pixel density of 316 ppi is more than enough to make even small text very legible, on par with what you get with the iPhone 4S's Retina Display, if not slightly better.

A good extra new feature of the browser is that you can save a web page for offline viewing, which may be very handy if you know that you won't have internet access later. 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.

Connectivity:

As you can imagine, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus comes with a complete set of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi b/g/n/a and Bluetooth 3.0, as well as some exotics like NFC and MHL. Despite the fact that the Galaxy Nexus sports NFC, keep in mind that the handset is not support by Google Wallet yet. For this review, we've been testing the HSPA+ version of the phone, which offers theoretical peaks of up to 21.1 Mbit/s download, and up to 5.76 Mbit/s upload. However, the Galaxy Nexus is also expected to hit Verizon's shelves a bit later, where it'll come in an LTE flavor, so that users of the carrier can enjoy some blazing-fast data speeds.

The GPS of the Galaxy Nexus works very well. Even without the help of wireless networks, our location got pinpointed in just a couple of minutes.

Camera:

The new camera interface looks pretty simple and is relatively easy to get used to. In the meantime though, it does offer an array of basic options like white balance, exposure and scene modes. Video recording, on the other hand, comes with a set of fun face-detection-based effects like Big Eyes, Big Mouth, Big Nose and so on. We doubt that anyone would be using the much, but we're sure they will be particularly funny and entertaining for little kids (great way to get some alone time).


The new Camera app also comes with a built-in Panorama mode, which works surprisingly well.

Google promised to strip shutter lag off the Camera app, and indeed we found the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to be extremely speedy in this aspect. As a whole, the Galaxy Nexus's camera is very fast. While testing the actual photo- and video-taking capabilities of the handset, we ran into a couple of problems. The first one is with image previews. When you've taken a photo and you want to preview it, as always, what you need to do is hit the little preview button on the side of the on-screen camera shutter key. However, this takes you to a photo-sharing screen, where you have a list of services, on which you can share your creation. In order to get to the actual preview screen (where you where you can zoom in, pan around, or even do some image editing), you have to tap on the image once again, and wait for another half a second. Of course, this isn't much, but we wonder why they have designed it this way, when you can easily choose to share your photo from the image preview screen as well... What we want to say is that we feel this intermediary “sharing screen” is unnecessary.


Anyways, the other issue is related to the continuous autofocus capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Sometimes, the phone will be very, very slow to shift the focus from the background to the object that's closer. At other times, it won't even change it, no matter how patient and stubborn you are. This doesn't happen always, but often enough to cause frustration.

The new Gallery comes with image-editing options built-in. Google has chosen a nice selection of tools that would definitely come in handy when you want to quickly tweak a photo that you've taken (or any other image). You can do various kinds of stuff like adjusting exposure or saturation, fixing the red-eyes, as well as applying different effects to your pictures.



Photo quality:

The Galaxy Nexus only has a 5-megapixel camera, but the photos that it produces aren't bad by any means. Quite the contrary, they exhibit natural and lively colors, as well as a pretty decent amount of detail. Objects are usually normally exposed, but the camera doesn't handle more dynamic scenes very well, meaning if your shot's going to be a more contrast one, some areas will probably turn out overexposed (as in our case).

Doing macros with the Nexus is very easy and fun, using the touch-to-focus functionality of the device. We found this to work flawlessly.



When we moved indoors to check how the smartphone's camera performs in lower-light conditions, we noticed that it managed to come up with some pretty tolerable pictures when shooting in situations with a strong light-source. However, once we started dimming the lights, the Nexus quickly started to lose quality. The LED flash is also pretty weak, causing some considerable loss in color quality, and failing to illuminate objects even at close distances.



Video recording:

To tell you the truth, we're a bit underwhelmed by the video we shot with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Yeah, it's 1080p and all, but it's a bit choppy at 24 fps, which isn't something that we normally expect to see in a contemporary smartphone of this class. It's also somewhat jerky, and lacks fine detail.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Indoor Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Time-lapse Sample Video:



Honestly, if you tend to be really strict with regards to the quality of your phone's camera, keep in mind that the Galaxy Nexus is good for outdoor, daylight images only. And its video-recording capabilities shouldn't be seriously considered at all. Compared to the iPhone 4S, for example, the Galaxy Nexus is visibly worse in this respect.

Multimedia:

The Music app is nothing to write home about, but this doesn't mean it isn't good. Actually, in line with the rest of the interface, it's rather simplistic in its nature, but naturally, it doesn't save you important content like album art covers. Digging deeper into its options, we actually find a full-fledged equalizer that can be freely adjusted by the user. Of course, it has a number of presets as well.

Video playback with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is flawless. The handset easily plays 1080p videos of all sorts, including MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid and H.264, without a hint of stuttering. Not only that, but the Nexus makes the experience even better thanks to its larger than life screen, with super-vibrant colors and high contrast, courtesy of the Super AMOLED technology.

FEATURED VIDEO

147 Comments

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.

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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