Review: Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon)
As Google and Samsung once again partnered up to bring yet another stock Android device to the Nexus line, they shocked the United States by bringing it to Verizon, instead of the regular first carrier: T-Mobile. While there still isn’t a Galaxy Nexus being offered by a GSM carrier over here in the US, the Verizon version packs LTE into its slim body.
The Good -
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Amazing 4.65″ Super AMOLED HD Display (1280 x 720)
- Dual-Core 1.2GHz TI OMAP Processor
- Verizon LTE
The Bad -
- 5MP Camera
- Lack of Exynos for connectivity reasons
- No Micro-SD card slot
- Battery life is so-so
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus continues to live up the Samsung’s tradition of bringing high-quality screens into the market. The Galaxy Nexus has Samsung’s next-generation display technology: Super AMOLED HD. The Super AMOLED HD brings a whopping 1280 by 720p resolution. The display really makes everything on the Nexus look amazing, from web pages, to games, and even movies. While some may think that the screen is too large, I disagree. As a matter of fact, getting use to larger screens isn’t hard at all. Back in July, I went from a 3.2″ Motorola Cliq, to a 4.5″ Samsung Infuse, with little issues. The large screen, combined with the amazing resolution, makes the Galaxy Nexus a device worth getting.
The Galaxy Nexus is powered by a T.I. OMAP 4460 processor clocked at 1.2Ghz with 1GB of RAM. In comparison, the Droid 4 is powered by the slightly older OMAP 4430 processor at 1.2Ghz. Performance was good, but not great. The Exynos powered Galaxy S II performs a lot better in graphical tasks such as gaming.
As we do in all of our reviews, we ran a Quadrant Standard test. Quadrant, available in the market, puts your phone through several tets, such as 3D graphics, 2D graphics and more.
The Nexus scored around 2600 consistently, which is a good score. But other devices, like the Galaxy S II, score much higher.
One thing that disappointed many customers was the 5MP camera. While the camera is decent, it was confusing that the Galaxy S II, which came out 6-7 months earlier, had an 8MP camera. Nonetheless, the camera on the Nexus is amazing. It has many new features thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, such as instant shutter, and panorama capabilities. Along with the still images, the Nexus records videos in stunning 1080p HD.
Colors on the Nexus’ 5MP shooter just were not as sharp as other devices, especially the HTC Rezound and iPhone 4S. Video, on the other hand, was great, and the time lapse video capture is much-welcome.
Galaxy Nexus camera spec sheet:
- 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
- LED flash for snapping photos and staying on when filming video in low-light
- Films video in up to 1080p HD video
- Does a surprisingly good job capturing images in low-light situations
- Captures time lapse video (intervals of 1 to 10 seconds)
- Apply live video effects and background images
- Capable of taking panoramic photos
The Galaxy Nexus is the first device to ship with Android 4.0. And man is it nice. Ice Cream Sandwich ships with a ton of new features.
- Virtual buttons in the user experience free up display space
- Create folders by dragging apps on top of each other
- A new tab for thumbing through your widgets
- Calendar app now supports pinch-to-zoom
- Gmail gets offline search (nice), a two-line preview, and gesture support for swiping between conversations
- The revamped Gmail user interface has an action bar for composing a message, searching, and accessing labels
- Take screenshots by holding power and volume down buttons (finally!)
- “Request desktop site” in the Chrome browser opens the full version of a Web site and syncs with your bookmarks
- Save Web pages offline and use up to 16 tabs in the browser
- More keyboard error correction and an inline spell check
- Access apps directly from the lock screen
- A recent applications icon
- “Roboto” is a new typeface
- Delete individual notifications by dragging them off the notifications menu
- Improved voice integration and copy and paste
- Face Unlock is a facial recognition service that use your face to unlock the phone
- New Data Usage options in the Settings menu will notify users when they near a data use limit and disable the feature when the limit is reached
- You can kill off apps that are using data in the background
- Open the camera quickly from the home screen
- Camera has no shutter lag, continuous focus, zoom while recording, panorama photos, time lapse settings, and 1080p recording
- Face detection in the camera
- Integrated photo editor including focus and exposure and “hipster filters” (we don’t want to know)
- New gallery layout, organized by location and person
- People app brings together high-res photos, social media information, and status updates
- Phone app lets you swipe between favorite friends with integrated visual voice mail
- New photo gallery layout for organizing by location and person
- Speed up and slow down voice mails
- Quick message sends canned response text message when you decline a call
- Android Beam, an NFC feature for exchanging information between two phones by tapping them
Data and Phone Performance
The Galaxy Nexus is compatible with Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network. Currently, this network is available in more than 200 markets, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and covers 170 million Americans.
Using the speedtest.net app, I was able to consistently get 20-25mbps up and 5-9 up. ESPN’s mobile site loaded in a speedy 6 seconds.
I was very impressed with the Galaxy Nexus’ GPS performance as well. In a pair of commutes, it stuck onto satellites and updated my position more quickly and accurately than other phones I’ve used.
There are a pair of microphones on the Droid 4 for noise cancellation at top and bottom, and callers said I sounded like I was on a landline. In a 20 call test, I had 2 dropped calles, which is on par with other Verizon devices.
Battery life on the Galaxy Nexus was so-so. Basically, it was on par with other Android phones. Which means you may be able to make it through a day, but a spare battery or two wouldn’t hurt.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was an amazing device to have. With a 4.65″ Super AMOLED HD display, Android 4.0, 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP, and Verizon LTE, you can’t go wrong with it.
Chance Miller contributed to this review.