My first impression upon opening up the package was that the phone was ENORMOUS. My current phone is a Blackberry Curve, and this phone’s size just blew me away. I didn’t know how I would be able to use it or fit it in my pocket. However, it compensates for its size with how thin it is. Although there are slimmer, I found the Galaxy’s slimness allows the phone to fit perfectly into my palm. However, let’s not be so quick to judge from a first glance; how well does the phone perform compared to its competition? Let’s find out.
First and foremost, the Galaxy Nexus is the first Google Android 4.02 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone. Google redesigned their Android mobile platform to be even simpler and sleeker. One touch I really like is the fact that there are NO buttons on the front of the phone. This makes more space for the expansive Super AMOLED touch screen which even at the lowest brightness setting is very bright. Instead of having physical buttons, Google designed the platform so that on every screen, there are three virtual buttons that serve as “Back”, “Home”, and one that shows all the running programs/applications.
Also, although the screen looks gigantic, it’s “only” 4.65-inches. It also features the up-and-coming near-field-communications (NFC) technology, which allows the smartphone to interact with devices close by who also have the technology. However, many are disappointed that although it has NFC, Google Wallet (which allows customers to have a virtual credit card on their phone to pay for stuff at cash registers) is not available for this phone.
The phone has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. The unit I was given has 32GB of internal storage, but it does not have an SD slot to expand the memory. It has a 5 MP rear-facing camera with 1080p video shooting and a 1.3 MP webcam. A really small feature I found quite nice was the 3-color LED notification light. Unlike most phones which have a sharp red flashing light, the Galaxy’s is really soft and fades in and out.
Of course, we have to revisit the screen. In one word, the screen is brilliant. Also, it has some of the best viewing angles on any smartphone.
On a final note, the Galaxy Nexus is of course, a 4G LTE phone, with blazing speeds from Verizon.
This phone is fast. It loads apps and web pages very quickly with very little lag. The pinch-to-zoom and scrolling are very smooth and are easily comparable to the almighty iPhone. As mentioned above, the Galaxy Nexus has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM.
Also, contrary to what many people say, the touch screen on this phone is very sensitive and in my opinion, is just as good as any Apple touch screen.
With the LTE network, the phone loaded web pages blazingly fast, nearly as fast as my laptop. It has no trouble loading Youtube videos without much buffer and even large websites like the desktop version of Engadget loaded very quickly.
The battery life, however, suffers from the use of 4G, as many other smartphones and tablets have experienced. With 4G on, I could barely make it a day of regular usage without having to grab the charger. However, with 4G turned off and only running on 3G, the battery life was very much better, easily lasting me the whole day.
The camera is average, although it has a few neat features. It’s good for when you need to take a quick photo of something, but I’d never use it for real photography.
Those cool features I was talking about? First, it has tap-to-focus, so there’s no need to guess what the camera will focus on. This, in my opinion, is moving a step closer to bridging the gap between DSLR and smartphone cameras, allowing the user to choose what the subject of the photo will be rather than the camera. The other cool feature is panorama. After opening up the camera, you tap a button to switch to panorama mode, and once there, you just hit the shutter button and start moving your phone sideways, slowly.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a very solid Android smartphone. Everything is very smooth, and the design is very sleek. While the battery life could be better, it’s understandable that the tradeoff for LTE is a shorter battery life.
However, is this phone worth the $300 plus the 2-year contract on Verizon Wireless? Maybe, maybe not. If you want a phone that is not an iPhone for the same price (for 32GB of storage), then this is the phone for you. If not, lucky for you, Amazon Wireless has the phone for only $99 plus a 2-year contract (for new customers)!
Google has a cool interactive web app that lets you see the phone for yourself.
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