Google’s third Android phone, the Galaxy Nexus, has attracted a lot of attention in the months leading to its official unveiling. Speculation surrounding its name, software and appearance has been scattered across the web. Finally Google has seen fit to announce the first Ice Cream Sandwich handset and we’ve got our hands on one.
The Galaxy Nexus is a good looking bit of kit, the 4.65-inch, 1280 x 720 pixel contoured display, complete with Super AMOLED technology sits well on the frame and the curved design makes it nice to hold. It’s a solid build, and the construction materials feel tough and long-lasting, the hyper skin back casing, as seen on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S II, makes it easier to grip and banishes smear problems.
The most notable change here though is the buttonless front facia. The Galaxy Nexus comes with integrated software nav buttons, which work extremely well once you get used to them, these comprise of back, home and a layered menu button, which pulls up your most recently used applications.
Turn it over and you’ll see both Google and Samsung monikers.
Power and Operating System
The Galaxy Nexus runs the brand new Android operating system, Ice-Cream Sandwich, with this comes a whole host of updates and new features. The interface has been redesigned and provides a easy and intuitive user experience.
Homescreen set up remains the same as on previous Android iterations and you’re still able to pin a number of different apps and widgets to each. This time around, however, you hold your chosen program within the menu screen before sticking it to a page.
The notification bar has been updated, allowing you to swipe an alert off the page to remove it from the list, the same can be done within the frequently used applications menu
A dual-core 1.2GHz CPU, coupled with the new Ice-cream update makes for a very fast experience, multitasking is now easier than ever with the dedicated application button and transitions are extremely quick. The same can be said for web browsing and integrated Flash support ensures pages are rendered as they would on a desktop and at a similar pace.
Android 4.0 brings a new application called ‘Android Beam’ to the Nexus, unfortunately with only one handset we’re unable to show you this in action, but it essentially allows you to share content between Android devices by simply bumping the two handsets together- in the same way as Bump does for Apple users.
Finally, your contacts (or People app as it’s now known) is full integrated with your social networks allowing you to see individual status updates and photos as well as interaction between them and yourself.
Naturally, the usual Google mobile services are all included also such as the recently redesigned Android Market, Gmail, Google Maps and Google+ App.
The Galaxy Nexus comes with a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED Flash the video capture of which runs at 1080p. There’s also a new panoramic mode, allowing users to take landscape images.
The front-facing camera has been upped since the last Google handset from a VGA one to a 1.3 megapixel imager, the image quality isn’t bad and there are an increasing number of different apps available within the Android market for video calling.
The dual-core CPU ensures gameplay and video playback is smooth and without lag, and there’s also 16GB of internal memory to fill with assorted media.
All the aforementioned media and application set ups can all be stored on Google’s cloud computing system too, allowing you to backup everything on your phone to keep it safe.
The Galaxy Nexus is one of the few handsets to provide a ‘pure Google experience’, the updates to the Android OS makes it incredibly user friendly and negates the need for a separate UI overlay. Visuals are impressive not only on the eye, but in performance also.
It’s a well sized-device with a torrent of media bits and pieces and Google has evidently worked hard to ensure it’s fully integrated with the majority of consumer entities. It’s another good all rounder and not one to be overlooked.