Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review: This Is Android | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review: This Is Android

Here’s a thing about a Galaxy Nexus: It is a best Android phone accessible now by such a outrageous domain that we am prepared to contend that shoppers should possibly buy it or drive pure of Android entirely. And that has 0 to do with a hardware.

I am putting onward a call to arms: Let us not caring so many about hardware, Android friends. Let us not compensate mind to mobile processor time speed, to millimeters of physique thickness, to HDMI-out ports and advancing stations and removable batteries. The Galaxy Nexus is a best Android phone given a program was designed for humans. More than any other ‘Droid previous, regulating a Galaxy Nexus usually creates sense. And for that we can appreciate a batch implement of something called Ice Cream Sandwich.

WHAT’S NEW

The Nexus line is Google’s “reference line” of Android phones—each one (this is a third) is a initial phone to lift a new chronicle of Android, totally easy by a tradition interfaces tacked on by many other manufacturers. They’re dictated to be a purest chronicle of Android of their generation. The Galaxy Nexus is a initial with Android 4.0, called “Ice Cream Sandwich,” or ICS (Android formula names use alphabetical dessert names—Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, etc). More phones with ICS will come, and soon—and they will have skins, like HTC’s Sense UI. But this is a phone Google wants us to consider of when we consider of ICS.

Ice Cream Sandwich is simply a biggest refurbish to a smartphone chronicle of Android given a strange Droid’s Android 2.0. A lot has changed—too many to cover all in detail. But adhering to a highlights:

The demeanour of Android is utterly opposite from before: it’s now cold and blue, with gangling lines and black backgrounds. There’s a new, custom-made font. There are accessible animations. The buttons are totally different—instead of a normal 4 Android buttons (Home, Menu, Search, and Back), there are…well, technically, there are none. The buttons have been changed to a shade itself, and shrunk to three: Home, Back, and Recent Apps. The camera app has been overhauled. All of a first-party apps, like Gmail and Maps, are new. Icons and folders are some-more three-dimensional. The keyboard is new. Google Plus is heavily integrated. The list could go on, yet it won’t, given it’s prolonged adequate already.

Click to launch a debate of a Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich.

WHAT’S GOOD

Just about all listed in a territory above is a good change. But some-more importantly, Ice Cream Sandwich comes really close, dangerously close, to a fragile idea of “just working.” It is quick and manageable as all hell. That is considerable technologically, yet for humans, it’s some-more critical as an component of a phone that feels like it’s operative with you, not opposite you. There’s no lag: when we swipe, it moves. This is not as easy as it sounds; I’ve always felt Android had a graphic loiter between your finger and what was function on screen, and via many of a Galaxy Nexus, that’s now gone.

The new buttons are great; they save space, yet they’re also really functional, rotating when we wish to stagger a screen, adding a menu symbol when you’re regulating an app that needs one, disintegrating when you’re personification a diversion or examination a video.

Apple stole Android’s swipe-down notifications shade in iOS5, and while Apple’s is prettier, Ice Cream Sandwich seems to contend “oh yeah? Enjoy a initial generation. Here’s what we’ve finished with years of practice.” There’s an embedded settings symbol in a shade, so we can burst in there and spin Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on and off, or change your brightness, or whatever, in one tap. You can appropriate notifications divided one by one—just daub and toss them off a phone.

This animation comes from Matias Duarte, a user interface talent behind a dear and now-extinct Palm Pre, who is now a pattern bigwig during Google. It is a ideal approach to understanding with things we don’t want: it’s like grabbing an neglected square of junk mail and pulling it off your desk. Now your table is clean! That same UI pretence pops adult in a few other places, and it never fails to make your phone feel concurrently discerning and transparent, that is not an easy trick.

Galaxy Nexus Apps

On a left: a Recent Apps screen. You can appropriate any of these apps to tighten them, or daub to switch to them. On a right is a app drawer; swiping horizontally browses by apps and widgets.

All a new apps are great; Android’s biggest strength, we always thought, was a Google apps. Maps on Android is in a opposite joining than anywhere else, as is Gmail. The browser has been redesigned, smartly. Tabs can be swiped-to-close, usually like notifications or open apps. Pages are rendered really easily (though we found a tap-to-zoom-in-on-text, as good as pinch-to-zoom, to be reduction arguable and healthy than on a iPhone 4S). There’s a mode to ask a desktop, rather than mobile, chronicle of a site—ideal for a sites that, frustratingly, don’t yield such links for you. There’s a “save for offline reading” mode so we can examination longer stories later, even when you’ve got no wireless signal. Mobile Flash, recently shuttered by Adobe, is not now accessible on ICS—it competence come later, yet we didn’t skip it, even yet it was spasmodic good to have a option.

The keyboard is great. I’ve used Android for a prolonged time, with many opposite devices, and this is a initial time we did not immediately download a improved keyboard app from a Market. It’s a right volume of sensitive, autocorrect is unimportant and helpful, and it gets what you’re perplexing to say. Job good done, Android keyboard developers.

There are lots of good tiny features, that you’ll learn as we go, trimming from NFC to a new transparent mode that recognizes your face to a new People app that collects info from all your friends. There are tons of goodies in here that you’ll learn as we use it.

THE HARDWARE

Is mediocre. Please, guys, no some-more cheap-feeling, lightweight cosmetic phones. The Galaxy Nexus is done by Samsung, and feels like a Galaxy S, or a Focus, or any other complicated Samsung phone. It’s extravagantly skinny (maybe a hair thinner than a iPhone 4S during a thinnest point), yet it’s still light and plastic-y. It is not unfit to make great-looking and great-feeling phones that aren’t a iPhone—just ask Nokia—but a Galaxy Nexus is just, we know, fine. When we reviewed a Nokia Lumia 800, we kept perplexing to get other people to reason it. “Feel how good it feels to feel!” I’d sputter. No such ignorant unrestrained here. It’s not bad either, usually 0 special.

Galaxy Nexus Back

The shade warrants some talk. It’s sized during 4.65-inches, that is usually insanity. 4.3 inches has spin a supposed distance of a “big” phone, so we was certain a 4.65-incher would be unusable, yet in fact a Galaxy Nexus as a whole is usually somewhat incomparable than a 4.3-inch phone like a Droid Bionic (pictured). Partly that’s given a apportionment of a shade is clinging to a new “buttons,” and partly it’s given a phone has a flattering tiny bezel. It’s still a tiny too big, we think—I’d have elite a Nexus with a 4.3-inch shade that physically is many smaller—but aside from a integrate stretches to daub something in a upper-left dilemma of a screen, we can broadcast a Galaxy Nexus serviceable for people with average-to-large hands. The additional space is good for examination videos or reading Kindle books (suddenly a pleasing knowledge on a phone), and a shade itself is great: ICS mandates a loyal 720p resolution, and a Super AMOLED arrangement is really clear, with some of a deepest blacks I’ve seen.

The camera’s speed is unparalleled—it’s really quick to fire and afterwards prepared itself for a subsequent shot, even faster than a iPhone 4S. But a sensor in a Galaxy Nexus itself is surprisingly bad. It’s a 5MP shooter, and compared to photos from a iPhone 4S or even other Android phones like a Samsung Galaxy S II, we found a Nexus’s shots cleared out, fuzzy, and yet detail. That’s a hardware issue, we suppose. Bummer, though. Future Ice Cream Sandwich phones will hopefully use improved sensors.

The Galaxy Nexus will be expelled on Verizon’s network here in a States, and it’ll exaggerate 4G LTE, that is flattering killer. My examination section is on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, so we can’t make any visualisation about a Nexus’s 4G speeds or battery life (a unchanging regard with 4G phones). It won’t have a container for expandable memory (most Android phones do) and rumors prove it’ll substantially have 32GB of inner storage on Verizon. Call peculiarity on today’s phones customarily has some-more to do with a network than a phone itself, yet a Galaxy Nexus we tested delivered stellar-sounding calls on T-Mobile.

WHAT’S BAD

Android is still not as streamlined as iOS or Windows Phone. Perhaps Android phone fans don’t wish it to be. Ice Cream Sandwich is a large step forward, yet there are still elements that feel surplus or messy. Having 3 ways to do something doesn’t make it easier to use; it creates it harder to learn a manners of a handling system, harder to know given certain things work certain ways and so harder to perform new actions for a initial time, given you’re not certain how it’ll respond. Some apps need a menu button, that will cocktail adult subsequent to a Recent Apps symbol during a bottom right of a screen. Some don’t need one. Some do, yet you’ll find it in a tip right dilemma instead. Ugh.

Sometimes we corkscrew by things plumb starting during a bottom (like in a Recent Apps list or browser tabs). Sometimes we corkscrew by things plumb starting during a tip (like any other app ever, including contacts and music). But afterwards a app drawer scrolls horizontally. Every singular time we non-stop a app drawer, we attempted to appropriate it up, a approach non-Samsung Android phones have always worked. Why, Google? Why change that?

Galaxy Nexus and Droid Bionic

On a left, a 4.3-inch-screened Motorola Droid Bionic. On a right, a 4.65-inch-screened Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus is hardly larger, and indeed thinner.

The home shade is my slightest favorite partial of a whole OS: it not usually permits messiness, it encourages it. There are still 5 home screens, and we can’t change that number. we never saw a need for some-more than one or two; a finish list of apps is one daub away, so given do we need to spawn 5 homescreens with widgets and mixed surplus shortcuts?

Android is absolute and flexible, yes. You can do all kinds of crazy things! But that’s like observant a outrageous smorgasboard is always improved than a delicately stoical plate from a chef. we don’t wish to make Android something it’s not, and there are really times when it’s stirring to be means to make my phone demeanour usually a approach we wish it to, yet some coherence and boundary competence assistance here.

And once we get divided from a comfortable blue heat of Google’s first-party apps, opening takes a hit. Scrolling is noticeably jerkier and reduction healthy in non-Google apps. The app preference is still not really cohesive; it sounds like an astray claim, yet a infancy of Android apps are not as flattering or as fun to use as those on Windows Phone or iOS. Functional, sure, and there are an awful lot of apps in a Market. But mostly they are not as good. (Examples: Rdio, Twitter, IMDb, Hulu Plus.) The Music app is still disappointing; I’m not certain what a problem is there, yet Android’s default song actor has always been curiously nauseous and un-fun to use to me. There are lots of replacements in a Market, luckily (I suggest Winamp, nonetheless a central Music app is a usually one that integrates with Google Music’s cloud-streaming storage feature).

THE PRICE

None of a principal folks concerned with a Galaxy Nexus (that’d be Google, Samsung, and Verizon) have announced cost or accessibility in a States. Good gamble would be soon, though.

THE VERDICT

The Galaxy Nexus is a best Android phone I’ve ever used, heads and tails above anything else on a market. The speed, a new neat blue-and-grayscale look, a new Google apps, a new and easier ways to conduct what’s function on your phone—there’s no contest. With Verizon’s 4G, supposed a 4G doesn’t revoke a Nexus’s battery life to 0 in a few hours, it’ll be a damn excellent phone, and not usually for dedicated Androiders.

I adore a instruction Ice Cream Sandwich is going: toward a some-more consistent, simpler, some-more fun experience, while maintaining that tinkerer’s ability to do anything. Finding that change is as tough as balancing an egg on a end; it competence spin out to be unfit to greatfully everyone. But we have no perplexity in recommending a Nexus if you’re disposition toward or extraordinary about Android. It creates other Android phones feel many comparison than their age, and we meant that in a best way.

Nexus and iPhone

Nexus, left. iPhone 4S, right.

Phone/Market

Here’s a Phone app, that has been totally redesigned, and a Market app, that is mostly unvaried from Gingerbread, a prior chronicle of Android for phones.

Thicknesses

Here are 3 phones built on tip of any other, that is both a good approach to see their thicknesses and a good approach to blemish all of their screens during once. Top to bottom: iPhone 4S, Droid Bionic, Galaxy Nexus.

Keyboard/Face Unlock

On a left: a new keyboard, that is great, if unassuming-looking. On a right: Face Unlock, that lets we transparent your phone simply by looking arrange of awkwardly during it.

Phonebutt

The bottom corner of a phone, that has a customary microUSB pier for charging and syncing, and a headphone jack. we indeed like a headphone jack on a bottom; we tend to put my phone in my slot upside down anyway, given afterwards a phone is right-side-up when we take it out. This is surprisingly tough to explain. we have normal hands, we promise.

Maps/Twitter

In these dual apps, we can see how Ice Cream Sandwich handles comparison apps. On a left is a schmancy new Maps app (which is great). Those 3 straight squares on a bottom right, usually above a Recent Apps button, is a aged Menu button, that gives we some-more options. On a right is a central Twitter app, that hasn’t been updated for Ice Cream Sandwich–so a Menu button, that is compulsory for all kinds of settings, is in a bottom bar.

Thinness

It’s kind of tough to tell, given a Nexus tapers a tiny bit and a iPhone does not, yet a iPhone ranges from really somewhat thinner than a iPhone to really somewhat thicker.

Photo App

Here’s a new camera app. You can see how a Home/Back/Recent Apps buttons blur out to tiny white dots so as to not confuse we (here on a right, given I’m holding a phone in landscape mode). It’s also easily purify and minimalistic, yet there are a satisfactory few options if we like tinkering with your camera settings–just daub on a tiny settings icon, that is a tiny tough to see here yet is in a bottom-right area of a phone, usually to a left of a still/video switcher.


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