Galaxy Nexus Review

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I upgraded my phone to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus about 2 months ago and I’ve been loving it. I previously had a Samsung Galaxy S II which I thought was a brilliant phone, but the Galaxy Nexus just tops it in my opinion.



imageHighlights

Ice Cream Sandwich of course
Enough said, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful and has some awesome features such as data usage tracking, panoramic camera



Brilliant screen
The 4.65" HD(1280 x 720) Super AMOLED screen is awesome, very vibrant. Pretty similar to the SGS II but a bit bigger.



No hardware buttons
There’s no hardware buttons on the front, only soft-buttons that disappear if they are not needed. This feature maximises screen real estate when watching videos on YouTube. Only occasionally do I hit the home button when typing which is a bit annoying but I’m getting better at not doing that.



Curve of the phone fits my hand
The centre of gravity of the phone is below half way because the top is thinner than the bottom, this combined with a gentle curve on the glass means it just fits nicely in your hand.



Instant camera
This surprised me when I first got the phone and it took some getting used to, but there is minimal lag between when you click the button to take a photo and when it is captured. I’m not sure if this is H/W specific or just ICS relayed. I know the HTC One X is flogging this feature a lot but it has a dedicated chip to handle the camera function. The photos are not brilliant, but acceptable. I’m not a photographer, but being able to grab a photo of my son who moves at a million miles an hour while playing is now a reality with this phone.



Disappointments

Battery life
This is pretty par for the course, it’s not brilliant. I think it’s pretty similar to the Galaxy S II in terms of real life, but I’m a compulsive charger so never really let the battery drain down too much.



External speaker
The external speaker is pretty weak. Sometimes hard to hear calls, or that super quick camera snapping a photo.



Pure Google – Not!
I bought mine from Telstra and it took me a while to realise that the ROM it shipped with was not the latest edition of ICS. After some digging I realised it was configured to get updates from Telstra itself, not Google. While previous flagship Android phones have always gotten updates from Google directly, for some reason Telstra decided that they know better. At least there was no bloatware. In the end I worked around this by downloading the ROM straight from Google and applying it myself. Some more discussion of this misconception is here.



I think this approach by Australian carriers is just bullshit and an attempt by them to interfere because they can. How can iPhones get updates from Apple directly but not these Android phones? Your excuse of ‘we need to test it’ doesn’t stack up.



Recommendation

If you’re in the market for a top of the line Android phone you cannot go too far wrong with this. The HTC One X has probably pipped it with it’s recent release, but it runs HTC Sense we all know how much custom skins suck.