Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus reviewed

Then there are those things that diminish the experience. Not dramatically, but enough to tell Google and Samsung that there remains some work to do.

Despite being manufactured by Samsung, the Galaxy Nexus is a singularly Google experience, meaning you miss out on some characteristically Samsung smartphone features. These include Samsung Apps, Samsung Music Hub, and other Galaxy staples like Reading Hub, Social Hub, and Navigon.

If that is of no concern, the camera should be. The 5 megapixel sensor is a step down from the 8 megapixel on the Galaxy S2, and it shouldn’t be. This is, after all, a showcase handset.

Milo was hesitant about being a subject for our review, but thanks to the super quick shooting speed in Google's camera app, he didn't have much of a choice.

Inside Google’s own app, the camera is fast, literally firing when you hit the touchscreen shutter. There’s no wait and no downtime, and while that sounds like a blessing, that’s only in Google’s fairly minimalist app, featuring flash options, white balance, five scene modes, video capture, and a panorama app. Use any other Android-based camera app and the experience is just like it is in different Android handsets: a fraction slower but with more controls and options.

Up close, the images don’t exactly do this top-tier device justice, with noticeable noise in low light and obvious pixelation. It’s very possible that a simple handset update will remedy this, as has been the case for previous Google Nexus models.

There’s also no LTE on this handset. Some local networks are providing support for this next generation of high-speed wireless connectivity, and as a flagship phone we half expected the Galaxy Nexus to be capable of exploiting the technology. With LTE coverage still limited, though, it’s not a significant omission.

Most things are smooth sailing with the Nexus though, and about the only complaint we have outside of the camera is that a lot of apps on Google’s Market are just incompatible with the new OS. We’re not sure how many you’ll run into, but several of the apps and games we tried to install didn’t function on Android 4, closing down on us the moment we ran them. Expect the situation to improve as teething issues with Ice Cream Sandwich are resolved.


The Galaxy Nexus is easily one of Samsung’s best devices yet, offering a clean Google experience with the very latest operating system. While aspects of it won’t appeal to everyone, the clear design, beautiful screen, strong battery life and appealing OS represent Android’s first serious competitor the iPhone.


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Reader Rating0 Votes
No manufacturer modifications to get in the way of a clean Android experience; Beautiful 720p screen; Very fast;
Plastic body hardly screams premium; No Gorilla Glass; Camera isn't very good; No LTE;