Samsung Galaxy Nexus first look

A new smartphone Android operating system improves the overall experience.
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Samsung Galaxy Nexus GT-I9250T

Price: $899 from grey importer or various Telco plans.
4 stars out of 5

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is less about the phone and more about the latest Android OS it runs on: 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).


The little changes ICS implements include more intuitive settings via quick access to commonly used settings and adding data usage. We were disappointed with the lack of Swype pre-installed, but it’s something you can do yourself if you want to make the very responsive keyboard more intuitive. 

Downloading apps puts shortcuts straight onto the desktop which we found very useful. Swiping in various applications provides some additional functions such as getting rid of tabs in the browser gives additional functionality. 

You can also nest apps in folders, something the iPhone OS has done for a while, useful if you are running out of room on the screen. Putting commonly used punctuation above the keyboard makes sense and allows for quicker SMS. And typing is quick and responsive, as is the camera, which has barely any shutter lag.

A new face-recognition unlock feature is neat, but not particularly secure, as you can use a photo to trick the phone.

Improvements to the hardware are evident as well. Booting it up provides a bit of a light display and logging in is simple if you already have a Google account. It does cheekily request credit card details, but you can skip this step if you want to purchase something from the Android Market in future.

Size and display

It’s relatively light compared to many phones out there, and with a 4.65-inch diagonal screen size, it’s one of the big ones. Whether this is suitable for you will depend on the size of your hands. 

There’s a slight curve to the phone so it sits against your ear a little better, and a bulge towards the bottom doesn’t take away from the comfort of holding it.

The battery cover has a plasticky feel to it and while easy to remove, it’s fiddly to get back on. A lack of SD slot may not suit those who use a lot of music, video or photos, but recharging via a standard USB slot is a plus. 

The AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen is very clear. It’s similar to the iPhone’s, though the Nexus has a much larger display. However, this costs in battery life – half a day’s moderate use, and we started to get charging anxiety.

CHOICE verdict

Released at the end of 2011, this is a very pleasant phone to use. The many small changes ICS includes will make current Android users happier and will make it more intuitive for new Android users. 

It’s more intuitive, feature rich and easy to use on a daily basis, though only if the battery lasts that long. We will be trialling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in our next smartphone test.



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