We first saw the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, and it has finally made its way to the “Now Network.” Samsung and Google did an exclusive release for the Nexus with Verizon, leaving Sprint to sit and wait. The time has come for it to shine as the carrier’s first official 4G LTE device. Wait, where can I find that service again?
· Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
· 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen display with 1280×720 resolution
· 1.2GHz dual-core processor (TI OMAP 4460)
· Dimensions: 2.67 x 5.33 x 0.37 inches (67.94mm x 135.5mm x 9.47mm)
· Weight: 5.1 ounces (144 grams)
· Display: 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED contour touchscreen display with 1280×720 resolution
· Battery: 1850mAh Lithium-ion battery
· Talk Time: 7.5 hours
· Memory: 32GB internal memory (ROM); 1GB RAM
The Galaxy Nexus kept the same design theory as the Nexus S. The curved screen and body of the device fits perfectly in the hand and against the face. The size of the device is nearly flawless. The device is on the thicker side, mainly due to the additional LTE components needed. Many were hoping for an edge-to-edge display with the Nexus, but it just didn’t happen. The device sports a large bezel at the top and bottom, creating a lot of space wasted.
The back of the device is one of best. The rough texture allows for extra grippage for handling it. Since the device is thicker, the bump of the lower rear-side is basically gone. The device completely lays flat now on its back. I like the move to place the 3.5mm jack at the bottom of the device. It keeps the wires from intruding your view and allows you to constantly face the device in standard portrait mode for ample length of the earbuds.
The buttons on the device are cheap and nearly non-existant. Literally, on two button grace the device, three if you count the volume rocker twice. They are so small and blend in with the device that I’m not sure it is a good thing or bad thing. Moreover, the placement of the volume rockers bewilders me. I cannot stand when companies move the volume keys to the center of the side of the device. It is such an odd placement for it. Just leave it at the top!
The Galaxy Nexus screen is still one of the best in the industry. While it falls just short to the One X’s SLCD2 display and the Nitro HD’s IPS+ display, it does come in a close third. Unfortunately the PenTile arrangement and non-plus Super AMOLED colors/brightness hold it back from reigning as the leader of the screen war. It holds its own, especially since the Samsung Galaxy S III is using the same technology as the Galaxy Nexus.
THe size is 4.65-inch which is nearly at a maximum for me. While using the Galaxy Note and the EVO 4G LTE, I notice I’m start to need to strain to reach certain items on the screen with one hand. This is a problem. With the Nexus, I don’t have too big of an issue with that. I’m fluent with a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, but the Galaxy Nexus’s HD Super AMOLED display is going to be hard to let go of.
I can say without a doubt that stock Android 4.0 is by far my favorite interface I’ve ever used. The clean, simple, uniform design is extremely elegant while also providing quick and lag-free user experience. Why anyone would want to change this, I’ll never understand. From the transparent notification bar to the lockscreen, the vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich build is the most fun to play with.
Sprint ensured that this device was another “Pure Google” experience. Unlike the Verizon variant, the only bloatware found on this device is the massive amounts of pre-installed Google applications. Some people may have a problem with this; I’m not one of those people.
As well, with the on-screen buttons, you no longer have to worry about if the device will respond or not when you hit the soft keys. The touchscreen is amazing responsive and accurate. While the removing of the menu button baffles me, the addition of the multi-task button does wonders for Android. It was lacking that “webOS” tasking ability, but it outdid webOS in my opinion. You can keep your homescreen, while still having real-time screenshots of applications you recently opened.
The Galaxy Nexus is no slouch. While its hardware is outdated, it can still put out some good benchmarks. AnTuTu Benchmark gave the Nexus a solid rating of 6056. That is a bit low compared to the newer high-end models being released, but considering it is running on a Cortex-A9 dual-core 1.2 GHz OMAP4 4460 processor with a severely outdated GPU (PowerVR SGX540). Linpack had modest results of 45.364 MFLOPs in Single Thread, and 75.601 in Multi-Thread. That is about mid-range performance in today’s market.
Quadrant, Smartbench, Vellamo, and Nenamark1&2 all were about equal to their own default scores for the Galaxy Nexus. It is good to see some consistency. The GPU does hold the Galaxy Nexus back a lot, but don’t fret. 95 percent of the time you won’t even be able to tell it is outdated. Some of the upper-level games might run a bit sluggish at times, but nothing that would make you hate the device. Fortunately, the 1GB of RAM is plenty of this device with vanilla Android 4.0.
Aside from the GPU, the camera is one of the worst aspects of the device. The 5MP camera performs like a 2 year-old SGS sensor. Thankfully the new Android 4.0 imaging software helps out tremendously. There is noticeable blur in the sample photos and that was with anti-shake turned on. I will say, the camera has gotten a lot better since we last used it on the Verizon GNex. Whether it is a different sensor or just the updated software, we will never know.
The video for just as before as before though, no questions. Even with 1080p, the video is choppy and grainy as all-get-out. It even seems to not be able to focus perfectly at times.
And naturally the front-facing camera doesn’t disappoint. It takes pictures and they look alright for a 1.3-megapixel camera. It also can shoot in 720p. What more can you ask for in a ffc?
As with nearly every 4G LTE device we’ve come across, the battery life is horrendous. That said, it should come no surprise that the Sprint Galaxy Nexus did just as bad, if not worse than the Verizon variant. AnTuTu Battery Tester backs up this statement giving the device an uber-low 362. However, I could average a full days worth of usage with the phone, and even nearly 2 days if I managed my screen on time. I will note that LTE was disabled the entire time of this review.
If you want to get a device now that is guaranteed the next version of Android, then the Galaxy Nexus is the best candidate for that spot. Though, the “best device” title may be a stretch, even on Sprint. With tough competition ahead and a late start on the action, I don’t think the Galaxy Nexus is a safe bet to buy right now with the EVO 4G LTE and Samsung Galaxy S III right around the corner.