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Samsung Galaxy Nexus review

Samsung Galaxy Nexus review
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Retail Price: RM 1,220
AP Price: RM 1,230 - 1,260
Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a very flat slate-like device with a rather large screen at this point of time. The Nexus is sometimes known as a Google phone, meaning that the owner of the Android OS worked with Samsung in developing the hardware and software combination that would work best for the Android 4.0 operating system.
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Review On : Samsung Galaxy Nexus

A sweet upgrade

bytz@thestar.com.my

The first Ice Cream Sandwich handset is here and we take a bite to see just how good it is.

LAST week we took a look at some of the brand new ­Features of the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, and now we are going to check out one of the new phones that the OS will be running on.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone to come with ICS and it is one of the most anticipated Android smartphones, with a lot of expectations to meet, which to a certain exent it does on several fronts.

Design
The Galaxy Nexus has a lot in ­common with last year's Nexus S. It has the same dark ­colour ­exterior, curved shape and tapered edge design. The phone is ­massive to behold yet Samsung has managed to keep it ­remarkably thin.

The Galaxy Nexus' large 4.65in Super AMOLED display is certainly eye catching and the rich 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution offers great viewing angles, making it great for web surfing, videos and games.

Interestingly, the Galaxy Nexus does away with all physical ­buttons on the front panel, ­leaving the power button and the volume rocker on the side as the only buttons on the phone. The virtual buttons that replace them handle the Back, Home and multitasking functions.

Strangely, the 3.5mm ­headphone jack is located at the bottom of the phone and right next to it is the micro-USB port.

If there is one thing we can find fault with in the otherwise ­beautiful design, it's the plastic back which betrays the sturdy build quality of the handset.

Though we liked the phone's ­textured back panel, the plastic material used still feels cheap and fragile. The very fact that you've got to peel it back to remove the battery and insert your SIM card does not instill confidence.

Performance
Underneath the hood, the Galaxy Nexus doesn't boast the fastest processor in the market but the 1.2GHz dual core processor is a marked improvement over the Nexus S.

We found that apps generally launched very quickly and even installing apps was noticeably faster.

If you are a gamer, the Galaxy Nexus is a decent smartphone as it can hold its own running ­graphics intensive games. It managed to play games like Shadowgun smoothly at 30fps.

However, we noticed that there is a slight lag effect when ­scrolling through lists, which admittedly does not break the experience, but still comes off as annoying.

The Galaxy Nexus has 32GB of storage space but this is not expandable via micro SD cards. Some may be disappointed by Samsung's decision not to include a memory card slot but ­honestly, 32GB should be more than sufficient for most needs.

Web browsing is fast and smooth on the device and we liked a couple of new features on the default browser such as a force desktop mode that brings up the full version of the site, and swipe to close a tab.

Google Maps also performed well on the Galaxy Nexus as maps loaded within seconds and you can get directions to places you want to go to very quickly.

On a basic level, the phone's call quality was generally fine and text messaging is great on the default keyboard. The fine tweaks made to the phone like including ­spellchecker and auto correction make text input so much better.

In terms of battery life, the phone is quite the power hog even when you are not ­actively using the phone. The battery ­depletion rate is quite rapid and we suspect this may be due to the big bright screen or 3G running in the ­background.

You can get through a normal day of work without running down the battery completely but you may be cutting it close if you're using it ­heavily for web browsing, e-mail and tweeting.

Camera
The Galaxy Nexus' 5-megapixel camera may be behind the curve when stacked against most new smartphones but it has a few tricks up its sleeve thanks to the ICS update.

The hallmark of the camera's new features is its ability to snap pictures with virtually no shutter lag at all. What this means is that the camera is highly responsive so it snaps a picture the moment you press the shutter button.

That's not to say that it will instantly get the shot when you're, say, in a low light ­situation as it will take awhile for the autofocus to kick in. Still, the ­improvement in speed is so great that it really raises the bar for Android ­smartphones.

Looking at image quality, the results are not ­mindblowing but they are decent enough for ­uploading to Facebook or Twitter. Colours come off a little mute and accuracy was nowhere close to an iPhone 4S.

Taking a closer look at the ­picture quality, it's clear that the camera can't hold a candle to most modern smartphones.

Aside from taking regular stills the Galaxy Nexus has a nifty ­panaroma mode that ­automatically stiches together a panoramic photo by simply sweeping your phone across a landscape. However this is ­nothing groundbreaking and the resulting lower resolution ­pictures aren't that great.

The camera can record 1080p HD videos so it can, at the very least, act as a respectable ­camcorder. Couple this with various fun effects that ICS comes with and you can get very creative with your videos.

What is more noteworthy ­­however is the full featured built-in image editing options so you don't need to download a third-party photo app.

Conclusion
The Galaxy Nexus may be the first smartphone to come with Android 4.0 but it will only hold this exclusivity for a short while as more handsets will be rolling out with ICS in the months to come.

Clearly the biggest benefit of owning the Galaxy Nexus is ICS, but without the swanky new OS the phone is little more than a regular Android smartphone albeit with a weaker camera and average ­processor.

So who should buy a Galaxy Nexus? Well, get the Galaxy Nexus if you have been holding out on buying a new Android phone.

ICS is well worth the wait and is a major ­improvement if you've been stuck using a Gingerbread or Froyo phone.

However, if you've bought an Android smartphone in the past six months, it would be best to wait until better ICS handsets become available later in the year.

Pros: Enhanced interface and better performance on ICS; ­brilliant display, multitasking apps.

Cons: Weak 5-megapixel ­camera; plastic build quality.

Samsung GALAXY NEXUS - Android smartphone

NETWORK: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSPA 900/2100
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
DISPLAY: 4.65in HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720-pixels)
CAMERA: 5-megapixels; auto focus; LED flash; 1080p HD video recording; 1.3-megapixel front camera
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi 802.11, micro USB
MEMORY: 1GB RAM; 32GB Internal phone storage
EXPANSION SLOT: None
STANDBY/TALK TIME: 420 hours/ 7 hours 45 mins
OTHER FEATURES: Zero shutter lag camera; panoramic mode; Face Unlock
DIMENSIONS (W X D X H): 67.94 x 8.9 x 135.5mm
WEIGHT: 145.5g
WEBSITE: www.samsung.com
RATING: 3.5/5stars

Copyright 1995-2012 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)


Editor's rating:

Fair


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