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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Unveiled [Update]

David Gilbert


Samsung Galaxy Nexus Unveiled [Update]

This morning, Google finally launched the much anticipated Galaxy Nexus smartphone which runs Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich.

The initial launch had been delayed due to the death of Steve Jobs earlier this month, but in Hong Kong this morning, the Samsung-built phone was finally unveiled, along with the new version of Google’s OS, which aims to unify the smartphone and tablet strands of the software.

As we predicted a couple of weeks ago, the Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65in high-definition sAMOLED Contour Display with a 1280 x 720 resolution, which is a first for a phone.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

It has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor which, combined with a sizeable 1GB of RAM, should ensure the Galaxy Nexus is searingly fast. The device is thinner than the Nexus S, at just under 9mm thick but weighs a little more, at 135g.

Like the recently launched iPhone 4S, the camera on the Galaxy Nexus is one of its standout features. Although it only has a five megapixel sensor, it is capable of shooting 1080p video.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

It has no shutter lag according to Samsung, includes autofocus, takes decent low-light photos as well as time-lapse video. It also has some very impressive shooting modes including panorama and live effects akin to the photo booth app we’ve seen for years on Macs.

The rear camera is complemented by a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and as well as facilitating video calling, this snapper will be used to unlock the phone via facial recognition – so no more need to remember your pin.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

The phone will be running a pure version of Android 4.0 meaning there will be no Samsung 'skin' on top and will allow you to see exactly what Google has done with the new version of the OS.

The phone will come in 16GB and 32GB versions, the latter option being a first for Android devices.

The phone will launch in the UK and elsewhere in November with Three the first network to confirm that it will be carrying the Google device.

Is the Galaxy Nexus the iPhone killer Android fans have been waiting for? Let us know in the comments.

Update: As we said, Three will be bringing the Galaxy Nexus to the UK, but it has been joined by O2 and Vodafone though none have indicated what the handset will cost when it does arrive.

However, independent phone vendor, Phones4U, has detailed some prices offering the phone for 'free' on a £46-a-month two year contract or for £30 on a £41-a-month deal, again over two years.

Source: Official Google Blog


October 19, 2011, 1:22 pm

I don't think the hardware is all that better than other top end phones out there, but the OS looks like a massive boost. Seems to be the way things are going at the moment.

I'm inclined to get one of these.


October 19, 2011, 2:38 pm

This phone represents the pinacle of smartphones to date. Hopefully the battery life will be reasonable as it has a massive screen to light up.. Is anyone going to spend £700 on an Iphone 4S with this available? Probably - but they'd be fools!


October 19, 2011, 3:11 pm

So it's got a slower processor than the S2 (the GPU on this is already 4 years old!), it's got a worse camera than the S2. The design is the same as the Nexus S. No SD card.

How is this the "pinnacle of smartphones to date"? Is it because it's got the biggest screen? Is that what people need in a phone?


October 19, 2011, 3:41 pm

Looking forward to pure Android 4.0, but as a 2012 flagship device I'm left a little underwhelmed by the Galaxy Nexus. I guess Samsung held back to make way for its own 'unofficial flag-bearer', a successor to the SII.


October 19, 2011, 4:07 pm

I'm actually more looking forward to the S2's ICS update. Specs wise I consider it an overall better phone than the Galaxy Nexus. I'd only really be missing out on:

NFC - This will need a couple of years before it's mainstream in the UK anyway
720p screen - I admit I do want that feature but the S2 has a very good screen though
Vanilla Android - Touchwiz is one of the better Android UI's but I have to admit the new ICS UI looks amazing


October 19, 2011, 4:08 pm

Please, no banging on about how the processor is a few MHz slower than an S2. The iPhone 4S has an 800MHz processor, but no-one is calling that slow. Know why? Because it's blazingly fast of course, as the Galaxy Nexus will certainly be. I'll be amazed if anyone who actually uses the Nexus will detect a hint of slow performance in real-world use, and what's the point of being any faster than that? SETI@pocket, perhaps?

On paper, the AMOLED screen has Retina display levels of detail at 315 ppi, close to Apple's 326. I'm not a fan of huge phones, but this screen could be a game-changer.


October 19, 2011, 5:06 pm

I doubt it uses a 2007 GPU chipset? The camera may be lower megapixel than the S2 but that can lead to better photo quality and better low light performance. The lens is the critical factor not the megapixel count. The Nexus S is arguably the best designed phone ever - its curves making it extremely comfortable to use and portable. This new version actually borrows from the S2 in its back design certainly. No SD card granted - but with 32GB onboard do you really need one? I still maintain its the best smartphone to date - as the Nexus S was great at being a "phone" - a quality often forgotten - and this model addresses its hardware setbacks.


October 19, 2011, 5:56 pm

Game-changer. How so?


October 19, 2011, 7:14 pm

As funmat mentioned, this really needs a battery that will at least see it through a full day. If they get that and the other basics [e.g. call quality] right then this is the phone that will convince me to try Android I think.


October 19, 2011, 7:59 pm

You maintain that this "represents the pinnacle of smart phones to date" and "it's the best smart phone to date"?

Based on what exactly, a couple of YouTube videos? Have you thoroughly tested this thing in the real world? Or read some great reviews after someone tested it?

And why would someone that buys an iPhone 4S be a fool? Surely it's all about choice? Shame some people can't accept that.


October 19, 2011, 8:29 pm

It's the 1280x720 resolution, which is new to a smartphone. That's more than twice the number of pixels than 800x480. Combined with its large size, 16:9 aspect and AMOLED matrix, it could be the yardstick for future smartphone screens.

Notice I said 'could'. Possible pitfalls include OLED's over-saturated colours and the use of a pentile matrix for the sub-pixels.


October 19, 2011, 8:37 pm

Why have you chosen to put up news on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and not even mentioned the Motorola RAZR, which has been getting big hype also...Come on TR sort it out.

David Gilbert

October 19, 2011, 8:54 pm

Well, we have in fact covered the launch of the Motorola Droid Razr and it's still on the homepage, here: http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/motorola-droid-razr-is-world-s-thinnest-phone


October 19, 2011, 9:08 pm

I agree, the screen could be the stand-out feature. But it seems like everything else about the hardware has already been seen elsewhere this year (ok, maybe not the barometer, lol).

I think Google had a real opportunity to throw down a challenge to all the handset makers, a benchmark to aim at in 2012. It has, but just decided to set it at 2011 standards. Like I said in a previous post, perhaps this handset says more about Samsung's strategy than Google's.


October 20, 2011, 4:34 am

Am I the only one fed up with plastic tat? One plastic wrapped phone is the same as the next to me these days. After all they all play videos, take videos, take pretty decent snaps, browse the web (proper full fat web with flash support (obvious fashion fad excluded) ), good email apps, GPS, etc...

So, I really couldn't care less any more about dual core, single core, 800Mhz or 1.8Ghz and if you ask me (which no one is, I know!) that 720p screen is just a massive unnecessary battery drain designed to get headlines.

Give me a powerful & beautifully crafted phone in metal, wood, glass, carbon fibre etc...with a proper 2 day battery life in heavy use and the weight is not important - another 50 grams won't kill me. Give us some iconic phones to lust after not just the equivalent of the Ford Focus is many flavours with extra bells and whistles.


October 20, 2011, 11:39 am

I'm definitely with you on this, though having not seen the Galaxy Nexus in the flesh I'm reserving judgement. That's why I've never been taken by the otherwise excellent Galaxy S range. They just don't excite in any way.

simon jackson

October 20, 2011, 2:35 pm

Actually the GPU IS from 2007, which is a huge let down imo. The truth is though, there are no SoCs on the market save the A5 which use the more powerful Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX543 MP2, and TI OMAP SoCs always use PowerVR GPUs as far as i know. In other words, it was always going to be this way. There are plenty of new SoCs out in H1 2012 which will feature more powerful GPUs, such as the next exynos (4212?) and the new OMAP (4470 i think). Also Kal-el, which is the next gen tegra. I think most of these are based around ARM A15 cores so will feature "better" CPU cores than the iPhone 4S, but i'm not even sure their GPUs will be quite as fast.

There is no doubt this phone will FEEL fast, because it has a fast processor and plenty of RAM, and the UI is now fully hardware accelerated. The question is really over the gaming performance, especially with that high screen res. I was planning on getting one of these, now i'm a little on the fence - i'll wait for benchmarks. I really only want to play simpler games on my phone, not full on FPSs, but even some of the cuter simpler games are demanding to run these days. If it equals the performance of my current tegra 2 atrix, I'll definitely be picking one up.

Oh and btw, it might be a GPU from 2007, but the word is it's heavily over clocked - like 2.6 times the original clock speed. It likely wont be as fast as the mali 400 in the SGSIIs exynos SOC but it should be good enough for simpler games.

Greg Shewan

October 20, 2011, 8:20 pm

There is a reason most phones are made of plastic. Cheap, light, durable and it allows internals to function as intended... as soon as Apple tried the whole external antenna, well look how that turn out for some people (admittedly a smaller percentage in low signal areas). They have only really 'fixed' the problem now with a dual design.

Also drop test consistently show plastic is the most durable material to construct phone out of, I have had so many friends replacing panels/screens on their iPhone 4 from low level drops from a pocket fumble to a slide off the coffee table.

I think composites are the way to go with phones, plastic as a base with other materials making up the chic factor. BTW the SGSII does in no way feel cheap, it's a solid phone. If you want a Swiss level of craftsmanship your not going to get it from any manufacturer... even Apple. Maybe Vertu is more up your street ;)


October 21, 2011, 2:28 am

@Greg Shewan - Hey, I'm familiar with the virtues of plastic!

I, for one, do not want another plastic phone. I don't want yet another plastic landfill gadget in 12 months. The SGS2 does feel a little cheap to me, come on - that plastic back is just horrid! There are plenty of well designed metal chassis phones such as the N8 and the HD2 for starters, neither of which had any problems with reception and we are not talking 'Swiss craftmanship', just well thought out & robust designs...without plastic. I personally like the extra weight too.

I do agree with you about the use of composites, the N9 polycarbonate plastic looks fine, but I guess I just want some individuality, design & longevity in a handset these days, not just a do it all generic plastic slab with a glass screen. :)


October 21, 2011, 9:33 pm

Well IceCreamSandwich looks fantastic, but am I the only one who thinks that the size of the this screen is just ridiculous? IMHO a 4.3" is also too bit. The 4" of the Nexus S was just about right.


October 21, 2011, 10:57 pm

I agree with the metal comment. The HTC desire S feels way better and sturdier than the plastic stuff. Is it tougher? Well you're possibly more likely to get a cracked screen with a metal case as a hit in the right (or wrong) place will permanently deform the metal into the screen space, where plastic would just crack or distribute the energy more widely. Personally, I prefer the feel of something hefty and solid and I really don't care if the battery makes a phone 1mm wider if it breaches 2000mAh and can last into two days without any effort.

As for this thing - big screen, phone probably too big. Think about it - you can watch films on it but you'll need to be near a charger. Perhaps on the train but most of the time it's a wasted feature. Most of all it's for bragging rights. It's like motorcyclists - bigger BHP numbers sound amazing but we all know that no one can put that power down on the public road (without becoming intimately familiar with a tree).

There will be a small market for these kinds of phones but manufacturers need to ensure mobiles are usable, ideally tough enough to shove in a pocket with keys and Google in particular needs to get rid of the sheer amount of crap in their Market. It's a ludicrous situation having to go through so many different 'apps' to get something usable / decent. Either get rid of the chaff or create a system where by apps can be submitted and approved by Google, labeled and the Market be searchable by approved apps.

Big screens mean big phones and the obsession with slim and light means small batteries and all you end up with is a useless paperweight when you've spent too much time showing off Youtube in 720p in squint o'vision (when there was a PC right next to you) and can't call the breakdown people when your car packs in on the way home.

Cool is good, but mobile phones (and we all call them phones not 'devices') are fundamentally about practicality. Having extra features is all about adding functionality but this should not come at the expense of the core features such as the ability to make a phone call or text wherever you are and not worry about if there's enough power left and if I should tweak the screen brightness.

Google, if this struggles to last a day then it's a backwards step. Battery technology first, then you can proceed with this kind of thing.

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