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Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Apps, Performance and Android Market

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

As the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is an official Google phone, there's absolutely no bloatware installed as standard - just Google's own selection of apps. Almost all of these are must-download titles, like Google Mail, Talk and Books, aside from the slightly niche Google Messenger. Google - not quite Facebook, is it?

This vanilla approach helps to give the Galaxy Nexus great overall performance. With a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU and 1GB RAM, performance is among the top Android handsets out there. The HTC Sensation XE features a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, but performance is not strictly comparable as the two run different OSs - our guess is that operation would be virtually indistinguishable. In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Galaxy Nexus scored 6071 points, which pips most dual-core phones running Gingerbread.

Galaxy Nexus 8

As the Galaxy Nexus doesn't feature full integration with every popular social network, unlike HTC's latest Android phones, an early trip to the Android Market is a necessity. If you haven't been recently, you may not be familiar with its (reasonably) recent redesign. It's now more visually rich, to make browsing at leisure more of a pleasure, and puts greater emphasis on recommended apps. This makes picking Android apps feel a little less like pot luck, but a neat new UI hasn't solved all - or even many - problems with Android app culture.

There are more than 300,000, but somehow the selection still feels limited in comparison with the iPhone/iPad App Store. In fairness, there are dozens of great apps and games, but the rate at which they appear is much lower than on iOS.

Galaxy Nexus 4

The Galaxy Nexus is a great example of a device that can max out the potential of Android apps, though, as its 13.5GB of internal storage is available to write apps and games to. Other Androids only give you a small chunk of memory to treat in this way, limiting how many apps not provisioned for installation on SD you can install.

With 1.2GHz to play with, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is capable of playing the top-end games available from the Android Market. It has enough power to play high-end 3D games, but there are currently compatibility issues with some titles thanks to the newness of Android 4.0. We tried to run Glu's Blood and Glory, but it kept booting us out before we even got to enter the combat arena.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Dark of Day

December 15, 2011, 11:55 pm

Sorry to be a dork but you refer to the "gorilla glass" screen; I understand it's been confirmed that it doesn't use the trademarked Corning Gorilla Glass. In the performance section you mention "dual core phones running honeycomb" did you mean tablets or gingerbread? Android 4.0 looks fantastic but software aside the phones hardware is hardly much of a step forward from a Galaxy S2. To me it feels like the last phone of 2011 tech not the first of 2012. Will be languishing in quad core dust before we know it..I'm bitter you see because I want to buy a nexus they just wont build one I'd pay for.

MilleM

December 16, 2011, 4:45 am

I don't follow the smartphone market closely, but I assume the Nexus is competing with; amongst others, the new iPhone 4S. Your review states that at the same GBP 499, the iPhone comes with 64GB of storage compared to 16GB in the Nexus. Despite your very positive review, I still come away with the feeling that the Galaxy Nexus is a bit pricy.

Dark of Day

December 16, 2011, 7:25 am

I should have sourced https://twitter.com/#!/Corning/status/128803261749805056

Andrew_TR

December 16, 2011, 1:39 pm

@Dark of Day Mixing up the terms Honeycomb and Gingerbread is something I've done more times than I care to admit - a bug I hope will get fixed once I get a firmware update. I'd say you certainly don't have to upgrade from the S2 - better screen but the S2 still holds up very well. Just won our phone of the year award too. A problem with Android is that because power upgrades mean much less than they do on iOS, thanks to the less tenacious dev scene, it can feel as though we've hit a plateau. I personally still question what meaningful improvements quad core processors will add in phones.

Andrew_TR

December 16, 2011, 3:31 pm

Unfortunately the iPhone 4S is not that cheap. The 16GB 4S costs 𧺫, while the 64GB version is a whopping 𧽳.

Glenn Gore

December 16, 2011, 3:40 pm

So what I'm getting from the review is that you're getting a 16 GB phone for the price of a 32 GB iPhone 4S, with a worse camera, while in the interest of thinness, it sacrifices a battery adequate to power the phone for more than one day, actually much less I am sure if you are using the 4G version. Best have several spare batteries on hand and charged up. I think I'll pass.

Andrew_TR

December 16, 2011, 3:53 pm

It's actually the same price as a 16GB iPhone 4S, rather than the 32GB edition. The camera is worse, but the buyer's comparison between an iPhone or Android device needs to be about much more than just hardware. They are completely different experiences.

Jawad Mateen

December 16, 2011, 9:50 pm

@MilleM I didn't read the whole review but if it says the 16GB Nexus Prime costs the same (𧺫) as 64GB iPhone, no, not in this world... The 64GB iPhone is... wait for it... 𧽳 from Apple store. So yeah, in it's own right the Nexus Prime maybe pricey, or not but compared with the iPhone it's the same for the same amount of storage...

ort3

December 24, 2011, 5:40 am

So as an owner of a Galaxy Nexus, I have to admit that I am somewhat underwhelmed. I'm not sure what all the hype of Android is all about. Whilst the device is really light, the gentle curved display is gorgeous, the specs are insane and this is Android as Google intended, the package lacks in the spit and polish that Cupertino offers. ICS is not very intuitive with the "menu" options appearing in inconsistent places and the multi-tasking soft key being visible within the browser - I've often tapped it thinking that it will show the open tabs. Some elements of the OS are great - I do think that the multi-tasking aspect works very well and widgets are inspired. The browser is super quick and the support for Adobe Flash is a bonus (though I've actually yet to make use of it). However, my main gripes so far are that the so called "freemium" apps are littered with adverts which are so very annoying; the battery life is not so good either - I don't think I've been able to go a day without having to reach for the charger. The camera quality is severely lacking with images appearing heavily pixelated (1080p - that's a joke, right?). A case of specs over substance. Oh and 16GB - puh-lease! Google Music does work wonderfully with all of the equaliser settings in the right place and the management of music is so much easier than having to be chained to iTunes. Video playback quality is pretty good too. I could go on, but in short, what I've found here is that the Galaxy Nexus is not greater than the sum of its parts which is disappointing. Ultimately, I'm worried that Android will go down the path of Windows Mobile / Pocket PC: highly customisable but massively fragmented with inconsistent implementations. I hope I prove to be wrong. I think will have a look at Android at the next point release. For now, I'll be listing my Galaxy Nexus (any takers?!), I think I'll give Windows Phone 7 a go or head back to my old 32GB 3GS and the iOS walled garden. ort3~rating = 7/10

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