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Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Music and Video Playback Support

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is compromised as a music player because it doesn't let you expand upon the 16GB of internal memory built into the phone. By the time Ice Cream Sandwich has had its way with this 16GB, you only have around 13.5GB to use - equating to around 135 albums at decent quality (256kbps ). This won't be enough to satisfy many big music fans.

Galaxy Nexus

Output from the stereo headphone jack is clean and clear, and unlike some phones the maximum volume is loud - some Android devices make you max out the volume for a decent listening experience. Standard stereo headphones had no problem with the jack either, where others can garble up the channels. Transferring music is as simple as connecting the Galaxy Nexus to a computer, then drag and dropping the files you want. The internal memory shows up as a media player within Windows 7 as soon as you plug it in.

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Ice Cream Sandwich has seen the built-in music player get a re-vamp. The user interface is functional rather than glorious, but makes plenty of right moves, including placing playback controls where your thumb is likely to be. Google has also packed-in a new Sound Effects section.

This is comprised of a 5-band equaliser, bass boost and "3D effect", which is more than you get built into any other phone. You also get 11 music-style presets, including a single user-customisable one. As usual with these kinds of sonic customisation options, it's possible to make the output sound awful, but it's flexible enough to make subtle, worthwhile changes. Predictably, the 3D effect is best left alone. It doesn’t add much, but takes away plenty in fidelity terms.

Google's music offering starts and ends here, unfortunately, because Google Music is yet to make it to the UK. Google Music is the tech giant's answer to iTunes Match and Spotify, and is currently only available to US residents.


Video playback is, as in most previous default Android iterations, pretty limited. There is a dedicated Video player app in the Galaxy Nexus, but it's geared towards getting you to rent movies from the Android Market rather than playing those you own. Oddly enough, the secondary "Personal Videos" part of this app refused to play vids that would play when selected within the Gallery app - a general repository for photos and video clips.

In the dedicated Video app, virtually no files beyond the basics of H.264 and WMV would play, while Divx and XviD clips worked within Gallery. Not well, mind. Standard definition Xvid files dropped plenty of frames, and MKVs refused to play at all. A 1.2GHz dual-core processor should have no trouble with these files.

There are plenty of third-party solutions, available from the Android Market, to improve upon this disappointing performance. Using the popular MX Video Player app, virtually all file types played back at full speed - using either hardware or software decoding - including 1080p MKV files. High-resolution video shows off the 720p Super AMOLED screen of the Galaxy Nexus wonderfully, with brilliantly detailed, vivid images.

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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.


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


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.


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.


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...


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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