Last and, these days, least we come to the Galaxy Nexus’s capabilities as a phone. And once again it succeeds.
The standard earpiece produces an above-average quality call experience for a smartphone. It’s loud and fairly clear, and is a significant upgrade over many Androids of a couple of years ago. Active noise cancelling features too. This monitors ambient noise using a dedicated microphone and then removes it from the call signal before piping it over to whoever you’re calling – making calls in noisy areas a bit less frustrating. This is a common feature in top-end phones nowadays, but a welcome addition nevertheless.
As many innovations as this phone introduces, battery life sadly isn’t one of them. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus uses a 1750mAh battery, a similar size to the equally-large HTC Sensation XL. You can expect a solid day of fairly intense use out of the phone, but the power management improvements brought-in by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich haven’t taken us back to the days of once-a-week charging. If that’s what you’re after, you’d be better off investing in a cryogenic chamber than a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
This aside, the phone represents a real step forward, and a sign that super-high pixel density is likely to become a staple feature of high-end smartphones in 2012. Within three to six months you can bet that plenty of similar phones will emerge from HTC, Motorola and – yes – Samsung (Galaxy S III, anyone?), but for now this is the new ruler of the Android smartphone kingdom.
It is significantly more expensive than most other Androids, a full £200 more than the current price of its predecessor the Samsung Nexus S. But if you’re on a top-end contract, it’s a better buy than much of the similarly-priced competition – the combination of that screen and the software really does make all the difference. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that some phones do offer other advantages, such as the HTC Evo 3D‘s 3D camera and screen, the Motorola Razr‘s super slim design and solid build and the Motorola Atrix‘s clever laptop docks.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, arguably the biggest leap in the smartphone edition of Android yet. And the phone does the software proud. Its screen is excellent, the ergonomics of the body help to dull the impact of its sheer size and the processor is speedy enough to keep the OS running like a dream. It won’t be alone for long, but for now it’s way out in front of other Android phones in several respects.
Score in detail