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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Developed by: Samsung
Ranked: 8th
Overall rating:
Best price: Buy

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Review summary

Good points Samsung Galaxy Nexus review good points

• High quality screen

• Powerful processor

Bad points Samsung Galaxy Nexus review bad points

• Non expandable storage

• Average camera

Our verdict

Here is the latest release from Samsung and Google, that raises the bar on previous Android phones with the introduction of the new intuitive operating system, but an average camera and no room for expanding the storage may make some users think twice before buying this phone.

Screenshot of Samsung Galaxy Nexus 1 Screenshot of Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2 Screenshot of Samsung Galaxy Nexus 3

Full review

Samsung have released another premium handset with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to use Google’s new operating system, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). This is aimed at the top end of the market, so have the designers come up with a handset that can rival the iPhone 4S, or indeed improve upon Samsung’s own Galaxy S2. Lets find out below.


Firstly, there is no getting away from the fact that this is a fairly large phone. Whilst it actually only weighs the same as the iPhone 4S (140g), it is significantly larger and could be an issue for users who are fans of smaller handsets. That said, the handset is still very thin, and of course one advantage of the size is that the screen is also very large (4.6 inch). The AMOLED touchscreen has a resolution of 720 x 1280, which gives a ppi of 316. This gives very sharp, detailed images and is great for video and the internet.


Making and receiving calls on the Samsung Galaxy is first class. The electric blue keypad looks fantastic on the large screen, and the new contacts layout is a huge improvement on previous Android phones. We didn’t experience any issues with reception, and call quality was crystal clear at all times. It is good to see that Samsung have remembered one of the primary functions of a smartphone is still to make and receive calls.


The Galaxy Nexus employs a 1.2GHz dual core processor, and performance on this handset is very good. A lot of that can be attributed to the new operating system (see below), but this a very sharp and responsive phone. Whilst using it we didn’t experience any lag whilst multi-tasking, and internet pages loaded very quickly.

Operating system

Google have greatly improved their operating system with the introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which is much more intuitive than the Gingerbread OS used on previous phones. Rendering of web pages has improved noticeably, and browsing was as quick, if not a little quicker, than on the Galaxy S2. Overall performance of the phone was very fast and smooth, and ICS has a whole raft of neat features (such as the facial recognition unlock) that brings Android OS bang up to date. Apple still have the edge, especially as the app Marketplace used here cannot quite match up to the Apple app store, but Android 4.0 is certainly competitive in terms of performance, and is a major plus point for the Galaxy Nexus.


Samsung have decided to fit a 5.0mp camera on the Galaxy Nexus, which is fairly disappointing considering the 8mp cameras on other premium smartphones (such as the HTC One S). Of course megapixels aren’t everything, and in daylight images were still high quality, but in low light situations the camera was less than impressive. Taking a picture is very fast on the Galaxy Nexus, which is great for taking multiple shots, but a disadvantage of this is that the images often come out blurred due to the constant refocusing. The 1080p video is good, but while it looks great on the phone’s screen, it didn’t look so great when transferred to our computer. It seems Samsung have compromised on the camera here, and it is not up to scratch for a premium smartphone.


Given the size of the screen and handset, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus houses a 1.750mAh battery. However this can’t quite cope with the demands of the bright screen, which really ran down the battery quickly when we used it. In standby, the battery usage was normal, but with medium to heavy use, you would certainly struggle to get a full day out of the phone without charging.


Another disadvantage of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is that there is no option for expandable storage. It is a shame to see another premium smartphone let down by not including a card slot, especially when they offer 1080p video recording which can take up a lot of memory.


With the Galaxy Nexus, Samsung have created a phone that rivals most premium smartphones when it comes to overall performance, which is helped greatly by the intuitive Android 4.0 operating system, and has some lovely new features such as the facial unlock system that are very appealing. The 5mp camera is a disappointment, and may make users look elsewhere if this is a priority for them, plus we also would have liked to see Samsung at least offer the option of expanding the storage. Good in most areas then, but a fair way short of greatness.

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Ratings breakdown

 received a rating of 3 for Overall
 received a rating of 3 for Design
 received a rating of 4 for Reception
 received a rating of 4 for Processor
Operating system
 received a rating of 3 for Operating system
 received a rating of 4 for Camera
Voice recognition
 received a rating of 4 for Voice recognition
 received a rating of 4 for Battery
 received a rating of 4 for Storage