Hands-on with the Galaxy Siblings - Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus


Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Pure Google Experience

The First Android 4.0 Phone

Announced a few weeks ago, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone to run on the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). As the third generation of Google phone, it has to set the benchmarks for future Android phones and hold the fort against its rival, the Apple iPhone 4S. Does it live up to our expectations? Let's find out:-

 Samsung Galaxy Nexus

  Key highlights of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus 

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich 
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED / 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5-megapixel rear camera / Autofocus / LED flash + 1.3-megapixel front facing camera
  • 16 / 32GB (no storage expansion options)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz / 5GHz)
  • LTE / HSDPA+
  • 1750mAh battery
  • 135g
  • 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm
     
  • Price and Availability: S$948 (available by January 2012)

Besides the Galaxy Note, Mr. Lee also introduced the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone to run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich sports a totally different look from previous Android versions. One of the more significant changes is the use of on-screen navigation buttons.

The new animated lock screen functions the same way as that of the HTC Sense 3.0 UI. Instead of four shortcuts, you have only two options - unlock the phone or activate the camera.

To create a folder on the home screen, simply drag one app onto another to create one.

There is an option for you to rename the folder. Google also improved the stock Android keyboard to make text input faster and more accurate. During our time with the Galaxy Nexus, we found no problems using the new keyboard.

Face Unlock is one of the new features found on Android 4.0. It utilizes the 1.3MP front facing camera and advanced facial recognition technology to register your face during setup.

You will find the port connectors and power button on the right side of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The volume controls are on the left side of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Located at the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus are the microUSB port (for charging and data transfer) and the 3.5mm audio output jack. 

We liked the textured back of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It helps us have a better grip of the device.

Although both devices come with HD Super AMOLED displays, the Galaxy Note trumps the Galaxy Nexus in terms of size and resolution.

The 4.65-inch display of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is only marginally larger than the 4.3-inch display of the Samsung Galaxy S II.

You can notice the contoured design of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in this picture. Another point to note is that the Samsung Galaxy S II (above) is still thinner than the Galaxy Nexus at 8.49mm (thinnest point).

Is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus ready to take on its arch rival, the Apple iPhone 4S?

Google and Samsung appeared to have gotten everything right this time with the Galaxy Nexus from the hardware and software aspects. In terms of handling, the device felt really good in the hands with its rounded edges and light form factor of 135g. The slight hump towards the bottom of the phone also contributed to having a better grip of the phone. Despite increasing the screen size from 4.0-inch (Google Nexus S) to 4.65-inch on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the device still maintains a rather slim profile of 8.94mm, making it one of the thinnest smartphones around. 

The main highlight of the Galaxy Nexus is its HD Super AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The display exhibited lively colors and crisp text, thus making it perfect for multimedia viewing on-the-go. The Galaxy Nexus retains the same Contour Display of the Nexus S, which will provide a better fit to your face during phone conversations. 

Within a short span of three years, Google has made vast improvements to the user interface of the Android platform. The latest Android 4.0 ICS is testament to Google's continuous efforts to refine the user interface to make it more polished. During our hands-on with the Galaxy Nexus, we were surprised at its speed of operation. The user interface was very smooth and snappy although we did encountered some lags and freezes. We were told later that the Galaxy Nexus unit was a prototype. Nevertheless, we have high hopes for the final retail version. As we had covered the main features of Android 4.0 a few weeks ago, you can find out more about its full set of new offerings here.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be available at S$948 (inclusive of GST) without line contract by January 2012. When asked on a more specific time frame, Samsung Singapore commented that they do not have information at the moment. We certainly hope Samsung can push forward the launch of the Galaxy Nexus in Singapore so as to leverage on the year-end festive season and give the hot favorite Apple iPhone 4S a run for its money.

Samsung's Super AMOLED screen technology is a key selling point for its top range Android smartphones such as the Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II (left to right).

How The Samsung Galaxy Nexus Compares with the Competition
Specifications Samsung Galaxy Nexus Motorola RAZR HTC Sensation XE iPhone 4S
Operating System / User Interface
  • Google Android 4.0
  • Google Android 2.3.5 / Motorola RAZR UI
  • Google Android 2.3 / HTC Sense 3.0 UI
  • iOS 5
Processor
  • 1.2GHz dual-core 
  • 1.2GHz dual-core
  • 1.5GHz dual-core
  • Apple A5 Dual-Core 1GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 768MB RAM
  • 512MB RAM
Display
  • 4.65-inch, 1280 x 720 pixels, HD Super AMOLED Display
  • 4-3-inch, 960 x 540 Super AMOLED Advanced Display
  • 4.3-inch, 540 x 960 S-LCD Display
  • 3.5-inch, 640 x 960 TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen 
Camera
  • 5-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / Dual-LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
  • VGA front facing camera 
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash /  1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • VGA front facing camera
     
Storage
  • 16/32GB (no storage expansion options)
  • 16GB + microSD expansion (up to 32GB)
  • 4GB + microSD expansion (up to 32GB)
  • 16/32/64GB (no storage expansion options)
Battery
  • 1750mAh
  • 1750/1780mAh
  • 1730mAh
  • 1432mAh
Dimensions
  • 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm
  • 131 x 69 x 7.1mm
  • 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm
  • 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm
Weight
  • 135g
  • 127g
  • 151g
  • 140g