Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2012 Contents The New Android King
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon Wireless boasts a mammoth 4.7-inch display, blazing
4G LTE speeds, and slick Ice Cream Sandwich software, but we wish it had more endurance.
It should come as no surprise that Google’s
latest flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy
Nexus, has the best of ever ything: a huge
4.7-inch 720p screen, one of the fastest
cameras around, and Android 4.0 Ice
Cream Sandwich, the newest version of
the company’s mobile OS. And now it’s
riding on Verizon Wireless’ scorching 4G
LTE network. With elegant sweeping curves,
it’s one stylish-looking phone, too.
Samsung deserves serious credit for
making a mammoth 4.7-inch screen
not feel like overkill. That’s because it’s
housed inside a body that weighs a fairly
light 5.2 ounces and measures 0.4 inches
thick. The Nexus felt solid for the most part,
but the textured back cover felt flimsy. The
Droid RAZR is lighter (4.5 ounces) and thinner
(0.3 inches), and its Kevlar-infused design feels
The Nexus’ 1280 x 720-pixel Super AMOLED
display is big and beautiful. When we fired up a
trailer for Mission Impossible, the screen delivered
superb detail as Tom Cruise climbed up the Burj
Dubai. We also appreciated the very wide viewing
angles. The Nexus outshined both the Droid RAZR
and HTC Rezound, registering 340 lux versus 304
and 278, respectively.
While the back-mounted speaker on the Galaxy
Nexus isn’t weak, it’s not as powerful as the Motorola
Droid RAZR’s or the HTC Rezound’s .
The first phone to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream
Sandwich, Google’s latest OS is intuitive and sleek,
borrowing some key elements from its Honeycomb
tablet OS while optimizing the experience for a
smaller display. The revamped lock screen lets you
fire up the camera by swiping from right to left.
Home, Back, Settings, and Search buttons—long
a mainstay on Android phones—have been moved
to the System bar at the bottom of the screen,
much like on Android tablets. We actually missed
having a dedicated search button. However, the
System bar makes it easier to dive into individual
If you’re too busy to take a phone call, you can
swipe up to respond using a canned answer, such
as “Can’t talk right now. What’s up?” and “I’ll call
you right back.” Pretty convenient.
The Recent Apps button really puts Android ahead
of iOS and Windows Phone in terms of multitasking.
Pressing this option displays a list of thumbnail
previews of the apps with their icons inset, and
you can close apps with a sideways swipe.
You can populate the five home screens with
interactive, resizable widgets, which are easy to
find in the redesigned App menu. We especially
like the nifty screen animation that appears when
you’re moving from one screen of apps to the
next. As with iOS, you can group similar apps
together just by dragging and dropping them on
top of each other, but you’ll need to name the
The new People app shows a large profile photo
for each contact along with social-networking in-
tegration. We liked being able to swipe to the right
while viewing a contact to see Google+ and Twitter
updates from that person in a single stream. Too
bad Google hasn’t added Facebook to its People
app yet. Also, the People app doesn’t automatically
link contacts with the same name in your address
book, as HTC Android phones do. The new Calendar
app lets you pinch-to-zoom to better see your ap-
pointments for any given day or week.
The new Google Music app lets you shop for
tracks with the Galaxy Nexus and includes a free
song of the day. We especially like how the lock
screen shows the album art up top along with
playback controls when you’re playing a song.
Provided they both have a Near Field Communica-
tions chip, you can transmit data between Android
4.0 phones just by touching the two together. When
we touched the back of the unlocked Galaxy Nexus
to the Verizon version, the two phones emitted a
light buzz; we were able to transfer a Google map
location with a simple tap, but couldn’t beam a
picture from one phone to the other.
Also, Verizon said it won’t support Google Wallet,
so you won’t be able to use the Galaxy Nexus to
pay for things with a swipe of the phone.
Improved auto correction and a new in-line spell
checker make the Android keyboard even better,
but we’d like to see a .com button added to the
layout for entering web addresses.
Android 4.0 lets you enter text with your voice
in any field by simply tapping the microphone icon,
but it was slow to respond. Voice Actions is still on
board, but it’s nowhere near as advanced as Siri.
While the Email and Gmail apps continue to be
separate, you can now search your inbox without
a data connection. You can also create canned
responses for quick replies, and quickly toggle
between recent folders, such as Drafts and Sent.
Annoyingly, the Forward and Reply All options
aren’t viewable at all times, and you also need to
manually add cc and bcc fields.
Featuring a 1.2-GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460
processor paired with 1GB of RAM, the Galaxy
The Nexus’ 5 -MP camera is one of the fastest we’ve tested.
Laptop | February 2012
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