Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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I normally write these posts while the content is still fresh in my head, as I feel my initial impression is the most faithful. With the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I wasn't sure how I felt. The fact that its the first Android phone to run Ice Cream Sandwhich is very exciting on its own; combine that with the hardware talents of Samsung, and this promises to be a ground breaking device.


I used the device for a week while overseas on holiday, in a more intense use-case mode than normal - not comfortable office based, but in and out of taxi's, public transport, planes, on the beach, by the pool side, etc. And specifically where connectivity was rubbish at best.


And so the verdict I'm happy to provide after more than a week of fairly intense testing is that while the operating system is excellent, the hardware its mated to is just too damn big (and soft) to be comfortable carrying around.


This device is bigger than a Samsung Galaxy S2; and thats a big phone. So you can't imagine how big this thing is. Sure, its light, and its thin, and that screen is gorgeous, but its uncomfortable to go into your pocket easily or retrieve in a hurry (like when its ringing). And you definitely shouldn't sit with it - highly unrecommended! And its even worse if you're a man ;-)


More detailed impressions;


  • Hardware
  1. The speaker is terribly soft - for ringing, audio calls, music, etc.
  2. The screen is gorgeous - colors stand out, depth looks amazing, and vibrancy of the screen is crazy. But its not Gorilla Glass - so how long will it last and how hardy will it be is questionable
  3. As mentioned, the dimensions of the phone are just uncomfortable to hold in one hand (unless you're a freakishly large person) and you need two hands to text, browse, etc - forget thumb-based texting with this, ain't going to be possible unless you're a yeti
  4. Because its so big, you're constantly scared you'll drop it


My overall impression is that this is the wrong hardware for this device. The screen real-estate space race needs to end.


  • Software
  1. Slick, polished, and lightning fast - transitions, the cool effect when you reach your home screen ends, etc - this is truly world class and eliminates the one argument all iPhone users have, which is around the speed of interacting with Android devices. Its finally fixed!
  2. App compatibility so far seems great, and I have yet to find an app that misbehaves
  3. The entire UI is obviously completely customisable, widgets galore and gorgeous yet subtle effects


The overall impression is that the software is amazing, and I find it hard to see how the traditional hardware manufacturers will differentiate now that Google has made the decision to reduce fragmentation based on UI.


PS. I will admit that this large estate makes this a wonderful smart device to carry around (note, I didn't say smartphone). So, my modus operandi now is to use an iPhone 4S to make/receive calls, and this device for everything else (social media, e-mail, etc). Seems to be a winning combo. In retrospect, that sounds like the girl taking a different phone with based on the handbag she's carrying. But bigger isn't always better, and walking around with this device over the smaller iPhone only exaggerates the size.