Heralding a new era for Android operating systems is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon, the first Android phone to run Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). "This gets said every month, but yes, the Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone on the market," says Dan Nosowitz of PopSci.com. Though it earns high marks from reviewers for what Sascha Segan of PCMag.com calls a "smoother, richer, and better" operating system, it does face competition from the Droid Razr's (From $200 with contract) better build and signal reception, and from the iPhone 4S's (*Est. $200 and up with contract) better camera and more portable size, according to Segan.
The 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED touch screen staking out real estate on the front of the Galaxy Nexus, while rather large, is bright and beautiful with viewing angles "as close to 180 degrees as you can get," says Tim Stevens of Engadget.com. Physical buttons are replaced with virtual buttons that rotate or disappear as needed. What really steals the show, however, is Android Ice Cream Sandwich, redesigned for speed and ease of use; reviewers are thrilled with the results. "From a design position, much of the new look is simple, elegant, grown-up, and, dare we say, sexy," say Jessica Dolcourt and Kent German of CNET.
On the multimedia end, the Galaxy Nexus is riddled with contradictions. Its 5-megapixel camera is quick to load, but quality is a "disappointment" compared to Samsung's other cameras, says Stevens. The smartphone is NFC-enabled (virtual wallet), but doesn't support Google Wallet. Where it does shine, however, is in its response times: The dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and redesigned OS combine for what several reviewers describe as buttery-smooth browsing. "When you swipe, it moves," says Nosowitz.
Call quality for the Galaxy Nexus is average but battery life is short-lived, especially with 4G enabled. Reliable 4G connections are spotty for some reviewers. When 4G signal is strong data speeds are fast, with Stevens reporting an average of 14 Mbps downloading and 10 Mbps uploading.
CNET and PCMag.com offer in-depth reviews of all aspects of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, listing test results and comparing it to other smartphone giants. PopSci.com gives the Galaxy Nexus the highest praise of any reviewer, with a detailed review focused around the Ice Cream Sandwich OS. AndroidCentral.com expands on the Galaxy Nexus's features and possible bugs, while Engadget.com provides a collection of images, videos and comparison charts in addition to a written review.
Scoring the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with a rating of Outstanding at 4.5 out of 5 stars, Jessica Dolcourt and Kent German rate the smartphone highly for its operating system and 4G speeds, as well as for its "beautiful" screen and "top-notch" internal performance.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon Wireless), Jessica Dolcourt, Kent German, Dec. 14, 2011
Ranking the Galaxy Nexus 4 out of 5 stars, Sascha Segan calls Ice Cream Sandwich "the best software of any Android phone" but says it "doesn't make it the best phone there is."
Review: Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon Wireless), Sascha Segan, Dec. 16, 2011
Dan Nosowitz hails the Galaxy Nexus as "the best Android phone on the market" for its new operating system, its speed and its 4G capabilities.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review: This Is Android, Dan Nosowitz, Dec. 9, 2011
Phil Nickinson calls both Ice Cream Sandwich and the smartphone's screen "gorgeous" but finds the camera "woefully disappointing." Nickinson recommends the Galaxy Nexus for those who "have to have the latest and greatest version of Android" or who need a phone that's "easily hackable," but warns those who want the best overall hardware to consider looking elsewhere.
Review: Verizon Galaxy Nexus Review, Phil Nickinson, Jan. 7, 2012
Tim Stevens lists the "simple, beautiful design," great performance, and beautiful screen as pros of the Galaxy Nexus while the lack of Google Wallet, poor battery life and "average" camera performance are definite cons.
Review: Verizon Galaxy Nexus Review, Tim Stevens, Dec. 16, 2011