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Samsung Galaxy Nexus review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £506
inc VAT

A massive screen, dual-core processor and fantastic camera make this new flagship Android worthy of the title, but it's Android 4.0 that's the real star of the show


Android 4.0, 4.7in 720×1,280 display

Android 4.0 is very smooth on the Nexus, and this is one of the few phones that feels as slick to use as the iPhone – no doubt due to its dual-core processor, although each new Android version brings speed improvements too. A score of 2038ms in the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark means web browsing performance is impressive, but were expecting a better score; there’s often a speed jump in Sunspider with new Android versions, so we were surprised not to see a change here.

The updated browser is faster and has new features, including Incognito browsing
The new browser is fast and comes with some neat extra features

When using the OS the only time we were left waiting was when data was loading from the internet, and even previously-ponderous apps like Google Maps opened in record time. Games were amazingly smooth, when we could get them to run – unfortunately, not all are able to cope with the Nexus’ massive resolution, although no doubt most will be updated in the next few weeks. The Nexus’ battery life in our video playback test was just shy of seven hours, which is average for an Android smartphone.

The 5-megapixel camera produced photos that were sharp and colourful, with very little noise. There’s no image stabilisation, so you’ll need to use the LED flash for low-light shots, but even these weren’t particularly noisy. The phone also has a fun panoramic photo mode.

Videos can be shot in Full HD 1080p, and there’s even a video editor built in that lets you stitch shots together and add a soundtrack. Videos weren’t as crisp as they should have been, and panning was quite juddery, but colours and contrast were excellent, and once again there was little noise, except when we zoomed in. Performance in dark areas was exemplary, even without the LED flash turned on, with much less noise and smearing than we’re used to seeing. Our only complaint would be that you’re not able to operate the LED manually while shooting video to act as a recording light.

Most Android phones include a memory card slot, giving them an advantage over the iPhone, so it’s a shame the Nexus doesn’t have one – although 16GB storage is still a fair amount. The option to attach the Nexus to your PC in mass storage mode is also gone – instead, you get a choice of MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) or PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol), both of which mount the phone as a device in Windows Explorer, but with the added annoyance that when you transfer a file you often get a warning that the file won’t play on your device.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The ultra-minimal design doesn’t allow for a memory card slot

The fact that the Nexus is a Google phone means that it only ships with the standard Android apps, which means you get a decent set of core apps that can handle all the tasks you’re likely to need – browser, email, messaging, maps, calendar, music and social networking are included, although Google has missed a trick by not yet integrating its Google Docs product into this list.

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Price £506
Rating *****
Award Ultimate


Main display size 4.7in
Native resolution 720×1,280
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format MP4
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, NFC
GPS yes
Internal memory 16384MB
Memory card support none
Memory card included 0MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1700/1900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSPA
Size 136x68x11mm
Weight 135g


Operating system Android 4.0
Microsoft Office compatibility none
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, WAV, eAAC+, AC3, OGG, FLAC
Video playback formats MP4, H.264, H.263, WebM
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 8.3 hours
Standby time 11.3 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price £506
Price on contract £31-per-month, 18-month contract
Prepay price £500
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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