The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be the first handset to run the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which will see it take over from the Nexus S as the king of the Android handsets.
Our first experience with the revamped Ice Cream Sandwich platform was positive, and Google has made several significant changes to the system by incorporating the best of Gingerbread and Honeycomb.
There are no longer any capacitive buttons positioned beneath the screen. Instead there are three context sensitive buttons located on screen: 'back', 'home' and 'recent apps'.
This means the 'settings' button shortcut has now been hidden away in the notification bar (as shown below, next to the date on the screen) so it is now a swipe and a click away. It's not a big deal, but for long-term users of Gingerbread it could take a while to get used to.
Another change has been made to the main apps menu. Instead of icons now being shown on one page, they are split over multiple pages, and quick swipes allow navigation between pages. This is a useful upgrade, especially if you download lots of apps.
Setting up folders is now far easier as well, as it only requires dragging apps on top of each other to start making a folder. Resizing the widgets is also a nice touch and gives more control over how content is displayed on home screen.
We also had a play with the Data Usage app, which is no doubt going to come in handy for heavy data users.
Samsung has chosen to stick with the curved design debuted with the Nexus S, which is no bad thing as it's a nice look. It's also comfortable to hold, despite weighing 135g, which makes it a tad heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S II and Nexus S.
One of the main reasons for the additional weight is that the screen size has been bumped up. The Galaxy Nexus comes with a 4.65in screen that boasts an impressive 1,280x720 resolution. Combined with Android's revamped 'Roboto' typeface, this makes text much easier to read.
We tested the device in a low-light setting and found brightness to be very good. From our brief overview, we think this could the one of best displays we've seen on a mobile device.
Another area that has been beefed up is the processor. Samsung seemingly turns up the processing power at will, and the latest Nexus comes with a meaty 1.2GHz dual-core processor.
We certainly noticed the speed when browsing the web and opening apps, but we still experienced a slight lag when changing orientation of the device.
One of the key new features we were keen to test was the NFC-enabled Android Beam app and, after a couple of false starts, we eventually got it to work. The feature requires two NFC-capable Android smartphones to be touched together, and the user transmitting data is required to tap the screen to confirm the transfer. The movement of content was pretty much instantaneous, which was impressive.
With the Galaxy Nexus boasting superior hardware and a revamped software platform, not to mention Android being a far more popular platform than Microsoft's offering, Samsung looks to have the edge on the Lumia.
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