Galaxy Nexus for Verizon Hands-on & Speed Test

The first thing you notice when you pick up the Galaxy Nexus, is how well it fits into the palm of your hand. At 150g the phone has enough weight to feel solid in your hands. Although encased in plastic, the phone does not feel cheap to the touch, it once again showcases Samsung’s solid design and production quality. The most striking thing you notice right off the bat is the beautiful super AMOLED 720p screen which displayed brilliant colors. The subtle curve of the contour display makes contributes to a natural fit in the palm but also feels very comfortable when taking calls.

Most notable about this device however is the presence of Android 4.0.1 and how well the hardware and software work together.  During my brief hands on with the device I don’t recall experiencing any hiccups with the responsiveness of the touch interface. Android 4.0.1 makes good use of the 1.2 GHz dual core processor when transitioning between apps. You would be truly impressed with how responsive the device is with even the lightest swipe. Even more impressive is the fact that Android 4.0.1 being used on this phone is stock, with no added manufacturer skinning. The simple, elegant design of the new interface, in my opinion, illustrates the continued maturity of android as a mobile operating system.

Another notable difference between this device and previous android devices are the software keys. Where, in previous android devices you had dedicated tactile buttons for menu, home, hack and search, on this device they are noticeably missing. Replacing these buttons are software renditions of Back, Home and the new Multi-tasking button. Though many will lament the loss of the physical buttons, their software driven replacements represents an innovative solution to the problem of the rotating screen and button placement. Prior to this device in order to use any tactile button while using the camera in landscape, you would have to rely on your left thumb (less dominant hand in my case) for operation. However, with the advent of the software buttons, when using the camera in landscape mode the Home, Back and Multi-tasking buttons are situated right below my right thumb.

Also present on this device are what we have come to expect in today’s smart phone market, a 1.5MP front facing camera, a 5 MP “low-light optimized” rear camera, 3.55mm headphone jack (interestingly placed on the bottom of the device), front and rear speakers and a 1850mAh battery, a noted increase from the 1650mAh of the galaxy S2, LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Although the specs for the cameras are noticeable lacking when compared to that of the Galaxy S2, the “zero shutter lag” was impressive. The word is still out on the picture quality of this device until a proper, more intimate hands on can be performed.

Overall, this is a well built device with a solid set of features. For those pondering weather “to buy or not to buy”, if you skipped the hype of the Galaxy S2 in favor of the yet to be released Galaxy Nexus, you will not be disappointed. However if you took the plunge and already purchased a Galaxy S2 device, you really have no need to make the switch, with android 4.0.1 (the real star of the show) slated for release on the device in early 2012, and the marked similarity in hardware specs.