Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hands-on Part 2

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hands-on Part 2

We finally have a unit for review!

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hands-on Part 2

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be launched exclusively by SMART here in the Philippines. We were able to have a couple of minutes of hands-on with it when we visited the Smart JUMP Experience Center in SM Megamall. However it was hard to use and try out because it was binded to the pedestal. It’s a good thing though that we were finally able to secure a unit for a review! We’ll do the comprehensive full article in a week’s time but for now we’ll just do a follow-up to our first hands-on.

It’s just the right size

iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Sensation XL (Beats), and Samsung Galaxy Note

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus for me hits the sweet spot in screen display size. At 4.65″ it’s much more spacious compared to the iPhone’s 3.5″ but it’s not too big to the point that it’s too unwieldy like the Samsung Galaxy Note’s 5.3″. It’s actually very similar in size to the HTC Sensation XL (with Beats).

Another thing I appreciate about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the layout of the keyboard. It felt very spacious and natural. I rarely accidentally hit other keys when typing text messages or e-mails. Notice that they didn’t really cram too many buttons on the keypad. The spacebar alone has a good amount of real estate assigned to it.

Default keyboard layout of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Compare the layout above to the one below. The difference is definitely noticeable.

Samsung Galaxy Note (Go Keyboard)

And one more thing it’s very thin and lightweight making it easily pocketable.

So you get a feel for how thin it really is

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is heaven sent

Android 4.0 brings a bevy of features to Android smartphones but thing I like the most is optimization. The phone just works much faster and snappier with ICS onboard. The transition of apps is seamless. Check out the photo below of us switching in the app grid to the next screen. It just looks and feels awesome.

App grid screen transition

Another interesting feature that I found a little bit fun was the Face Unlock. You basically take a photo of yourself and you just move your face back in front of the front camera to unlock your Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It works well in decently lit locations. If it’s dark or if you can’t get it to work a back-up security feature will kick in (either the PIN or the Pattern).

This one obviously failed, lol.

Better Multi-tasking

Another improvement that I liked that came with Android 4.0 ICS is multi-tasking. With the Samsung Galaxy Nexus there are three capacitive buttons at the bottom: Back, Home, and Multi-Tasking. If you press the third option the screen will show tiles of apps running. You can quickly scroll up or down and pick what app you want to run. Here’s a photo:

Multitasking is more efficient

NFC is fun… but not yet a game changer

We got a chance to play around with the NFC (Near Field Communications) feature named Android Beam when one of our friends dropped by earlier with another Nexus (previous model) running on Android 4.0 ICS. We’ll tackle this more in review but we did “beam” several stuff just by tapping the backs of both units together. We were able to transfer contact information, open links to apps on Android Market (if it’s running on one phone and you beam), and sharing links on browsers or videos on Youtube. By the way for this to work you need to activate NFC.

Android Beam via NFC

Our initial impression so far? This phone is flippin’ awesome!

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus so far is proving to be one of the best smartphones we’ve ever reviewed here on Unbox. Android 4.0 ICS addresses a lot of the issues we’ve had with Android in the past and we can’t wait for it to roll out for other Android smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus definitely has a lot of potential especially if you consider that Smart is offering the unit at NO CASH OUT for their Unlimited Data Plan 2000.

Unbox on the browser of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Our full review will be coming next week. Watch out for that one!

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