Sarah Pavis

Posts tagged Google

A Galaxy Nexus Review From Someone Who Wants To Want A Galaxy Nexus

The Good: Ice Cream Sandwich Software

Apparently the Andorid team pulled a Domino’s and told users “We know you don’t like us. Why?" The changes they made in response to their research look awesome.
What jumps out at me: 
The camera software looks great. Continuous focus, zero shutter lag exposure, stabilized image zoom, snapshots at full video resolution, lock screen camera access, built-in face detection, and single-motion panorama all mean it should be a lot easier to get great photos on any ICS phone. 

Redesigned Google apps seem much more intuitive. GMail, GCal, and GVoice get gesture control and more information on-screen which means less fiddling & loathing. 

Android Beam and Wi-Fi Direct look to make sharing between devices fast and easy. It’s a point of pride (and laziness) that I’ve never had to connect my Nexus One to my computer and it looks like staying cable-free will be even easier in ICS. 

Multitasking looks much more user friendly and powerful. The recent apps get their own button and swiping across apps kills them. This should make it much easier for people to manage their apps and battery life. 

Screenshoting! Finally! This shouldn’t be a big deal for me but apparently it is because I’m unreasonably excited about it! 

The Bad: Galaxy Nexus Hardware

It’s too big. Size isn’t an abstract consideration for me. Pockets on girls’ pants aren’t that large. My 3.7” Nexus One fits well, even a slightly larger phone would probably still fit. But the 4.65” screen on the Galaxy Nexus is an order of magnitude larger. Is it weird to want to see videos of people putting this thing in their pocket? Having to always carry this beast in my purse would be a pain. (Also, I really don’t want to have to use two hands to operate it.)

The camera looks pretty sad. Only 5 megapixels? I know megapixels aren’t everything, but my 2 year old Nexus One is 5 megapixels and the current gen of cameraphones is 8. Unless there are some great lens/photoreceptor/whatever hardware features I haven’t heard about, the camera is a critical disappointment. 

The back looks dumb. I’d say the aesthetics of it are something only an engineer could love but I’m an engineer and it makes me cringe. It’s got too much junk in the trunk and a fisheyed humpback all under a faux carbon fiber skin. I’m not saying it should be as stark as a piece of flat glass but, for my tastes, it’s got too much going on, none of it good. 

The Ugly: Performance Unknowns

Battery life, battery life, battery life. No matter how great a phone is, it’s worthless if it turns into a brick in the middle of the day. Will the new multitasking killing of apps help? Will all the whiz bang animations hurt?

Camera quality is one of my biggest concerns. Will the ICS software make up for what looks like lackluster hardware? 

Face unlock is a big question mark for me. Could I spoof it with a Facebook photo of someone by holding it up to my computer? How about a printed photo? How about someone who just looks similar? What if I’m not wearing make-up or scowling? Also why would I even want this? Even in their glossy feature video it looks like it takes awhile to process seeing your face to unlock. Is that really easier/faster than entering a code/pattern? 

The loss of the menu button is a head scratcher. One of the hallmarks of Android is its standard keys: back, menu, home, search. Admittedly I almost never used search so I don’t mind seeing that go. And I frequently long-press the home button to get to my recent apps so I’m glad to see that become its own button. But I use the menu button frequently and I’m not sure how the OS is going to work without it. One of the Mac’s minor but nice features is that the Preferences tab is always in the same spot for every application. On Windows you might only get to the settings from Edit or Tools. You have to hunt around. Similarly on iOS the app makers can bury the menu functions wherever they want in the app. Having that fixed menu button on Android made it very easy to navigate any app. Until I get my hands on ICS, I don’t see the upside to removing it. 

Bottom Line: 
If it fits in my pocket and can generally operate it with one hand, I’ll probably buy it. The software looks great and if the camera specs are at least as good as my Nexus One it won’t be like trading down.

Filed under Google galaxy nexus ice cream sandwich ics