It’s been just over a week since I got my first Android 4.0 phone – the Samsung / Google Galaxy Nexus (SGN) – and I’m loving it! The SGN was my replacement for the Google Nexus One (GNO), which I’ve had since it was first released back in 2009. The improvement in the OS have been huge – my GNO was running Android 2.3.6 and some of the new features and changes in the UI have been a big plus on the SGN.
So far, my top 10 points about the phone and Android 4.0 are (in no particular order):
- Updated UI – its a big change from Android 2.3.x but looks very similar to Android 3.2 running on my Sony S Tablet.
- Data Usage Monitor – I can monitor my monthly data usage on 3G and Wifi, and set soft and hard limits when using 3G data so I don’t incur any surprise charges.
- 5MP Camera – Although the camera is pretty standard, Android 4.0 adds a Panoramic shooting mode and dynamically stitches photos together. I can also shoot HD video at 1080p and use continuous focus to make sure I don’t miss anything. The Zero shutter lag is also great for taking lots of photos quickly!
- Face Unlock – It’s pretty cool that I can unlock the phone using my face, but it doesn’t work all the time. Luckily, there is a backup passcode option you can use in such conditions.
- NFC – Some of the pre-installed Apps support NFC, so I can beam across bookmarks, contacts and apps across to other NFC-enabled Android devices.
- Google Sync – All my apps, contacts and data are backed up to Google. When I first logged into the phone using my account, all my contacts and apps were downloaded automatically, making the migration over to the new device seamless.
- Screenshots – I can finally take screenshots on the device itself (as opposed to using the Android SDK). All the screenshots were taken on the device itself.
- Notifications – The updated notifications menu makes it easy to manage app notifications. I can easily swipe a message to remove it, or clear all at once.
- Keyboard – Google has updated the on-screen keyboard to be more responsive, better at auto-correcting and a lot easier to use. The screen size also helps in this area. In a nutshell – typing on the phone is a piece of cake!
- Screen / Display – The 4.65″ HD (1280 x 720) Super AMOLED screen is amazing. Everything on the phone looks amazing, crisp and clear; though it’s quite a drain on the battery.
Some of the bad points:
- App Support – Not all apps work on the new OS. Facebook is one app that works most of the time, but is prone to crashing. Other apps work completely fine, like FourSquare, Google+, SMS Backup & Restore and Skype to name a few.
- Battery – As always, the battery isn’t that great. If I use the phone often, I can just about make it last for an entire day (16-20 hours). With heavy use, I’ve had to recharge after 8-10 hours.
- Memory Card – or lack of! It would have been great if the phone has a MicroSD Card slot to expand the onboard memory. 16GB these days just isn’t enough.