Review: Galaxy Nexus Day 1

Note: I was given the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as a review unit.

‘You are so not getting this phone back’.

As far as first impressions go, I doubt it could get much better than that. More so since it comes from someone who doesn’t use a smartphone at all (no, don’t ask). Simply put, the Galaxy Nexus makes for a good looking phone. Like the impression someone at a party in a snazzy black outfit makes, before you speak to him/her, as the case applies. I don’t mean that the phone is bad when you do (or that the person’s a douche, yet), but you can’t know for sure until you have that conversation, can you?

Since the Galaxy Nexus reached me a few days before the acclaimed Jelly Bean update, we’ll hold off on the OS discussion until the update is done. At first glance however, the phone looks pretty stable. I’m not a fan of the back though — the approach seems a bit flimsy, and reminded me of those sets I played with as a kid. Unless that was the idea, in which case they did a great job.

The size of the Galaxy Nexus also takes a bit of getting used to, being larger in comparison to other phones, so this doesn’t seem like a device you can use comfortably with one hand for extended periods of time. But that’s not a real deal-breaker. On the flip side, this display is quite good and the extra screen space makes for better reading.

A nice display and a good churning droid.

The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to, and so far, typing with one hand requires active use of the auto-suggestions to be quick. The other thing that really got to me though was the position of the sleep and volume buttons that are on the phone’s side (say, in comparison to the top of the iPhone for sleep/wake). This meant I often hit the sleep button accidentally while using the phone, which can take some getting used to. Maybe I’m just holding it wrong.

If, like me, you live your life in Google’s castle from time to time, initial set up is snappy and the single sign-on with your (multiple like most of us…just me, you say? Okay.) Google account is intuitive. Email, contacts, calendar and browser preferences are sync’d without much fuss, the last once you download Chrome on Ice Cream Sandwich (I’m unclear of the logic behind Chrome not being default until Jelly Bean, but my theory is Google just doesn’t think like that).

The Android market — now the Google Play Store — is thriving in its own steam, so apps for most needs are easy to find. The experience over the first day has been positive overall, and the phone does justify its generally good feedback.

Stand by, a full review with notes on Jelly Bean will be here soon!

Chirag Desai @Chirag