Performance: Camera and Battery
Large, high-resolution displays are a key feature with any of today's high-end phones and the Galaxy Nexus is no exception. The Galaxy Nexus features a Super AMOLED screen that measures 4.65 inches and supports an HD resolution of 1280 x 720. During our tests, we found this display to be very vibrant, colorful, and sharp. The screen also offered excellent viewing angles.
Although the Galaxy Nexus' 32GB of onboard storage should be adequate for most users, we still like it when phones offer expandable storage. The Galaxy Nexus lacks a microSD card slot. It also does not have a physical HDMI port though you can use a HDMI adapter that connects through the microUSB port.
Click to enlarge
During our usage testing with the Galaxy Nexus, we felt the phone was very responsive while performing the common everyday tasks that people do on their phones—check email, browse the web, search for information, call people, etc. The Galaxy Nexus has a 1.2GHz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM, so it definitely has the power it needs to be a quick and responsive phone.
One of the features Google and Samsung promote about the Galaxy Nexus' camera is the fact that this 5MP shooter features continuous auto focus and zero shutter lag. While testing the camera on the Galaxy Nexus, it felt much quicker at snapping images than other cameras we've seen. This is due to the zero shutter lag feature as well as the fact that the continuous auto focus lens helps the camera be ready on a moment's notice. Overall image quality was good, though many of our indoor shots that required flash weren't quite as good as we would have liked—often, they were washed out or even out of focus, as you can see from our test shot of the little dump truck below.
Click to enlarge
The Galaxy Nexus also supports 4G LTE connectivity to Verizon Wireless' network. For users who currently have a 3G phone, you'll definitely notice a difference in browsing speeds and other web-based activities when using a 4G phone in one of Verizon Wireless' 4G areas. Currently, Verizon Wireless offers 4G service in 190 cities and 118 major airports. Of course, Verizon Wireless is continuing to expand its 4G coverage and expects to cover two-thirds of the US population by the middle of 2012. By the end of 2013, Verizon Wireless plans to cover its entire existing nationwide 3G footprint with 4G LTE.
Samsung and Verizon claim you should get up to 12 hours of usage time and up to 150 hours (about 6.25 days) of standby time from the Galaxy Nexus while connected to the network. Although we've only had limited time to test the real-life battery use of the Galaxy Nexus, we were able to make it through a work day (approximately 8-10 hours) with light to moderate use without a problem. However, we did notice a definite decrease in battery life when consuming lots of 4G data and under heavy use periods as one should expect. Of course, everyone is likely to have a different experience depending on how you use the phone.
Click to enlarge
In an attempt to put a quantitative measure on the Galaxy Nexus' battery life, we set up our own Web-surfing test. In this test, we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshed itself every three minutes. We set the Galaxy Nexus' display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi and 4G so that only 3G connectivity was available.
When we ran this test, the Galaxy Nexus lasted for a 191 minutes while connected to a 3G network before giving up. Although it's not the worst score we've seen on our custom test, it's also far from the top – the Galaxy Nexus did better than the Kyocera Echo and the Droid Charge, but that's it – all other phones lasted longer on the same test.