Samsung Galaxy Nexus hands-on: First look

GSMArena team, 19 October 2011.

Design and build quality

The Galaxy Nexus measures 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm and weighs 135 grams, and although it's quite on the big side, it's not as intimidating as you might expect.

The size of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy S II

The fit and finish of the Galaxy Nexus just screams premium from wherever you look at it. The all plastic body caresses your hand and the tapered back edges don't make it awkward to the touch, unlike some other smartphones of this size.

In typical Samsung fashion, the back of the device features a little hump on the bottom, which provides a comfy finger support when you're holding the phone.

Overall design

All around, the device is well screwed together and despite its all plastic body, it won't give you any worries someone would mistake it for a cheap phone. On the contrary, the Galaxy Nexus exudes premium.

A display in a class of its own

Undoubtedly, the party piece of this newest Nexus is its display. Samsung are the first ever to put a display with HD resolution in a GSM phone. But they haven't stopped there, as they've also thrown their trademark Super AMOLED technology into the mix, making the Galaxy Nexus a real attention grabber.

The display of the Galaxy Nexus is the main attraction

Whether you are in or outdoors, the display doesn't disappoint. Black are deep, colors are bright and the detail the ultra-high resolution provides is unparalleled. The front of the device joins the buttonless club the N9 has started and although it feels awkward at first, it's not cumbersome to get used to.

We'll cover the display in a greater detail in our full review of the device followed with comparisons and more later. Now it's time to take a look at the rest of the hardware features around the body of the Galaxy Nexus.

As usual, you will find the earpiece bundled with the proximity and ambient light sensors above the display. Next to them is the 1.3MP fixed-focus camera, used for video calling.

Earpiece, sensors, front camera

The bottom of the device, as we mentioned is buttonless. This doesn't mean however, there's nothing there. Remember that this phone was developed partly by Google and they love hardware notifications. That's why the Galaxy Nexus features an LED notification area just below the screen, which glows on a missed call, unread message or on low battery.

The buttonless design of the Galaxy Nexus Notification area

The top side of the Galaxy Nexus is free of buttons and surprisingly of ports. The 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the bottom next to the microUSB port and the speaker microphone.

The cleared top side microUSB port, 3.5mm headphone jack and speaker microphone at the bottom

On the left side, the Galaxy Nexus houses a volume rocker and on the other side is where you'll find a lock screen button as well as a connector for a docking station. Samsung has taken quite a minimalistic design approach with the latest Nexus.

Volume rocker on the left side Dock connectors and power off button on the right side

On the back of the device we find the 5MP camera capable of shooting 1080p video accompanied by an LED flash. The grills for the loudspeaker are at the bottom.

The 5MP camera of the Galaxy Nexus Loudspeaker

Overall, the back cover is a clone of the one of the Samsung Galaxy S II, which is made of a finely textured plastic. It's thin, light, flexible and extra strong. Samsung claim that it has special coating for extra grip, but we didn't notice any difference compared to the S II.

Popping the cover open reveals a 1,750mAh Li-Ion battery. Considering the massive display and adding the needs of the 1.2GHz dual-core processor and the gig of RAM, we doubt it'll break any battery life records.

The 1750mAh battery of the Galaxy Nexus SIM card and microSD card slots

Above the battery, there's a SIM card slot. Sadly, a microSD slot is missing. There's no way of expanding the in-built storage memory on the Galaxy Nexus.

As we mentioned earlier, the hardware of the Galaxy Nexus tells only half the story about this device. It's time to take a look at what makes a true Nexus - its operating system. It's quite an exciting ride.