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  • roedtogsvart - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Finally! Reply
  • prophet001 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Just had one of this hit my desk today :D very nice phone. Reply
  • Owls - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    No offense but I'm kind of pissed after reading this article with what amounts to a masturbatory article about the iphone 4s.

    For example on an ipad 2 and iphone 4s there is plenty of lag here and there using the UI on par with gingerbread. On ICS? It's pratically nonexistent.

    The camera? The only issue I found was that on Auto the shots didn't always come out great. Some manual adjustments fixed that and after comparing the shots to my dad's iphone 4s there's virtually no difference.

    I pretty much stopped reading after the camera section.
  • michael2k - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    What kind of lag are you talking about? The A5 SoC is one of the most powerful out there and it's already been noted in several reviews how the older A4 SoC plus iOS 4 and 5 outperformed Gingerbread. You're saying the lag on ICS is somehow better than an A5 plus iOS 5 by saying the A5 + iOS 5 is as laggy as a CPU bound unaccelerated Android 2.3? Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Why, do you think, anand is using 720p "off-screen" in benchmarks, why not try it directly on screen?

    Oh, and why "black levels" aren't present on screen comparison? And why iphones dissapear from charts where they are wtfpwned by other phones?

    Sigh. Disgusting.
  • michael2k - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    All the phones and tablets would go up in number if they used native resolution, but then you can't actually compare the HW because each would be constrained by different resolutions. By using 720p offscreen you get to judge all the HW on the same scale.

    Also, Anand has definitely reported black levels:

    I don't know of any places where the iPhone disappear so much as the iPhone doesn't run the app. You'll notice that the rankings appear congruent; 4S followed by S2 with the Nexus and 4 on the bottom. Nothing changes, except that certain apps aren't available for the iPhone. Rightware Basemark is an Android app, silly.
  • medi01 - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    And "actual HW number" tells you what? That GPU X is faster than GPU Y? Instead of saying "phone X would render faster than phone Y"? How is first more appropriate mesurement than the latter?

    @Also, Anand has definitely reported black levels:@
    Are you kidding me? Where is vs amoled comparison in your link? How is it related to the article in discussion?

    Not only do they skip "black levels", they somehow manage to make a picture of AMOLED screen where BLACK looks GREY. Wow, great job misleading readers.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    Yes, GPU X is faster than GPU Y is a perfectly valid comparison. You would have to ask Anand why he thought comparing GPUs was a valid benchmark, but given the long track record of how responsive the iPhone has been compared to Android, I don't see how that anything else is relevant. The fact that offscreen performance favors the iPhone 4S doesn't change that it doesn't favor the iPhone 4!

    Also, why would he compare to amoled when in fact there are no amoled tablets to compare to?

    You're a baseless and pointless critic.
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    There is no lag at all on the iPad 2 or the iPhone 4S, what are you talking about?

    I think you're more pissed off that the Nexus came with an average camera and a 2-year-old GPU.
  • Lucian Armasu - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Well, iPhone 4 came with a 2 year old GPU, too in 2010, and much lower FPS than the competition, if you remember those GPU charts, where the iPhone 4 was the last at the bottom. Not too many people seemed to care about it. Reply
  • JohnJackson - Wednesday, February 08, 2012 - link

    You mean the one where the devices were running the benchmarks at the respective device's NATIVE resolution? 960x640 has 60% more pixels than 800x480...
  • Subzero0000 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Where do you get "lag" in iPad 2?

    I use it everyday and the only lag I found is when I slide to the spotlight screen, or browsing webpage (while rendering).
  • sonelone - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Seriously, where do you get lag on the iPad or iPhone? With the SGX543MP2 rendering nothing but a grid of icons, getting lag would be ridiculous. Reply
  • augustofretes - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Pseudo power users, judging mobile operating systems based on their home screens since 2007. Reply
  • audioman83 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    LOL agreed. So sad. Reply
  • Owls - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    blah blah blah I don't like my iphone/ipad being compared so let me make fun of that person for being objective.

    I know the gnex is not perfect but guess what, neither is your apple product. We all live with compromises and this is no different. However, I refused to be ripped off by apple AND be forced to use itunes.

    sorry mr apple user.
  • Subzero0000 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Firstly, I think you are over-reacting (so did augustofretes).

    See, I wouldn't complain if someone finds a few lag on Android, because I appreciate the fact that Android is running true-multitasking, with all the widgets and background tasks give us the flexibility that iOS can never dream of.

    But then, you cloud your judgment with hatred...

    For example, I use Windows 7 at home, Android for phone, iPad for everything else (reading, browsing, gaming, etc...).

    I use Google account to sync calendar+contact between Android and iPad.
    I buy books in Amazon, and read them through Kindle app on iPad.
    I upload my own mp3 to iPad through iTunes, no problem.
    Mobile games are better quality on iOS (the truth), so I am happy to buy in AppStore.

    There is nothing forcing you to use iTunes.

    and "ripped off"? I actually think iPad is cheap, as a outstanding CONSUMER product.

    So, calm down, it's just a product. And have a nice day :)
  • medi01 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Yeah, nothing is "forcing" you to use iTunes apart from the fact that many Apple's products won't even switch on for the first time without itunes. Reply
  • Subzero0000 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Well, what is the matter with one-time activate with iTune?
    If you find that annoying, then how about the procedure to root/flash your Android, or jb your iOS.

    How on earth would a tech-savvy find it annoying/difficult for such a easy task (iTune) ???
    I am really confused.
    Do you ever forget about the brand-hate and not being stubborn for a second?

    btw, I remember I got my iPad activated at the store, their staff open the box and do it for me anyway. I could have done it by myself, but hey, it's "customer service".

    oh, and if you think iTune is crap, wait till you try Samsung's "equivalent" (KIES)...
  • medi01 - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    Oh, now easily you've switched from "nobody is forcing you" to "what's the deal".

    It's not one time activate with most devices it's "one time activate and this PC is your only way to put stuff on your device, unless you are using yet to be closed internet way of doing it".

    @@@If you find that annoying, then how about the procedure to root/flash your Android, or jb your iOS.@@@

    Could you get a clue, before whining about stuff about which you have very little idea? The only reason I had to root android device, was bacause it was rather old OS with fonts that didn't contain glyphs I needed.

    And one thing you're completely missing, dear "I'm not an apple fanboi", YOU DON'T HAVE TO ROOT YOUR ANDROID DEVICE TO GET ACCESS TO IT. You don't have to root it to access it as a hard drive. Neither do you have to root it to install whatever you want on it.

    @@@oh, and if you think iTune is crap, wait till you try Samsung's "equivalent" (KIES).@@@
    I've never used KIES (even though I have a phone and a tablet by Samsung), so it's hard to compare them. But unlike apple "customers", android users have absolutely no need in using KIES.
  • thecraw - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    couldn't stop laughing at that statement, sure no one is forcing you to use itunes, its your own problem if you want to backup your iproduct or upgrade your iOS etc.. yes no one is forcing you right... Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Have you never heard of iCloud? I mean are we in bizarro world here or is everyone really THAT clues on iOS 5? Reply
  • augustofretes - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    I found comments like yours absolutely hilarious, because I don't own an iPhone, nor I'm interested on buying one, I'm perfectly happy with my Samsung Galaxy S II running CM9 ;-)

    You're not being objective, unless, of course, you only see your homescreen and never open any application.

    The iPhone 4S is not perfect, I completely agree, but the interface is more fluid, this is fact, pinch-to-zoom is not a smooth, even on a GNex, as it on the 4S, but it's pretty smooth now.

    Sorry mindless fanboy.
  • kebab77 - Sunday, February 05, 2012 - link

    Serious performance boost for phones currently on Android 2.3.x:
    ... Samsung Galaxy S2 still top of the pile!
  • macs - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    My only suggestion is that there are some device that need a sort of priority for a review. Galaxy Nexus and ICS should be on this list like the Apple products (you already do that) and maybe a flagship WP 7 device like Lumia 800/900.
    We can wait a bit more for device like Razr, Lumia 710, various HTC, various Samsung,...

    In 1 H 2012 my priority list will be Galaxy S 3, first device with Krait and Ipad 3.

    Back at reading, I know this will be a good read!
    Thank you
  • roedtogsvart - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Anand, just thought I'd throw this in there:

    For something like $25 (Verizon) you can buy an extended battery and gain an additional 250 mAh (1850 vs 2100) that adds basically no perceptible thickness to the device, though I did not precisely measure. Have you tested with the extended battery? I feel like it makes an already amazing phone even better.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I managed to snag an extended battery for the RAZR review, but didn't get the chance to do the same with the CDMA/LTE Galaxy Nexus. I've seen that battery however, and it is a novel design - the back doesn't get thicker, just flatter (the whole phone is as thick as the bulge).

    We've seen pretty linear scalings before, so you can assume that extra 250 mAh will scale linearly as well.

  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The task switcher is blazing fast on the Transformer Prime, so I'd say it's a Galaxy Nexus limitation and not an ICS limitation. Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Anand didn't say it's an ICS issue either. He said it's a GPU issue, because older GPU's still can't handle HD resolutions very well, just like Tegra 2 GPU barely could, too.

    But I'm sure on lower-end ICS phones with lower resolutions, it should work faster, so it's not like every ICS phone will need a Tegra 3 GPU-level from now on.
  • GnillGnoll - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    He said it _could_ be a GPU issue. Something which I strongly doubt, it's not like the task switcher adds that much graphics load over rendering the normal UI. Reply
  • HooDooMagic - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I think it's already been mentioned that 4.03 fixed the task switcher lag. I have alpha ICS 4.03 roms running on a Nexus One, Nook Color and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and everything runs very smoothly on all 3 devices. Even the very underpowered Nook has surprisingly little lag and stutter when using the task switcher and transitioning between screens/app drawer etc. Reply
  • Chloiber - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The Galaxy Nexus is a very nice phone indeed, but there are just some things that I don't like about it. As mentioned in the review, the GPU is not the best, which is actually the main reason I won't buy the phone. I buy smartphones which should last about 2 years. Buying one with a GPU from the beginning of last year is just not good enough. As Anand mentions: better wait for Q2, maybe Q3. At the moment, the GN is certainly the best phone (in my opinion) money can buy, but it's not the right moment to buy an android phone.
    The review is very late indeed...but very thorough - thank you!

    One question remains: are microSD slots a thing of the past? Google mentioned that there is a good reason why they didn't include one (slow speeds for apps). But I still think that's a very bad reason not to include a slot. While it is true, that the mSD cards are pretty slow compared to internal storage, there is just no way in hell I'm gonna pay 100$+ for 16GB of additional internal NAND. Additionally, you don't need high speeds for music, pictures and movies (the main reason to get an SD card).

    I hope for a phone in Q2/Q3 with a) better SoC, b) an SD card slot and c) a 720p IPS or SAMOLED+ screen.
  • humancyborg - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I agree. The GPU is a terrible oversight on this phone, particularly considering the inclusion (finally) of OpenGL rendering throughout Android.

    With the 4S GPU being 3-4x faster it's tough to see how this phone is going to stand the test of time. Presumably the iPad3 and next iPhone will be packing an even more powerful SoC and GPU.

    This is one of the main reasons that I think Apple is in a great position going forward with regards to hardware. With the exception of Samsung, everyone else is relying on TI, Qualcomm, Intel, etc to make the right decisions with regards to CPU/GPU etc combination and clearly those chip makers do not always have the best insight with regards to product pipeline or requirements.

    A retina display-ish version of the iPad is going to take a GPU far beyond anything the current SoC guys are manufacturing.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The next generation of PowerVR SGX graphics chips are supposedly 20x as powerful as the current ones. I'm guessing Apple will still be using the dual core variant of the 6** series. That's good, if the 4x screen resolution rumours are true.

    Yeesh, Android devices still haven't caught up to the old GPU now a new one is around the corner. Nvidia is stuck with their own GPU's of course, but TI or Samsung should switch to PowerVR if this performance domination continues.
  • trob6969 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    What performance domination?! Android phones are easily the most powerful on the market! Reply
  • Greg512 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Not when it comes to GPU power. The iPhone 4S has a GPU 3-4 times as powerful as the one in the Nexus. Android phones do tend to have higher clocked processors, however, so they do have a healthy advantage on that front. Android phones also have more RAM, though many would debate that iOS is memory efficient, negating the hardware advantage. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    You're kidding, right? The Tegra 3 is slower than the eight month old A5. Everything in Android world is playing catch-up with old parts, which is odd given that they have a more frequent upgrade cycle. Problem is that they've been behind since the beginning. Reply
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    trob6969 - the leading Android phones have CPU's which are largely comparable to the CPU in the iPhone 4S - in some cases they even boast up to ~10% extra performance (as a result of, in some cases, 50% higher clock speed), but only in CPU limited tasks, and that <10% is barely noticeable.

    Graphically, the GPU in the Nexus Prime is far slower than even the Samsung Galaxy S2 - using an older GPU which is up to 3x slower than the GPU in the iPhone 4S. The GPU in the SG2 (the fastest Android GPU) is also far slower than the iPhone 4S (as the benchmarks in this review show)

    Because iOS is hardware accelerated (and tightly intertwined with the iPhone), the performance of the iPhone 4S and iOS is far superior to any Android phone out at this moment in time.
  • zorxd - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    50% faster clock speed gives you 50% more performance in CPU limited tasks. Don't forget that it's the same architecture (Cortex A9).

    I hope you are not making that 10% claim based on javascript bencmarks. They are browser benchmarks more than CPU benchmarks.
  • Zoomer - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Not really, the A9 ISA have many different architecture implantations. TI does their own, Apple probably did their own, and I believe nVidia has their own too. Reply
  • zorxd - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    They can have some differences (cache size, memory bandwidth, neon instructions) but the A9 is not an ISA. ARMv7 is.

    Given that it has the same configuration, an Apple A5 behave the same as a TI OMAP4 or a Samsung Exynos of the same clock speed. I beleive nVidia tegra2 lacks the neon instructions so can be slower in some cases. There is an article on Anandtech about this.

    Given that the iPhone 4S is only 800 MHz it is the slowest A9 CPU by far.
  • pSupaNova - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    The GPU's on the IPhone uses Tiling so in most GPU rendering tasks it will be a lot faster, However spit lots of Triangles at it and then see how fast it really it is. Reply
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    It's not all about performance, at least if you don't do FPS games. The screen on the Nexus is much bigger than on the 4S for example. For me, it's not about performance at all. I went for the GN for its even bigger screen, and that criteria alone was 95% of my decision, the remain 5% being "... and the rest don't suck", and "has xda-dev support'. Reply
  • humancyborg - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Once you start accelerating the entire interface, performance becomes much more significant than just FPS games. There's a reason Apple uses such a gigantic and powerful GPU in their devices, and it's definitely not only for FPS gamers.

    Agree with you on the rest, there are other good reasons to buy this phone, just a shame that they skimped here. I have the 4S, GN and Lumia 800 currently and constantly switch around between them.
  • metafor - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    It doesn't really take a whole lot of resources to render a 2D interface. Just about any ol' GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 support will do it.

    About the only thing where the GPU is the limiting factor is rendering 3D games. And even then, most if not the vast majority of games on the market will continue to be written for this level of hardware for at least the coming year.

    Honestly, people take benchmarks way too seriously.
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Actually, you're absolutely wrong.

    In fact, the GPU slowness is cited in this very article for causing slowdowns in situations where no 3D gaming is being done.

    Remember, the operating system as a whole is hardware accelerated, so every thing you do - animations, transitions, task switching, etc are carried out by the GPU. With the higher screen, the speed of the GPU becomes even more relevant.

    The combination of a high resolution screen and a low powered GPU is a bad combination and materially affects the performance of everything you do on the phone.
  • zorxd - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Do you remember the iPhone 4? Who complained that the GPU was slow? It was much slower than the SGX540 in the Galaxy S. Reply
  • metafor - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Speculation in an article isn't exactly proof of concept.

    Alpha blending, panning, compositing are very light tasks for a GPU pipeline; it's only a problem when a GPU is TMU-limited. And if it's TMU-limited, it would be obvious all the time.

    I don't think you quite grasp exactly what parts of UI rendering are handled -- or could be -- by the GPU and just how trivial it is compared to rendering a 3D game.
  • trob6969 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    What i don't understand is why would samsung give the gn 1gig of ddr2 ram then give it an inferior GPU? But to be fair, Apple is no better. Why give iphone 4s a powerful GPU then give it only 512 mb of ram?! My old-ass og moto droid from over 2yrs. ago had that much! Reply
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    As alluded to by numerous posters, including one in this comments section, iOS handles memory usage more efficiently than Android so it doesn't suffer any performance penalty as a result of having less RAM. Reply
  • zorxd - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    And what exactly is more efficient? Reply
  • c4v3man - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Their implimention of pseudo-multitasking as opposed to the much more flexible multitasking in Android. Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link


    Since the iOS can't do "true" multitasking, primarily as a design decision on Apple's part to greatly improve battery life (seen the battery life numbers on WebOS? They're pretty terrible), the requirements for memory are generally quite a bit lower than for Android.

    You could argue all day as to which one is better, and still not come up with a clear winner. This is strictly due to the phone form factor. Given the limitations on usable screen size (can't display 2 apps at once reliably), and that you have to rely on battery life, the argument of which is "better" is more difficult to make. These all disappear when power is no longer a serious concern (desktop), nor physical screen display (notebook through desktop).
  • zorxd - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    yeah and DOS is better because it works fine with only 1MB RAM. Reply
  • OCedHrt - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Which is fine due to fast app switching. Reply
  • trob6969 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    You didn't have to sacrifice GPU performqnce for a 4.3 inch 720p HD display. You could have done what i did and got an htc rezound. I downloaded Dead space, which is probably one of the most GPU demanding games for a phone, and gameplay is FLAWLESS on it! ZERO choppiness throughout the game. My rezound plays this game just as smoothly as my playstation 3. That says a lot about a phone's performance. Reply
  • metafor - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Note that with the increased clockspeed to the SGX540, the OMAP4460 matches the GPU performance of a Snapdragon S3 (used in the Rezound).

    Both chips perform similarly with the CPU clock at 1.2GHz (compare Sensation 4G to GN, for example).
  • dwang - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Deadspace runs perfectly fine on the galaxy nexus. No choppiness or slowdown. Reply
  • Zoomer - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    TI probably didn't anticipate the move to such high resolutions. The 540 was probably chosen as a good enough solution, given the power reqs are well.

    This is where Apple's hardware-software codesign wins out.
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    That reasoning that microSD cards are too slow seems to only apply to some of the cheap phones which pretty only use micro SD storage, for a phone like the Nexus it doesn't matter as you say because the micro SD card is for storage rather than applications. I don't really understand why the Nexus doesn't get a harder time for the lack of microSD storage given the relatively low onboard storage and high spec which means it can play back high resolution video which needs quite a bit of space. It's one of the main reasons I went for the Note instead which has the better camera, faster GPU and the micro SD storage allowing me to add 32GB very cheaply (and more down the line when 64GB cards come down in price) which is pretty necessary as the high resolution video recording and other features chew through space very quickly.

  • Insomniator - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I wonder if the Rezound's Adreno 220 will help with the delays using the ICS buttons. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The chip in this one generally benchmarks right after the Mali 400, the fastest GPU in an Android phone right now. Its probably a software thing, not hardware. Reply
  • Insomniator - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    According to anand's own benchmarks (can't find much else on the 220) the SGX540 is significantly slower...
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I know, but its still one of the faster GPU's out there. I don't see why the GPU would be a limitation on just the function buttons while the rest of the UI is buttery smooth. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Also, one of the comments below ours show Android 4.03 being faster and almost eliminating that lag, so it was a software thing. Reply
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Fair enough - it may have been a software thing.

    Nevertheless, it's a software thing which doesn't happen on the faster GPU of the Samsung Galaxy S2. So I'd say it's a bit of both.
  • zorxd - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Is the iPhone 4 with the slow SGX535 lagging? If not, how can it be a hardware thing? Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    You are comparing a 1GHz TI OMAP4 SGX540 to a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 Adreno 220.
    The CPU alone can explain the difference between the Optimus 3D (31 fps) and the qualcom developement platform (37-38 fps).

    As you can see, single core devices using the SGX540 are even slower.

    At a given CPU clock speed (let say the common 1.2 GHz) I think the SGX540 is faster than the Adreno 220.
  • jeremyshaw - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Different architecture. Snapdragon at 1.5GHz is probably a smidgen slower than Cortex-A9 at 1.2GHz. Remember Snapdragon as an amped-up Cortex A8. Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Scorpion is not an amped up A8, they are not related in any way other than the v7 ISA.
    The adreno 220 is way more powerfull than a 540, the problem with it was the poor bandwidth and the terrible drivers qualcomm released it with, it you check out the scores of the samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket with those new drivers it is much faster.
  • zorxd - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The Skyrocket is also 1.5 GHz so the CPU helps. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    There's a very small bit of lag on the bottom buttons. Quite frankly I think the delay is just the OS making sure you are holding down the home button for the task manager instead of just going home.

    Using ICS on a HTC Sensation. The status of it is beta - HTC still has work to do on it to make it as good as the 2.3.4 ROM.
  • webmastir - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Love my Galaxy Nexus. Best phone I've ever had & have no DOUBT in my mind that I'll be happy until my next Phone.
    Thanks Google!
  • OCedHrt - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Since I can't get the HTC keyboard working on AOSP ICS...I have to make this comment: I prefer the HTC keyboard much much more than even the ICS keyboard. It is ridiculously easy to mistype on the ICS keyboard. Reply
  • vithee05 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Can you guys tell me how the accessibility is in ICS? It's supposed to be better for those of us who are visually impaired. I am debating between the galaxy nexus, the razr, or waiting on the droid 4 to get the keyboard. Do you think the accessibility is good enough to not need the keyboard? Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I have a Droid RAZR (2.3.5) in my hands, and looking at the accessibility settings, it's pretty paltry. If you're considering a RAZR or Droid 4, I would wait until ICS shows for it. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I agree that its worlds better than the Gingerbread browser, but scrolling on image heavy pages still lags a bit compared to Opera Mobile (not to be confused with Mini). AFAIK Opera Mobile uses GPU acceleration as well and seems to do it better than Google at their own game. Just an idea, but a comparison of all the Android browsers would be nice :) Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    *on my Nexus S. Maybe on newer/faster phones it would be a toss up. Reply
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Really? interesting. Opera seems to get everything right. Their browser is blazing fast for Netbooks too. Everything in the UI and foreground tab gets processing priority, everything else (like background tabs rendering) gets delayed. It's a flawless design, much more responsive than Chrome when loading multiple tabs. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Yeah, and as far as I know its the only browser that dynamically adjusts its memory use depending on how much your using for other tasks, so it scales up or down to more powerful or less powerful systems, another reason its good on netbooks. It has addons now too which are rapidly gaining traction. If it wasn't for some compatibility niggles I would say its hands down the best browser, but I keep Chrome around for the 1 in 1000 site it might break. Oddly enough the Mobile version seems to be the opposite, its the only mobile browser that I've never seen break a site. Reply
  • gamoniac - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The article is co-authored, yet I keep seeing the use of "I" as the pronoun in sentences throughout. As a daily AT reader, I find it a bit awkard when trying to put a face to the article. I like the writing style; it just bugs me when I can't figure out whether it is Anand or Brian who is making the statement that I am reading. Perhaps the use of "we" makes more sense?

    Thanks. Great work as usual.
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    As an editor, I agree with this comment.

    It's not a huge deal, but it's nice to see:

    AL: I think that...

    BK: I disagree with Anand, but...

    Just don't do it everywhere because it'll seem like an interview.


    The videos have been the best new thing AT has done in a long time. Thanks! Good to put faces to names, even better to add voices. Next, comment system ;)


  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Perhaps writers at Anand should be required to speak in terms of The Collective. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    This is definitely something we've struggled with in the past and admittedly continue to struggle with. Most of ICS is Anand (though we collaborated and always wind up agreeing about most things), then the hardware and onwards is myself.

    Think of us as a hivemind (or collective) and the problem goes away :P

  • Zoomer - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Or write in 3rd person like a technical paper. Though that can be boring to read. Reply
  • just4U - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    "Think of us as a hivemind (or collective) and the problem goes away :P


    It does NOT!! Ok, which bonehead asimilated Brian & Anand? There goes the neighborhood (...grin)
  • thebitdnd - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I've had my GNex since the day after launch. It surpasses any experience I've had with a smartphone (including HTC Incredible, iPhone 3GS, and a HTC EVO) as a web browser and mobile computer device, but the single complaint I have is with using it as a...(wait for it) PHONE.

    I've had over a dozen calls now where I'll be conversing away and all of the sudden my microphone cuts out and the other person can't hear a word I'm saying. The call is still connected and I can hear them just fine, but I have to hang up each time and call them back.

    Google directed me to Verizon, Verizon says it's a Samsung/Google problem, but I've been assured it's a software problem and there will be a fix in 'an upcoming update'.

    As much as I like the hardware and software, not making reliable calls is a real kick in the junk for a smartphone.
  • jalexoid - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Well, what did you want with CDMA or LTE? No bugs? Reply
  • mhaager2 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Great review as always Anand. My only criticism is that it felt like it took you a very long time to get this review out compared to how quickly the iphone 4S review came out. I think your comments about the hardware are correct; its certainly not leaps and bounds ahead of other phones. Being my first phone since the iphone 3G I do wish it was more bleeding edge to future proof it a bit. However it actually works very well, both as a content consumption device, as well as (gasp) as a phone, and I just love, love, love that fact that its penta band. Now when I visit the US I no longer have to endure the legal extortion that used to be the norm with carrier locked devices. That feature alone makes this phone better than any other out there,, old GPU and all.

    Has anyone overclocked this to its 1.5 ghz spec? I wonder if there is any appreciable differerence and what the battery life trade off is.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I can only speak from my experience with my Nexus S, but the max CPU speed has little battery life impact compared to the impact the CPU governor does. 1.3GHz with the Lazy governor (available in Trinity Kernel) lasts longer than the stock 1GHz on OnDemand. Reply
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I believe most of the readership is willing to wait--it's the price we pay for the most analytical reviews the net has to offer, and I definitely hope AT doesn't take a page from Tom's Hardware's book... That said, this one does seem a bit delayed, poor Anand has too much to do... Reply
  • dwang - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Any remaining lag issues in ics is due to software and not hardware.

    4.0.3 has significant performance enhancements that address any remaining lag issues in the browser and buttons.

    For example, lags pretty badly in 4.0.1/4.0.2, but is buttery smooth in 4.0.3. Check out this youtube video.

    Either wait for google to push out 4.0.3 to the galaxy nexus or install one of the many custom 4.0.3 roms from xda.
  • cgalyon - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I've noticed popping and static coming from my GNexus when using apps (such as AmbiSciPS) that include extremely low tones (like 1.05Hz). I never had this problem with my Droid X, so I'm wondering if this is a limitation of the GNexus in general or if maybe I'm having bad luck. I don't suppose there's a way you could test the ability of the phone to produce tones across a broad range of frequencies? Reply
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    considering 1hz is 6hz below the threshold of human hearing (7hz), 19hz below what most headphones support (20hz), and about 80hz below what perfect-pitch musicians could identify as do, rei, me, fah, so, lah, or ti, I think you're asking a bit much... Reply
  • gorash - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I hope Android becomes a full-fledged desktop OS pretty soon, and it would be interesting to see how iOS will pan out in a few years.

    We're ready to say GOODBYE to Windows hegemony.
  • Zoomer - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    No thanks, that would suck badly. Reply
  • sjankis630 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I have the Galaxy Nexus and while I love it, I am coming from the Droid Eris, I have noticed several picture heavy sites which cause stuttering while zooming. I was slightly taken aback. I don't care how well my phone does against some other phone in a contest. I do, however, mind when visiting some sites makes it kind of annoying trying to get around.
    2 particular problem sites for me are : and
    Lovely phone though.
  • dwang - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    wait for 4.0.3 that addresses the browser lag issues.

    Here is 4.0.3 on
  • notext - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    love my nexus even though I dropped it and put a big ass crack on the screen. dropped my iphone many times and it never had a problem. Hopefully it was just a bad hit and not a sign of its design. Reply
  • notext - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    and i will send you my broken glass once I can get a replacement. The closest repair place here in austin said it is unavailabe right now. Reply
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Android should use the tried and true method of siplaying a *screenshot* of the home page as soon as the home button is pressed, and then replacing it with the live version. Btton presses are indeed way too laggy. Reply
  • CoryS - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I feel it is worth mentioning that custom kernels, combined with 4.03 have completely removed the task switcher lag. The latest version of Francos Kernel has increased idle battery life by an incredible margin (I lose about 1% every 10 hours on idle) and it has removed all UI lag I noticed on the stock device. Reply
  • dwang - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link


    My gn is buttery smooth with 4.0.3 bigxie ROM and franco kernel.

    Best phone I've ever used and I've owned every nexus phone (nexus one, nexus s) and the g1.
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    this is why people go to Apple, because Google, even on their flagship phone, can't make it out better than the modding community. Reply
  • dwang - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    what exactly are you babbling about. 4.0.3 is responsible for most of the performance improvements and thats from google. Reply
  • phantomash - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    If Apple did such a good job on iOS then why is there the term "jailbreak"? Reply
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    For the minority of users who want to use a different OS to iOS?

    A number, which you should take note, is far lower than the percentage of Android users who want to 'root' their phone (the equivalent).
  • Tetracycloide - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Of course it's far lower, the people that want to customize like that avoid Apple because it's not as customization. It's an intellectually dishonest self-fulfilling statement that demonstrates absolutely nothing. Reply
  • Blackened144 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    That goes both ways.. If Google did such a good job on Android, why is there the term "root"? Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Your response to a post highlighting the strengths of a partially open platform vis a vis third party kernel development is that that is the reason people go with a completely closed platform? That makes no sense at all... Reply
  • CoryS - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Guys, this is a NEXUS it is a dev device. That primary reason I got it was because of this...better hardware will be right around the corner...but we won't see another Nexus..especially on Verizon for some time.

    It is refreshing to have a community to fix issues OEMS ignore (yes even Apple) for a change. This is my first unlocked device, and i can't see myself ever going back to anything else.
  • medi01 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Wake up, Smartphone market (worldwide):
    1. Samsung 24%
    2. Apple 18%

    Android vs Apple = 3 vs 1 and gap is raising.

    Most people turn to apple due to FUD, like this article. Google "steppit out of the shade of its competitor" having three times Apple's market share and much more usable interface (try to quickly access settings like wlan/bluetooth/gps on ios)
  • steven75 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    LOL dont you get it? You don't *need* to fiddle with those settings on iOS necause the battery life is so dramatically better.

    Also, funny reading this comment after Apple's Q4 report where they dominated.
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I hope Samsung puts out this phone based on GN aesthetics but Exynos 5250 (plus MDM9xxx multi-mode/LTE modem) and blows away the competition.

  • Chumster - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Could someone clarify on what GPU/CPU he was talking about coming in Q2 devices? Cray? Crate? It was hard to pick up on my headphones. Reply
  • mmp121 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link


    Read below:

  • Conficio - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Really, Google can't survive once Walled Garden platforms like iOS gain traction.

    While it is nice to control the OS (Chrome OS) on PC like devices and nice to stick it to Microsoft, it is essential in the world of smart phones. Google clearly saw that Apple did the unthinkable, wrestle control of the phone's apps away from the networks. That is an existential thread for Google. If there is a billion PC users world wide, there is a multitude of smart phone users, sooner or later.

    If a hardware manufacturer and OS provider like Apple (or Microsoft) controls the apps that can be provided to the phone and features, move from browser to apps on phones, then this is the end of (a profitable) google sooner or later.

    From anther point of view, Google is a huge data center that provides you with data services on their computing power (and you pay for it with advertisement somehow). Apple is a hardware manufacturer that sees it necessary to control the software to deliver a good user experience. Sure, two different approaches to a smart phone OS.
  • hackbod - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    "Google clearly saw that Apple did the unthinkable, wrestle control of the phone's apps away from the networks."

    There is this weird thing I see expressed a lot, as if Android is a reaction to the iPhone.

    It is not.

    In this particular case, it is obvious: Android's SDK was made available a few months after the original iPhone was on sale, well before there was *any* native SDK for the iPhone. At that time Apple's very clear official policy was that web-based apps was the One True Way to create applications for their phone. There was no concept of an App Store, no phone apps except what Apple shipped built in to the iPhone, nothing wrestled away from the networks in that department.

    If Android was a reaction to anything, it was to the current situation on desktop PCs, with one company controlling that platform, and being able to quite strongly dictate and control its ecosystem and thus large parts of the computer industry.

    One of the goals of Android was to try to keep that from happening in the upcoming mobile industry, by creating an open platform so that everybody in the industry can compete as equally as possible.

    (And an aside -- this also makes it funny to see the recent stuff going around about Google "losing control" of Android. Android was very much set up so that no one company, not even Google, could have anything like the control that Microsoft does over Windows. This should be pretty obvious to anyone who wants to actually write thoughtful articles on the topic and not just link bait.)
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Can you talk more about this? From Diane Hackborne's post here ( it sounds like the "limitation" is memory bandwidth in that hardwares that are "laggy" are laggy because they can't render to the entire screen 2 and 3x per frame for all the overlays. Which wouldn't seem like so much of a Tegra2 limitation in my opinion considering it has the power to play games like Quake 3 at 1600x1200 @ 60fps (I think...right?). What are your thoughts? Reply
  • hackbod - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    I don't know about the performance of Tegra 2 playing Quake, but you need to be very careful when comparing the traditional 3d workload that GPUs are highly optimized to support (as exemplified by Quake) vs. the performance rendering 2d graphics.

    Traditional 3d games tend to rely, for example, on triangle rendering as much if not more than raw pixel fill rate, and GPUs are designed to be able to do that fast. When drawing 2d scenes, there are very few triangles but those triangles cover very large parts of the screen and are rendered as overlapping layers.

    On all of the hardware I have seen, for 2d rendering raw memory bandwidth (determining the number of times every pixel can be touched per frame) is the #1 impact on performance.

    Look back at that post -- for a typical scroll of all apps in launcher, without using overlay tricks (which aren't available on Tegra when the screen is rotated), you are looking at touching every pixels about 4 times to render all the layers and composite them to the screen. This is just not a typical 3D game workload.
  • TedG - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I am looking forward to ICS on my RAZR. It seems similar in power and size to the Nexus. Reply
  • Jonathan Dum - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Any comments on the quality of the touch sensors? My biggest gripe with my Nexus One is the absolutely inane touch accuracy in comparison to an iPhone. If these new ICS phones have significantly improved touch sensors, I may be coaxed into sticking with Android. Reply
  • jalexoid - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Synaptics touchscreen controller on N1 was to blame. Even the HTC's "copy" Desire had a much better touchscreen experience due to a better touchscreen controller.

    All devices after that should have a really good controller.
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Same with my Nexus S. The locational accuracy is good, but it actually senses a tap with my finger a few millimeters above the screen, which can cause problems with the keyboard and other precise apps. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    That was always my bug with the Nexus One as well, and it remains an unsolved problem to this day on that phone.

    I've seen no touch recognitions at all on the Galaxy Nexus. For the most part honestly these issues have gone away as the OEMs stopped being cheap with their capacitive layers and controllers. The Nexus One was especially bad.

    I've seen some people complaining about issues with recognition in the bottom right corner - hardware swaps fix those problems.

  • Skiddywinks - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    ... is the GN still going to be the best Android on the market? I upgrade in March, and it basically comes down to the S2 or the GN. Each has their advantages, but personally it largely comes down to the display and the GPU.

    I like to play emulated games on my phone, but I don't know how they work in terms of whether they are software only, or can GPU accelerate. The better GPU in the S2 doesn't really do much if the GN can play everything else on the market at no apparent deficit. Better display all the way in that case. GN wins.

    I'm not liking the lack of mSD in the GN either, though.

    BAH. Decisions, decisions.
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Yeah, the Mali 400 in the GS2 might benchmark way higher than the Galaxy Nexus, but there are no games that exclusively run on it, or even that have more features on it like Tegra phones. I'd guess that even with its relatively weak GPU the Galaxy Nexus will never leave you wanting in games for the next year or two, and its screen is better. My Nexus S can still play top end games like Shadowgun, and that was built for more powerful tablets. With Android developers aim for middling hardware. Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    @Android is an OS that, although more closed than many would like, still allows more flexibility than iOS@

    And that comparing Open Source OS to something as closed as it gets. It is merely "still allows more than iOS", hilarious.
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    The openness of Android wasn't being compared to iOS, the flexibility was.

    Two separate points.
  • Gwynbleidd - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Two things, though:

    1. You wrote "Business is as usual for Windows users as ICS based devices just appear as a drive letter thanks to native MTP support." - that's not true, because of MTP Nexus appears in My Computer in Windows as a multimedia device and does not have a letter assigned, so sadly it's not possible to use traditional file managers like Total Commander to deal with files on it without additional plugins.

    2. Did you notice any screen quality issues in your devices? Mine shows ugly pinkish smudges visibly especially on gray backgrounds, here's photo (it's out of focus on purpose, otherwise there would be a rainbow goo on screen):

    So when scrolling webpages you can see that text is pinkish at the top, then white stripe, then pinkish again... Apparently I'm not the only one having this issue with Nexus, and there is a long thread on xda forum about the same problem with Galaxy Note Screens

    A little investigation, maybe? ;)
  • Tujan - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Concerning the youtube video shown about the android smartphone. No misconception here,but is it the intention of the video to put your thumb so much at the forefront of the small phone,somehow toggling between 'both eyes' of the viewer. ? Is that the intention of the video ?
    Pure punn intended that is an awesome big speaker you are speaking to. And true even though the video was most likely rendered in 'full part',with both video and audio attached,I cannot help the feeling that there IS SOME LATENCY between my chinese made glasses and the finish of my lcd.
    The fact that you are discussing a radio device,and I am utilizing a later viewing of it over a wired internet connection. Does not diminish the fact that your radio devices capability of facial recognition,and my lcds display of it is no substitute for taking x-rays if you actually need to.
    I see that you are descript in functioning your arms across the whole of the screen at the making of your video. And there is that very large meter between the preposition of the distance of the audio device,and the radio device that is to conclude that preposition.
    Punn accepted there is certainly some latency there that is perfectly conceptual. Between the foreground,and the background. And the autonomic acceptance of my viewing it.

    You notice that at times as a forefront,you have a wide screen rendering. Then at other times there is the focus 'in'. The difference in doing so is the focal point of my comment in that subject of its latency.

    And that truly the speaking IS a separate distinction of a Microphone. Than that of a speaker,and the screen displayed. Your being behind it shouldn't be misconstrued of what my comment is coordinating to account to. Since obviously the latency between my glasses and what I see on the screen at my viewing of it is of no consequence to your creation of it.

    Mentioning that relationally you cannot change the environment around you no more than I can make your video for you. Perhaps someone will recognize this.

    And thanks.
  • nsnsmj - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I always enjoy how detailed the reviews are. Reply
  • BitGambit - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I love this phone, but I have owned 2 different Nexii with the "Mura" screen issue. The first one I owned was glaringly obvious, but the second one less so, but it's still there. I was not able to exchange it for the second time, because the defect wasn't apparent enough to warrant an exchange, explains the Verizon employee. It pains me because having a good screen is important to me and I was looking forward to release of the Galaxy Nexus. I'm absolutely jealous of those who have a Galaxy Nexus with immaculate AMOLED screens. Reply
  • crankerchick - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I haven't had a chance to read the whole review, but I'm happy to see it. I've been checking everyday thinking I must have missed the review. It's great to see time and care being put into the review, as always. The video at the bottom was also very insightful and hits right in the points if why I prefer Android and the evolution it has seen, over iOS when it comes to my mobile devices. ICS flies in my Galaxy Nexus and my XOOM! I don't ever see 25 Mbps on my Nexus though, or all the bars for that matter. Maybe I have a signal issue? :-p Reply
  • flomt - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I see you have the iphone 4s getting 9.85 hours of web browsing. Do you receive a phone from Apple to test, or do you go to the store and buy one?
    The reason I am asking is I have a 4s and I can tell you mine, and the people I know that have one are lucky to get 9.85 hours of battery life with the phone sitting on the nigh stand.
    Thanks for the great reviews.
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I think all the figures Anandtech post are their own measured statistics.

    I have a 4s and I, and the people I know that have one, are amazed by how long the battery life lasts, both in general and when web browsing.

    When sitting on the night stand for 9.85 hours a very small percentage of battery life is depleted.
  • flomt - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I know 4 other people with a 4s, none of them can last 24 hours with very light usage. 9 hours of web browsing is not even kinda of possible. All are on the most current release 5.0.1

    Reading the Apple forums, I am not the only one. Do the phones with poor battery life all originate in a different factory than the ones that last a long time? have a different version of the radio?

    Apple is just denying that they have a problem now and I can tell you that they really do have a serious problem with some phones.
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Are you running push e-mail by any chance? That kills idle battery life. Reply
  • flomt - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Nope, manual sync only. Reply
  • tom5 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    You state in the article here that the camera sensor is a NOT-back-illuminated S5K4E1G sensor and Chipworks in the teardown article states that Galaxy Nexus is using "S5K4E5YA 5 Mp, 1.4 µm pixel pitch back illuminated CMOS image sensor":
    Who is right?
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Interesting. I originally picked S5K4E5 family as being the likely choice - as it's the BSI equivalent, and though that was what was inside until I decompiled/dug around inside the ducati-m3.bin file as noted in the review.

    You'll see numerous references to "S5K4E1G" and none for "S5K4E5" which is the BSI version. EG:


    It could very well be BSI since they've x-rayed it.

  • tom5 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Official Samsung site says SGS II has quad band 3G and Galaxy Nexus has penta-band 3G, so there's a difference in GSM connectivity:
  • Stas - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I appreciate the thoroughness in this review, Anand.
    Interesting, however, how I find so many things about the software completely irrelevant to someone who just can't leave things vanilla. Browser performance and features, launcher scrolling, screenshots, on-screen keyboard, etc. None of those things are in their original Android form on my phone (SGS2). Some issues have been addressed by Samsung, some by XDA developers, some by myself. As a result, I believe I have the perfect phone on the market (for me). Reading every section of this article, I kept finding myself thinking, "Heh, my phone doesn't have that problem," or, "Mine does that even better," or, "would suck to have that phone instead of my Galaxy."
    I always thought advancement in tech = replacing devices sooner. However, after reading this review, I have no desire whatsoever to replace my current phone with the new flagship. I always get that feeling when I read a video card review, CPU review, SSD review, etc. But I feel like my phone lacks nothing, and I will stick with it for a long while. Customizing and tweaking software to your own taste, making it feel just right is the most important aspect of an electronic device that provides so much interaction. I guess that's why I almost feel handicapped on a stock Android phone or, especially, iPhone. The devices just feel so clunky and unrefined.
    Thank you, if nothing else, for helping me see a different perspective on things :)
  • Lucian Armasu - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    1. Can you re-check and confirm if swiping tabs off in the task menu, actually KILLS the apps, or it just takes them off the list? Because I've heard before that it doesn't kill them.

    2. The battery tests, especially the Wi-Fi ones, were they done with 3G and LTE on?
  • silow675 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    "At 720p, which happens to be the GN's native resolution, the OMAP 4460 is a bit faster than Tegra 2 but not significantly so. The more important thing to keep in mind is just how much faster Tegra 3's GPU is by comparison"

    I don't understand this remark. The chart that's posted for the 720p offscreen renders don't have a Tegra 2 device. In the RightWare charts the Galaxy Nexus scores much more than "a bit faster" than the Tegra 2 devices. And to my knowledge no Tegra 2 smartphones are offered at native 720p resolution.

    I also checked the AT Bench database and couldn't find any Tegra 2 benchmarks to compare. Do you guys have some unposted numbers?
  • RobElk - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    You guys do a great job. Love the attention to detail in your review. Thanks. Reply
  • DrKlahn - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I found this comment interesting. I have had the phone since launch day (VZW) and have yet to notice any lag hitting the virtual buttons. Perhaps I am just not as sensitive to it or some other process on your test phone is affecting it. I have got the phone to lag doing some very intensive tasks on occasion, but it's very infrequent. My chief complaint has been the volume which I remedied with a free app (Volume+ with the +2 setting). Otherwise I give the phone very high marks. I have no real desire to root or tinker with it yet, the stock experience is excellent. Reply
  • peokuk - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    for the font comparison, why not 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'? using cat and jumped leaves out the letters 'g' and 's'...
  • DanSmith - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    No one has actually said it yet so I will. Good review guys, in depth and informative as always.
    Thanks for your hard work.

  • DanSmith - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Actually, someone already has! Seems the internet is not completely populated by haters. :) Reply
  • jamyryals - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I liked this review very much. Do a video wrap up of the CES experience! Reply
  • HangFire - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link


    Are you using 2.2 era data for Thunderbolt battery life in the graph, or are you using modern Gingerbread data? The Thunderbolt has come a long way in managing battery life since introduction.

  • Brian Klug - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link


    Yeah, we're using the initial launch performance of the HTC Thunderbolt here. Unfortunately HTC wanted that phone back, so we can't test with the newer updates. This is one thing we're working on changing this year.

  • lewchenko74 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I moved from an iphone 4 to the Galaxy Nexus... and there are issues that are not listed in this review.
    My only previous Android phone was a HTC Hero, which I rooted to 2.1 after no carrier support (Orange in the UK suck). Im happy with ICS in general.. but the phone itself has 2 really annoying major flaws which have happened to me on many occasion ...

    1. The random turn off problem.

    2. The random mic turning off mid call problem.

    Both are discussed quite a bit on sites like and forums, and seem to be happening to MANY (see the forum pages yourself) people, whether you have a GSM version, US phone on all versions of ICS. Swapping out hardware for a different phone is not solving the problems, and whilst infrequent for me , they happen to other people far more. (and not at all to some people..)

    In other words... Either ICS has a couple of critical bugs, or the hardware is at fault (or the firmware)..

    Both issues are apparently acknowledged by google as well.... yet seem to be getting little to no publicity. recently reported the random turn off problem with the Nexus.

    So well done on the thorough review, but I wish somebody had warned me about these issues.

    I dont regret switching from the iphone 4 (screen was too small, and the lack of customisation was frustrating.. and the 4s was such a major dissapointment)... the Galaxy Nexus is a phone with serious problems (hopefuly ones that can be resolved with updates).

    Links to the forum pages of the issues :
  • B3an - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    These both seem like a very common issue. Pretty serious problems too, not exactly something small. Disappointing to see no mention of this in the article. Reply
  • anandtech pirate - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    really? you guys, a tech site, uploaded a 480p quality video in 2012? sigh.... Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Ah yes, if I can't see every follicle in his beard the review loses all its informativeness! lol Reply
  • Nevod - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Very weird battery life measurements.
    Judging by Wi-Fi hotspot and Talk time, Wi-Fi and cellular basebands are comparable in efficiency to other modern devices. Advantage over SGSII seems to be proportional to battery.
    Cellular web browsing time is quite good. Yet so low Wi-Fi browsing time - looks like it goes into some "hunger mode", like not caching anything when on Wi-Fi.

    Also, there is an option in ICS browser to invert colors, switches black and white , probably to extend battery life on OLED screens, as, well, sites usually have white backgrounds and that's not very nice to battery. Would be interesting to see tests of battery performance on inverted colors.
  • Bytales - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Please Anandtech, if you have the posibillity, make a review of Galaxy Note Reply
  • Artifex28 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    You should use some curtains to kill the early reflections from concrete walls. :) Reply
  • Jingato - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Why even bother posting a review of a phone that is over a month old? If you want to be a real news /review site you should of had a review the next day. There is no reason not to. period.

    get your shit together
  • tipoo - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Because they go more in depth than most reviews out there. The ones that post reviews the day after a product launch don't find nearly as many flaws and details as the AT team. There are plenty of other sites for quickie reviews, I like Anandtech for in-depth. Reply
  • Omid.M - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    That's unnecessarily harsh. If you're used to the same day "reviews" of Engadget--i.e. NOTHING technical, totally subjective measurements of everything, in the name of being the "first" with a review--then go ahead and keep reading Engadget.

    Brian and Anand review EVERYTHING in depth: basebands, screens, software, they even have supercurio who is well known dev in Android community for his take on audio processing. Plus, Anand and Brian were covering CES.

    Anand, Brian,

    Great job as always. I have a chance to pick up a Nexus LTE for $500 (since I don't have an upgrade) but will hold off; might go with iPhone 4S until Krait or iPhone 5 comes out and (hopefully) blows me away.


  • Harbler - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    Why even bother posting a comment if you're not going to read the review? A cursory perusal of the index alone would have answered your question.

    Anand & Co. take the time required to turn in top-notch, in-depth reviews, and they've been doing it for longer than your favorite gadget review site has even been in business. Anandtech is, in every sense, a *real* review site.

    If wholly subjective reviews of devices (provided within hours of launch) are your idea of informative reading, then please return to Engadget or whatever site you strayed from. Unlike Anadtech, sites of the sort you're looking for are a dime a dozen, and you'll find them substantially better suited to your attention span.
  • vortmax2 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Can Brian or Anand comment on why they believe Samsung used an OMAP 4460 when they only clocked it to 4430 levels? Also, devs at XDA are having a hard time overclocking it to the 1.5GHz/384MHz max values. Any ideas? Thanks! -Jamie Reply
  • Tripp1717 - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Ive had it for over a month now and i upgraded from a galaxy s (epic 4g on Sprint). Watching Blue ray movies i put on my phone are simply amazing. Ive never seen anything better and i work in the electronics dept at sears. Its better than the samsung 7000 led screen. Overall it took a few weeks to really get used to Andriod 4.02 but it is an amazing improvment from 2.3.5. I cant think of too many flaws here. LTE is SOOO much fater than WiMax! i get about 25-30 MB/s when using speedtest. Upload speeds are very fast too, ave. is around 10ish MB/s. Battery life is fantastic compared to my epic 4g. At work i set my ohone to data restrict so i only get calls and texts because in my store there is NO signal at all and after 8 hours from 100% it will drop to 85%. My Epic wouldnt make it through the work day. 720p Super AMOLED+ really makes this phone a winner. Google and samsung working together is a great combo. My ONLY complaint is i wish i had an 8 or higher megapixel camera. But with the added features its pretty darn decent. No complaints except there are a few programs that are still not compatible with 4.0+ (HBOGO). I highly recomend this over any phone out or anything slated to come out for awhile anyways. Reply
  • Amit P - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I'm waiting for my THIRD Nexus to come in. I had screen problems with the first two. The screen wasn't as bright as my brothers Nexus with the same settings. The colors weren't as vivid either. Reply
  • Bristecom - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Thats why I didnt exchange mine. Even though it has a dead pixel, aside from that, the screen looks great. So I fear getting one with no dead pixels but poor brightness or colors. This screen is the best Ive ever seen. Other super AMOLED plus displays Ive seen have off colors that bother me. Reply
  • Bristecom - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I have to say, mine has a dead green subpixel and it is very clear to me even from a distance with green or white screens. Regardless, I didnt bother exchanging it. -Sent from my Galaxy Nexus Reply
  • medi01 - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    A question, I have Galaxy S so can't compare.
    Could you please comment on whether black is actually black on Nexus as it is on Galaxy's?

    I'm asking because dear objective Anand managed to make a photo of it that makes it look gray ("Display" page)
  • sjankis630 - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - link

    I can comment that my Galaxy Nexus' black is as black as midnight to a blind man.
    The only time I see some grey type tones is when the website is colored that way.
  • walkman - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    That was a shocking detailed and informative review -- It's the sort of article that makes Anandtech my first choice for tech reviews.

    - The article mentioned new processors just around the corner. Was this referring to any processors other than Krait? I haven't heard any news about Krait since November PR -- Are we looking at April or June? And do we think anyone besides HTC will use Krait?
  • Omid.M - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    Processors around the corner:

    Exynos 5250

    It's going to be a bloodbath for the next 12-18 months.

    If iPhone 5 uses the MDM9160 (?) modem with LTE, I'm jumping on that. Tired of tweaking battery life on my Thunderbolt. Not sure I want to do the same with a Galaxy Nexus LTE.

    And what's this I'm reading about connection issues / dropped calls on the VZW Nexus? Ridiculous.
  • Rictorhell - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    I am a big fan of this site and I read the reviews and articles all of the time and I find them very informative and useful, but, I have a request.

    When a review is written, particularly about a certain smartphone or tablet, it is mentioned whether the device has an SD card slot and you always tend to differentiate between whether it is a “full-sized” SD slot or a “micro”SD slot. That is useful to know, but there are several actual types of SD cards available, each with a different maximum storage capacity, and you don't specify in your reviews which types of SD cards are actually supported by the device being reviewed and I think that is a bit of an oversight.

    To the best of my knowledge, standard SD cards only have a maximum capacity of up to 2gb, while SDHC cards can go up to as high as 32gb, and SDXC cards, while only available right now in sizes up to 128gb, are supposed to theoretically be able to be manufactured in sizes up to 2tb.

    There is a huge difference in size between 2gb, 32gb, and 128gb. Given that smartphones and tablets have substantial built in limits as far as storage capacity, I think it would be very helpful to know which type of SD card is supported by which device, if that is possible.

    If I read two reviews about two different Android tablets and both reviews mention that both cards have a full-size SD card slot, as a user with a lot of media files, I'm going to be interested to know if one of those tablets can support SDXC cards while the other one cannot.

    I consider that to be a major feature, to me, just as important as battery life. If you do reviews of tablets and smartphones, or even ultrabooks, and neglect to specify how much storage potential these devices have or do not have, you are making it very easy for the hardware manufacturers to simply put in second rate storage and format support, knowing that it will not be covered in reviews by sites like Anandech. Not only is this going to stunt the evolution of these devices but it's also going to mean less options for consumers.

    Anyway, thank you for your time.
  • peevee - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Anand, please include OS version number (and carrier when applies) in the charts for performance and battery life tests. They make huge difference, as browser speeds improve, they consume less CPU time and less energy when browsing.
    For example, the discrepancy between iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S looks outsized and probably is the result of testing iPhone 4 with iOS much older than the current version, probably not even 4.3, and 4S with iOS 5.
  • skinien - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    What a review!!! I'm not in the market for a new hone right now, but when the time comes, I'll be looking here for a review on prospective phones. GREAT WRITE UP! Reply
  • sonicmerlin - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I'm sorry, but you're ignoring the fact that ICS STILL lags. If you load up a heavy site like theverge, try scrolling around while the site is loading. Your entire page stutters and freezes until everything is done loading. ICS also lags more as you load more apps onto your phone, just like all previous versions of Android. Also notice how all UI elements are flattened when pages are rendered. Try zooming in or out. The new page info appears all at once, rather than pop up individually as in iOS and WP7. This can result in lag on heavy sites.

    For whatever reason tech "nerds" don't seem to notice the very obvious fluidity issues. Yes once you've loaded up a site it's easy to pan around, but people don't sit there patiently waiting for websites to load. Nor do they appreciate the frequent microstutters due to garbage collection issues, or the massive standby battery drain issues that tons of Android phones experience. And even the basic phone UI itself still lags behind your finger, demonstrating an irritating rubberband affect.

    It's stupid. Android will never stop lagging until Google rewrites the OS to give the UI thread priority, instead of putting it at the same level as app priority.
  • rupert3k - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    Learned loads from reading this, really impressed with how far Android has come.
    The stuttering when scrolling, zooming or browsing always annoyed me, stoked to learn ICS is fully accelerated.

    One wonders if we'll see any Motorola Nexus style devices once Google settles into their new ownership. Be nice to see a Motorola this nice!

    Hope we see high dot pitch Android devices to combat Retina, not happy with AMOLED at present it seems a bit yellowy & over saturated to me, surely LG or Samsung can also spec Retina style IPS or at least offer the choice between AMOLED & IPS 330dpi.

    Bring on the Quad high DPI Android & iOS tablets!!
  • bruce3777a - Sunday, January 29, 2012 - link


    Please bear with me:)

    If a phone was upgraded from Gingerbread to ICS and It appears to be able to still work with the apps from many banks

    It seems like these apps were not compatable with tablets running honeycomb so it was necessary to just use the browser.

    If a tablet is upgraded from Honeycomb to ICS, or if a new tablet is purchased that has ICS would/should that automatically make it compatable, or is there still something that the banks would need to do to make it universal to both phones and tablets that use ICS. Thanks in advance for any insight.
  • Lucian Armasu - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    I think I figured it out. I just saw this:

    And I remembered it's not the only time I see 1196x720 pixels being rendered in a benchmark. Anand, if you're reading this, could it be because the buttons are NOT rendered by the GPU, and instead are rendered by those Cortex-M3 2D cores? They would have to render much fewer pixels, but they are also much slower than the GPU, and also pretty old tech I think.
  • dryphi - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    What about the contacts list?
    One of my biggest pet peeves with previous versions of Android is it took so long to find the person you wanted to call / text / whatever. This was because opening the "Contacts" list or the "Phonebook" necessitated you scroll down to the name of the person, through page after page of contact (if you have a lot, like I do). Another option with Android is pressing the "Search" button (in some views) would permit typing the person's name, although this feature has been done-away with in ICS.
    Compare these two options to the iPhone, on which you could simply press the first letter of the person you were looking for and the list would jump right to it.

    As a result of the aforementioned frustration, my Android device often makes for a better mobile web browser than it does a mobile phone!

    How does ICS address this issue? Did they finally adopt the alphabet list to the right of your contacts like the iPhone? Or do they provide another way of searching for contacts?
  • Kuzma30 - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    Need more information about decompile ducati-m3.bin. I need change watchdog timer from 11 to 10 in ducati firmware. Can you help me?
  • vineeth - Monday, April 09, 2012 - link

    I can't believe that after so many iterations, they just can't get it right. It pisses me off that when you zoom out of a webpage you get those white spaces Reply
  • eio - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    it's Camera ICS

    an app based on ICS stock camera app code, but exposed many advanced settings, like bitrate in video =)
    that result in significantly better video quality, especially at 1080p.

    really made me wonder why google didn't include those features in their official rom
  • rs1709 - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    Have you had a chance to revisit this subject. With support being available when buying the device from Google direct is there anything that has changed ? Reply

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