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CNET First Look
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon)The fabled Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon is here! Is the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich phone for the U.S. as slick and fast as they say?
Feast your eyes everyone because I've got in my hands the famed Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Verizon. What makes this phone really stand out is that it's the first phone on a US network to run Android's Ice cream sandwich operating system. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET and here's your first look. So we've had the unlocked version of this phone in our clutches for about a month now and they both run on a 1.2 gigahertz dual core processor. They both take 1080p HD video and they both have a 5 megapixel camera and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. There are a few things that make it different on Verizon though. First, it runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network and before we used the T-Mobile SIM card on the unlocked phone. Second, this version has 1 gigabyte of RAM and 32 gigabytes of internal memory where the unlocked version has only 16 gigabytes. Third, there are Verizon's apps pre-installed and if you don't like those apps, then a new feature on the Ice Cream Sandwich that lets you hide the icons but keep in mind that you still won't be able to completely uninstall any pre-loaded apps. Other than that you're gonna find the pure Google experience. So, Ice Cream Sandwich, the pure Google experience is the phone's real draw. The operating system adds a ton of new features like a brand new interface for almost any app, a new menu button within the apps instead of the dedicated menu button down below, and the ability to drag and drop to create folders right on your screen. Plus there's panorama in the camera app and some basic editing tools and there's NFC technology and the ability to beam information from one compatible phone to another. For more on the new operating system in Android beam and believe me there's a lot more, check out my other videos on cnettv.com. Now onto the phone's actual design. The hardware is known for its high definition, super Amoled display and indeed it shows off really lush colors and high amount of detail. The screen is a whopping 4.65 inches but since all the controls are now part of the screen and not part of the bezel below the display, then the screen still essentially has the dimensions of a 4.5 inch screen that you're used to. Do you see this slight curve in the screen? That's another detail that the Galaxy Nexus has. Just like the Nexus S before it. It's meant to hug your cheek better when you hold the phone to your ear and while it is an interesting design feature, I have to say to me it doesn't make much of a perceptible difference when I'm actually using the phone. There's a sort of a rubberized material on the back cover of that Samsung calls Hyper Skin and it feels pretty good. The device is also very thin and very light. In fact it's so light that it is a little bit on the breakable feeling side if you're not careful. I accidentally dropped the unlocked version and the back cover has really never been the same since. The phone, I should say, it's a little bit thicker. It's 2 tenths of an inch thicker than the unlocked version and that's to accommodate the LTE technology. For cameras the Galaxy Nexus takes 5 megapixel shots and while it does produce some good photos, it's also pretty clear that this is not Samsung's best camera out there. Colors were a little off in some photos and other photos weren't as crisp as I wanted. Considering that there are other really great 8 megapixel Samsung cameras like on the Galaxy S2 for example, this one here is a little bit of a disappointment. Still it does take good shots overall and there is 1080p HD video. There's also that front facing camera for video chats. Now I did mentioned NFC on here which means that Android Beam will work. Tapping your phone to pay for items is another main draw with NFC but for unknown reason Verizon has ixnayed Google Wallet. So you can't pay with the phone using Google's own software solution. At least not yet anyway. The Galaxy Nexus costs $299.99 on Verizon which is the same price as other premium phones like the HTC Rezound and the Motorola Droid RAZR. It's a great phone with a great screen with really fast speed and the latest and greatest Android OS. Still the camera doesn't blow away the competition and even though there is a ton of internal storage, a micro SD card slot would let you expand it to 64 gigabytes. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET. You can read my full review of Verizon's Samsung Galaxy Nexus on CNET.com.