Galaxy Nexus Day 2

November 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Kevin Wright in Reviews

Ok, so I started the day with this Tweet, but I have to report that I did very badly :-( Read on to find out why, and relax, I do find some nice things to say further down the page!

There were the issues with the screen brightness that I am still trying to get some information on, anyone with an S2, go into Settings/Display/ and tick or untick the box for “Auto adjust screen power” and you get an idea of what this control does. Go to a mainly white screen, say gmail, web or whatever, and with the control on, it reduces the power and brightness to save battery. With it off, you can have really bright whites, and a bit less battery.

This works fine on the Note and S2, but on the Nexus, there is no such control. I know this is all it is, because when you see white text on a mainly black background, it is way brighter. I have asked about this over at Modaco and XDA, but it seems people are not at all bothered about the muddy dim screen, maybe they came from the Nokia N8!

There is a lot of noise about the volume bug on the net at the moment, but try as I might, I can not get this one to do it. I am on a 2G network, as its locked to O2 and there is no 3G here. I have tried it with another 2G signal SIM in the S2 and can not get it to reproduce. Sammy and Google have both said its fixable in software, so its no biggie really.

Using the Nexus a bit more today I still don’t like the lack of capacitive fixed position buttons, seems like a bit of a case of doing it because they can, and I think it may work well on Tablets, but moving between this and my S2, there is no comparison at all, the S2 is so much nicer to use due to the capacitive buttons, and of course the centre button.

Someone on Twitter asked to try sending stuff over the USB cable to the Nexus, as its missing certain things that I don’t honestly understand. Well under Windows, it just seems to see it as another drive and it calls it Galaxy Nexus in the XP file manager at least, and I just copied over 14 full albums of 320 encoded MP3s and it says its going to take 14 mins, although with 2 mins gone its now saying 2 mins left, which I think is a lie. This is on an old Netbook BTW. OK, so it took around 4 mins in all.  I can click around all the folders on the Nexus using the XP file manager, and it looks much like any other external drive. XP did install something on first plug in, but did not require any input from me. The music all plays fine with the very basic included Google Music app, but only about 3 of the 14 Albums have any cover art.

Now, to the Macbook Air, my main computer these days. Plugged it in, and…nothing at all! It does however point you towards where it takes about 5 seconds to download and install a little helper app for the Mac. No big deal really, fire up the app and you can grab a load more files and drop them into the App window. I grabbed another 14 albums and this time it took just under 3 mins to transfer them over, it was just over 1GB. I hope that answers some questions, certainly was not hard to do. Feel free to answer follow ups in the comments or on Twitter.

So, I did badly so far, what about the things I like about this device? Well, there are some nice things in ICS, but this device? I can not wait to see ICS on the S2, its coming along very fast now, so we should be able to try it soon, but you need to be aware that ICS is *very* different to previous versions. For example, the Menu button is sometimes at the bottom, see the 3 little dots in these two pictures and then look for them in the third photo, where it way up at the top. Pretty inconsistant, and something I thought ICS was supposed to fix? All these things will get sorted, already Paul O’Brien over at Modaco is sorting out persistant Menu buttons, and the connectivity stuff, but for those that can’t (or won’t) fiddle with their phones, it is a little annoying at the moment.

One thing I do like is the new Task Manager, which is to the right of Home at the bottom of the screen. Not that keen on that button doing that, Menu would be more useful there, but once that gets onto the S2 with its “long hold” on the physical button, then the style of Task Manager is much better. Ripped off totally from WebOS you swipe the apps off the screen to close. As an aside, I just took another screen capture on the Nexus for the photo of the task Manager (hold volume down and power) and to get it to appear in the aforementioned Mac MTP app I had to close and open again, it did not update in real time.


Another really nice thing on this is the way text is so crisp. Yes, I *know* I said that we don’t need 720 * 1280 on a 4.6″ screen (4.35 IMHO more in a mo) but the upside of having it is that text looks fantastic. The DPI on this thing is only just below that of the champ in this area, the iP4/S and in an App like Kindle, this thing looks lovely. Of course the same can be said of the Galaxy Note :-)

Screen size then. I posted a photo up on Twitter this morning which shows that it really is not that much bigger than an S2!  Take a look. Most of the “extra” .35 of an inch is taken up with those buttons!


A few other random things to end on. Face Unlock is kinda pointless, since if its remotely dark you have to wait a second and then pattern unlock anyway, kinda cool for first 3 unlocks! The persistant Google search bar I was moaning about yesterday is not that bad, and you soon forget it is there, but I would probably run this thing with Launcher Pro anyway.

I think for me, I have always been a bit unsure of the huge benefit lots of people attach to “Vanilla” Android. It is often mentioned without *any* explaination of just why they think that.  Personally, I *like* the toggle in the drop down on Samsung devices, and at the end of the day, a quick load up of Launcher Pro, a simple app remember, not a really hard hack, gets rid of most stuff in one fell swoop. Each to their own I guess.

I think this will be my last post on the Nexus, as it will soon be going back to O2. I just don’t get what all the excitement is about with this handset. Other than being the first (of many, (look HERE for example)

With the S2 costing only £380 new, and under £300 hardly used, maybe this is a far better buy at the moment?  It has better hardware, better camera, SD slot, loads of ROMs to play with until ICS is out, and costs anything up to £200 less.



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3 Responses

  • jamoiholland says:

    Several disappointments then:
    - inconsistent menu button placement
    - on screen buttons and face unlock being “for the sake of it”
    - already needing Modaco hacks for basic usability
    - screen brightness

    To be honest none of these surprise me, and although I’ve not even touched a Galaxy Nexus yet, I was fairly indifferent about it since launch, and this just affirms that feeling. At least the MTP vs UMS thing wasn’t a big deal, even on a non-Windows machine. I had hoped ICS would be a bit more consistent around the UI and UX though for when it makes its way over to other devices…

  • Kevin Wright says:

    Aha, that may well be it then. Just like battery life on iP4S I don’t get all excited about these bugs, cos they always get sorted. I may use the DSR, this sort of thing (my not getting on with it very well) is what DSR is all about. There is also a very strong chance I may just sell it and O2 get another contract sold :-)