My Galaxy Nexus arrived in the mail on Friday; I’ve been fiddling with it intermittently since. (You’ll go blind!)
Some first & second impressions:
- It’s huge. It feels like being a little kid trying to use some giant remote control… it’s just big enough to feel awkward in my hand, and to make one-handed usage difficult with some thumb stretching. We’ll see if I get used to it…
- The screen feels slightly smaller than it “really” is thanks to the use of the bottom edge for software buttons replacing the classic Android hardware buttons — so it’s not *as* big as you’d think from ‘4.65″ screen’. But that space is now reclaimable, and it turns out to be useful when watching full-screen video.
- The extra high-density screen is beautiful! At regular viewing distance, text is almost as sharp as on my iPod Touch’s Retina display. The hex tile layout of the OLED pixels is much less visible than on my older Nexus One.
- Having decent internal storage and ditching the awful SD card has made storage management much easier — my Nexus One was constantly whinging that it was out of internal storage space despite having gigs free on the SD card.
- Interactive performance is MUCH snappier than previous devices I’ve used, and comes closer to what iOS usually manages.
- Sometimes the Google folks are going overboard on icons; it took me a while to figure out what the hell all the buttons in their Gmail app did since they switched them all from nice obvious buttons like “Archive” to mysterious icons.
- Our Wikipedia Android app is totally broken on Android 4; we knew that on the emulator, but it’s muuuuch easier to test it on the real device. Some things are being fixed upstream in PhoneGap, others we’ll still have to work out…
- Transferring devices on Android isn’t quite as easy as iOS. With iOS, I can restore a complete backup of all my application data and preferences from one devices to another via iTunes: my new iPod Touch was restored from my old iPhone 3Gs which I can’t even find anymore (it’s in the apartment *somewhere*) and updated pretty smoothly. The Galaxy Nexus was able to restore some settings and applications from the ‘backup to Google’, but not everything. Many apps needed to be manually reinstalled and/or reconfigured for accounts; games have lost high scores and achievements etc. Arranging my apps on my home screen again was a painstaking task, and very annoying.
- I remember it being a big deal that you can get to the Camera app directly from the lock screen in Android 4 — but apparently this only goes for if you don’t have a …. lock … on the lock screen. Add pattern lock, and that feature’s gone. Camera is not in fact locked down so that you can activate it and take photos without going through your unlock code. D’oh!
- I CAN TAKE SCREENSHOTS! FINALLY! THIS IS GOOD!!!!!!! Press power and volume-down and hold for a moment; it’ll do a cute visual transition showing your screenshot and give you a notification that lets you call it back up to view or share it.
- Did I mention it’s really huge? It feels like it’ll fall out of my pocket at any moment.
- Haven’t had much chance to test 3G/4G reception yet, though the rumor is Verizon will do better in the subway than AT&T. We’ll see on Monday!
What I kinda want is the same phone, but with a 4″ diagonal screen at 1024×640. Make it fit the hand better, rather than going for that hugeness. I don’t watch a lot of movies on my phones, but I do hold it in one hand and read/write news & messages every day.