Turned off, the Galaxy Nexus doesn't look like much—just another candy-bar-styled Samsung smartphone with rounded edges.
The Nexus has a textured gray back surrounding the lightly bezeled camera, with the Verizon 4G and Samsung branding and little else.
Here is the Nexus from the side. It measures 0.37 inches thin and is contoured for a better grip. It won't be mistaken for the super-svelte Motorola Droid Razr, but it's thin enough so as not to be bulky. The Nexus also weighs only 5.1 ounces, packing an 1,850-mAh battery.
The Nexus sports a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,280-by-780 pixels. In other words, a gorgeous screen for playing games and firing up applications. Note the presence of Android soft keys instead of physical buttons. They are the back button, home button and the application tray.
To test that screen, we downloaded and logged into Netflix, which streamed Sesame Street super well over Verizon's 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network.
Here is the new People application on the Galaxy Nexus. Users may browse friends, family and other contacts, including their profile pictures in high resolution.
Ice Cream Sandwich boasts a cleaner keyboard than the previous Android 2.3 Gingerbread build.
The ICS dialer is vastly different from Gingerbread, and worth a side-by-side comparison with our Motorola Droid X (on the left) here.
We like what Google did with the application launcher in ICS. Note the options atop for applications, widgets and the Android Market.image: Nexus Apps
We tapped the "widgets" option and saw this: Choices for customizable widgets that we can press, hold and drag to any of the phone's five customizable home screens.
There's even a widget that launches a Google Mobile App Launcher--that is, a special widget just for Google Mobile applications, including the new Google Music streaming application, Google Maps Navigation, Google Talk and Gmail.
The application tray shows users all the applications they've been browsing. First introduced on Honeycomb tablets, the feature allows for better multitasking.
The improved Nexus camera is a 5-megapixel shutter (1.3MP front camera) that promises and keeps to zero lag time and an option to shoot in continuous panorama mode.
The great gallery application imports photos from users Picasa accounts, noting specifically instant uploads from Google+.
ICS is famous for its facial detection. The phone's camera will scan your face and use it to unlock the phone in the future. Of course, if someone who looks like you tries it on your phone, they may fool Google's software.
The phone, unlocked with Face Unlock.