Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich review

Is this the tastiest release from Google yet?

Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich review
The definitive Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich review

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Google promised to keep updating the keyboard on its new versions of Android, and once again it's come up with a new version of the software - and it's pretty good.

There's not a whole heap of visual changes, bar the predictive suggestions: these have been dropped to just three per word, making it easier to select the word you're after.

Ice cream sandwich review

Smaller, more subtle vibrations have also been added to each keypress to make it easier to register inputs... we tested this out and it doesn't seem that different to normal haptic feedback, to be honest - but a lot of users are loving it, so we'll give it a crowd-sourced thumbs up.

The accuracy is excellent too on the new keyboard, with even fudge-fingered attempts at writing yielding almost perfect texting.

Speech to text is also enhanced, with real time feedback - no longer do you have to wait until you've finished speaking to see what the phone thinks you said, with the cloud-based prediction delivering results as you speak.

It worked well over Wi-Fi, but we'll be interested to note how well it works when it comes to 3G network speeds, as Google hinted it had integrated this functionality thanks to the proliferation of 4G signal in the US.

If, like many, you're looking to compare Google's voice recognition to Siri, we'd say that the former is definitely inferior to Apple's effort - but not by a huge amount.

It seems to struggle more with English accents over US, as our buddy Hank (NB - not his real name but included to make it more authentically YooEssAy) was much more accurate with his voicing than we were.

There's no Universal Inbox to speak of here, but we do love the updated Gmail app - sure, HTML emails still don't render as well as they could, but the overall look and feel is improved substantially. The options are all well laid out at the bottom, and the ease of swiping left and right is highly impressive.

Messaging has always been a decent option on Android, and with Ice Cream Sandwich it's a real step forward.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.