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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As with most inbuilt features on Ice Cream Sandwich, there's a change to the internet browser too.

One of the big differences is the change to the tabbed browsing - now you get to see your entire set of open internet pages simply by scrolling vertically through live thumbnails. It's a nice touch - while it doesn't add much when it comes to functionality, it's much easier to jump between windows than before.

Ice cream sandwich review

Another great notion is the ability to 'Request desktop sites'. This means that while the Android browser might default to the mobile version of some internet websites, some users will need the full content.

Simply tap the relevant option in the menu and you'll get the full flavour instantly, which is very useful for the kind of sites that won't let you jump to the main page easily (BBC iPlayer springs to mind).

A sad fact of UK life is that we a) either never have any 3G coverage when we need it or b) are on such a restrictive data plan that we hate having to spend our KBs unnecessarily.

Google has thought of this with the option to save pages for offline reading. This basically takes a snapshot of the web page without including the hyperlinks, making it easy to read but not navigate through. But then again, if you're offline you can't link out anyway... so it's not a big deal.

Ice cream sandwich review

We can't fully comment on the speed, as it's partly dependant on hardware how fast things will load; but in most, if not all, of the phones we've tested with the Ice Cream Sandwich update there's definitely an uptick in speed.

Ice cream sandwich review

But on the Galaxy Nexus we love the internet browser. While other devices might not be as responsive, the browser is quick, slick and responds well to the touch. Flash is still sort of supported but in reality that's a dead platform now.

The improvements certainly improve the platfrom, to the point when we'd say if nothing else this was the reason to update your phone to get a much better browser.

That said, we've used a number of different manufacturer browsers using the ICS platform, and they vary wildly. Samsung and HTC have the best options on the market at the moment, so if you're looking for an ICS phone (and are oddly against Jelly Bean) we suggest looking there first.

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.