Excellent phone May 23, 2012
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is an amazing phone to be sure. The screen is absolutely gorgeous, even if it is not as large as the Note's screen. In terms of power, it's no slouch either. The 1.2GHz processor can really fly. On the outside it looks nice and feels nice. The camera, while not amazing, is more than passable, shooting pictures almost instantly. The speaker is a typical phone speaker, but does fine if the area is quiet. For a more in depth review on each part, read on.
Overall, I give this phone a 5 star review.
The outside of this phone is very well made. The display curves ever so slightly at the bottom to accommodate the bulge for the speaker and input/output at the base. While it is plastic, it is no slouch. Samsung's texturing on the back works and gives me a real sense of security when holding the phone. Now, my previous phone was an old LG slider that I now use as a doorstop, but the earpiece on that was comfortable. I don't know if it's just my phone or my ears, but if I press the phone to my ear, it is slightly uncomfortable. The speaker on the back is somewhat inconveniently placed, as I tend to cover it when I am typing in landscape mode, but to be entirely honest, I haven't really used it much since I purchased the phone. Having a few other miniUSB 2.0 devices is extremely nice, as the charging cord works for more than one. Some people have complained about the headphone input being sloped and revealing part of the headphone jack, but it does not affect the aesthetics from the front at all.
This part of the phone is probably one of the highlights. The 4.65" screens blacks are amazing, the Super AMOLED's working amazingly. Some people complained about the pixel arrangement on other Samsung phones, and this phone keeps that same PenTile display, though with the ~320 ppi density, it's not noticeable at all. (I have flashed a custom kernel, the franco.kernel, to this device, and there are ways to change the color ratios if you are unsatisfied.) Again, this screen blew me away when I saw it, and the lack of hardware buttons just makes the phone look like a seamless slab of curved glass. Beautiful. I don't have huge hands by any means, though I do play the violin, and my fingers are quite long. To me, this device is the perfect size for one handed and two handed use. It's big enough that it doesn't seem crowded, but small enough to be used by one hand if needed.
When looking at this device, quite a few quad-core phones had been released. Though they may provide that extra power for games and some videos, I found this phones' two 1.2GHz cores to be more than adequate. I have noticed no lag unless I severely underclock them, which I would not recommend as it saves a minimal amount of battery. (Personal recommendations on clock speeds: min 200MHz, max 1100MHz. Standard applications rarely bring the clock above 700MHz, the 1100MHz just give it a bit of leg room.)
I've used *NIX systems for about 3 years now, and the first thing that I installed on this was the Terminal IDE. It comes with a busybox install, and so, being curious, I opened it and started htop. The specifications say 1GB of ram, though for programs, you only have 695mb to work with. Not too bad, but a bit on the small side.
I haven't run any synthetic benchmarks with my current kernel and rom combination, though plenty are available on the web.
I'm going to bundle the battery into this section. The battery is nice. It doesn't get the 5 day usage that I could get from my doorstop, but it runs fine for a full day and then some, depending on how you use it. If you play games for 4 hours and expect to have 80% battery left, you're out of luck. One thing that I've noticed is that when charging via computer or outlet, the area above the battery where the camera is begins to heat up steadily. It doesn't get dangerously hot or anything, but it's noticeable when you have to hold it up to your ear.
Being a Nexus phone, this was made to showcase the newest Android technology. Sadly, Verizon is not updating their sorely outdated 4.0.2 Ice Cream Sandwich for the current 4.0.4 ICS. While a disappointment if you intend to flash custom roms and kernels that require the 4.0.3 or 4.0.4 ICS, it's not the end of the world. There are upgrades for this readily available, but as of this writing, they are not supported by Verison or Google. Besides this minor hiccup, the phone's standard UI looks amazing. The Super AMOLED display makes the blacks in ICS darker than pitch. Being that I use Linux, I was quite happy to use Android, as it affords me many of the same customization opportunities. I have used iOS, and at least for me, the Android UI wins hands down. Not just because I prefer the vanilla ICS over the iOS interface, but there are so many ways to customize the UI that iOS just lacks. Okay, this is an ICS review, not a comparison. The pulldown menu integrated into ICS is much more robust than I was expecting. It's easy to see what you need to see and get rid of it or view it.
The applications for Android are also exceptionally well done. Even those obviously made for the lower resolution screens scale up very nicely for this massive 720p display. Root access on this device is also easy, as it is a 'developer phone' more than a 'consumer phone,' and some of the 'developer options' in the menu are useful even when not working on Android applications. (The 'Show touches' option is very nice, though beware of any options that mention flashing the screen, and accidentally turning on the 'Show screen updates' option will result in a strobe effect that will possibly give you massive seizures.)
Something thing that I feel I should mention is the keyboard. The stock keyboard is a nice slate theme, dark, but not too dark, and the buttons are sized perfectly. After only a few days, I was easily able to touch type on the portrait keyboard. If you want a good keyboard for the terminal emulators available (some come with their own keyboard which is usually quite good), the Hackers Keyboard has a great 5 row arrangement with easy access to symbols and a tab button, exactly like a computer keyboard. With some slight tweaks, the keyboard I chose just works for me to administer a server from my phone via ssh. (Another place where I feel that Android excels and iOS falls behind.)
The camera is nice. That's pretty much all that can be said. It doesn't break any records at 5mp, but the pictures are nice enough that you can share them and not be embarrassed by how horrid they are. I didn't buy this phone for the camera, but taking pictures of my two cats and being able to share them is just a joy.
Phone speakers are not really meant to be used for music or videos, and it obviously has some major failings when doing either one, but on speakerphone the call quality is great. As I mentioned before, it's somewhat easy to cover while typing. It's not as loud as some other speakers, but it works for what it's made for.
Amazing hardware/software, worst signal ever. *UPDATED 10/9/12- MUCH BETTER NOW! May 19, 2012
Reviewer: Emad (Dallas, TX) -
Amazing. With the official Jelly bean from Google and Verizon, the signal issues seem to be have been resolved. The gps sometimes is SLIGHTLY slow to find me, but other than that, the only gripe i still have is the horrendous battery life, but I have multiple batteries to combat that. With my OtterBox Commuter on it, it's the best wireless experience i've had.
I absolutely loved this phone... kinda. the size is perfect, the screen is ridiculous, the software (Ice Cream Sandwich) is amazing and the best thing to happen to android since it came out. I used Nova Launcher on top of it, to add some functionality but keep the stock ICS look (mainly I wanted the long press menu to pop up different options, the rest I kept the same as ICS). The battery is terrible, so I ordered an extra battery and battery charging dock.
The accessories are pretty blah, too. Dont even waste your time on the Car Dock samsung created. Terrible practicality, no extra funcionality, just buy a cheap universal car dock. I also miss my HDMI out without needing an adapter.
This phone doesnt sell a lot because verizon 1) doesnt advertise it and 2) train their employees on anything ICS, so the sellers are scared to sell it and people are scared to use it because it's "new". It's very intuitive, clean, and polished.
So why did i give this phone a 3/5? One answer: reception issues. Now, i'm not snobby when it comes to signal. I dont always expect amazing signal, but the fact is, the 3G-4G hand off is TERRIBLE with this device. The signal retention and recovery is terrible. I took road trips and my wife's RAZR had at least 2-3 LTE bars, and my phone was struggling to hang on to a signal in 3G. In some stores, i would have no reception, and she would be making calls. On my road trip from Minneapolis to Green Bay, I lost all data (still had voice capabilities) for 1.5 hours. No reason that should happen on Verizon on a major highway.
Before you go judging, i'm fairly tech savvy. I rooted, ROM'd, tried different ROMS, including the unofficial "official 4.04" to see if it helps, and also, I tried 2 Nexus's out, this was my second one. Much better than the first one I got, but still, just couldnt do it.
In the city, it wasnt bad. Around my city, the signal was strong, but very intermittent, as in, it would drop sometimes, esp when changing from 3G to LTE, which shouldnt really happen in the first place in the cities.
So basically, if you are fairly stationary, and dont rely on a strong signal, this phone is amazing. But Samsung and Verizon need to figure out why the radios in this thing suck. There's tons of threads about, some people have better experiences than others, but i gave it two shots, and hesitantly switched back to my RAZR MAXX cause the signal is way better, battery is awesome, but terrible screen compared to the Nexus.
Get it if you want the latest and greatest on Verizon, but I suggest either waiting for the next gen devices to get announced in q2 or q3, or get a Rezound or a RAZR if you want good signal.
LTE Signal issue with Verizon April 27, 2012
Reviewer: S. Roe
The phone dropped LTE and voice signals randomly throughout the day - usually 20 times or more. In all three phones using only 3G worked fine. Using LTE resulted in dropped data and voice.
To their credit Amazon sent me a replacement unit. However, the second unit and then third unit had the same problem. At this point we went to Verizon tech support.
Verizon tech support identified the issue as a Network/phone compatiblity issue that they are working with Samsung to fix. They also said that issue was localized to the Los Angeles area. So, based on that, I feel much better about the phone itself and have increased my rating to 4 stars.
I'm very pleased with the support I recevied from Amazon. I'd buy a phone from them again and recommend them to friends. Verizon's tech support response has been satisfactory. I'm a little dissapointed that Verizon had not worked out these network/phone integration issues prior to the phone's launch.
Awesome Phone January 31, 2012
Going on my third week with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. All I can say is that it does everything I needed and more.
Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge improvement over what I was previously using (Froyo). The Google Apps integrate in really well. It's easy to copy text in an email, paste it into a browser, and send a friend a link in an text.
The only thing I can't do is upload my Facebook contacts into my contact list. This isn't an issue because I had everybody I wanted already in my Google account, but it is something people should be aware of. I'm not sure if Google and Facebook will settle their differences and fix this. Battery life is decent.
I use my phone all day to surf the web and listen to music and I can't make it through an entire day on a charge but I guess this is what I expected so it hasn't been an issue. The phone is very responsive although I notice some lag if I have a lot of high power Apps open at once. It took me a while to get used to the size of the phone. My old phone (HTC eris) was so much smaller that this phone seemed enormous. After a week of use I hardly notice the size and because of the bezel and how thin the phone is I don't notice it in my pocket anymore then my Eris.
All in all I highly recommend the phone.
The best Android phone yet January 31, 2012
This is the best Android phone I have used yet. As far as I am aware this is the only phone that has Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. The processor is very fast and responsive. My old phone was the Droid Eris and this is a major upgrade from the Eris as it has a processor that is several times as fast and nearly four times as much RAM. It also has 32GB of internal storage. It has no SD card, but apps that require an SD card will still work because Ice Cream Sandwich provides a simulated SD card that is actually part of the phone's internal storage. My one complaint about this phone is the battery life. The manufacturers are trying to make phones as thin as possible now and I think that is a bad idea because they have to sacrifice battery life. The Eris could go for three days without recharging, and I have to recharge this phone every day. If they made this phone twice or even three times as thick as it is now it would still easily fit in a pocket and the battery would last much longer. I hope to get the extended battery. The major reason I chose this phone is that it is easy to unlock the bootloader and install a custom ROM, or just install superuser to get root access on the stock ROM. Unlocking the bootloader and rooting allows many customizations such as ad blocking (which both removes annoying ads and reduces data usage), overclocking and underclocking, tethering (connecting the phone to the computer to give the computer an Internet connection through the phone's connection), and flashing custom ROMs, kernels, and radios. The rooted Eris allowed tethering, but it only supported the now-cracked WEP encryption. This phone supports both the obsolete WEP encryption and the more-secure WPA2 encryption. You should always use the WPA2 encryption if your computer supports it. This phone also supports USB tethering, although the rooted Eris did too. Be aware that unlocking the bootloader is not for everyone. You can destroy or severely damage the phone if it is done incorrectly. Another nice feature of this phone is the display. It is one of the highest-resolution displays available, and it is an LED display, not LCD like most other phones. It does use a lot of battery though. Last but certainly not least is the 4G LTE connectivity. 4G LTE is a lot faster than standard 3G. It is almost as fast, maybe even faster than, a DSL landline internet connection. 4G also allows talking on the phone and accessing the Internet at the same time. 4G isn't available everywhere. Sometimes even where it is supposed to be available it will connect to 3G because the 4G signal is too weak. The Eris would do something similar where instead of connecting to 3G it would connect to 1x. 4G does use more battery power than 3G, so if you need to conserve battery and you don't need the extra speed you can turn 4G off.
Give it a week at least and you'll love it! January 19, 2012
Reviewer: Jin Won Sung (Carlsbad, CA) -
This is the dream phone for any android fans! If you look for the latest pure Google experience, look no further than Galaxy Nexus. It's got no bloats (save for two useful VZW apps) and ugly UI skins like other android phones. Just beware that battery life won't be so good until it goes through couple of full recharge cycles. After that it seems to last about 10 hours average for moderate usage in 4G. Also if you are not in good 4G agrea, it's better to keep it in 3G/CDMA mode with WiFi on. This setting easily makes Nexus last full day. Regarding the signal issues that you hear on the net, just be aware that Nexus is reporting LTE signal strength in 4G mode unlike other 4G phones reporting 3G/CDMA strength. So don't worry too much about low signal bar as long as it doesn't drop signal entirely. Another tip is checking on the "data roaming" will make 3G/4G hand-off more stable, but just be sure to uncheck it before getting outside US border. Overall I'm very happy with Nexus. It will only get better with timely updates from Google.
Worth the wait! December 22, 2011
Reviewer: John Catral (Central New Jersey) -
Ever since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was announced by Google I was intrigued by it. Reading about it just made me want to get it but unfortunately Verizon Wireless took their time releasing it while the rest of the world got theirs. Well, after being patient I was able to get it from Amazon Wireless. First off, if I could rate Amazon Wireless I would also give them a 5/5 for excellent service and customer support. Thank you Amazon for a wonderful experience and by setting everything right. :)
I won't go into detail since there are many other reviews that pretty much did a good job in pointing the pros and cons of the wonderful phone, but I'll give a summary in a normal user's point of view.
Coming from a Droid Razr the first thing I am very happy about was the battery life. Both devices are 4G LTE devices but the Droid Razr sucked up so much juice that I was frustrated! I've had many types of Smartphones in the past and the Razr takes the cake in terms of poor battery life. Although the Razr had a nice thin body I prefer the beefier feel of the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus felt more secure in my hands than the Droid Razr.
I never tried the Nexus S but I did have the original Nexus One so I had some sort of standard to compare to. The Nexus One which was made by HTC was better built and compared to the Samsung version. Nonetheless it still exudes a Nexus type phone. Screen is clear and crisp and I think is one of he best screens out there. I tried watching 720 video on it and was blown away with the quality and sharpness. Amazing! And finally, Ice Cream Sandwich is everything I hoped it would be. It's so different from it's past versions but still similar in some things. There are small things that I have to get used to like accessing the properties page and what not. It's now on the upper right of the screen. No biggie like anything else it's just a matter of getting used to for the better.
Oh yeah in terms of storage and the fact that it doesn't have a Micro SD slot, it doesn't bother me because I never really used all that space. I have another device for music because I like to conserve as much battery life I can throughout the day because I work and commute in New York City. Some people might be put off with what Samsung did which I can understand but to me I don't use it so I can't deduct points on that.
Overall, I am very happy with the phone and look forward to seeing what else I can do with it. A++
The superphone for now, get it! won't go wrong! December 19, 2011
Reviewer: Atif Hassan "The sweetest language..Bonjour!" (Toronto, Canada) -
Update: Dec 21, 2011
My recommendation, for those who can, is to get the pure google version of nexus for software update purposes as apparently updates to carrier based phones would have to receive carrier approval first before the update can be rolled out. This being a brand new OS on the brand new phone, direct link to Google would certainly help.
Alright been playing for an hour now, its simply amazing...4.0 is just sweet. Will update later, for ref I came from htc sensation, hd2, storm etc, n seriously considered sgs2, note.
Overall ICS, just amazing, the navigation, the folder option, everything.
Screen, just marvelous.
Size, perfect, optimal...for those who want as much screen real estate as possible, only Galaxy note owners may be happier.
Build quality, solid.
Speaker volume not as loud and crisp as Sensation.
Some data issues, can't download apps from Market sometimes for some reason. Getting around via wifi.
Signal issues, apparently not the strongest...expecting a patch for data and signal issues.
Minor but expected, short on accessories currently.
The Best Phone Available. Bar None. February 28, 2012
This review is actually a response to the critical review by N. Gu.
Before I start, I want to just express that I also own a Galaxy Nexus, albeit the GSM version. That being said, my comments are based on the Verizon model.
Your issues with signal are somewhat misleading. Did you know that Verizon has had several well-reported 4G blackouts over the last few months? Check and see if this has affected you. As for poor signal overall, please see this anandtech article which explains that it's more a perception issue and an issue of how the phone hands off the signal between 3G and 4G.
Some of your other issues, such as soft speaker volume and lag have been addressed in the 4.0.4 software revision.
Battery life on the Galaxy Nexus really isn't any worse than any other LTE phone on the market when LTE is enabled (Droid MAXX exempt). It's recommended by most people to turn off LTE when you aren't using it. I'd use a widget for this. Also, let's keep in mind that the screen on this device is nothing short of massive. It you're going to use it with the screen on for that long, chances are you'll be near a charging cable. Use it. For normal cell phone usage throughout the day (calls, texts, moderate browsing and entertainment), it's just fine.
I do agree that the Camera quality isn't great compared to some of the newer phones on the market (see: iPhone 4S, Galaxy S II, the latter of which I also own). I don't know enough on this to comment on why, but I assume it's got something to do with how it constantly builds a buffer of images instead of gathering the necessary light in low-light conditions. Daytime pictures are quite good.
That's pretty much the end of my response, but I want to point out some of the things I think set the Galaxy Nexus apart in a good way.
The screen. This screen is absolutely fantastic. End. The resolution is high enough to where you've got more detail than anybody with normal eyes could ask for. It's also AMOLED which means you get true blacks, fantastic contrast, and beautiful colours. I'll put it this way, if this phone didn't have the screen that it does, I would be incredibly sad. I love turning it on, I love looking at it.
The lack of physical buttons on the face of the devices: The beginning of software buttons in Android. Honestly, this review is taking a bit longer than I intended but I will say that there are numerous advantages to having the buttons as part of the display instead of on their own. Shortly, they are: They can disappear, change form, or change orientation. This is important, especially now that Android guidelines are pushing developers to add menu buttons to their apps. Legacy apps without menu buttons will have one automatically added to the software buttons on the device. Fantastic.
Finally, I want to say that having Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) on this device completely makes up for any flaws it might have. ICS is an absolute joy to use. By leaps and bounds, it's the best Android version yet, and quite possibly the best mobile OS on the market. If you've tried other version of Android in the past but not yet ICS, give it a try. It's far superior.
This is the best Android smartphone currently available on Verizon's network. Hands down. Even if you're not on Big Red, this will soon be on Sprint and is available unlocked for *any* GSM carrier (ATT, TMO) unlocked from various online retailers.
PS: RGB notification lights are possibly the greatest thing ever. Thank you Google and Samsung for bringing them back to the high end smartphone arena.
Love this phone, despite a few downfalls February 20, 2012
Reviewer: Aundrea (Washington) -
I bought this phone the day it came out. My good friend does phone reviews for a living, so he gets sent all the new phones and tests them and writes aqbout them. I had bought the Bionic and he said I should take it back and wait for this one. I'm so glad I did! The phone has so many great featurs, and a few drawbacks also.
-Speed: on 4g this phone is FAST. You can browse web pages, play games, and more with extremely fast sppeds!
-Battery: The phone gets bad grades based on it's battery, but I honestly haven't had many problems. Yes, it dies much faster than say my origional Droid, but the screen is HUGE and I'm using it much faster. The trick with the batter is to turn everything off you're not using (GPS, WiFi, bluetooth) and make sure you're email and social networking programs aren't updating at really close intervals. Do you really need your facebook to update every 15 minutes or can you update it when you open the app? I set all my controls to conservative limits and have been able to easily make my phone last a day. My husband has the HTC Rezound and his battery dies 2x faster than mine.
-Adroid 4.0 OS (Ice Cream Sandwich): This is the best operating system by far (except a few minor issues I'll mention in the Cons). It is so much more customizable. Anyone who has data limits will appreciate the "Data Usage" section where you can track your usage a and how much data each app is using. This in itself is awesome if you have say a 2 gig limit and find yourself going over. Same with the "Battery" manager. It tells you exactly what's using battery on your phone so you can try to readjust settings on various apps to reduce their battery drain. I don't use the Face Unlock feature because I frankly would feel like a dork holding my phone up like I was taking a picture every time I wanted to unlock my phone.
-Design: This phone is sleek and thin. Even with a case on it it still looks good and feels good. I've heard some people complain that the plastic on the back feels cheap, but I honestly always have a case on it so don't notice it.
-Screen: This has a beautiful, crisp screen. I watch Netflix on my phone and do a lot of browsing and gaming and LOVE the screen. I think it can easily hold up to the iPhone retina screen. I also love that the buttons on the bottom (home, back and recent apps) disappear when watching a movie. That extra space really does help!
-Ability to disable bloatware: I don't need all of Verizon's crap on my phone, I love that I can easily disable it. My husband has all the stupid Verizon apps on his Rezound that I could easily disable. Love it!
-Sound: The sound quality is horrible. I always plug in headphones when watching movies or listening to music because the speakers are terrible.
-Lack of facebook integration: Seriously? What is going on here! I really miss having peoples facebook pic pop up when they called or having phone numbers from facebook populate acutomatically into my phone, or being able to access someone's facebook page and info from my contacts page. This was perhaps the biggest disappointment for me when I got this phone. Apparently it's all phones with Android OS 4.0, not just the Galaxy Nexus.
-Reception: When I'm standing next to my husband somewhere he'll be getting 4g with all the bars and I'll be in 3g with just one or two. Sometimes I can't even get reception and he can.
-Updates: Apparently this phone is supposed to be first to receive updates. Well I'm still running 4.0.2 and I know that 4.0.3 is out now with apparent upgrades to help with reception issues. Some web sites say this phone is going to go straight to 4.0.4, but I just expected us to get the first updates and am disappointed with this.
Overall I'm really glad I got this phone. After having it for a few months I wouldn't trade it for anything else out on the market and would recommend it to friends.
UPDATE May 29, 2012:
I'm still happy I got this phone over the other phones available at the time of purchase. I'm extremely frustrated with the connectivity! It takes forever to connect to 3g/4g. Sometimes I have to turn my phone off and on to get a signal. It drops calls quite frequently, very frustrating also. I am so happy I got a phone with a big screen though. I've been going to the gym and doing cardio and watching Netflix to pass the time, it's awesome to have a big, beautiful screen to watch on! I'm also frustrated with the lack of updates, my phone has not been updated yet and I've heard month after month that it's coming soon. I thought that was one of the benefits of getting this phone, be the first to get updates. I guess not. Anyway, still one of the best on the market, but be prepared for dropped calls and poor data signals.
Galaxy Nexus is MUST phone for Mobile Hotspot and heavy data users! February 1, 2012
Reviewer: Falcon7X "pgrv1"
I am new to Verizon Wireless, and to smartphones.
I had originally purchased a Motorola Droid RAZR in November 2011, along with the double-your-data offer -- 22GB -- with mobile hotspot capability.
The Droid RAZR phone has known problems accessing "https" websites, or secure websites, that require a user name and password (i.e. email accounts, online banking, etc.).
Verizon then switched me to the Galaxy Nexus phone, as it does not have any software adaptations by the manufacturer -- but is pure Google.
Two problems that were remedied:
(1) websites would start to partially load, or not load at all and would time out; solution was to go to "settings" then "apps" then "CLEAR DATA" on the "settings" app.
(2) phone would not charge properly when using USB cable or wall adapter that are aftermarket; solution was to use ONLY the OEM USB cord and power adapter for the phone.
Other than these two items, the phone has worked exceptionally well. Likewise, Verizon's 4G LTE is superlatively fast and the best network for internet data use.
I stream investment data in real-time, to my laptop from my phone as a "mobile hotspot," and having the fastest connectivity and internet on-the-go was a necessity. Verizon has not let me down.
The Galaxy Nexus phone is the best phone on the market, period.
Sadly, this phone is not all its hyped up to be January 26, 2012
I bought the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with high hopes after reading all of the stellar reviews about its inky black screen, amazing Ice Cream Sandwich OS, and mature and refined version of android in ICS. I had the phone for my full 30 days, kept giving it another chance over and over again, and finally decided to return it and get a Blackberry Bold (gasp!).
* Android ICS os
* Very fast
* Integration with Google products
* Panoramic photos (actually made a lot of use of this!)
* Battery life was abysmal
* LOTS of glitches and bugs! When dialing in an automated phone system, the numbers would register with the system differently than what I was inputting - tried several times with same outcome and ultimately found on an android forum that this was a problem for others as well
* Speaker phone was terrible
* Glare made the phone impossible to read when outdoors
* Size of phone is awkward for small hands (like mine!)
* Gyroscope is terrible! When you turn the phone you often have to shake it to get it to register than you've turned it to landscape and sometimes it doesn't work at all
THE SHORT OF IT:
I decided to wait for the next ICS phone to come out, instead of compromising so much on this one. I switched back to the Blackberry, which at least has very good reception, perfect email/messaging capability and decent battery. I'd rather have a phone that does the basic things well, than a phone that tries to do a lot and fails slightly in just as much.
An OS revamp on some solid hardware. January 6, 2012
Reviewer: M. Donnelly (NYC, USA) -
I was very torn between the Motorola Droid Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I wanted the benefits of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) but fell in love with the Razr's hardware from the first time I saw it.
I waited for the Galaxy Nexus, and I am far from disappointed, to say the least. I don't think it's too fair to focus just on the OS for this phone's review--many other Android phones will have 4.0 within a few months, so while it's a big selling point, it really shouldn't be the ONLY selling point.
The Galaxy Nexus (Nexus henceforth) is a very large phone, which may turn some individuals off from it. However, keep in mind that the massive screen size is also at the expense of the back, menu, home, and search dedicated hardware buttons that appear on most phones. This means that the screen size can be increased with less of an impact on the overall size of the phone. The size of the phone was one of the main reasons I hesitated upgrading from my original Moto Droid, but I have to say, due to the slim profile, it's not nearly the burden I expected.
Compared to my previous phone, which was built like a tank, the Nexus feels like a lightweight. It's not that it feels cheaply manufactured, but it certainly feels more fragile than I'm used to. I would imagine most smartphone users wouldn't notice this as much as me, given the heft of the original Droid, but it's worth mentioning. The phone feels nice in the hand, but despite the textured back, it can feel a bit slippery. It hasn't been a problem for me so far, but I have definitely noticed that the textured back is not very grippy.
Cell signal has been solid on the Nexus. I get about the same quality signal on my Nexus as I got previously on my Motorola Droid. When the bars are lower, the quality of signal (speed + reliability) remains high. I generally turn 4G off to save battery since I am not often in a 4G area. However, when 4G is enabled the speed is exactly what I would expect from Verizon: FAST.
The Nexus has slightly better than expected battery life. With a reasonable amount of use, I can get through an entire work day. 4G (which I generally leave off) may lessen the duration of the battery, but generally I find that I can make it through a full work day without needing to charge. (although I sometimes do anyway out of habit from my old phone's dying battery)
Speaking of the back of the phone, I am not a big fan of how the battery cover is removed and reattached. The cover is very flexible, but it does feel like it takes a bit too much force to pry it off or snap it back on. I wouldn't imagine it to be a problem, but it was startling the first time, when I installed the battery.
The screen is absolutely beautiful. In anything but direct sunlight, I have been extremely pleased with the colors and brightness of the screen. However, I tried holding it at an angle which reflected the sun more, and I basically couldn't see anything. Still, even outdoors in the bright sunlight, when not actively trying to make the screen look terrible, I was fine with its performance.
The camera is acceptable quality. It is good, but not great. It definitely doesn't match the camera from the newest iPhone, and there are other Android devices with better cameras, as well. I haven't had any issues with it, and I do like the ability to take photos more rapidly than I was able to on my older Android phone. I miss the dedicated hardware camera button found on my Droid, but because the lock screen has a shortcut to the camera, I'm finding that I adjusted quickly to not using a hardware button for the camera.
The sound is one of the weaker points, in my experience so far. I find myself wanting to turn the ringer/media volume up, even when it is maxed out, because the volume simply doesn't go that high. In-call volume was fine for me, even in a loud restaurant, but I have missed some notifications due to the volume being too low. This may not affect everyone--I have a tendency not to hear my phone anyway. This phone just seems a bit quieter than others I've used in the past.
The screen curvature was a strange thing to me, the first time I saw it. Honestly, it doesn't make much difference to me now. The Nexus is slim enough that I don't notice the curvature of the device in my pocket, unless I'm deliberately paying attention to it.
The review wouldn't be complete without at least some mention of the upgraded Android OS, so I will just mention a very small number of features I enjoy with the update, although that will barely scratch the surface of the new version's feature set.
The new lock screen is nice. Being able to switch to the camera directly from the lock screen is an interesting feature that I particularly enjoy. I don't use it that often, but when I do, I always think about how much longer it took on my old phone to get to the camera app and take my first picture. It's not instantaneous, but it's the closest I've seen on a phone so far. The panorama setting might come in handy, but I haven't put it to use yet, so I can't really comment. Facial recognition for the lock screen was good in my experience, but not something I'd want to use regularly, just based on personal preference. Frequent locking/unlocking using the camera will use (slightly) more battery than a slide to unlock, or password or pin, in most cases, and provides very little actual security, so I opt to use slide to unlock--also in part due to being able to unlock directly into the camera app.
App management has also been nicely revamped. Most things can be installed on the Nexus, but even stock apps like "My Verizon" can now be set to "Disable" which stops them from running, although they remain occupying your phone's storage space. Disabling also removes them from the app drawer, which is nice in my opinion. Grouping apps on your home screen allows you to store several apps in one "space" on the home screen. Tapping the top icon in this space expands the group as if opening a folder in Windows, showing all the shortcuts inside to various apps. The Nexus came configured with a "Google" app group, and I have since grouped several games into another group, as well as my Song ID (Shazam and Soundhound) into another group, so they don't take up as much home screen space.
The app switcher is probably my favorite feature of Android 4.0. Now pressing the app switcher button (one of the 3 on-screen buttons available at all times) shows an overlay including the name and a snapshot of all the apps you have recently run, allowing you to restore the state of those apps at any time. Swiping an app to the side removes it from the app switcher list. The number of apps available here is configurable in the setting, as well, in case you don't want too many background apps running at once. This has come in handy, although it has also made me aware that the back button no longer forces an app to close when exiting an app. It will still appear in the app switcher overlay, in most cases.
There are too many new features to really discuss at length at this time within Android 4.0. That is simply a taste of what's in store. There are changes to Android visuals, fonts, animations, notifications, and many other parts of Android. However, those will one day apply to any Android 4.0 phone. Therefore, I won't go any further into explaining them. Android 4.0 software reviews can be found all over the internet.
What is most important is that the Galaxy Nexus is a high quality phone. I WANT to rate this phone a 5/5, because I love it. However, part of that is likely bias from upgrading from the old Motorola Droid, which makes this phone shine even brighter. I do believe the Razr's hardware is slightly superior, but not enough that I would trade phones and wait for the Razr's 4.0 update. I very much enjoy my Galaxy Nexus, and am looking forward to the next 1-2 years of using it. The phone is definitely a 4-star device, maybe 5-star, depending on your preferences. It is definitely not perfect, but it's the best smartphone experience I've ever had, due to the combination of solid hardware and clean, usable software.
Galaxy Nexus - LOVE It. December 27, 2011
Hi All -
I'm not gonna give some goofy anecdotal story like some Yelp reviewer that people seem to be into. I'm reviewing the phone. Period.
Quite simply, this is the best phone I've ever used. Including iPhones. Caveat here, I'm an avid android fan and am pretty against the way apple products are marketed and used - but that being said there is no argument that someone can rightfully make against how well made their products are, simple to use, and extremely polished for a large group of people. I just dont like the closed eco-system or the armies of people that buy them just because they are apple.
Moving on. The phone itself is gorgeous. I'm coming from the original verizon droid, the Eris, and then the original Incredible. Loved those little guys. But this phone makes those look like toys. The speed is fantastic in terms of operating functions. Everything is so smooth in terms of screen transitions and apps opening and operating. Couldn't believe the noticeable difference from previous phones and android versions.
Ice Cream Sandwich is phenomenal. Repeat, phenomenal. It's taken many of the handy features from custom launchers that were out there, and made it stock. ICS on this phone is also untouched by Samsung or Verizon. You're getting the real Android, and it's polished and gorgeous. Widgets are easier than ever to access. The launcher bar is awesome (no need to install third party apps to get that any more), and the recent programs view is handy too. Oh, and the redesigned notifications environment is smooth and efficient.
-Amazing screen. Size, resolution, brightness, clarity. Just beautiful. Reinforced glass is nice too, really no need to put a screen protector on it and dull the clarity.
-Processor speed. Between dual core and the optimized ICS, this baby is smooth and fast. Coming from previous android versions, this was a real eye opener and i love it.
-Verizon 4G. Say what you want about verizon as a company, their 4G is ridiculous. It's like browsing on a normal computer.
-Stock experience. No Sense or Touchwiz or Motoblur mucking up the experience. Just Android.
-Newly redesigned software. The new Android 4.0 is so much more polished. Just a great experience.
-Battery life. It's not terrible, and to be honest isnt a whole lot worse than my Incredible was. But that being said, it's still not great. Chalk that up to 4G, a huge screen, and beastly processor. It's a trade off you have to expect unfortunately. Not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of. I haven't had any real issues, but it is noticeable and I want to make an honest review. No product is perfect.
-Volume/Vibrate. I've read some issues with volume, but I havent had any big issues. I could use a stronger vibrate function. It's hard to feel when in a coat pocket.
-4G? This is not really the phones issue. More the state of the market. 4G isnt in all cities yet, and if you travel outside the big cities, you might not have coverage. Something to consider.
All in all, not much to dislike here. I think you'd be nitpicking in the grand scheme of things. It's the best phone I've ever used, and in my OPINION, the best phone available today. But, use you're own judgement and research and make a choice that's best for you. I definitely recommend this phone however.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus December 18, 2011
Reviewer: James Michael Crossett "Jim Crossett" (Irwin, Pennsylvania USA) -
This is the best phone on Verizon period. I dropped my new iphone4s from a 12 foot ladder at work and it shattered, literally. I should have bought the insurance... I did not . The VZW rep gave me a very "slight" discount for being a loyal customer, so I bought the Nexus. I am so glad I bought this. The screen is large and colors pop. The new operating system is beautiful and very fast. The build quality is good, but the iphone probably edges it out a little in quality, but the iphone is glass and breaks easily.. so it's probably a wash. The only con I could find was battery life. Get the extended battery. A screen this big uses the battery quicker than a smaller screen. 4G speeds are so fast, it's close to my home cable line speeds.. Lastly I love the ability to customize my phone. Android is MUCH easier than other OS's. This is really a great phone Overall I'm very happy! I love it.
Buy Nokia Lumia 900 instead April 18, 2012
Reviewer: Sky Blue (germany) -
As a replacement for my Iphone 4S, I briefly had this phone for 2 weeks. There were hordes of problems and I had to switch to Lumia 900 (see my review for it). While the Android is not a bad OS (but not superior in comparison to other OS either), the issue is with this phone's hardware capability. This phone suffers from two deal killers: (1) data connectivity issue and (2) battery problem.
Every time you do the internet, this phone "searches for" 3G, 4G and wifi constantly, for a few seconds. It is maddening. It is as if the 4G ends up being slower than 3G because it first has to search among 3G, 4G and wifi. Often times I had to disable wifi; but then it searched between 3G and 4G. Absolutely unusable. I thought I had a lemon but almost all Samsung phones had the same issue! (My friends' phones had exactly the same issues.) I made a big fuss about the issue and was finally able to get my money back, but the experience cost me so much headache and time. Samsung should really acknowledge the issue publicly and offer free fix (although I doubt if they are even aware or capable of solving this) if not a cash remedy. Shame on them.
Second problem was battery. This phone consumes battery like no other phones -- it depletes one in about 5 hours with very light activities. I had to buy 2 extra batteries and 1 extra recharge station (one in home, one at work) which is totally wasted money since I returned my phone. Unacceptable.
I switched to Lumia 900 and could not be happier. It is super-fast, crisp, with absolutely no data-search or data-drop issues. Battery difference is phenomenal. If you are making a transition like me from Iphone to something else, I suggest that you go for Lumia 900 directly rather than learning through a rather expensive experience as I did.
Best Smart Phone on Market December 29, 2011
There are tons of good smart phones on the market. Droid Razr, iPhone 4s to name a few...
This phone is different. Before I start, I have used the iPhone and have used Android ever since the Nexus One.
First off, the pros:
Screen: The screen is THE BEST screen I have ever seen on a device besides an HDTV. As I type this review, you will not find another phone with this perfect of a screen. Samsung always makes pretty good displays, but this 720x1280 Super AMOLED HD screen is off the charts. iPhone 4s has a pretty amazing screen, and this one is tons better. Colors are pure, black and whites are solid, and everything is so vividly portrayed on this 4.65 inch display. Next...
Ice Cream Sandwich: This OS is AWESOME. So much better than Gingerbread, it's not even funny. This is comparable to the leap that Android took with 2.1 and the Nexus One. The Nexus S (predecessor) wasn't very much of a leap at all, so I had a feeling this Nexus phone would jump pretty far ahead, and it did. If you don't know, the Nexus phones always come with a debut OS before any other Android device, and is usually pure Android, which is my favorite kind of Android. The animations are so rich and creamy, I feel really elegant with this device. The ways that ICS makes everything so easy tops Gingerbread in every way. Face Unlock, contrary to what others might say, is actually pretty useful, and if you can't unlock it with your own face, you have a back-up way of unlocking e.g. pattern, code... Next...
Camera: This kind of goes with the OS but others might integrate their own camera in their User Interface. The STOCK ICS camera has improved SO MUCH. The cameras are shot instantly; no more waiting a couple seconds to shoot another pic. They added Panorama view, which actually works A LOT better than I expected. The different settings and tweaks you have to make the picture better are awesome. Touch to focus, red-eye remover, they all work damn good. Next...
Multi-tasking: This also goes with the new OS, but it is so good that it will have its own category in my review. There are new soft buttons on the bottom, no hardware buttons to be seen. I have been waiting for this to happen. Contrary to popular pre-beliefs, the software buttons are RESPONSIVE, CONVENIENT, and BEAUTIFUL.
They will pick up the slightest touch. Also, when going into landscape mode, many of the applications will allow the buttons to disappear giving the screen MORE SPACE. This is awesome on many levels. When touching them, they will animate very elegantly, with that ICS blue-ish color coming and going.
There are many great points to this phone that I do not have time to mention. They outweigh the cons (very few) tremendously.
Cons: The volume is not as high as some other phones. It is not TOO low, but it is not a volume intensified phone. This will differ depending on your uses. For me, it is bearable.
ONE MORE THING: For those who complain about battery life. Here is a link to my blog that will explain how to CONDITION YOUR BATTERY:[...] People complain about battery; however, this phone uses 4G LTE, has a gorgeous HD screen with as many pixels as an HDTV, and has a dual core 1.2 GHz processor. What do you expect? Besides, my blog will show you how to increase your battery life significantly within a couple weeks. So, I don't consider the poor battery life a con at all. My battery went from 10 hours to 14 hours within a week and a half. I am confident that I will be able to get 20 hours after conditioning, and maybe even 4 more hours once Google starts updating the phone. After all, it is a Google phone and will ALWAYS get the updates first.
Best android phone yet December 28, 2011
This phone is amazing, I've had my fair share of phone. I went from the Palm pre plus to the droid eris, to the droid incredible, to the htc rezound, to this. Let's just get into it.
Design: Very thin and sleek, very nice. The only complaint I have is the phone is very slippery. This does not remain an issue for me as I got a case right away, but, if you like your phone naked it's buttery, just like it's OS!
OS: I've always liked the look of AOSP android, but many didn't. It kind of felt like linux, unless you put some stuff on top of it, it was just kind of, meh. ICS really polished that up. This now feels like a phone with a skin on it, with many features.
Performance (OS performance) Wonderful. 1.2ghz of dual core and 1 gig of ram is a good combination. I struggle trying to find any lag, and everything is very buttery and nice. Scrolling and pinch to zoom is buttery as ever. OS performance is like the design (buttery) except in a good way!
Speaker and earpiece: Speaker is not as loud as many would prefer, but a simple app from the market fixes that. The speaker sounds nice! Earpiece: It's hard for an earpiece to be not good, it's plenty loud and sounds crisp and clear, not much else to say.
Screen: Amazing, 4.65 inches of Samoled HD goodness, best screen on the market, and very nice. Colors are crisp, clear and bright. Pentile is unnoticable, not near unnoticable, unnoticable.
Signal and data: Many complain about pour 3G signal performance, my area (at least my house) has horrible signal and I got normal signal compared with my other phones. Data-4G LTE, I get 40 down and 13 up on average, 'nuff said.
Battery: Not the best, but the best of any LTE phone. However, I'm a major modder so I have a ton of custom kernels and rom's, I get a good 14 or 15 hours of heavy usage. If you guys want some advice on stuff to do find the Galaxy nexus forum at rootzwiki.com, I am many other people are very willing to help, and will help.
Camera: Front facing camera is as good as any other, it serves it's purpose for skype calls, I've done it. Rear camera is not too good, but it's decent, and good enough for a phone. (I'm a photographer and have spent 8,000 dollars on lenses and have 3 DSLR's for the record ;) ) The zero shutter lag for me almost makes up for it, it's a very nice feature.
Vs. Rezound. This is opinion here, but I personally switched to the Nexus after 3 rezounds. Many Rezounds have issues, more than 50 percent I would say. I went through 3, and later found out all the others that store had had issues. My local store has sold 18 rezounds, and returned 48, because of returns due to issues. I'm happy I made the switch, besides camera, I'd say everything is better. Screen, performance, everything all around. HTC sends out phones like they put on the market a phone their kid drew at school. The nexus has quality, and much work went into it, to make it nothing but perfect.
Great phone if you know how to use it December 24, 2011
Reviewer: Persian Guy (Vienna, Va, US) -
I am upgrading from an EVO 4G which was both heavier and had a worse battery life (and smaller screen) but at the time was the best smartphone out there for a while. Like most on this forum, got the phone very quickly 3 or so days after the Verizon application was approved but I took the time to read all the negative reviews out there to see what the challenges with this phone would be. Here is some comments on the perceived negatives of this phone:
I was so worried about these comments and knowing my EVO's problems I went ahead and ordered the extended battery (2100 mAH from Samsung sold by Verizon for half price at $25) including the back cover to begin with which is about 15% more juice than the battery that comes with the phone. The battery life is much better than my evo and lasts me about 12 or so hours of moderate use as I download and configure my apps, configure my bluetooth, set up wifi etc.(could last the whole day for most people). But then again I have chargers everywhere at work, in the car etc. for my Evo (which also fits this phone) in case it didn't last one day.
I think people are confused when they compare this to a non smart phone or a 3g phone. Of course a Mercedes consumes more Fuel than a Honda Civic but that is worth it for someone who wants more from his car than getting from A to B. Now I bought an iPhone for my mom thinking it is better for simple use but she is not happy either and tried switching but her 14 days had passed (on sprint to Galaxy S2). I tried customizing to improve her iphone but definitely found the iPhone majorly lacking.
One person said their non smart phone lasted a whole week on a charge. Well, a bike doesn't even need gasoline. But it's not a car.
One tip: Prime your batteries. There is contradictory comments on this but I routinely do it and have no regrets. By that I mean cycle the battery all the way to near zero for the first few charges and then completely full to improve long term battery life.
Sound is excellent so far. I went into the settings/sounds in the beginning and raised the sound (default is medium for both phone and media/speakerphone). You can also do this with the sound button on the side of the phone while in the particular application. People who don't know how to increase the sound of an electronic device should not really write reviews online. I mean if your TV was on mute and you don't know how to unmute it, that doesn't mean the speaker is defective.
One thing about media playback: It is amazing because it utilizes the whole beautiful screen. I just wish they had a kickstand like the Evo to showcase this.
Also, reception has been amazing. Maybe it is because I have switched from sprint but I have not had a single occasion in ANY of the usual dead spots or anywhere else so far where I got no signal or dropped a call.
Amazing and much faster than my evo. And the 4G rocks. I have clocked this on speedtest at about 15Mbs consistently indoors in various locations in DC area.
Obviously all your contacts are synchronized instantaneously with your gmail so no lengthy conversion for you android users.
There is no SD card which is bad. But 32GB of inherent memory means almost unlimited apps at this point without having to worry about moving apps to SD etc. AWESOME.
For those used to previous Android, this is not news as the voice commands have been present for a long time. But again, you can use voice commands for texting, emailing, setting alarms, navigations, google searches, etc. etc. This is somewhat improved from previous versions of android.
One of the main issues with previous smartphone versions of Android for non latin language customers like Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc. was the incorrect font display. As a merged smartphone/tablet version, Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Nexus finally completely and correctly (right to left joined letters) supports Persian.
I don't use manuals and I don't go to these classes but for those interested: Google has been uploading instructional videos to their Galaxy Nexus channel on youtube to help new users who may not be computer geeks. Also, Verizon has some classes (at least in my area) for both Android and iPhone which are free.
Will update my review as I gain more experience but so far an awesome phone and am glad I bought from Amazon.
Update 1/5/2012: I have been going crazy with the speedtests and the speeds have been amazing. I have clocked between 12-21 MBS in DC suburbs including indoor. There is truth to the battery heating issue especially after running speedtests or HD videos on youtube. Screen is amazing. Showing off the speed and screen has made my iPhone friends jealous.
GREAT SMART DEVICE, HORRIBLE PHONE April 5, 2013
Reviewer: Biker Ed (Minneapolis, MN) -
Everything works well... except the phone. Crackles, pops, squawks, echos, dropouts, disconnects. Even after several software updates the telephone part of this device just plain sucks. Samsung? Verizon? God only knows. No wonder it was free.