So with the eternal waiting for Verizon to release the phone and no one else even announcing it, I just couldn't wait and ordered the Galaxy Nexus from a reseller. It's been a while since I've done so but well worth it. Definitely worth the wait to upgrade from the Nexus One as no handset apart from the Sensation 4G has peaked my interest as much as this.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was, "This phone is huge." There really is no way around it, with the 4.65" screen, it dwarfs the Nexus One and even the Sensation 4G (which I thought was large for its size). It's not uncomfortable to hold and is rather thing. Comparing it side-by-side to the new Droid Razr and they're almost identical in thinness and size.
Materials are lacking however. I used to like Samsung prior to the iPhone days and liked them but now almost any that I use feel cheap or lackluster. The phone feels sturdy enough but the plastic falls on the cheaper side. The battery cover is rather thing and while not hard to remove, it's somewhat annoying putting it back on since it relies on several plastic teeth to clip in. Try as I might, each time I replaced it, I still had a few areas that had to be pressed down in order to fully lock. Also, the battery cover texture is supposed to provide added grip but it does not do so in my mind. I actually do worry about this slipping out of my hand. Luckily it all feels sturdy once all put together. One of the benefits of the plastic materials is the lightweight. For its size, this phone feels surprisingly light.
Once powered on, you quickly forget about the build materials. The screen brings colors out excellently and really makes images pop. I haven't had a chance to test it outdoors as the days I have been away from work have been overcast lately. More on that in the future.
Even though the front is clean of any buttons, scroll wheels, etc, there is still a notification blinker at the bottom center. It's rather small but at least it's there and colors are customizable by application. It does not however indicate if your battery is low or if the phone is charging.
The volume and power button give great feedback when pressed and feel solid. There is never a question whether I pressed on it or not.
One thing that I find strange is the the 3.5mm audio jack is on the bottom. I still have yet to determine whether I like or find this annoying but only time will tell.
The OS is dramatically different, both look and feel of it. As mentioned in the initial announcement, gone are the physical buttons replaced by software ones. I still miss the search button, since it had a good use for the voice commands, but otherwise it's great. The settings/menu button appears only when an application has such a function. Oddly though, it either appears on bottom right next to the application switcher or in the top right portion of the application. For Android itself, to access the settings you have to either pull down the notification bar or go through the application list.
Adding widget, shortcuts and such has changed. For applications, you can still open the application list, long press and drag to the desktop. Also, any time you download and application, a shortcut will be placed on the desktop so long as there is space. If you do not like this, you can disable it.
For widgets, you can no longer press and hold on the desktop. Instead, you have to go into the application list and at the top, there is a tab for widgets. From here, you just find the widget you want, long press on it, and drag it wherever you like. You do have the option to resize the built-in widgets which is a nice feature.
Folder creation is different. Rather than create a folder and drop applications into it, you just drop applications on top of each other and this creates the folder. Applications within the folder can be reorganized to your liking and the first application shows as the default icon. Naming of folders still exists but it has to be created first, opened, and then named.
Contact shortcuts to individual people can still be created but you have to go through the widget menu. Once you select where to place your contact, you just have to select the person that you wish to add.
The most frustrating portion is creating shortcuts for bookmarks. For this, you need to open the browser, go into the tab view, go into the bookmarks menu, and then long press and add the bookmark to the menu. I guess it makes sense if you create a bookmark and then add it to the desktop but having the option to do so without going through the browser would be nice to have.
Still messing around with the browser and apps to see what works/doesn't work in the new version.
So far, I found that while Winamp does work, as soon as the screen is locked it has a choppy sound to the music. Almost like it plays for a fraction of a second, skips a fraction of a second, plays, skips, plays, and so on. Unlocking the handset resolved this but then the battery gets drained. I switched to the default player and no such issue. Speaking of, it may not be a match for the iPhone music player but it's still nice. You have the option to enable the equalizer and mess around with it and on the lock screen and notification bar, you have controls for it. Until Winamp runs properly, I may just resort to this.
While notifications are the same, clearing them is different. You can either clear all, or just swipe individual ones away. This feature is used throughout the OS and the same can be done with running apps and windows in the browser.
another oddity I found is with Chomp SMS app. I use the pop-up notification when not in apps as I generally like it. I've never had a problem but with the Galaxy Nexus, if the phone is locked and you don't pick up the message when it first appears, you have to restart the phone as neither the facial recognition works nor does the phone register any presses. I've since disabled the pop-up notification on locked screens and the issue is resolved for now.
Facial Recognition and lock screen
Speaking of lock screen, one of the new features is the lock screen. A gimmick that I definitely had to try and I'm 50/50 about it. When it works, it's great and unlocks the phone quickly. Otherwise you have your backup unlock feature. I still can't figure out if it's the software, angle, or lighting but it will work once and reject my face a second time. If there's light behind you, forget about using it. It focuses on the light and just leaves a silhouette of your head rather than focusing on your face. Glasses seem to render it useless so far but nothing so far as far as facial hair and how your hair looks. We'll see over time.
A nice feature that I've noticed is you can set the owner information on your lock screen. Anything can be placed in here and it's something I've been wanting since I used to us a BlackBerry at work.
The default lock screen has two options, either unlock or open the camera. I didn't use it much but will go back to it for photos.
While still early, I'm very impressed by the phone but it's not perfect in terms of performance. I use a lot of widgets so sometimes it bogs the phone down and there's a small delay before rendering them on the desktop. With the Nexus One, this would be able a 2-5 second delay. On the Galaxy Nexus, it differs each time but usually takes 1 second to render if it's experiencing this issue. For those wondering, I'm running 11 widgets.
Battery life is much improved. The first real day I messed with it, I got 10 hours of heavy usage out of it before draining it to 8% and then charging it. Mostly web browsing, making calls, and texting. After 5 hours today, one of which was spent listening to Pandora and browsing the web the entire time and various texting plus about 30 minutes of gaming, it's at 44%. On light to moderate usage, I ended a 14 hour day with 66% still left on it.
Tests were done on T-Mobile's network around Chicago. Call quality and in call volume are great. I did experience some static but it was just on one call so scratching that to their lines. Voices come through clearly on my end and even in loud environments, I haven't received a complaint about the noise level. I did have two instances where I answered a call and could here the other side but they could not hear me.
Reception is strong on this handset. In the office, the Nexus One would usually stay on Edge with 3 bars and 1-2 bars on 3G. This stays at 3 bars on 3G and 1-2 bars on "4G" in the same building. I am able to make calls anywhere on the floor. In my own room, where it's usually a death trap for signal, I get 2-3 bars of 3G. I'm lucky to get even 2 bars on Edge on the Nexus One.
I was curious which speed bracket the Galaxy Nexus would fall under and found that on T-Mobile's "4G" network, I get anywhere from 3 - 6.5Mb download and 1.5-2Mb upload speeds.
It did lock up on me twice and just restarted. The first night I had it, it locked up on me over night and I completely missed my alarm causing me to wake up an hour and a half late.
Given everything, I still like this handset and have no desire to give it back or move back to the Nexus One. While no handset will every be perfect, This is really shaping up to be the benchmark for all Android models. Only things that could make this the top of the line for a while are much better materials, a faster processor, and a higher resolution camera. It'll be a while but I'm curious to see how this holds up compared to past Nexii, how the applications react to the new version without upgrades, and to see if this will become forgotten about quickly, like other Android phones, or if it will stand the test of time.
I'll post photos up shortly but until then, post any questions you would like to have answered and I'll do my best.
Last edited by wizard8873; 12-05-2011 at 01:30 PM.
Wow that's worrisome... do you think this is a phone issue or software? Do all Android phones have the capacity to have this problem?
It might have been an issue as it's the first time I've ever had a phone do this to me. The G1 and Nexus One never did it and it was the only time the Galaxy Nexus locked up like that.
Originally Posted by n10797
Have you had an iPhone before? I've only had iPhone's for smartphones (currently have 4S), but I'm wanting to switch up to Android. Can you make a comparison?
I had the original iPhone briefly but returned it after a month of use as it just wasn't what I was looking for a phone. I know a lot has changed but the notification system, customization, and freedom to mod an Android phone are way up there. In turn you do get sluggish performance at times, not as much third party support for speakers, microphones, and docks, and a smaller selection of apps. In all, it comes down to what you need from the device. iPhone just doesn't cut it for me since I customize my desktop heavily and rely on widgets a lot at the expense of performance, and apps that I use with Android are either just now coming out for iPhone or are not available, locale being a great example. That and I just don't like iTunes and being told what I can or cannot do with my device (the app that was supposed to change the volume button to a shutter button but was removed due to possible confusion is one of the best examples). Here are two other point of views but in my opinion, go to a store and mess around with one or if your friends have one, see if you can try it out if you guys hang out at a time.