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on December 31, 2011
I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Nexus as an upgrade to my HTC Incredible. In terms of software, android 4.0 is a very nice upgrade, however I am disappointed with the build quality and hardware of this phone. The camera quality is OK on this phone, not bad, but not the best camera on modern smartphones. Not a huge issue for me since I don't plan on taking professional photographs with this phone anyway. Another drawback on this phone is the extremely low speaker volume, even on full volume you can barely hear the ringtone or notification sounds, unless you're in a quite room. Also the vibration on the phone is barely noticeable, the phone can be in my pocket and if I am distracted I will not notice the vibration. The AC charger on this phone emits an audible high pitched noise when it is plugged into an outlet charging the phone or not (I am using my HTC charger from my Incredible to charge my galaxy nexus which has no audible noise). My biggest complaint about this phone is the volume rocker/button, it is slightly loose and makes a plastic ticking sound whenever you place the phone down onto a surface or move it back an forth which makes the phone seem very "cheap". A $700 phone should feel solid and not have loose buttons on it. After arguing with Verizon about this loose volume rocker issue for over an hour, they finally decided to issue a "final exchange", I received the replacement device and this one too has the same loose volume rocker issue. This was my first and will be my last phone purchased from Samsung.

Other than those issues listed above, this is an amazing phone.
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on December 19, 2011
I waited months for this phone to come out, checking online everyday for any news on a release date. I really wanted to love this phone, but I just can't.

I purchased a Droid Razr for my husband and a Galaxy Nexus for myself a couple of days ago. When I leave work today, I will be exchanging my Nexus for a Razr.

First, the positive note. The Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is a beautiful thing. So many things just work better than earlier Android. Unfortunately, that is the only thing I have found to like about this phone.

When compared to the Droid Razr, the Galaxy Nexus comes up lacking in almost every way. First, The screen on the Razr actually looks better to me in a side by side comparison. The only way to match them at all is to turn the Nexus to maximum brightness, at which point you may have an hour of battery life with consistent use. The screen drains the majority of the battery life and it does so quickly.

Second, the speaker on the Galaxy Nexus at full blast is only as loud as the Razr turned down halfway. There is no way I will ever hear this thing ring in my purse and you can barely hear Youtube videos or music even with it right next to you.

Third, the signal quality and 3G do not work as well as the Razr. I had no 3G all day yesterday, but my husband's Razr had a perfect connection. Also, sitting side by side, the Razr had a full signal and the Nexus only had one bar.I restarted the Nexus several times and was still unable to access the internet on my phone.

Lastly, the camera on the Nexus is awful. Taking identical pictures with the Nexus and Razr was really disappointing. The Nexus pictures were grainy and dim, while the Razr pictures were sharp and defined. You could zoom in on a picture taken with the Razr and see the individual whiskers on my dogs nose. Try to zoom in on a picture taken with the Nexus and all you see is a blur.

I do not claim to be an expert on technology or cell phones. This review is just my opinion of this phone based on a side by side comparison. I really hate that the flaws outweigh the Ice Cream Sandwich yumminess but I will trade slightly superior software for vastly superior hardware.
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on December 18, 2011
Short video showing app loading differences between the original Motorola Droid and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (LTE). Like many I am upgrading from the original Droid that came out about 2 years ago so I thought this would be a good comparison for the video. Note: Droid rooted and running Liquid Gingerbread and cache is cleared for both.

To avoid repetition of the product description, I will refrain from talking about general specs and focus on my personal experience with the phone thus far. Since the OS has nothing to do with the quality of the phone and many phones will get ICS, I will mostly stick to the phone itself and not the OS, with the exception of the "vanilla" nature that's unique to the Nexus.

-Some have complained about the screen being of lower quality than phones being released around the same time. Coming from an older phone the screen on the Nexus was a huge improvement so I was very pleased. Watching videos side-by-side with the Droid I could really see the improvement in resolution and colors were much richer and more vibrant. I also bought a Moto Droid Razr (Motorola DROID RAZR 4G Android Phone (Verizon Wireless) as a gift so I was able to compare these two side-by-side. The Razr's screen is the Advanced AMOLED screen and when compared next to the Nexus you can see it is slightly better, although it is a very small difference. If I look at my Nexus by itself and then the Razr separately I can't really tell the difference. With that being said--pixels, sub-pixels, etc...who cares? I really don't see what the complaint is about, the screen is gorgeous and if I'm going to watch a movie I will do that on my LED TV.

-Having a Razr (which is basically spec'd the same as the Nexus) made for a nice comparison of the different OS versions. Basically, ICS is much snappier and loads apps and web pages faster than the Razr. It is much more user friendly as well (i.e., less confusing). This is in part due to the "vanilla" nature of the Nexus. It isn't filled with all of that bloatware and it isn't overlaid with buggy software such as what Moto and HTC use. The Razr is an amazing phone, but I found the Motoblur (or whatever it's called now) to cause lag when navigating back to the home screen. So, although phones like this will eventually get ICS, they will still have junky software layed on top of ICS and this is a huge bonus for the Nexus! [Assuming we aren't rooting :)]

-Getting the GPS location is much quicker on the Nexus because of the built-in barometer which allows GPS satellites to gather your location easier.

-Heat dissipation was good and I felt no obvious warmth coming from the phone after continuous use for a few hours.

-Call quality was good and I found no problems with it.

-The zero shutter time is very cool, although without some practice this can be a negative too (see below).

-To my surprise the facial recognition works quite well and really only fails in low lighting.

-Visual it is beautiful and the size/weight are amazing. I forget it is in my pocket and it is very comfortable to hold in my hand. And I really, really like the curved aspect, which I thought I was going to hate. It is very subtle. When the screen is off, the front of the phone is all black and looks sleek and professional. The back is dimpled just enough to give some grip but still feels smooth when you rub your fingers across it.


-Radio. I don't know how other Samsung phones perform, but in my house the Nexus always has less signal strength than my Moto Droid and the Razr. And I can't get 4G connection at all, which is probably a limit of the service itself. I get full 4G a few blocks away. Still, 3G and 2G strengths are not as good. This was probably my biggest disappointment with the phone as this is what a phone is ultimately used for-to make phone calls. With that being said, it rarely crosses my mind because it still functions just fine and I haven't had any dropped calls. UPDATE: Just found out that Verizon understands that this is a problem and there is a fix on the way! Great, I guess these little problems are to be expected when early adopting.

-The camera. When I saw that the Nexus was going to be a 5 MP camera I thought to myself "Hmm, that's odd, but who cares because MPs don't matter and if I want a good picture I will just use my DSLR camera, right?". Well, yes, but I still want to be able to take decent picture for uploading to social sites, etc. Unfortunately, the pictures quality just isn't that good. It isn't horrible, it just isn't any better than my Droid, which is two years old. Now onto the zero shutter speed, which is a very cool feature and one I imagine they couldn't do without dropping the camera to 5 MP because of the additional time it would take to store 8 MP (maybe?). It works great; however, there is no dedicated camera button so you must push the button on the screen to take a picture. Well, since it is zero shutter time, by the time I get my hand up to steady the camera after tapping the button, the picture has already taken and it comes out blurry! The only solution I have right now is to really steady the phone with both hands and hit the button with your thumb. Though, the pictures are sometimes slightly blurry even after that.

-The speaker. What a tiny, puny speaker. The speaker on my Droid is at least twice as loud as the Nexus. Turned all the way up, I have a hard time hearing it from across the room. I will never understand why they included such a weak speaker. To keep the size down? They assume we all use headphones or external speakers? Who knows, but it is unfortunate.

-Battery life. Negative? No, not really, more of a neutral. I knew coming in that more processing power and a better display were going to eat battery life. You will be charging your phone midday if you are using it heavily, by which I mean watching videos or listening to music non-stop. 4G/3G really has nothing to do with it. It's just when people use 4G there are watching more video, etc., and thus their battery dies quicker. Get a car charger, spare charger for work, an extra battery, or the extended battery and you should be fine. I have only had to charge in the middle of the day once and that was the first day because of heavy display use. As an example, I charged my phone and unplugged it before going to bed. Waking up (8 hrs standby) there was only ~10% battery used and my battery lasted until the evening with my normal use, which consists of checking email and reading news.

-No USB mount, another neutral. Because of this only media files (music, video, photo) can be transferred via USB from your computer to the Nexus. That means no apps' backup files from you old phone or anything like that. At first I thought this was going to be a huge negative but now it really isn't that big of deal because of a great app called AirDroid that lets you transfer files over you home wi-fi network connection. Or you can use something like Dropbox or

No phone is every going to live up to the Holy Grail expectations that people idealize about. So, of course, this phone has some negatives, but the positives really do outweigh the negatives in a big way. Especially if you are upgrading. I feel like I went from a tube to an LED TV. Vanilla ICS is delicious and one of the greatest things about owning the Nexus (again if you don't root). So, if you are in the market for a new phone and enjoy having the latest and greatest then I highly recommend this phone, but you better act fast because I'm sure something much better will be out in 3 months :)
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on December 27, 2011
I was looking forward to this phone because I was still using the original Droid, needed an upgrade and wanted a true (or as close as you can get on Verizon) Nexus experience. I bought the phone on the day that it came out and I was really impressed with the blazing speed of ICS and web-browsing and the remarkable video quality. I would highly recommend this phone to people who like to watch videos or play games on their phones. I have never seen this sort of video quality on another cell phone. However, for my purposes, this phone simply did not work.

The pentile screen just does not work well with my eyes. The whites have a glare and a sometimes bluish effect, especially in low light, and some of the other colors, like grays, appear grainy as if the text was written on paper. I mainly use my phone for work, news and web-browsing, so a poor reading experience just did not justify the expense. The problems were exacerbated by low light and I generally read my phone in low light, whether that be on a dark train during my commute or at night on my couch, so in aggregate, these issues really impacted by experience and led me to return the phone. I understand that this is a byproduct of these types of screens and the trade-off is great video quality, but the reading experience hurt my eyes. In fact, I had an easier time reading on my orginial Droid and that fact alone precludes me from giving this phone a higher rating. The battery life was not that impressive either, but since this is an early 4G phone, it did not really bother me too much. Outside of that, I think that the phone is wonderful, just not for reading or web-browsing. If you're a videophile or gamer, this is the device for you.
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on February 22, 2012
I've never been a fan of the one size fits all style of the iPhone line. Like many Verizons, I got my first taste of something magical with the original DROID. It was awesome, yet even at the time...lacking. Android still didn't have that polish and though a keyboard option was nice, not for me(Thanks to Swype mostly).
Then I replaced my DROID with a used Samsung Fascinate trying to last to the end of my contract. Then as my contract neared its end, rumors of a Nexus on Verizon began to swell. I finally upgraded to a Razr and then exchanged it for a Nexus. Many things went into my decision, but the most important one was SOFTWARE UPDATES. Google pushes software updates to Nexus phones. Gone are our 6-9 month update windows or the dreaded, will I even get an update. That paired with a truly awesome device was a straight up WIN. I'm in love with this phone. Buy it, unless they come out with another Nexus...then buy that!
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on June 29, 2012
These reviews are obviously cell phone store owners! Screen is not working well with green and pink and black lines across it after only one month. The extended battery only goes for four hours, so I have to plug it in everywhere I go and carry another battery. Signal gets lost and calls are dropped in the same areas where the motorola phones don't drop calls, so clearly the signal is weak. The sound is poor also, so poor that it's impossible to use as a GPS because you can hardly hear it unless it's close to your ear. This phone is a debacle. Going back to Motorola, what a joke.
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on March 3, 2015
(If you are considering this phone, please read my Cons below)
I got this phone a couple months after it came out, through Amazon Wireless in 2012. I've been through three of these now (1st: cracked screen, 2nd: water damage, 3rd: electrostatic discharge) I will hopefully be upgrading to the Motorola Moto X (2014) soon. I'd like to get the Nexus 6, but Verizon doesn't carry it until later this month, its a little pricey, and i don't know if the size is something I need right now since I have a large and small tablet already.

AMOLED screen, great for power.
Unlockable bootloader.
- I think there's one Verizon app which is uninstallable. no custom skins, one of the purest Google Android experience you can get on Verizon.
- I plug my phone into power probably 10-20 times each day and have never had issues with the power port.
- The LED on the front bottom to alert you of a notification was insanely annoying at first, it did a slow blink of white for anything in the notification bar, which meant it was constantly blinking. I bought LightFlow from the Google Play Store ($1.99 I think) and was able to heavily customize the color, blink rate, and for what notifications I wanted a light for.

Know what LTE/4G means for this phone- this is my biggest complaint. the mobile data was great when the phone came out. my area had amazing coverage, and virtually no one i knew had 4G, let alone LTE on Verizon's network, so my speed tests were nearly that of my FiOS internet. However, after time, especially after the iPhone got 4G, I have noticed a tremendous decrease in the availability and quality of that service for this phone. I did a little research into this and found that the Galaxy Nexus is equipped with a radio that uses the LTE 750 MHz band. This was great at the time, but Verizon's networks and towers have prioritized the more recent LTE 850, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2500, and 2600 MHz frequencies. Motorola's Nexus 6, for instance, works on all of these. All that to say that when this phone was released, LTE 750 was great, but has unfortunately been sent to the back burner to support all of the new devices out there. Essentially they break the current range of LTE into categories. This Nexus runs on Cat 3, most phones now run on Cat 4.

- You're stuck at Android KitKat 4.4.4 (i think, maybe an earlier version). I think there are some custom builds that can get you up to Lollipop, but not tested or supported by Google.

- the battery was designed and integrated at that terrible time when phones got really power hungry with larger, higher resolution screens, and CPUs with multiple cores, but batteries hadn't caught up yet. I'm on my 4th battery, one being an extended battery. if you plan on having this for a while, plan on replacing the battery after 6-9 months, or getting a spare to take with you when you'll be away from a charger for a while.
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on December 7, 2012
Let me just say that I wanted to wait a few weeks after getting this phone, so I could do a Real Life review. (Well, I accidentally waited 5 months!)Let me just say that this phone is Awesome, the ONLY drawback is the battery life, in my opinion. This phone has tons of apps (like All Android phones), and the screen is big and Beautiful! Having the On-screen buttons worried me at first, but everything is runs fine. I also almost did not buy this phone, because of no Expandable memory available. I am glad I bypassed that issue, my Nexus came with 32GB of internal storage, and 1GB of Ram! I take plenty of photos, and videos, and still have tons of room for storage. (I still have not began to put music on my phone yet - but 32GB will be able to hold plenty of songs!) Also, just to let you know that whatever was pre-loaded on my phone, there was approximately 28-29GB free storage.
This phone works very fast for me, and everything is very fluid, 95% of the time! I love that it has ICS, and will be getting an upgrade to JB, shortly - (Cannot wait for JB) The absolute best part of this phone was that there is not a ton of VZW, or carrier pre-loaded bloat ware on it! My Nexus came with 3 apps from VZW pre-loaded, and that was it!
A lot of people say that the speake on this phone is not very good, but I just use an app called "volume+ free", to solve those problems.
The camera is listed as a 5mp camera, but in my opinion it is not too bad. As long as you are not using it in low light, or whatever your trying to photograph is moving a lot, then you should be fine. When I am snapping photos of and whatever I am focused on is moving, I just snap a bunch of photos at once, and then go back and erase the blurry ones. (this camera has no lag with the shutter button!) Also, since I'm on the subject of the camera, this phone does have a video camera which can record up to 720P, and it is very good. Also, my Nexus came pre-loaded with an app called movie studio, which is kind of cool, little video editor!
Now, for the one Con, this phone has. It's battery does not ever get me through a full day, but that may just be because of the 4G, I'm ALWAYS running it on, haha! So, I just carry my charger with me, and I keep a charger in my car. At this point I cannot afford an extended battery, but I may get one in the near future. I will admit, I am on my phone A lot also, so for people that may not be on their phone as much throughout the day, they may not need to carry a charger at all times.
Thanks, I hope this review was helpful!
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on June 21, 2012

This is my second personally-owned Android phone. This replaces my Sprint HTC EVO 4G of two years, and I much prefer the Galaxy Nexus to my work-assigned Motorola Droid 4 (physical keyboard or not). I've used Android 2.1 (Eclair), 2.2 (Froyo), and 2.3 (Gingerbread). I ran Cyanogenmod 7 since ~fall 2011 and then 7.2 RC's until replacing the EVO altogether.


--Phone is very thin.

--Clear, vibrant 4.65" Super AMOLED HD screen with higher-than-average resolution (720x1280 vs. the more typical 480x800).

--The ability to use small-sized system-wide fonts on the higher-resolution screen is great.

--Excellent LTE speeds when available.

--Voice quality in phone calls has been above average in my experience.

--Ice Cream Sandwich is rather nice once you get used to it.

--Phone zips between screens and changes between apps with little to no appreciable lag.

--Vibration works well--not overly powerful, nor too weak.

--Boots pleasantly quickly.

--802.11n WiFi radio works rather well for me (although some claim to have range issues).

--You can change out to a fresh battery when charging isn't an option (skipped the HTC One X for this very reason).

--I very much appreciate the mostly "Pure Google" aspect of this phone and lack of bloatware or carrier-implemented restrictions (although, technically, it's not nearly the "Pure Google" experience of a GSM Galaxy Nexus).


--Perhaps *too* thin by default? (see next con)

--The smooth, hard, untextured plastic surfaces of this very thin phone definitely are too slippery; I can't hold this tall, wide phone in my largish hands without a case that adds decent grip-ability to the device without constant worry about dropping it outright.

--Super AMOLED HD is a "Pentile" screen; some users hate the technology, others see nothing wrong with it. I have fairly picky tastes when it comes to computer displays and have zero issues with it... but your mileage may vary.

--Battery life is fair-to-good with a decent LTE signal; worse than average with poor or no LTE signal.

--Speaker volume for media is a little too quiet for most of my podcasts.

--Notification light is on the bottom of the phone, not at the top... huh?

--I *almost* miss the SDcard support, but having ~28 GB of internal storage available works pretty well for me.

--On-screen ICS navigation buttons take a little getting used to--but at least they stay in the same place consistently. Unfortunately, the "Menu" button is now a symbol composed of three dots, and can be located at the top of the screen or at the bottom--entirely dependent on the application developer, and prone to be different between different apps. Very annoying.

Final Thoughts:

I really had a lot of doubts regarding the on-screen buttons, since I loved the fixed-in-place capacitive buttons on the EVO. I was also a bit nervous about Samsung phone quality, having read a great deal of rants about its supposedly lower-quality "plasticky" builds. I've been pleasantly surprised by the on-screen buttons not being a big deal at all (aside from the aforementioned "Menu" button's variable location), and the build quality of my phone looks to be just as good as anything I've seen with HTC or Motorola. I'm not a fan of the hard, slippery smooth plastic but that's fixed easily enough with a good silicone skin or textured case of your choice (my favorite: Incipio SA-204 Samsung Galaxy Nexus SILICRYLIC Hard Shell Case with Silicone Core - 1 Pack - Retail Packaging - Black/Black). ICS has worked well for me, and I've rather enjoyed most of the changes to the Android interface and resulting differences in device operation in comparison to Gingerbread-based devices.

This late in the game it's probably worth checking out the new Samsung Galaxy S3, soon to be available on just about all US carriers. There are many similarities to the Galaxy Nexus, but the new dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor looks to be a nice upgrade.. enough of one to opt for a non-"Pure Google" phone? Not for me. But if that's your primary interest, and you don't have money burning in your pocket, you might want to wait and see what Google's next developer phone is for this year.

Bottom Line:

I really enjoy my Galaxy Nexus overall. It's not perfect, and it has its quirks, but they pale in comparison to the benefits it has over many other 6-10-month old devices. That said, it's probably more for geeks and phone hackers and less for "mainstream" users as it lacks the carrier-provided "hand-holding" software found on many other devices. I've found it to be a solid phone, and I am grateful I was willing to give it a try.
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on May 30, 2012
I wanted to love the Galaxy Nexus, and there's a lot to like coming from a DroidX. ICS is just a very nice visual user interface, and the mechanisms to add apps and widgets to the home screen is very elegant. 4G was incredible, especially with the hotspot. Skype video worked wonderfully.

But there were a few challenges that were such a step back from a 2 year old phone I couldn't do it:

1) What voice command calling there was simply was not as nice as the DroidX or Siri. I very much liked Siri, except for the 20% of the time it would time-out upon my requests. The DroidX seems simplistic in comparison, but it gave all the right prompts (mobile or work, which of these names, etc).
2) Using the voice command with bluetooth was simply catastrophic. Perhaps the upcoming update will fix it, but volume across a headset during voice activation was nearly silent. There are other threads documenting this, and it made it simply unusable. It has about a 60% success rate in recognizing my commands, and when it's wrong, it's still confident and calls the wrong person.
3) The battery life is just OK. I never had to worry about the DroidX w/ the extended battery; the Galaxy Nexus was often running out by the evening (with its own slightly extended battery).
4) Darned if it didn't get a little slow near the end. It took a while to notice orientation changes and otherwise became sluggish. I'm surprised.
5) No full-function car dock, with charging and auto-launch of a car app. I just got used to it, and hated stepping backwards.
6) The camera sucks. How hard is it to get a camera which compares with the iPhone 4S? This one is nowhere close.

I'm on the Razr Maxx now, and really loving it. All the things I liked about my DX, with 4G, faster processor, etc. It's a winner.
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