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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Background:

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.

Pro's:

--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).

Con's:

--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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2012
Quick Overview

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.

External (5/5)

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.

Screen (5/5)

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.

Internals (4.5/5)

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.

Android (5/5)

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.)

Camera (4/5)

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.

Speaker (4/5)

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2012
Update 10/9/12
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.

Original review
___________________________________________________________________
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2012
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
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++
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2011
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.

+ves
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.

-ves
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.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 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.
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