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on December 27, 2011

If you are going to buy an android one this one might last you the length of the contract

First to get new android updates

The screen is beautiful

You don't have a skin on top of the base android using unnecessary battery/resources.

LTE data speeds are incredible with this phone.


Android is still more confusing to the lowest common denominator (based on observing my wife) compared to iOS (01/06/2011-Update after initial review, my wife has caught on to the Android experience, it did take a week or two. Versus when we had the iPhone she was off and running pretty much as soon as she got it).

As with other smart phones, and especially ones with LTE you are going to need to charge it if you want to use it frequently.

During use the phone gets rather warm/hot

There seems to be a bug presently where if the phone drops a cell signal it has problems picking back up a signal, contributing to already short battery life.
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on April 23, 2012
I ordered two of these phones expecting Google's flagship 4G Ice Cream Sandwich Phone on the 4G LTE network. BOTH phones suffer from a know defect in large manufacturing batches of these phones in which the LTE radio which causes frequent, nearly constant radio shutdown when the LTE radio is turned on. The signal will cut out completely for about a minute, and as soon as it reconnects, it will stay connected for less than a few minutes then loose the signal again. With the LTE radio turned off, and only the CDMA (3G) radio on, the phone is rock solid stable and battery life is great.

I have an app call "No Signal Alert" which keeps a log of signal loss issues. Sitting on my desk where i have 3-4 bars of 4G signal it will go from completely connected to the grey tringle indicating TOTAL signal loss about 12-15 times PER HOUR. yes PER HOUR!

Here is a link to the relevant bug report at Google.


It's classified as a defect. Apparently there are large numbers of these phones with the LTE radio problems. Many also experience purple/yellow screen discolorations and random microphone muting.

We are returning these two phones and will hope to get 2 fully working phones in replacement.
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on December 19, 2011
I received a Galaxy Nexus the day it was released. I first tried to get one a costco but was 2 months off of my 2 year upgrade so I had to go to Verizon to purchase it for an annual upgrade. The phone is everything I wanted and was claimed to be. Android seems to be moving in closer on its iPhone counterpart and I feel this phone is plenty.

I chose this phone for many reasons other than being an android fanatic. All my friends all have iPhones. They all made fun of my poor Droid X for various reasons. The huge reason was I wanted a 4g phone, no manufactor UI, and various new features the phone has.

I feel Ice Cream Sandwich has made huge strides for its updates and are shown beautifully across this device. Everything is simple from the unpacking and I dont need so many of the useless apps that I had previously on my Droid X. The cameras and its pictures it takes are gorgeous. Being able to take a screenshot on it is also a rather enjoyable factor, it even includes the software made buttons! it is quick to respond and the 4g network is quick here in the Bay Area. I havent had to many qualms with the battery life. I feel it lasts me throughout my 12 hour day, but sometimes I do try to keep it charge when I unknowingly decide to go out for hours on end, I think out of habit versus because it needed it. The display is clear but I feel that it could be brighter. The speakerphone could be better, it is to soft making it unpleasant to deal with when I need a loud one.I find the lack of SD card support isnt all that unpleasant. Its size seems to be an issue with everyone. I dont think so, I think with the right position in your hand. (me being 5'10 with normal sized hands) you can reach any portion of the screen and is not an issue. the stock predictive text and voice to text works very nicely and is not such a pain to correct.

Overall I would reccomend this phone over the iphone and is simple and great. I enjoy this purchase muchly.
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on January 1, 2012
Overall I'm happy with the GN but not with Verizon's update policy. Verizon takes forever to push out software updates, months longer than the other carriers. However this is a Nexus device which means that you aren't dependent on Verizon or Samsung for OS updates if you are willing to root the phone. Jelly Bean ROMs for the Verizon GN became available within hours of Google's code release. I've been running my GN with a Jelly Bean 4.1.1 ROM. I liked the phone with ICS, I love it with Jelly Bean.


Screen: The super amoled screen doesn't disappoint, it's bright, clear, easy to read, absolutely beautiful. The screen alone justifies buying this phone.

LTE: The LTE performance is also excellent, I've measured as much as 30MBits down, 22 up on speed tests although the low teens is more typical, it's as fast as a phone needs to be.

ICS: Ice Cream Sandwich is a nice clean interface with snappy performance although it has a number of flaws which I'll detail later. I was hoping that updates would come frequently because it's direct from Google and not burdened with a useless layer from Samsung. However Verizon has fallen down on the job it took them 7 months to release a point release update to ICS, a couple of months after the other carriers, I gave up waiting for them and unlocked my phone and installed it from a leaked release that was on the web.

JB: Jelly Bean is a big improvement over ICS. You have to root the phone to install JB because Verizon hasn't pushed it out yet, the other carriers released it in July, as of the middle of August there is no sign of it from Verizon. Jelly Bean improves voice recognition massively and adds Google Now which is a terrific assistant. Sound quality is better and the phone is completely stable even though I'm running a rooted ROM not an official release. ICS would crash occasionally, that's never happened with Jelly Bean.


Button placement: The worst thing on the phone is the placement of the volume and power buttons on the side, what was Samsung thinking when they did this?. The buttons are hypersensitive and so badly positioned that you are constantly pressing them. The worst offenders are the volume keys which are placed in the middle of the left side exactly where your thumb goes, so you have to be very careful not to turn the volume down when you are holding the phone. When holding it in your hand you can adapt, however the place where it's a really serous problem is when using a windshield mount. I bought a Braketron universal GPS mount which I highly recommend, it's solidly made, holds the phone securely and positions it in a very convenient manner. I looked at the Verizon windshield mount but it's unusable if you have a protective skin on the phone, and you absolutely need a skin for this phone. The terrible button placement makes putting the phone in the mount a task akin to defusing a bomb, it's very very hard to put the phone in the holder without the volume going down to 0. The power key is closer to the top so it's not as bad, however I had the phone shutdown on me once before I figured out that the power button got pressed by the mount. There is a workaround for this, an APP called Persist which locks out the volume buttons. There are two other apps that claim to lock the volume buttons, Volume Locker and Volume Control+, but neither of those work, Persist does.

Speakers: The built in speaker is absolutely awful. The volume is low and it's extremely distorted with ICS, it's much better with Jelly Bean but the volume is still low. The sound with headphones is magnificent, and phone calls through my car's built in bluetooth are also great, but the sound directly from the built in speaker is the worst that I've ever heard from a device in this class. Unfortunately my built in bluetooth in the car isn't A2DP capable so it only works with phone calls, not with navigation. I've just bought a tiny bluetooth speaker which totally fixes the sound problem with this phone, DBEST London PS4001BT Solo Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speaker.

Battery Life: The battery life is very poor, with the standard battery it drains at a rate of 8%/hour. However there is good news, there are several 3800ma batteries available for the GN. I just bought the Trexcell battery, it was only $20 and it seems to last for 30hours with light use which is more than twice as long as the standard battery. The downside of the big batteries is that they double the thickness of the phone, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff. Trexcell Samsung Galaxy Nexus 3800mah NFC Compliant Extended Battery + Cover (Compatible ONLY with VERIZON Samsung Galaxy Nexus i515)

Battery Cover: The back cover is paper thin and it takes some doing to snap it back in place. Once again I ask the question, what was Samsung thinking? I bought a Cruzer Lite skin for the device which fits very snuggly over the phone, it adds significant protection and most importantly it seals the back of the phone, the battery cover itself seems like it will eventually fail to provide a reliable seal.


Voice Recognition: In ICS Google must be using different voice recognition software for Search, Navigation and Voice Dialing. The quality of the voice recognition for Google Search and for Navigation is astounding, it's nearly perfect. On the other hand the quality of the voice recognition for voice dialing/contact lookup is hilariously bad. It's so bad that this phone can provide you with hours of fun at parties. Not only is the recognition rate 0%, the translations are usually rude or obscene. Here are some examples, I'm not making these up, my girlfriend's name was variously translated as "Cash the Bitch" and "Crap in a Ditch", my business partner was translated as the less rude "Orange Soda", the piece de la resistance however is my girlfriends mother's name which it translated as "My Sweet Ass". Jelly Bean fixes this, it's not perfect but at least it works most of the time.

Transferring to and from the phone: ICS doesn't present the phone as a storage device when you plug it in to your computer via USB however there are solutions that work over WIFI so this isn't a serious problem. I installed a couple of apps on the device, ES File Explorer which not only gives you a really nice interface to your local file system but also support SAMBA. I exported a directory on my computer as a SAMBA share and I'm able to copy files back and forth between the systems with ES File Explorer. The other APP I installed is SSHDroid which provides Secure Shell server on the phone. SSHDroid supports both SFTP and sshing directly into the phone. With SFTP you can upload and download files directly to the phone. Neither app requires rooting and both are free from the Marketplace. I'm also using Dropbox which is a really simple way of sharing a directory across multiple desktop and mobile devices.
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on July 14, 2012
For any of all of those who have suffered with Samsung Nexus 4G dropped calls, connectivity issues, random shutdowns, camera freezes, and other mystery signal loss read on. I'm on my 3rd replacement phone from Verizon who refuses to acknowledge there is ANY problem with the phone. They are great at playing dumb. Alas, I lose radio (phone) connection AT MINIMUM a dozen times a week. For those running a business by phone this is a death sentence. Customers comment "wow what carrier do you have? I'm never going with them." This phone does the advanced operations fairly well, BUT it's most basic function and reason for existing, i.e. making and keeping phone calls it FAILS with epic proportions. Don't let the glammy, glitzy, 4.5" screen and graphics fool you.

If Verizon actually operated with some integrity and balls and said, "yes it's a known firmware/hardware issue with our CDMA/LTE network, we are working on a fix" then I could retain a shred of respect for them. However, they continually deny any issue exists, and customer service happily reads from their prepared script, "well I have this phone and it works great..." Sadly, the LTE/CDMA radio switching problem (i.e. your recipient can't hear a word you say suddenly) is WELL DOCUMENTED in many popular forums, but it will not show on the carrier dropped call report they keep on file with each registered phone. IT's not a dropped call, it's total loss of radio signal. Keeping the phone on 3G/CDMA does not fix the issue. Alas, why would you buy a 4G phone and switch 4G off just for it to work? Would you buy a Corvette only to drive it in 3rd gear? EFF NO!

The final dagger was last week when I finally convinced Customer Service over the 800 number to switch out the Nexus for a Razor. Although they would not waive the $12 overnight fee - I had to pay that else wait a week for shipping by Snail Mail. 4 hours later I received a call from "The Shipping Department" that said my Razor order was refused "By the System" and I would be getting a refurbished (i.e. defunct) Nexus. WTF Over? I called Customer Service and they said "The System" would not allow a switch with another model. Regardless of industry, company, product, etc. whenever I'm told "The System" won't allow it, as if computers run the people at Verizon, then I'm done with their company and product FOREVER.

It's been 5 trips to my local Verizon store, plus 5 more painful looooooong, put on hold 'We're experienced high call volume' BS 800 number calls with V. I'm now working on getting a total refund, launching this shiny POS phone, and walking away permanently from Verizon. Releasing a flawed phone, collecting customer's money for that phone, then failing to acknowledge a common problem and offering a defective replacement should send you running for Apple, or another respectable manufacturer and carrier. Need more proof?? Just look at the other 1 star reviews on this phone.
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on April 19, 2012
Two brand new phones were extensively troubleshoot by both level 1 and 2 of verizon tech support and were not able to determine the cause of the connectivity issues both phones have and I was prompted to return them. I believed in all the good reviews I read but with an extremely erratic network connection that consumed my patience the phone turned up to be a complete fiasco.

The 4G and network connection was intermitent most of the time disconnected, with in LA city
- Could not make phone calls most of the time
- If phone call went thru, it wouldn't take long before the call was dropped and service lost
- Brief internet browsing (4G) only to loose connection shortly after
- apps would stop working due to lost of network connection (4G)
- If connected to a wifi you can use it only forgett about the phone

Samsung offer to repair...
Forgett about google youl'll get ignored

Just as a side note, verizon's reps, wether over the phone or at their corporate offices will discourage you about your phone aquisicition thru amazon
- refusal to activate your new phone, they will refer you back to amazon
- They'll warn you that no manufacture's wrranty support thru verizon
- I was told that Amazon is not an authorized retailer by verizon

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on July 7, 2012
I am not a hater. I will say up front that Amazon still has great customer service, and even Verizon has been helpful in resolving issues. But here is my Cautionary Tale.

Now that Sprint is rolling out 4G LTE phones, but has no 4G LTE network, my old HTC Evo 4G was suddenly faster than even their newest HTC Evo 4G LTE which can't connect via Wimaxx. So I left, and after Jelly Bean's announcement, I leapt at this no brainer - buy a Gnex for a penny, and even if I broke contract after 6mo, it would only be $350 per phone which was the going rate on Google Play for an unlocked version anyway. I bought two - one for me and the Mrs.. The fact that the phones were a penny each made breaking my Sprint contract easy, and forking over the penalty didn't feel too bad.

A few days later, the phones arrive, and we are both running up to date ICS 4.0.4. Her phone - no problems - F'n awesome. Mine? Unfortunately, the connectivity issues that have plagued reviews of this phone since 4.0, started on day 2. Text messages won't send 50% of the time due to "no network," 25-50% of phone calls cut out if I include dropped network while dialing. I called Verizon tech support hoping they had a fix, since it seemed absurd that they would still be selling this phone if was this unreliable. The advice was, "This is a known issue for this phone. I would get a new phone."
"You mean a replacement?"
"No, I mean a new model."
Called Amazon Wireless - "Well...if you read the reviews, this seems to be a hit or miss device." They graciously offered to exchange the defective device.
Went to the Verizon store - "Call customer service, and see if you can get an SIII."
Called Verizon again today. The Tier 1 support guy said, "I'm sorry your first experience with Verizon has been like this. However, I am not sure getting a new phone is the best advice, let me transfer you to Tier 2." And what did Tier 2 say? "I would get a new model phone before your 14 day window expires."

I am heartbroken, because in the short time I've had it, I thought this phone would take me through 2 years. But what good is a phone that can't make calls? It's just a small tablet.

The fact that my wife's phone works shows why some reviews are great. But the network issue seems to persist, and even the most current update has not fixed this. This is hit or miss phone, and seems to have serious HARDWARE (no software fixes) issues. As such, I don't believe that exchanging the device will solve the problem. The last thing I need is to be locked into a contract with a phone, constantly taking trips to the store, exchanging it for a new one, reloading apps/configuring etc. My time is worth more than the savings a penny price tag gives me.

I'd pass, or at least wait until AmazonWireless offers the SIII, so if you get a dud, you can return it for an SIII for likely $199.98 more. However, I have not been able to determine that this problem won't come up in time, even if you get a "working" nexus.
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on April 28, 2012
I was really excited to get this phone but the signal strength is very poor and it thus drops calls a lot. This problem is posted all over the internet. When I call Verizon every rep has a different answer. I was told that it is a software problem that will be fixed by an update but it is now almost May with no update more than 4 months later. Most Verizon reps say this is not a known issue even though it is posted all over the internet including their own forum. Most people are told to exchange their phone for a refurbished phone that ends up having the same problem even after several exchanges.

I called Samsung and they said it is a hardware problem and I need to send it for repair.

I suspect that this is a known hardware problem with the phone in either the antenna or "radio" that cannot be repaired. I think the phone needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. I do not think the companies want to admit it because it would result in a very costly widespread recall or refund.

Still waiting for the update to see if it fixes the problem.
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on July 23, 2012
Let me start off by saying I have been an avid iPhone and iPod touch user for about 4 years. I tried android back in 2010 with the Samsung Fascinate (what a mistake!). I swore off of android and Samsung phones until some better technology came along, since 2.1 and 2.2 were pretty laggy.

Fast forward to 2012 and I have a craving for a new phone. The iPhone 4 is nice, but it's very limited. I wanted an android device that wouldn't be bogged down by TouchWiz, Motoblur, and whatever LG thinks they're doing. Enter the Galaxy Nexus.

This phone is sleek, stylish, fast, and (on contract) affordable. Let me start with the pros list:

FAST! This thing can run many apps at a time and still fly back to them. There's a hiccup here and there, but that should be eradicated with the official Jellybean 4.1.1 update.

BEAUTIFUL SCREEN! The AMOLED on my Fascinate was nice, but Super AMOLED definitely takes the cake with colors popping. Plus, it's 720p so it's amazingly clear and crisp with text and pictures.

VERY EASY TO ROOT+HACK! This phone practically begs to be hacked and ROM'd. It's easy to unlock the bootloader, root, and install custom ROMs. I'm running Jellybean right now, VZW probably won't release an official OTA update until at least autumn (and that's being generous). If you know how (or are willing to learn how) to install ROMs, this phone will always be updated with the latest Android firmware, thanks to the dev community.

4G LTE: It's WICKED fast. My first test I got 20mbps download and 18mbps upload! It is 3x as fast as my home cable connection! This can be both a pro and con, however, because you'll burn through your limited data faster.

Very customizable: This comes straight from ICS or Jellybean. There are so many options from different apps, launchers, themes, ROMs, kernels, and everything in between. This is why android is the complete opposite of iOS. And it's amazing to set your phone apart from others, aside from having just a different wallpaper and apps.

Headphone quality: The stock headphones they give you are actually pretty great. Combine it with one of the equalizer apps akin to Beats Audio and this phone can pump out the bass! Way better than iPhone.

BATTERY. My iPhone 4 would last through at least an entire day under moderate use. Sometimes even into the next day. The GNEX unfortunately does not. I only have 4G rarely, not at home or work, so the LTE is not draining it. I'm constantly on Wifi at home, 3G at work, and I've seen my battery go from 100% at 3PM to 50% at 6pm. And that's with GPS, 4G, and Bluetooth off. I highly recommend an extended battery if you plan to be away from a charger for long. It's an amazingly powerful device, it's a shame that Samsung only put an 1850mAh battery in, and not something larger like the RAZR MAXX.

VOLUME: The GNEX is significantly quieter than previous phones I've had, including the iPhone 4. I have to search for specifically loud ringtones so that I can hear my alarm in the morning. It sucks that Samsung gypped out on audio volume.

SIGNAL STRENTGH: This has never been a strong point in the recent Samsung smartphones. I had a Samsung Alias 2 back in 2009 and that phone always got 3-4 bars, where my Fascinate and now GNEX get 1-3. My iPhone could even have 1 bar but still send and receive data. The GNEX loses 3G more often in the same spots (namely my job, terrible deadzone). The Wifi is weaker as well, my iPhone would get 2-3 bars while my GNEX gets 0-2 and drops occasionally. Hopefully an official update can fix the radios.

NO SD SLOT: This seems like it isn't that much of an issue, since the phone comes with 32GB of internal memory. However, some apps have an issue from this. DoubleTwist, one of the best iTunes replacement music apps, cannot sync over USB because the GNEX cannot be mounted. I know there is a reason why Google does this, but it's a damn shame.

Overall I would recommend this phone. I would also highly recommend buying an extended battery, a Seidio or QCell 3800mAh should get you through 1.5-2 days per charge. The 4G, if it's in your area, is ridiculously fast. And the phone is beautiful. If you have $20 to spare on the extended battery, I'd say go for this phone. It's pure android, and it's fast all around.

Recommended apps:
Lightflow, it allows you to change the color and frequency of the notification LED. I have texts light up blue and low battery red, in addition to plenty of other options.
Nova Launcher: This launcher is only for android 4.0+ and it is way more fluid and customizable than the stock launcher. Also, it's free.
PGM Nexus: This app is awesome. It lets you swipe across the screen to unlock the phone, and swipe back across the bottom to lock it again. It's useful if you're like me and not a fan of the side-lock button on Samsung phones.
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on May 14, 2012
I received my first Nexus at the beginning of January. Verizon's coverage maps showed my house was in the "Verizon 4G LTE Extended" (light red) area and my office was in the "Verizon 4G LTE" (dark red) area. Yet I could never reliably receive a 4G signal. I found some spots where the signal was slighly better and occasionally (mostly at night or at other low traffic times) I could get 2 bars of 4G. But the moment I went to use the connection (either with the phone or with Mobile Hotspot), the connection would switch from 4G to 3G and with no bars. My connection speed would be about 100kbps.

I figured I would give it a few weeks and let Google or Samsung release a software update. After all, this was their flagship phone.

February went by, then March, then April. Now it is May and I am still using the same 4.0.2 software and having the same problems. I called Verizon and they agreed to send me a warranty replacement. The certified like-new one that they sent had a mid-April build date on the label behind the battery. Yet the reception problem was identical.

There is a 4.0.4 rom floating around on the web, so I decided to give it a try. Unlocking, rooting and flashing was very easy. The phoned switched between 3G and 4G much quicker. But there was no difference in reception. And my average connection speed at home was still around 100 kbps.

So I called Verizon again and made them give me a different phone, this time an HTC Rezound. Now I actually get 4G at home and at the office. My connection speed at home is around 3 mbps and at the office is around 10 mbps. Night and day difference. I should have stayed with HTC.

Buyer beware.
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