on May 24, 2012
First things first. Pay no attention to the review by J.S. Stock Android has never included visual voicemail. Apparently he or she hasn't heard of Google Voice yet.
Onto the review. I have committed myself to only using Nexus devices when it comes to Android. I hate being held hostage to Manufacturer/Carrier update schedules. Why should I have to wait 6 months for my perfectly good device to get a half-baked update to the latest and greatest? I shouldn't. The Nexus phones do it right and receive stock Android updates developed by Google.
This phone is fast, it's lightweight, easy to hold in my hand and the screen is gorgeous. Tech outlets seem to be down on the pentile display, but it doesn't bother me. Call quality is great and speakerphone/the external speaker function well. Battery life has not been an issue for me and I am a moderate to heavy user. Although the device itself is about 6 months old, the fact that it runs pure, unadulterated Android helps it to keep pace with some of the newer phones. I had a tinge of envy when looking at the EVO 4G LTE's specs, but I have zero performance issues with this device and am 100% pleased with my purchase.
Do yourself a favor and get this phone. You'll be happy you did.
on January 23, 2013
UPDATE (May, 2014):
We have moved on from the Sprint Galaxy Nexus. We moved to a new house in late fall 2013, and the Sprint signal strength indoors ranged from very poor to generally non-existent at the new location.
Prior to the move to a different neighborhood and the subsequent cell-tower strength issues, we "discovered" that just because it's a Nexus, doesn't mean Google is going to keep patching it (no matter how capable the hardware was, or is). Sadly, the Galaxy Nexus wasn't eligible for Android 4.4 "KitKat".
We hadn't clearly understood that Google has a "two HW generations out" limit for Nexus updates (my bad, I s'pose).
So we weren't exactly unhappy about going to new phones. And a new provider.
I popped back in though, to specifically share that if you already have a Galaxy Nexus (or you're thinking about getting one), and are disappointed about the lack of 'Droid v4.4 support from Google, Cyanogenmod does have an alternative KitKat level update.
You can easily find it online, and it was a relatively easy install.
The *only* caveat is that you don't want to root and mod' the phone until AFTER you have established a Sprint account, and confirmed it's working. (Otherwise you're going to have to return the phone back to the original ROM, activate it with Sprint, and re-install Cyanogenmod.)
I really liked the Cyanogenmod version of KitKat, and recommend it as a way to keep your Galaxy Nexus current (regardless of the lack of direct Google support & patches).
FWIW. We went with Nokia Lumia 1020's Windows Phone 8 phones on AT&T (AT&T signal was clearly superior to T-Mobil and Verizon at our new house: yeah, we tried all the major cell providers). No regrets. The 1020 is superb as a phone (and as a camera it is fantastic).
My wife and I have owned the Nexus on a family Sprint plan since last May (2012).
History: We moved to the Nexus from LG Optimus S phones (on Virgin Mobile). Prior to that we'd had Sprint personal accounts since 2002 or so (with various non-smartphones through the years), and I'd had an AT&T account with an iPhone 3GS, via an iPhone 2G, and via a Palm Treo, on a business acount. I'm a systems administrative consultant with 30 years of industry experience. I do tech lol.
Usage: I can do things on the Nexus that I can't do on a PC. The Nexus is the cleanest of the Android platforms. You want it (of any version/carrier), if you're even mildly nerdy. Frankly, it - "it" being small, portable super-computers - doesn't get any better than the Nexus from the geek perspective.
You don't necessarily have to root it (after all: the main purpose of rooting is to give you the "pure Android experience" from Google that is designed into the stock Nexus). The whole purpose of the Nexus is as a reference hardware platform for Google Android. It's a brilliant success.
Features: It's fast. The display is brilliant (at really extreme angles). And bright (we were hiking recently in powder snow in open slopes on a clear day, and I was taking panorama shots, and after cranking up the display brightness (which I typically have at about the 20% level for most indoor venues: it's just that bright inside) to max, the shots were perfectly visible. As for everything else ...it still does more than I know how to ask of it. It's quick, and fluid. Lovely to use, really.
Battery: When we first bought these phones, the battery life just sucked with the stock battery. It was pathetic; even with light usage, it was pretty much touch-and-go by the end of the day. But after the Jelly Bean update rollout, the stock battery may now last me up to two days with moderate to heavy [non-voice] use (if I have a 3 hour support call, I'm going to want to charge it before evening ...which is a LOT longer than my old 3GS would last). So you can pretty much disregard the [perfectly legitimate] battery complaints from pre-Jelly Bean release reviews. The problem has been fixed. (Which is to say: the Nexus is no worse than any other smartphone of similar capabilities, and quite a bit better than some.)
Must have apps: First - Touchpal Keyboard & Touchpal Contacts. Then in no particular order: Kingsoft Office. Flipboard. Pulse. Amazon Kindle. Amazon Mobile. QuickPic. Pix'lr. AirCalc. Navigator. Mapquest. GPS Info. Wifi Analyzer. System. EFS File Explorer. Our Groceries. Pocket. Craigslist Pro (free or paid: both are great). Hotmail. Shazam. AirDroid. SplashTop. PocketCloud.
...and a ton more; that's enought to get started. And as I remarked earlier: the phone - via Android - does more than I *can* do on a PC, and more than I would have thought possible. Every week brings new learning experiences with this thing.
Sprint: I don't have a lot of good to say about any carrier. Including Sprint. The fees are all stupidly exorbitant.
Recommendations: The phone is still hot stuff, and you won't regret it. But. If I was buying now, I'd look very closely at the unlocked LG Nexus 4 on the Google Store site, which is a SIM card based Nexus (granted: they're always sold out). I'd just pay the full smack for the non-contract phone, and use it on one of the pay-as-you-go plans. You'll save significant money over the life of plan.
Five stars. No quibbles.
...I like the phone so much, I bought a Nexus 7 tablet a few weeks ago. I'm a huge fan of that device, too.
on June 21, 2012
This is my first real foray into the world of the smart phone. Overall I am happy with the phone. The calls sound good. The sprint service in my area has a weak signal, but that is the vendor not the device. Even with the weak signal in my home, calls have a good quality sound to them. I don't miss calls, and they don't drop either.
I really dislike the battery life. I am not sure if I was simply spoiled by my Samsung Rugby phone that I could talk for a couple of hours and have it stand by for a couple of days without charging it. The galaxy I get approximately 12 hours from fully charged to completely dead. That is with making calls totaling less than two hours, and receiving regular notifications. When I use the phone heavily for internet, sending/receiving emails, talking, and texting, the phone will only last about seven hours. Again it may be that I was spoiled by my old phone, but I just don't feel that the battery life is where I would like it to be.
The other issue I have is with integrating the phone with my office Exchange. The setup works fine, but the device will not authenticate with the server. I have not found a good solution to this problem yet, aside from buying a third party app to get the mail exchange to work.
The apps that the phone runs are great. I download from both Google play and the Amazon app store. I am able to access my amazon kindle library on the device which is also nice. I have not had trouble with apps crashing, or the phone locking up. I use quick office pro, and I like the screen size when it comes to viewing PDF and Word documents.
I gave it a four star rating because I do think that it is an above average device. I really would like to have given it three and a half stars due to the above mentioned problems. I am hoping that with updates that at least the exchange issue will be worked out. I would recommend this device.
on May 13, 2012
Upgraded from my two year old android, having a great user experience with ICS/this phone. There was initial activation issue with amazon/sprint, it was quickly resolved.
Battery charge life is very good, calls are much better handled in ICS (the keypad is automatically activated/visible if the phone is held away in-between calls), no bloat apps- its pure google. Did not try the NFC feature yet. You can build some cool profiles using NHC tags.
on August 10, 2013
If you do a little research online about the poor reception you will find it is endemic to when the phone is upgraded to Jelly Bean 4.2. Some firmware patch is needed but as of this writing there is no idication that it will be addressed..
When the phone searches for an LTE cell and doesn't find one it disconnects from the mobile network. The phone has to be rebooted to regain connection.
When it does get an LTE cell, every call was dropped. Every call and that is not hyperbole.
I had purchased this phone last year as a gift for my mother and it worked extremely well. This has been a disappointment.
on December 9, 2012
The minute I got this phone, I was ecstatic. I've had a T-Mobile MyTouch and a Droid X in the past (both shortly after their respective releases) and have been let down each time. This phone was different, though. Some highlights:
- Buttery smooth. The phone was updated to 4.1 and immediately after the update, everything was incredibly smooth. The framerate is unbelievable. I've use the iPhone 5 and the animations and framerate during scrolling are sub-par compared to this thing.
- Holy crap Google Now. It's creepy good. I ask it questions and it gives me answers. "Where is the nearest Caltrain stop?" "What movies are playing tonight?"
- No bloatware from Sprint. The absolute last thing I need is some garbage apps that my carrier installed and I can't get rid of. This has none of that.
- Google Wallet. The NFC means that you can pay for your Starbucks without your credit card.
- No Bluetooth 4 (not a huge downside)
- The screen on some devices (including mine) looks "splotchey" up close. If you're neurotic about perfect graphics, you might want to see it in person. I'm pretty paranoid about screen weirdness (back in the day I insisted on a CRT because I didn't want LCD's dead pixels) and I virtually never notices the splotches. They're only really apparent when the screen is completely black and the backlight is on high. You also might notice some slow response times for high-contrast screen updates, though this seems to have decreased as I've owned the phone longer (perhaps a 4.1 thing?).
- You can't use it to set up a wifi hotspot. Sprint cuts your 3/4g as soon as you do.
- Sprint's 4g network is WiMax(NOT LTE), which means that you'll hardly ever get 4g coverage on this phone. LTE is rolling out slowly, but it's not expected to be available in many places until well into 2013. I've stumbled into 4g zones, though, and the internet is literally faster than my cable internet at home.
on March 2, 2013
Waste of time and money dont know what Samsung was thinking when they make this phone. 80% of the time it doesnt work and drops the call everytime with full bars. Every morning you have to pray for it work, 80% of the time it is a dead phone and poor poor battery life. Never again!