Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

Summary: The Galaxy Nexus has landed on the Verizon LTE network and my first impressions are good and not so good.

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The Galaxy Nexus has landed on Verizon today and I have been using one for a few hours. While the phone has been available in the EU for a while, the Verizon version is the only one currently available in the U. S. It is state-of-the-art in every way, including operating on the 4G LTE network of Verizon. I haven't had it in my hands long enough to offer a detailed review, but have formed some first impressions about the Galaxy Nexus that are worth sharing.

I should qualify my impressions as they are the basis of my belief that the Galaxy Nexus is currently the best Android phone available. It is packed with good hardware, and the inclusion of Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is just icing on the dessert.

What I like about the Galaxy Nexus

Display. The huge (4.65") Super AMOLED display is simply gorgeous, and it is as good as you will find on any smartphone. The high-resolution (1280x720) screen is true HD and as snappy as that on any Android phone.

Camera. The 5MP camera is not the biggest on phones, but the zero shutter lag is impressive. This is the first Android phone I have used that allows taking multiple photos in succession with no lag. Picture quality is decent, too.

Weight. Even with the big display, Samsung has kept the weight of the Galaxy Nexus nice and manageable for long-term use in the hand. While a little plasticy, the phone feels pretty sturdy.

Performance. There are no complaints in the performance department, as the phone is as fast as any Android phone I have tried. Tapping an icon makes something happen instantly, and the LTE network keeps things humming along nicely.

OS. ICS is a good evolution of Gingerbread, which is the previous smartphone version of Android. Everything looks crisper and cleaner, and the overall appearance of ICS is an improvement over other versions.

What I don't like about the Galaxy Nexus

Size. Even though the large display is nice for browsing the web, the width of the Nexus is just too darn wide. Even in my big hands the phone feels awkward to hold, especially while making phone calls. I've always felt that 5-inch phones are overkill, and trimming off just a little bit for the Galaxy Nexus is not enough.

Phone back. The flimsy battery cover on the back of the phone is as bad as I have seen on any phone. It literally must be peeled off to get to the battery, and putting it back on is an exercise in futility. I wonder if Samsung decided this was a good way to avoid any design claims from Apple? I can't think of another reason why it would approve such a bad design.

US only. As the most advanced Android phone, I would expect, no demand, that it be usable when traveling abroad. Unfortunately the CDMA version on Verizon is not a world phone, so it is a brick when traveling outside the U. S. A very expensive, state-of-the-art brick.

OS. Yes, ICS is both something I like and don't like about the Galaxy Nexus. While the things I like about ICS are nice, I am still horrified to find the occasional stutter and lag in simple operations like scrolling pages. This hardware is first-rate, and it still can't handle Android as smoothly as it should.

I will be using the Galaxy Nexus heavily to offer a detailed review soon. Until then take these first impressions with a grain of salt and enjoy the photos.

Topics: Android, Google, Mobility, Verizon

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12 comments
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  • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

    "...design claims from Apple..."

    Please...Apple is accusing everyone and their mother of copying them whenever superior tech comes out now. They need to get over it, so do their fanboys.
    mbe3204m
    • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

      @mbe3204m Apple haven't objected to the battery cover. This was just a comment to highlight how bad the battery cover was. You just got trolled by the reviewer!
      global.philosopher
    • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

      It is inspiring. Another green innovation for practical usage. http://www.solarmio.com/en/OnlineStore.aspx
      sreeseche
    • Beats iPhone for at least few reasons

      1.You can size and put widgets like Pandora, Photo on any home screen!<br>2.Speeds like 18 to 22 mbps, compared to dial up on iPhone to download movies, files etc<br>3.voice prompted direction on, touch and hold search button and command 'Navigate to ...' and nothing else to be done. BEST and EASIEST implementation <br>4.Customization, get out of those clunky one way of iPhone icons <br>5.Double the data for 4G for same price, same plan, compared to iPhone 4S (because Verizon doubles data on 4G LTE, and iPhone is disqualified)
      amneel
  • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

    I think the size issue is always a funny one to bring up. It is obvious that a lot of people prefer bigger phones. A lot of people also prefer smaller phones. You should just mention that it is big and leave it at that (I'm one of the people that cannot stand a phone under 4 inches, it feels so tiny and I feel I have to squint at the screen). I'll be interested in seeing your thoughts after using it some more.
    Dodgson1832
    • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

      I've got a world phone version from Hong Kong and using it on Vodafone in New Zealand. I have to say that the screen is to die for - it really is beautiful.
      Really black blacks, bright colours and big screen. The sharpness and detail is tremendous. I can live with the width of the phone, still feels comfortable in my hand. But the thiness of the phone is also impressive - sure wider at the base, but feels thin and light in the hand, yet still high quality. Previously I was using the HTC EVO 3D and it was like a brick in the hand in comparison.
      pethers
      • Galaxy Nexus on Vodafone NZ

        Android 4.0 impressions - nice clean design, runs just fine - fast and smooth, Has run all the apps that I have needed off the Market so far, plays high quality bluray rips really well - I played a 4.5GB 720p movie without a hesitation, and well that screen... xmas has come early for me LOL
        pethers
    • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

      @Dodgson1832 Thank you! I've long said that 5 inches is my ideal size for a phone screen. I rarely (like once every few months) use my cell phone for talking, so I don't care what size it is next to my head (not that it would even be bigger than the house phone I still have).

      Sure, there is a group that likes smaller phones. As you said, there is also a group that likes larger ones. Given how many phones are currently on the market, I'm sure everyone can be satisfied. The complaint about phone size these days is utterly ridiculous.
      MichelliL
  • Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich

    Does anyone have the same frustration I do with editing text on Android?
    It seems like they really dropped the ball with this on Gingerbread. I was wondering if its any better on Ice Cream Sandwich?
    Main problems are:
    1.Selecting text to be edited. The cursor is very awkward to use because it never seems to land where I want it to when I am dragging it around.
    2.when I am writing in a text field and it starts to get full I cant seem to get to the bottom of the field where my text ends. It simply will not go all the way down to the bottom line.
    3.Older versions of android used to have the Clipboard feature. You could copy or cut several items and the top most recent selections were available to paste from Clipboard. The Clipboard is no longer available in Android 3.0 as far as I can tell.

    I Love almost everything else about my Droid X2 but the word editing capabilities are driving me nuts!!! Am I the only one who has experienced this frustration??
    kingofjudah
  • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

    I have had my phone since the 15th the only complaint i have is the volume is horrible,
    I can't hear the phone ring or txt messages when they arrive even after changing ringtones to something loud, just seems like they need more volume, besides that the phone is awesome and fast works very well on the web and net flix is great.
    trimo58
  • RE: Galaxy Nexus on Verizon: Hands-on impressions

    Was having high anticipations for this phone to be the holy grail of cellphones. Can't anyone get it right? Everything is great on this phone, EXCEPT, two things that are important to me. The speakerphone has such a low volume you have to hold it up to your ear to hear it. I listen to music from my Droid on the speakerphone , which is twice as loud as the Nexus, so this won't work for me. Also the camera is a poor excuse for a cameraphone. Pictures were blurry and terrible at low light. But the good news is the shutter is really fast... at taking subpar pictures. I'm getting the HTC Rezound.
    cnofal
  • So far great, but not perfect

    A number of Galaxy Nexus users have been complaining about signal strength and dropped calls. I haven't exactly seen this, but there's definitely some work to do on the firmware. I have run the Nexus throughout my house -- 3G area only -- and it's so far working very well, everywhere my OG Droid worked. And faster... web browsing is significantly faster, whether that's faster 3G or just the 5x more CPU juice, hard to say for sure.

    But the signal strength display always looks much weaker than on the Droid. To the extent that I really don't believe it. Pretty sure there are some issues here.

    Again, haven't been on 4G yet, but the battery life at my 3G-fringy-house isn't bad at all. Out at the mall today, in a much stronger area, it did even better... one thing people tend to forget is that your battery life will tank in a weaker signal area. I have the larger battery on order anyway -- one of the main wins of the Nexus over Motorola's RAZR and forthcoming Droid 4 is the battery swappability.

    One thing to realize about OLED displays.. they don't look their best when turned way down in brightness. The display has an incredible dynamic range, probably on the order of 100,000:1 or better. Compare that to under 1000:1 for most LCD panels. But because the LCD gets all its light from the backlight, you'll get that same 1000:1 range no matter the brightness setting. Since OLEDs make their own light, dropping the overall brightness also lowers the dynamic range. You may see a little "noise" on the screen at very low brightness levels. The auto-brightness on the Nexus right now seems a big overly aggressive, so you will see this effect from time to time. Set it to a reasonable fixed level and it goes away.
    Hazydave