Verizon Galaxy Nexus ReviewSamsung GALAXY Nexus CDMA 9.5
Being the very first handset to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus represents a true milestone for the Android operating system. Ice Cream Sandwich is one of the most-anticipated Android iterations ever, since it finally bridges the phone and tablet experience. What this means is that both Android phones and tablets will run Ice Cream Sandwich (and the versions after it), and not two separate platforms, like it has been until now with Android Gingerbread and Android Honeycomb. The case with ICS is that it's built on top of Honeycomb and not Gingerbread. Because of this, ICS brings a brand new experience to Android phone users, equal to a complete redesign of the platform.
First of all, if you have used a Honeycomb tablet, you'll feel right at home with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Most of the UI elements are preserved, and pretty much the whole interface follows the same logic. If you haven't had the chance to work with Honeycomb yet, there'll be a slight learning curve, but very slight indeed – we promise! After all, this is still Android.
As always, your homescreen is divided into multiple pages, on which you can place widgets, app shortcuts and so on. A new element in ICS is that you can create application folders by simply dragging an app shortcut and placing it over another one, just like in iOS. The styling of the new folders is also quite appealing. Overall, we love the entire clean and uncluttered appearance of the platform, making it very beautiful and practical – though, Gingerbread users will initially think of it to be somewhat foreign. For a more detailed look of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, you can read about it in our in-depth review.
Beyond looking at the flashy new platform, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is outfitted naturally with a contemporary processor to keep itself in good light with the competition. In fact, it sports a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor and coupled with 1GB of RAM, which is ample enough to handle most basic tasks flawlessly. However, the evidence of choppiness while navigating across its homescreen with a live wallpaper dulls its prestigious aura. Yes, we expect better movement with this, especially when it’s a device showcasing the most up-to-date Android experience. Nevertheless, we’re greeted with that ubiquitous fluidity when using a static wallpaper instead. Although it’s not the fastest thing to come around the block, it’s admirable enough to accept wholeheartedly – still, we would’ve liked it to exhibit a consistent fluidity with its operation.
The highlights of the new UI start with the brand new People app. This replaces the Contacts app and is a much cleaner, visual solution to showing your contacts. “Visual” because the person’s image occupies a much larger space, and “cleaner” because it gets rid of all boxes and many delimiters, leaving some nice blank spaces between fields, so you don’t feel in a clutter. Contact images borrow a magazine-style UI in Google’s words, but the Windows Phone community cried foul that ICS is borrowing Metro UI elements. The Phone app has also been redesigned allowing you to call contacts with a single tap.
The Calendar has been swipe-enabled, so you can now use gestures in the Calendar. Here, though, by swiping you switch between days, weeks and months. You can also pinch-to-zoom for a more detailed view of your agenda, which can be really helpful when you have set lots of appointments.
With plenty of screen real estate available to us thanks to its ginormous 4.65” display, the messaging experience is undoubtedly very easy on the fingers. Visually, the stock ICS keyboard is nearly an exact facsimile to the Gingerbread one, which isn’t bad seeing that the layout is very spacious. Add to that its peppy responsiveness, we’re able to easily type up long messages with little effort, but more importantly, we’re making very few mistakes along the way. To make things even better, the landscape QWERTY is one of the very best that we've ever used!
Setting up and operating with email (and Gmail) is a trouble-free process. While straightforward in their nature, the Email and Gmail apps are still equipped with lots of options to let you customize and refine your mail usage. Strangely, you can pinch-to-zoom in the Email app for a better view of the content of an email, but you can't do that in Gmail, which can make viewing of certain messages (some picture-rich newsletters, for example) a bit cumbersome.
Now there’s a good reason why Big Red’s version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a tad bit thicker than its GSM sibling – well, that’s because it’s packing along a 4G LTE radio. Even though we’re quite familiar nowadays with 4G LTE connectivity, we’re nonetheless always excited to know that we’re going to be blessed with lightning fast data speeds. Rightfully so, the handset is able to load complex web sites like ours in under 20 seconds.
As you can imagine, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus comes with a complete set of connectivity options, including aGPS, 802.11 Wi-Fi b/g/n/a, mobile hotspot functionality, and Bluetooth 3.0, as well as some exotics like NFC and MHL. Despite the fact that the Galaxy Nexus sports NFC, keep in mind that the handset is not support by Google Wallet yet. Considering that this one is specifically tuned to work with Verizon’s 4G LTE network, we’re happy with the data speeds it’s giving us – though, upload speeds tend to be a teeny bit slower than other devices.
1. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
I want the GSM version more. :) Though I like this because I like John V.
16. mannyfs (Posts: 64; Member since: 11 Feb 2011)
there you have it fandroids, one more dissapoinment from your beloved android software.. im just waiting to see if they would ever come out with something good and stable
23. readingthissh1t (Posts: 303; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
and let the first hater speaketh!!!!
nexus = UPDATES
28. pdub73 (Posts: 33; Member since: 25 Nov 2008)
why are u even reading if you "hate android" so much...??? LTE connectivity isn't an "android" problem...9.5 is a pretty good review for an phone thats not "good and stable" gtfoh...
33. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Lol how about something that can actually make calls without them dropping?
39. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)
i think you're mixing this up with the iPhone.... this just shows the wrong signal... data and calling work fine even at 0 bars
42. c.hack (Posts: 535; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
Its hilarious how bad the reception is on this thing. My wife complains that the Nexus keeps dropping calls in the house - its only has 1 or 2 bars so of course. My iPhone 4s gets 4 or 5 bars and has yet to drop a call. I've heard poor reception is typical for Samsung phones.
Sure looks pretty, too bad its a lousy phone.
And why is it that Android phones keep scrambling the bottom buttons? Every time you get used to them they change placement or in this case just make them all useless.
2. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
Well there aint much point to lte if it dont work. And the thicker profile doesnt help, but at least its pure ICS and a Nexus :D
43. c.hack (Posts: 535; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
Not pure if it has Verizon crapware and google wallet is blocked.
3. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3072; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Thank you John V for confirming my worries of signal and battery life. The RAZR easily gets 4-5 bars wherever i go. But with the Galaxy Nezus it goes to 1-2 and sometimes its at zero. Yet my data connection doesnt stop and runs at a decent speed. Hopefully this can be resolved with a future update. At least i can give it a extended battery too.
10. John.V (Posts: 96; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Honestly, I'm not bummed by the battery life, since it's typical of any 4G LTE smartphone I've used. However, it's the dropped 4G LTE connection that's sticking out in my mind. I've encountered it on pretty much all the other 4G LTE devices, but with this, it's simply happening way too often. Still, it'll depend on the person. For me, I don't mind just sticking with 3G connection, but for others, they may find it absolutely unheard of. Still, it's a great smartphone in many ways.
14. Synack (Posts: 672; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)
I want to clarify on this battery life. Currently I'm sitting in a 3 bars area with forced 3G on. I have lost only 2% in the past hour with just checking email. This battery life is VERY much tied into the service. Once they get us some good radios (modems, basebands) then we will be fine. We just have to suffer for now.
15. cfprelude (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)
couldnt agree more.... i suffer from bad signal but still consistenyly have 12+hrs of battery with pretty heavy/moderate usage (just no streaming videos but 150+ texts, 60mins of talking, 2 emails and facebook syncing all day).... i cant complain about THAT but would expect it to get even better after the signal issue is worked out. thats gotta be taxing on the battery.
27. maxican16 (Posts: 364; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
I'm not getting anywhere close to that battery life. Is this with 4g turned on? Thanks in advance.
17. John.V (Posts: 96; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Yes, I agree that service management is key to getting good battery life with the device. But when you simply don't want to be bothered by it, the battery life is typical of any 4G LTE smartphone I've encountered. It's not abysmal, like the LG Revolution, but it's clearly far from being great.
25. doubler86 (Posts: 320; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
I know Verizon has already confirmed the signal problem but I have to say I guess I'm just lucky. I do live in LA so I'm not sure if it differs in different LTE coverage areas, but I get 4G almost everywhere. It does drop every once in a while but I am coming from the Samsung Charge and I now have 4G in more areas. Still if Verizon updates me to get even better signal then I'm not going to complain.
I get about the same 12 hour to 14 hour battery life like everyone else. But I did order that extended battery when it was half off and waiting for it to come in.
34. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Unacceptable. Samsung had the same problem with 3G and 4G in the Nexus S and they still have the same problems in the GN. Now you see for yourself why the GN is a subpar phone just because it can not even hold its signal without dropping.
37. maxican16 (Posts: 364; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
We're not talking antenna gate here. Calls are not being dropped. Relax iphoneboy. The good news is that things will improve with updates; we won't simply be told we're holding it wrong.
40. TGreg104 (Posts: 38; Member since: 14 Jun 2011)
Look, I'm usually a level headed guy, I do like android more then iOS but I see the advantages of both. This is honestly the most fun I've had on a phone ever, period. I love everything about it. And on the battery problem.. It is related to the LTE Radios. One day I was home for 8-10 hrs and I had it on wifi only and my battery that day lasted me 16 hrs. I also have a screen shot of it for proof. So its more of a LTE problem then an OS/Android problem.
48. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
One thing is for sure REGARDLESS of signal issues WHICH WILL BE FIXED VERY SOON AS OF THIS ENTRY the Galaxy Nexus CLEARLY PIMP SLAPS all other android devices. Plain and simple...
4. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
it's under VZW.. so its not gonna be as pure as how it should be.. VZW and all other US carriers will always mess into Google's updates and release them late with their useless crap add ons..
5. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3072; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
One it only has my verizon and back up assistant and two its at 4.0.2 which is the latest version. So please do some research before trolling.
6. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
so how much are you paying for the mobile hotspot feature thats supposed to be free to use on any nexus phones?
9. Synack (Posts: 672; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)
Sadly not free on Verizon's Nexus. Though once rooted you can use Google Wireless Tether and you're good.
7. cfprelude (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)
thanks for confirming what i've experienced.... was on the phone with vzw for over an hour last night while they looked at signal data and other factors trying to dtermine why i dont get very good reception with my GN. it sucks because i REALLY like the phone, havent had much of an issue with the battery life but have CONSISTENTLY worse 3g and 4g reception than i did with my OGdroid, Thunderbolt, and the best reception yet was my RAZR)... the nexus is the only vzw phone that ive experienced dropped calls wiht (only 3 in 4 days but still) in the past 8 years and i still go to all the same places. for comparison purposes: @ Home Razr: 1bar 4g inside, 11mps down, and 6mps up.... GN: no 4g (even outside -ouch!). @ work Razr: 4bars 4g inside, 11.5mps down and 5.8mps up...GN: constantly flipping between no service, 4g 1 bar and 3g 3 bars.... download speeds from 500kbps to 9mps download (hasnt had 4g connection long enough to complete the upload portion of the speedtest). I REALLY hope this is a software thing and not hardware because i love the ICS, the form factor (just a hair thinner and easier to use than the razr), and of course the screen!!!
29. readingthissh1t (Posts: 303; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
its software bro, and dont worry, verizon and el goog are already working on a fix and a new update.http://www.phonearena.com/news
31. cfprelude (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)
glad to see that released. I've got my fingers crossed.
30. sgogeta4 (Posts: 393; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)
Where do you live? Verizon 4G is great in NY.
32. cfprelude (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)
jax, FL. Normally great coverage here too (especially when I had the razr)
8. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4681; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I can't wait to get mine today. I says the scheduled delivery time is sometime today. I have a feeling I should have it before lunch time.
Man I hate the waiting game. lol
22. Alantef (Posts: 287; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)
your really going to enjoy it....an awesome phone....dont forget about google wallet apk.
11. THE_RAY (Posts: 27; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I live in the triad area of NC and have had no connection issues at all. Phone works great. Best phone I have ever had........
12. terabyteRouser (Posts: 457; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
I'm a proud Galaxy Nexus owner now. I returned my Rezound for this. It turned out to be a good decision. The Rezound scores in some places but I think the Nexus will outlive the Rezound.
Just wanted to add, that although I have less bars on my Galaxy Nexus than my Rezound. However, I have not had a reduction in quality of calls or data connectivity. The good thing about data is that if it works, it works -- due to the binary nature of data.
I really like this phone, I just wish it had a more capable GPU. I haven't read the review yet but look forward to doing so.
13. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
Is it me or do Samsung LTE phones on Verizon tend to have issues? They seem to always be on the low end when it comes to LTE connectivity, which radio supplier do they employ for this task? This phone while sporting ICS from the review is below the Razr. When the Razr gets it's ICS update then this phone with all it's tech will be just another phone. Tech is definitely moving at an accelerated pace, but at least this phone brought ICS out and we have a new version of Android to mull over. Now one thing I found interesting is they talk about panoramic camera ability, since when is this new my Droid X had this ability at launch...wtf?
I think the SGSII is the better overall phone, lets hope some software tweaks help this phone out, not sure about that battery life problem though. ICS should come with ability to disable non vital processes by default to save power. Seriously why is it the programming built to save power from jump?
18. nastynaps (Posts: 93; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
So let me get this straight...this LTE phone that can't carry an LTE signal got a 9.5? I'm getting this phone sometime this week and I'm sure I'll be pleased since it's gotta be better than an Eris, but aren't we paying a premium price for this LTE service? What's up with a fair review of the device? If it can't do what's advertised your review should not be based on hope but a reflection of what the phone can do. Furthermore, I don't think a phone's software should be enough to give it a near perfect score. The GSM version shouldn't even score so high when it's a good but not great camera, when it records at 24fps, gives a robotic voice, weak speakerphone and poor battery life. Let's not drink the ICS kool-aid here, if every other phone had it would this phone be a 9.5 or an 8.5? The OS is great I'm sure but it just doesn't warrant a 9.5 and neither does spotty connectivity.
19. Dwoogs (Posts: 20; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
Wait til you use the phone then you will understand why it gets a 9.5 even with its few issues
41. bucky (Posts: 2036; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
I have used this phone and I can't understand why it didn't get an 8.5 MAX. This phone seems more overhyped than the iPhone 4s! laggy homescreen (especially with lwp), terrible camera, no sd, pentile screen and too large to use with one hand (I'm 6'1 so large enough hands).
46. christony1120 (Posts: 65; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
complainer just appreciate you even got a phone
56. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 953; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
6'1" has nothing to do with hand size man.I am 6' and have a palm span of 4+" and wear a size 12 ring, and from wrist to tip of middle finger about 8" in length. I know a guy shorter than me with a hand size a bit larger than me....lol, btw I am 235lbs also.
20. Dwoogs (Posts: 20; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
I've had this phone since launch and live in a city that doesn't have LTE yet and I have had 0 signal issues. 3-4 bars everywhere I go and all the time.
21. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
If the screen curvature is solely aesthetic shouldnt that be evaluated undet design instead?
24. OfcJScottG (Posts: 9; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
I for one have not had any connectivity issues. As for the software, this is a BRAND NEW version and will take some times to get all of the bugs out. It will also take some time for the apps to become compatible with the new version. Most of my apps are OK but there are a few that do not play nice with ICS. Still the best phone on the market right now.
35. cappy718 (Posts: 25; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)
Just hope that it doesnt take 4 months to roll out like it did for my Bionic....
36. Forsaken77 (Posts: 552; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)
A 9.5 with a SERIOUS data connectivity problem? Are you kidding me??!! You're supposed to review the phone as it was shipped out to the public, not that it will hopefully be patched down the line and be better. This phone is a GS2 with ICS and bigger screen. I think they should make this phone in a 4.3" model as well. Most people do not want a tablet-sized phone in their pocket. Oh, but they can't... because then it'll be a GS2, lol.
38. snowgator (Posts: 3386; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
9.5 seems a little high for a device whose looks, camera performance, video capture and battery life are all average or less. It almost seems as though the decision to give it a high mark was made before the review. But, boy that ICS interface is fantastic and that screen is beautiful and responsive. No doubt the Nexus is worth the price and it's performance is great. I might still lean to the RAZR myself, but I am looking forward to playing around with this first excuse I get.....
54. mobileuser (Posts: 66; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
I agree. Now with so many user complaints and reports regarding the constantly random reboot issues out of unknown reason and without any patterns and solution for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus after such a short launging period onto the market, I will be surprised to see people still rate the Galaxy nexus so high. I think Razr or Razrmaxx is overall better than the Nexus. At least I dont have that constantly randomly reboot issue on my razr.
49. regbs (Posts: 8; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Its biggest weakness is its speaker. For watching video, it's almost unusable unless you're in a very quiet environment. If you want to watch a video with the ambient noise of a cafeteria or noisy waiting room, you're going to struggle and be forced to hold it close to your ear.
I still recommend this phone. I ordered it on its Thurs Dec 15 2011 release date and got it on Fri Dec 16. I came from the original Motorola Droid OG. Motorola's build quality and windshield mount are superior to Samsung's. Samsung deserves credit for the light weight. Still, after rooting my faithful Droid OG to Gingerbread builds that its processor couldn't handle, my trusty old Droid OG regularly experienced 20-second delays.
The GN's responsiveness is nice. Still, though, even with 2 1.2GHz processors and a GB of RAM, it's more laggy and less responsive than an iPhone 3GS. I hope Google can put a stop to bloatware and unseless skins at Motorola. Bad on Verizon for betraying the Nexus idea.
50. ChafedBanana (Posts: 365; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
I tried the Samsung MHL adapter with my Galaxy Nexus. At first I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. Audio/video does not work at all unless a charge cable is plugged in first. I could not have been more dissatisfied. The video output is only 720P. Plugging a charger into the MHL adapter does not charge the phone at all and if you unplug the charger from the MHL adapter, the picture and sound stops. The tv picture settings had to be changed from 16:9 to fit to screen. The recent apps, home and go back button stay on the tv screen for pretty much everything except Netflix. Then the battery dies. I tested it on my 46 inch Samsung LCD and my 24 inch HP monitor. Kinda makes me miss how well my Bionic worked.
51. regbs (Posts: 8; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
False about the charging cable being necessary to play audio/video. Newer phones like the Galaxy Nexus will sense if an attached charger is the improper voltage/wattage and decline the charge. That might be the case with the MHL adapter.
My menu keys were good about disappearing on their own in landscape mode.
Maybe you got a lemon. You paid a premium price, so I'd be quick to tell VZW about it. I got a lemon Droid OG and VZW was great about replacing it at a store; my original-Droid replacement worked fine.
This phone's getting rave reviews except for its speaker phone and delicate feel. It's CNET's editor's choice:http://reviews.cnet.com/smartp
52. jordan.300 (unregistered)
WHY?!? You guys only review Smartphones these days. I would really love it to see you guys review some feature phones. Smartphones are NOT the most important device in the world.
55. mobileuser (Posts: 66; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
Now with so many user complaints and reports regarding the constantly random reboot issues out of unknown reason and with no solution to fix for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus after such a short launging period onto the market, I will be surprised to see people still insist on to say that G nexus is still better than the Razrmaxx or the Rezond or any highend smart phones out in the market now.
57. AlphaRider (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
My Galaxy Nexus battery life is a major issue right now
Can barely last through half a day compared to my Nexus One which is quite ridiculous. Use to be that my Nexus One can last throughout the day without hiccups. I have to bring my charger with me when i use the original battery
Wish 4.0.4 update will address the battery issue here as this is becoming unbearable. In the meantime, i am using an extended battery which addresses the issue for an bit of extra thickness to the phone
|Display||4.7 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (316 ppi) Super AMOLED|
TI OMAP4460, Dual core, 1200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1024 MB RAM
|Size||5.33 x 2.67 x 0.37 inches|
(135.5 x 67.94 x 9.47 mm)
5.29 oz (150 g)
|Battery||1850 mAh, 12 hours talk time|