Dec 15 AT 11:40 AM Anthony Domanico 105 Comments

Verizon Galaxy Nexus first impressions

verizon-nexus-hands

I’ve now been able to spend the better part of 12 hours with the Verizon branded Galaxy Nexus, and I can honestly say without hesitation that this device is the best phone I have ever laid my hands on. The Galaxy Nexus is a powerhouse, the perfect combination of hardware and software, and it should be at the top of the list for anyone in the market for an Android phone today.

What follows are my initial impressions of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus.

Hardware

The Galaxy Nexus is packing a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, which makes the device blazing fast. It was able to easily handle every task I threw at it, and the device makes the Ice Cream Sandwich experience smooth as silk.

When it comes to the camera, the picture quality is as you’d expect from top of the line smartphones. The camera itself takes pictures stupid fast, and the time between pictures is so minimal that you’re sure to not miss a beat.

Software

Ice Cream Sandwich is both extremely functional and visually impressive. The Roboto font was an excellent choice by the Android team and really makes viewing text on the device an enjoyable experience.

Android 4.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up, with Honeycomb-inspired Google apps and widgets that are really slick, much easier to use, and contribute to the enhanced user experience Google was attempting to create with Ice Cream Sandwich.

We’ll be much more detailed about the Ice Cream Sandwich experience in our full review, but if I had to summarize the Ice Cream Sandwich experience, I’d say that I’m seriously dreading the day I have to give this phone back to Verizon and go back to the Motorola Gingerbread UI overlay on my Photon 4G.

Verizon 4G LTE

A phone can have amazing hardware and software, but can be instantly rendered frustrating if the cellular network data speeds are sub-optimal. As you probably know by now, Verizon has the best 4G network in America. I’ve been regularly experiencing download speeds in excess of 20mbps and upload speeds in the 5-7mbps range, allowing me to do everything I could ever want to do with my device at blazing speeds.

Final Thoughts

The sheer speed of Verizon’s LTE network combined with Ice Cream Sandwich and the best Samsung hardware released to date propel this phone to the very top of any Best Android Device list in 2011 (and probably most of 2012 for that matter). If you’re on Verizon’s network, and you’re in the market for a new Android device, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you went with anything but Samsung and Google’s Galaxy Nexus super-phone.

You can check out our unboxing video and photos of the device in yesterday’s article. You can pick up the Verizon Galaxy Nexus today at Verizon for $299.99 on contract.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • tupz

    just picked this up. love this phone!!

    • Kelly

      me too!

      • Samar

        ME Three. :-)

    • cheeto

      How is the pinch to zoom when browsing compared to the iphone or a exynos powered gs2?

      • lxgeorge

        Probably exactly the same, although you’ll be zooming around a lot less on the GSII due to its beautifully large screen

  • Thomas Biard

    All the hype had me questioninng the awesomeness of this phone, but now seeing all the hands on info from people, I am starting to get a little green with envy. Hopefully I win one in the not too distant future.

    • iamXiV92a

      Hopefully AT&T announces it early next year, but it looks like I’ll have to use a family member’s upgrade for it (LOVE family plans!!!)

    • rutgers2k

      I need this phone #kraving

  • zyphbear

    From your first look, I can’t wait to see the full review!
    Let us know if there are and cons to getting this device after a few days of using it.

  • Toonshorty

    If the GSM version is anything to go by this really is an absolutely cracking phone!

    I’m quite shocked that the phone isn’t advertised as aggressively as other phones over here in the UK since it’s by far the best phone out at the minute.

    • masterpfa

      I agree, if as much effort was placed in quality ads like the Bohemian one or similar demonstrating this phones capability and paled as often as those from Apple, these would be sold out in the UK too.

  • amgala

    I was kidding myself by feeling less enthusiastic about this phone due to the delays…the obsession is back!

  • xray49er

    damn I want to buy this phone but i’m not up for an upgrade until january. I am in a quandry not sure i will buy in january with ces around the corner. Damn i want this phone

  • pmex83

    Damn, I’m on Tmobile so no Galaxy Nexus for me.

    • ArticulateFool

      I’m on T-mobile and have had one for over a week.

      This revew is completely accurate. I have been blown away by this device.

      • mustybooks

        Just going to quote this as it was basically what I said when I got hands on mine…

        “I can honestly say without hesitation that this device is the best phone I have ever laid my hands on.”

        Sums up this phone up pretty darn concisely.

      • virexed

        How’s the speed on Tmo?

      • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

        Consider me jealous.

    • maclifer

      Yes you can use in T-Mobile; just get the GSM version… Of course you’ll be stuck using 3G; not the nice HSPA42+ but you’ll still have a great phone. :)

      • Xandr00

        I thought it was a pentaband phone capable of using both the 4g networks including hspa+ 42mbps

      • Xandr00

        http://androidandme.com/2011/12/devices/get-your-gsm-galaxy-nexus-now-for-under-700/

        “The unlocked Galaxy Nexus was available for order on several sites around the world, with prices falling primarily in the $750 to $850 range for the 16GB Penta-Band version that is compatible with T-Mobile USA and AT&T’s HSPA+ 21mbps networks.”

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          only 21mbps HSPA+ networks.

      • Anthony44

        What the heck are you saying

    • Anthony44

      Im also on T-Mobile and mines in the mail so its you that won’t get one right.
      Jus sayin

  • Bill Sincavage

    Days like this I wish I was on Verizon

    • http://www.nexsoftware.net Justin Shapcott

      Days like this I’m still glad I’m not on Verizon.

  • BiGMERF

    I agree best device i have ever handles as well.. Working like a champ on tmo !

  • Peter Dowling

    But is it as sexy as the RAZR? This thing looks bulky when put next to that slim device. But it does have a gorgeous screen, and ICS is yummy too.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      While it is certainly a bit bulkier than the RAZR, the GNex is one sexy beast. The RAZR is like the extremely skinny supermodels, and the GNex is the uber-hot common women.

      Does that help? ha

    • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

      It is like j lo. Beautiful with curves in all the right places!

      • Samar

        Well put man.

  • Blaw

    I picked up mine at 10 o’clock sharp… I got there at 9:30am but was told they couldn’t sell it before 10….I was the first ! Whoooop !!! This phone is a freaking BEAST ! So glad that my OD Droid and CM7 kept me from getting a Bionic or RAZR !

  • sorryguys

    The phone has been delayed again. It was set to launch today, but I just got confirmation that the phone will not activate, therefore it cannot be sold.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      Yeah, it’s being sold.

      Unsuccessful troll… is unsuccessful.

    • Thomas Biard

      Except for everyone that has already picked it up and is saying that they are loving it…
      Awww man did I just feed a troll?

    • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

      Bless you for the attempt.

      Its being sold and working.

    • Blaw

      BS…. Mine is activated and working fine !
      Go troll someplace else iSheep!

    • David Hughes

      Mine is working in Central Illinois and it’s fast

  • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

    I love how enthusiastic wveryone is as soon as it released. Lol

    Im glad you agree that it really is an amazingly good phone.

  • Anton Soaans

    I’m typing this now on my brand new GN. Verizon store in downtown Boston was sold out in abt 90 mins… got mine, though :-)

    So far, I love it.

  • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

    There are people on the website with the phone typing on it you dip shit..

    • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

      this was for a troll post that has vanished not for Anton’s post.

      sorry

      • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

        haha, yeah… same IP and everything, I just deleted it.

  • byantovez

    one of the best my eyes have ever handled. can’t wait for my hands to get in on the fun

  • Lee Swanson

    When I read about the Roboto font, my brain naturally played Mr. Roboto by Styx

  • bellken

    It looks nice, I am looking forward to getting ics.

  • luis Hernandez

    It’s so weird that I’m excited it’s finally available even though I won’t be getting an ice cream sandwich Bernice anytime soon. Unless Samsung decides to update the exhibit 4G II

  • http://midweststitch.com ajonrichards

    So my question is, how much (if any) software preloaded by Verizon is on the phone?

    • Keefers

      Rumors have it at 2 or 3… Also heard you can disable them.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      It’s 2, and you can disable them. Though they’re both fairly helpful account management apps.

  • teudster

    This is the only phone I would buy, but it needs to be on my network :-( I am worried that by the time Sprint gets it wont be state of the art.

  • hldc1

    20 down and 5-7 up. So jealous. Looking to be a proud owner of my very own Galaxy Nexus by the end of the week.

  • pritams

    Indeed..when I was going through it..you can’t imagine how much mind they have put into Roboto..those who haven’t tried it..trust me..and those who have already are sure gonna agree…it’s an awesome effort….what I’m worried about now is (cr)apple may come up with the idea of it’s own font now..err..they may call it Apollo:::O_o

  • Billy

    So fast and amazing. Thanks for the first impressions!

  • jasonlee

    Got mine for lets talk for 174.99 should arrive tmo

  • Jimmy13

    How are you guys finding app compatibility with ICS?

  • thekaz

    some things I found out today:

    - radio shack has no demo units
    - a certified verizon reseller had no demo units
    - chatted online and can confirm the $100 upgrade is 3g dumbphone to 4g smartphone
    - grandfathered into my unlimited data plan if I upgrade through verizon (i.e., if I went ot Let’s Talk, I’d have to get one of the new data plans — again, this is just what I’ve been told)

    I just really want to get my hands on one and confirm this is the phone for me…

  • http://twitter.com/sbateskc Sean BillyMaysHere

    Worth. Every. Penny

  • hideous_strength

    Samsung- Please accidentally ship this phone to my house. Thank you.

  • http://ilysespieces.tumblr.com Ilyse Rose

    If only I was in the market for a new phone. Or on Verizon. One can dream.

  • calihawki

    My excitement wore off in November… I think I will wait a few months to see what other ICS devices are released.

  • federalreserve

    So stoked for this phone! Mine will arrive on Saturday or Monday…

  • Anthony E

    So, for years now people have been asking Google to fix the contact photos from Google Contacts/Gmail. If syncing contacts from Gmail, as opposed to Google plus, do i still get super low resolution photos that get stretched? This problem would be even worse now that the pictures are even bigger and all over the OS.

    Thanks in advance for whoever answers.

  • triangle

    Waiting for mine to be delivered, though I did go to the Verizon store to play with it. They were sold out. I generally agree with everything you said, though as many people have mentioned before, I just wish it had a better camera. It is a let down compared to the Galaxy SII. But the total package is so much better than everything else out there.

  • nwilliam3

    Because of the late announcement of availability my local Verizon store had to rush to overnight stock. UPS still hasn’t delivered it yet.

    My name is on the list to call as soon as it arrives. Should be hearing shortly, but not soon enough!

  • Louis A

    Dayum, is all I have to say. If you don’t have this phone then you don’t know what’s good for you.

  • http://nickvettesephotography.com Nicholas Vettese

    I am truly jealous of all of you who got this phone!!! I am not eligible yet, but I will be in time for the Droid Nexus… :)

  • David Hughes

    Way cool phone, the store said they had plenty yesterday and were not taking reservations, but I arrived at opening and was 20th in line, now they are running low and out later today for my friend.

  • Niki Caligiuri

    Went to my Verizon Store at 8:45 and there was only 2 others in line. Walked in, got the GNex Walked out… Phone is great!!! ICS is also Great! Now waiting on an Otterbox to protect my little beauty! :-P

    Does anyone know if there’s a built in file browser? or recommend a good 3rd party one? Also noticed that Zedge is only showing me 12 wallpapers… must be the only 12 in the massive 720p rez :-P

    Did I mention that this phone was worth the wait… cos it is!

    • hldc1

      Explorer (or Root Explorer if you plan on rooting your device) or Astro. EStrongs is also not bad.

      • thekaz

        I will second Astro…

  • tkitty93

    I would like to have this phone now because it has IceCreamSandwich UI…. but after a good and stable release of ICS for S2 comes out… Galaxy Nexus will be history :D

  • Trinhbo

    I’m on AT&T so I won’t be picking up this phone but I just wanted to congratulate those on Verizon who picked it up. Hopefully it won’t be long before we see an official ICS update for the S2.

  • honourbound68

    8 more mos before I can switch to big red… Arggghh..

  • Niki Caligiuri

    Does anyone know how to turn off the haptic feedback on ICS? Can’t find the option.

  • Chazzers

    Any info on how the battery is performing? Especially with 4G use?

  • jamal

    “I’d say that I’m seriously dreading the day I have to give this phone back to Verizon”……..priceless

  • Richard Yarrell

    Best android device without question is an understatement. I am blown away and happy as hell.

  • Martjn2

    This phone is gonna sell as 10 cents soda in the desert….

  • http://www.kevindelorey.com Dork Force One

    Just got, mine. I have been playing with it for about an hour now…and I love it. It’s a great phone!

  • mike

    lol not one mention about the 1280×720 samoled
    about the only thing innovating this phone brings yet not one word of it

  • HoLfElDeR

    You are so lucky, i want one, but i will have to wait to come to my coutry

  • redraider133

    Loving the phone so far. Thought it would feel much larger than it is, yet it does not feel much larger than most other phones. I’ve been waiting for 2 years for a nexus on VZW and now we finally got one!!

  • kzlife

    I’m have the sgs2 now but the mic isn’t working very well and some other stuff.. does seem like a faulty device thought.. should I get a new working sgs2 or the samsung nexus? :O

  • Victor

    All I know is Tmo better get this phone since they have gotten the other two versions.it wouldn’t be right if they didn’t

  • cxandroid

    Not until February.
    8-(

  • Hall Lo

    It’s really a great phone :D its so good that Android is getting more mature OS-wise

  • Nathan D.

    I really want one =(

  • Wojciech ZiÄ™tek

    I’d rather buy Nexus without 4G.

  • staryoshi

    If I could have gotten an unlimited data plan with Verizon, I would have waited for this phone. Since I couldn’t, I “settled” for an Epic 4G Touch with Sprint. After going to the Verizon store today to check out the new arrival, I was actually a bit disappointed with its aesthetics and feel… I prefer the Galaxy SII design and the usable size of the screen is very similar between the two phones.I do appreciate the 720p resolution and high pixel density on the GNexus, though. The Mali-400 is a stronger GPU than the SGX540 and I’ll have ICS in due time (But I’m not a fan of touch wiz). I ran a speedtest benchmark on the GNexus while I was there, and Verizon’s 4G LTE network does not disappoint. I would burn through data way too quickly to be stuck with a 4GB plan and I could not justify the cost of bumping it up to 10GB =P

    That said, congrats to everyone who has been waiting for this phone and finally got their mitts on it. I really hope you enjoy it =D

  • securifirm

    Please come to Sprint!!!

  • http://www.neilcalvin.com Neil Calvin

    I could almost see myself going over to Big Red for this bad boy…

  • aholland1

    So…I agree with most of these comments, picked up the Nexus today and it is indeed an awesome phone. ICS is indeed an improvement in every way and the phone is awesomely light and crisp on the display front. But perfect it aint…I hate that it doesnt sync Facebook contacts without a workaround from friendcaster (seriously FB, grow up, not Googles fault but still an issue). I’m having an issue with dropbox too which is affecting that app and sync with Epistle, suckage. Face unlock is a gimmick and doesnt work more often than does. And it could just be me but this thing gets pretty hot after extended use, like could maybe burn my ear during a long call…I dunno, might be better to wait for devs to catch up to the awesome that is ICS.

    The good news is the simultaneous voice input is freaken sweet, honeycomb integrataions work beautifully, especially in mail, LTE rocks, and the screen is gorgeous. Weigh it out if youre on the fence, make the choice that’s best for you, and don’t be sucked in by the hype that would have you think this phone is perfect. I might catch heat, but I’d rather be real than misleading when it comes to first impressions.

    Sent from my awesome but probably temporary Galaxy Nexus

    • aholland1

      Edit: nevermind, dropbox worked finally, temporary network loss from 3G/4G hand-off I think. Guess theres still issues there to work out when on the edge of an LTE area. My other points still stand though; still a great phone, but there’s a price to be an early adopter :)

  • donger

    good phone, ICS is amazing. Upgraded from a N1

  • http://Note Uncemister

    Looks amazing but I’m gonna wait until early next year, I’d like to see what other devices will release with ICS on it.

  • humidity

    Love it!

  • http://www.nexsoftware.net Justin Shapcott

    I’ve been actively avoiding Verizon for the past 11 years, since they screwed me over on a billing issue. I’ve heard far too many similar occurrences over the years to ever willingly give them another cent.

  • raichleb

    Let’s see, I got a new phone and I’m driving 1000 miles this weekend; you didn’t get a new phone and you’re going to Spain for the New Year.

    You win!