Jan 09 AT 10:59 PM Anthony Domanico 85 Comments

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has quickly become the Holy Grail of Android smartphones. After a lengthy wait, the Galaxy Nexus finally made its way stateside with a release on Verizon Wireless back in December to much fanfare, with people lining up in droves to pick one up on release day. The Galaxy Nexus marks the third release in Google’s Nexus line of devices, bringing a pure Android experience without the bloatware handset makers are keen to putting on their devices.

The Galaxy Nexus is the first device to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s biggest leap forward in the mobile market to date, as well as the best hardware on the market today. On paper, it has the potential to be the perfect phone; but how does it hold up after a few weeks of use? Read on for our full review.

1. Display

The Galaxy Nexus features a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED HD display, with a 1280×720 resolution. Some have complained that the display is an RGBG PenTile display and that it renders color poorly with other various quirks, but having spent several weeks with the device, the display is simply as stunning as we’ve come to expect in Samsung devices. But the Galaxy Nexus takes it a step further; the display is the best in any phone I’ve used thus far, and I think we can safely say we’re beyond the point where PenTile is an inherently negative feature.

2. Hardware and Performance

2011 was the year of the dual core processors, and the Galaxy Nexus features one of the best – Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4460 clocked at 1.2GHz. Though it may not feature the highest clock speed out there, performance on the Galaxy Nexus is always snappy and fluid. The phone was able to handle every task I threw its way without any lag, even when playing graphically intensive games, such as Dead Space and Modern Combat 3, thanks to the PowerVR SGX 540 GPU.

Will the hardware be eclipsed next week when NVIDIA showcases devices with their quad-core Tegra 3 processor? Perhaps, but the Galaxy Nexus is powerful enough to get the job done with top-notch performance.

3. Camera

Over the last several months, we have reached the point where cameras can perform as well as point and shoot cameras for most people. Handset makers are doing truly amazing things with cameras, but the Galaxy Nexus is another story altogether. Though the Nexus can take pictures almost instantaneously and features a solid array of photo editing tools, the pictures taken with the Galaxy Nexus camera comes up average and leaves me reaching for my point and shoot more than I’d like.

What the Galaxy Nexus lacks in high-quality images it more than makes up for in the camera software. You can take panoramic pictures, edit the photos on the fly, and take time lapse images. The camera app is more intuitive to use than previous implementations, as well. Overall, the Galaxy Nexus camera isn’t horrible, but it’s not good either.

Some sample pictures and video taken from the Galaxy Nexus follow, so you can judge for yourself.

IMG_20111216_061351 IMG_20111218_104620 IMG_20111221_172416 IMG_20111223_171658 IMG_20120103_085226 IMG_20120108_101201 IMG_20120108_101202 IMG_20120108_101205

4. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich takes the Android operating system and kicks it up about 5 notches. Android 4.0 is a complete reimagining of Android, with a new font throughout the system, a new Holo UI theme, reworked notification pulldown, and many, many other features we’ve previously covered.

Android’s biggest critique thus far has been that Android was built for geeks, favoring function over form. Many have claimed that Android has lacked the polish found in iOS and Windows Phone platforms. Ice Cream Sandwich is the first Android platform released that beautifully melds form and function into an elegant, intuitive user experience.

5. Verizon 4G LTE

By now, it should come as no surprise that we totally love Verizon’s superfast LTE network. Though Verizon’s network went down three times in the month of December (leading many to question Verizon’s “most reliable network” claim), when LTE is up it’s super fast. Faster than most people actually need.

Verizon’s LTE network provided speeds that averaged about 10 mbps download and 5 mbps upload. That’s fast enough to stream basically anything you want, including music and HD movies, and is faster than what most people have in their homes. The era of LTE is upon us, and Verizon’s been leading the way for about a year now.

6. Battery Life

LTE isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, however. Battery Life has been the Achilles’ heel of LTE networks since LTE has been released, with several LTE devices struggling to get through a day of use. This trend continues with the Galaxy Nexus, which I’ve generally needed to charge before the end of the workday came. On average, the stock battery provided 7 to 8 hours of juice with moderate use, which though better than most LTE devices to date, is still pretty subpar.

Verizon is offering an extended battery that promises battery life in the 9 to 10 hour range for $24.99, which is highly recommended in this case. I didn’t spend hands-on time with the extended battery myself, but both Clark and Taylor bought the extended battery for their phones, and claim the extended battery is essential in getting them through the day.

7. Call and Sound Quality

Call quality on the Galaxy Nexus was excellent; everyone I called from the device were able to hear me perfectly, and they came through loud and clear as well. We’ve come to expect this with Samsung devices, whose handsets generally offer the best call quality of any smartphone out there.

The speakers on the Galaxy Nexus are a different story altogether. Whether using the phone’s speakerphone function, watching Netflix, or streaming music, the sound produced by the Galaxy Nexus is not good. The volume needs to be cranked up considerably, as I had a difficult time hearing the person on the other end of the line on speakerphone even when I was standing right next to the device.

8. Build Quality

Many were concerned with how big the Galaxy Nexus is, with the massive 4.65-inch display.The Galaxy Nexus is certainly bordering on Phablet territory, though certainly not as much as the Galaxy Note. Rest assured, the phone is lightweight, slender, and feels incredible in the hand. Because of the slim form factor, the Nexus also feels good in the pocket, and adds less bulk than many other devices on the market today.

9. Software Support

This one really goes without saying, but one of the biggest advantages to the Nexus line of phones is that the software updates come directly from Google. This means that the Galaxy Nexus will always be first in line to get the latest and greatest software updates because the updates will come directly from Google, rather than having to wait for handset makers to build their UI overlays atop the core software.

10. Notification Light

Handset makers need to understand that notification lights are essential to smartphones. We want to be notified when a new email or text message comes in and don’t want to have to constantly turn our screens on to figure it out. Google strayed from this with the Nexus S, and this omission was one of the main beefs with that device. Fortunately, Google has put the notification light back into the Galaxy Nexus, though it sits at the bottom of the device instead of the top as we’ve become accustomed.

Regardless of the location, the fact that the Galaxy Nexus has a notification light is a huge plus in our book and is something we rely on every day in our smartphone use.

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Final Thoughts

Galaxy Nexus8.5 / 10

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is THE phone to have on Verizon’s network. If you’re in the market for a high-end phone, you simply owe it to yourself to purchase the Galaxy Nexus. The phenomenal hardware mixed with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich highlights what an Android phone should be, and despite its shortcomings, the Nexus offers the best user experience on the market today.

Just be sure to pick up an extended battery if you don’t have a charger readily available throughout the day (or, you know, turn off LTE when you’re not using it). The Galaxy Nexus is currently available at Verizon Wireless for $299.99 with new 2-year agreement.

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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    Great review anthony. I give mines a nine. simply because i never give anything a ten. Every device has room for improvement

    • Shadowlore

      Agree with MERF here.. the phone is damn near perfect, but there’s always a few little niggles that could be addressed.

      For me, the biggest issue I have is that I have to us an actual full on car charger while using the device, as a standard 2.2a charger doesn’t seem to be able to keep the battery charge on the + side of things. (It drains slower, but it still drains faster than it charges…)

      The other slight issue, is the bottom bezel when this thing is in the VZW Dock.. sometimes finding the USB charging port is a bit of a pain since it’s not quite center on the device (thickness wise) and I find myself getting paranoid that I’m going to scratch up the bottom of the device. I suppose that complaint should be more aimed at the VZW el-cheapo-POS dock that doesn’t utilize the pin connectors on the side like the GSM variant does… but it’s still a concern.

      Overall though, those are such minor issues that I can’t really complain at all. :) This really is about as perfect as I can imagine a device currently. (I’m basing my imagination in reality… not going to ask for a 30hr LTE device)

      • Billy

        I am really trying to hold out for some better docks or something similar to the GSM variant. Why put the connectors and not launch any accessories.

  • spazby

    Absolutely gorgeous phone with stock android, what else can you ask for?

  • scores87

    I wonder why samsung didn’t use the galaxy s2 camera on the nexus

    • orangestrat

      They probably didn’t want to open-source the camera drivers.

  • erikiksaz

    Good review. So jealous of all the people around me with GN’s. Hurry it up Tmobile!

    • Larry Vandemeer

      I’m also with TMobile but I bought the new pentaband GSM one a week ago from dailysteals for $560. I figured even if Tmobile had it, they would ask $299.99 with a 2 year contract. My 2 years are not up till next summer. So I can sell my unlocked Galaxy S on ebay or craigslist for $100-160 and will only cost me $100-160 (versus having to pay $300 with a 2-year contract) and WITHOUT a 2 year contract, that can be used anywhere in the world (the GN having pentaband means it works on any GSM HSDPA+ carrier, anywhere in the world).

    • gio

      DO NOT switch to sprint…I am divorcing them due to terrible signal strength (if any), my phone freezing up, rebooting out of nowhere, and basically cause anywhere I sit in my home, or wherever I park in my car, I have no internet signal. I am ruuning to verizons 4glte as fast as I can! Unlimited with sprint not worth it is you can’t use it.

  • Fran

    After a year of using my current phone, why would I want to switch *DOWN* to:
    Lower battery life.
    Much lower res back camera.
    Lower rex front camera.
    $100 more.
    Same size screen. (The actual USABLE size is still 4.3″)
    Same 4G.

  • txbluesman

    Great info to have. I don’t think I will stray away from my Nexus devices anyway. Thanks for that great review Anthony.

  • T1392

    So envious of others who got a GNex, I got a upgrade available but still haven’t got a GNex like I wanted. I’m just thankful to have a DROID X.:(

  • Todd

    Samsung generally has the best call quality? Since when did they surpass Motorola in that department??

  • Karen Minter

    Good review! I’ve had the Galaxy Nexus for a little over a week now and like it more and more each day. Coming from a Droid Incredible I love the gorgeous big screen on the GN. I’m a female and I think the phone size is just fine and feels good in the hand. The extended battery will get you through the day and then some and really doesn’t change the profile of the phone at all. Very happy!

    • Angie Wimberly

      Good to get another female’s opinion. I have the Galaxy S II which is comparable in size, and don’t feel like it is a problem either.

  • Dave

    Nice phone. Too bad it can’t keep a 4G signal and the GPS takes an eternity to lock. The Nexus is the most overhyped thing I’ve ever seen. Save your money for something that actually works.

    • Richard Yarrell

      You must be some silly iphone owner

      • squiddy20

        And you must be a blatantly ignorant moron. Maybe he was in a bad 4G area. Maybe the GPS hardware on his specific phone sucked. Maybe the interface between the GPS hardware and the software sucked. Truth is, you don’t know shit and it’s his prerogative to think whatever he wants to think about the Galaxy Nexus, regardless of what kind of an “owner” you *think* he is. What a joke.

        • Richard Yarrell

          Same old USELESS long rants that have nothing to do about you. Your not an owner of anything in this class SO WHY ARE YOU TROLLING HERE. Go buy a life maybe if you take your CRAPPY 5YR old laptop and 3yr old sorry samsung moment maybe together you can afford to purchase an used iphone 3g…GET LOST LOSER….

          • squiddy20

            1. “Long rant”???? On my laptop, my comment is showing up as 5 lines and your reply is 4 lines. I’ve seen blocks of comments posted by you that, even if broken up into 5 sentence paragraphs, would be well over 6 paragraphs. I’ve even seen instances where your comments have been longer in length than the article! And you have the gall (or stupidity) to call my comment a “long rant”? Try getting something better than a middle school education and then come back to me on that.
            2. I’ve it time and time again, and still you just don’t get it. These websites are for anyone and everyone who is even remotely interested in Android. Whether you’re like me with a 2 year old Samsung Moment (not 3 like you so stupidly stated- I guess you can’t do basic math?), or are a Android user in the UK, Android, and these websites, are for everyone.
            3. I’ve also said this many times before but you still haven’t gotten it through that thick, ignorant head of yours: you can’t “buy” a life. You can however “get” a better one by going to school, taking vocational/trade classes. Something you really need to look into. Good day :)

      • dave

        No. I loved the phone. Went through 2 of them. Both didn’t work. I switched to the Rezound which is a far superior phone. BTW, I hate Apple and iPhone.

        • Chris

          …. just found this whole entire argument to be HILARIOUS. BTW…. Just adding my own two cents on the call quality between Motorola and Samsung—-> I have owned a few Samsung phones on at&t which were the second worst phones I have ever owned as far as call quality, second only to a Motorola phone I owned on Verizon. I currently own a Samsung (Galaxy Nexus) on Verizon and am quite surprised at how wonderful the call quality is. I tend to agree with Leo LaPorte in that your geographic location is what will tell you what carrier and phone you should choose. And finally I have only ONE gripe with my GNEX. Bluetooth is currently a nightmare. Go ahead, google it. My current headset is the LG Tone HSB700….. it will pair ALL DAY, but RARELY streams audio to the headset. It also “mutes me?!” when I am talking to someone else through the headset. From everything I have read so far it is a GNEX issue. Other than that the phone is exactly what you think it is. Badass.

        • Foxy

          “far superior” not really.

    • Foxy

      It works, just not for you. Too bad. Trust me you’re just not getting the best smartphone if the Nexus is not working for you.

    • Jonathan

      Wait, WHAT? GPS takes an eternity to lock? I’ve owned an original iPhone, iPhone 3G, OG Droid, HTC Evo 4G, Epic 4G Touch, and a Galaxy Nexus (Yes, I like to take a beating on early-upgrade-itis fees…) and I can say that the Gnex has, by far, the fastest and most accurate GPS. I couldn’t believe how quickly it got a lock the first time I used it, and it’s consistently impressed me ever since, including walking amongst very tall buildings in NYC. Perhaps the barometer really does help!

      Anyway, felt the need to completely refute what you said, since it is the opposite of my experience there.

  • Jack Howeth

    Aftet 4 weeks with mine I have a few upgrade requests of an otherwise good phone: 1) the power button is WAY too touchy and sits under your index finger (thumb for lefties) – I have had to turn the phone back on and unlock it each time as many as six times sending a single TXT; it needs a 3 second delay, 2)battery burn is a problem-you will need an extra battery and car charger – get over it, 3) I have huge hands, there is no way I would consider this useful to mywife but the screen is beautiful, 4) it has been hard to judge wireless signals due to the Verizon outages but it sure prefers WiFi to 4G service and won’t switch back to 4G very quickly, All in all a good business platform short of a tablet.

    • thekaz

      I have small-ish hands, so to me (1) is no an issue .. my index finger rests below the power button. and as for (3), it took me a while to find a good way to hold it, so I think your wife could find a way, as well.

    • Chris

      …..”you’re holding it wrong” ;)

  • themost

    Completely agree. Personally, 9/10. Google is so awesome. :)

  • Richard Yarrell

    Bottom line the Galaxy Nexus is the best smartphone on the market period. Call quality yes the best, Noise cancellation on the Galaxy Nexus is the best ever on any device. And the sound quality on the 1080p video in my testing results is industry leading. All the extra’s ice cream sandwich is simply amazing nothing beats this operating system. Another amazing aspect is the voice to text not only texting but works amazingly on blog postings this saves so much time. All the added sortware in the camera and editing features are the best i have had on any device i have ever used. Battery wise is subjective but i recieve 17 hrs some days on my extended battery and 11hrs on my stock battery. Either way i carry both batteries happliy everyday because yes LTE is a beast and drains alot but i wouldn’t have it any other way. This was a lovely review and easly on point about all the daily usage of the Galaxy Nexus. This device is simply the best smartphone on the market hands down

    • Richard Yarrell

      I would say 9 out of 10 is on point for the galaxy nexus. I am extremely happy with the Galaxy Nexus and my choice to be on Verizon for this device after leaving Sprint. Now lets get the Galaxy Note on Verizon so i can add my third line..

    • dave

      No, the Rezound is a superior phone. It’s built with quality parts while the Nexus utilizes antiquated, low-costs parts that effect its functionality. Ask Verizon, more people are returning this over-hyped phone than any other phone.

      • NotRelevent

        The rezound’s HW is no more or less powerful than a Nexus. And it has an inferior low resolution screen.

      • foxy

        Now that’s just down right false information.

  • Dale Bebeau

    I have Verizon’s GN and I’m thrilled with it, but I noticed a problem with who you said updates the VZW Galaxy Nexus. While Google does infact update it, Verizon needs to approve it. I’m not sure if that’s implied or not but I’m still on 4.0.2 (4.0.3 is the latest) so I’m not as happy as I could be.

    • ScottNorcross

      Oh don’t worry about that bro. Technically, as far as the galaxy nexus goes , you are on the latest build. Most GSM models of the gnex still haven’t been updated to 4.0.2. The only reason I am on 4.0.3 now is because I rooted and ROM’d, or I would still be on 4.0.1. I think the only phone that is kind of on 4.0.3 is the nexus s , but Google stopped the OTA because it was causing some issues.

      • Jerred

        @Dave Is that why I returned my Rezound after Christmas for the GNex after having it since launch week? Is that why people were buying up the GNex and returning other phones for the GNex after Christmas? Is that why the store manager told me that the Rezound isn’t selling as expected? Cause the Rezound is that much superior? My GNex runs faster, has less lag, feels more comfortable in my hands and better call quality? Because the Rezound is so superior?

        I will admit that the camera and the speaker are not as great as on the Rezound.

  • Michael

    Mine is amazing, exactly the upgrade I was looking for over my Dinc.

    +1 for the notification light being like a throwback to the Nexus One trackball notification light, and universal color, rather than the 2-3 colors of some phones.

  • Hall Lo

    Great review! But just one question… Samsung “offer the best call quality of any smartphone out there”? I thought its quite well known that it should be Motorola….

  • Dick Debunker

    I up and asked Verizon about the Rezound and returns of GNex. Verizon said Dave the troll is FOS, that they dropped the price of the Rezound $100 because they have sold twice as many GNex already as they have Rezound and TBolt combined to date, yet have had half the returns of GNex as they had of the TBolt by itself.

    • Angie Wimberly

      I’m not trying to advocate name calling but I can’t help thinking the name you chose is hilarious hahaha!

    • T Osinubi

      @Dick Dunker – I dont have either phone so I not biased, but your explanation doesnt make sense especially when it is known practice to either drop the price of the phone which IS NOT performing well in sales or drop the phone which the carrier is trying to get off the shelf for a new model. If the Rezound was actually performing better than the Nexus then it would be the Nexus which would have seen the price drop.

      This is not a jab at the Rezound which I am sure is a great phone but I think the Verizon rep was either BS’ing you into the Rezound or didnt know what he was talking about.

  • delinear

    On the sound front, the phone is definitely too quiet. There is an app called volume+ in the market that will boost the volume (to +4 for free, more if you buy the full version – I’ve stuck with the +4 as I’m worried about boosting the volume too much and damaging the hardware and this still makes a big difference). Annoying that you have to install an app to enable this, but my last Android phone was really quiet too so I’m kind of used to it.

    • thekaz

      I may look into that. I had an HTC before this, and the ringer was LOUD compared to this phone. I have noticed, once or twice, that for certain audio, however, it really starts to distort on full volume (even without this app). Has anyone else experienced this?

  • http://whysoangrybirds.com mikeyDroid

    Might as well leave my own two sense in case people care!..

    Display – Agreed it’s insanely gorgeous, but ONLY at full brightness. If you’re at a lower setting, you see the negative effects of pentile very clearly – everything almost starts to become textured. Just look at your text message background.

    Processor – It’s fast, but a lot of things still lag, which may be ICS quirks but either way – like hitting the recent apps button has a significant delay, scrolling over to widgets stutters, etc. The Razr was easily ‘snappier’

    Camera – I’ve grown to love it – the speed it can snap and ready itself is key, and like Anthony says the software is fantastic for it.

    LTE is LTE, love it.

    ICS – Originally wasn’t even impressed / wasn’t hyped.. After using, it really is ‘sharp’. Very well done interface and design.

    I won’t even get into battery life.

    I couldn’t agree more with Anthony about call quality and sound. The speakers/software for them are subpar and even worse I constantly block the speaker hole on accident which completely mutes/muffles it.

    Agreed with build quality.. doesn’t feel too big at all.

    Notification light – This has to be said because it really bothers me.. I love the style of it and color, but.. the interval at which the damn light pulses is absurdly slow – almost to the point of it being useless for me. 90% of the time I want to glance over at the phone and see something blink. It seems to be 5 seconds, I miss it all the time thinking I had no notification. Grrrrr!!!!

    That is all! Great review Anthony, just had to give a little of the bad I’ve experienced. Overall I love the phone though.

    • Ari32

      I use Light Flow Lite (I think that’s the name) to fully customize the notification light, including the speed. The fastest setting is perfect for those notifications you can’t miss.

      • mikeyDroid

        Awesome, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks.

  • Derek

    Just wait for the Galaxy S3. It’ll have the same screen yet better internals. Better camera, better speaker, etc.

    Oh and GPS on all samsung phones sucks, this one too. GPS on HTC phones lock almost instantly. Dont understand why there’s such a big difference.

    • http://whysoangrybirds.com mikeyDroid

      Do you have a Galaxy Nexus? My GPS is incredible – best I’ve used so far, easily.

    • Richard Yarrell

      No he doesn’t have a galaxy nexus….

      • squiddy20

        How do you know what he does or doesn’t have? Do you live with him (or her)? Are you in their head, living their life? Do you even know the person? No? Then shut the fuck up you stupid moron.
        Your statement is equivalent in idiocy to all your previous statements about how I “live in my mother’s basement”, how “useless” my Samsung Moment is and other extremely petty/childish insults when you know absolutely nothing about me. Keep me laughing kid :)

        • Richard Yarrell

          Same old same old with you. Your the BIGGEST asswipe on this site. Why they entertain your USELESS TROLLING is beyound me. For years you have been the biggest trolling asshole here and i am man enough to tell you about your sorry ass self. Take your 5year old laptop and crappy samsung moment and stick it up your ass. In the real world i would BITCH SLAP you all day long. Keep hiding and calling people out with your TROLLING i know your a COWARD sleeping in a basement in a lonely dark room in your granny’s basement. Come out and see the day light you BITCH afraid to get that ass kicked. Your POOR and haven’t brought sonething new in the last 5years try finding a job LOSER….

          • Chris

            again, HILARIOUS. You guys should go on tour with this act….. ITS FUCKING HILARIOUS!

          • squiddy20

            Don’t blame me for your stupidity. I’m not the one who doesn’t know when to keep his ignorant, self-centered mouth shut. Case-in-point, now, and I’ll prove it, again.
            1. You say I have a five year old laptop and that I live (now) in my grandmother’s basement. Not even 2 weeks ago you were saying how I lived in my mother’s basement. Notice any inconsistency in your own story? Further, I in fact have a 2.5 year old MacBook Pro, and even if I had a five year old, slightly above standard laptop, it would STILL run circles around your Galaxy Nexus, because well, it’s a phone.
            2. “They” don’t entertain me, you do with your incredibly stupid and extremely childish insults. I mean, telling me I live in my (grand)mother’s basement?? I laughed sooo hard at that when you first used it as an “insult”. Know why? That insult was relevant in the 90′s. Try getting with the times Dick.
            3. You also say I “haven’t bought sonething (really?) new in the last 5years” but as you point out, I have a “crappy samsung moment” which is, in fact a little over 2 years old now, rendering your statement completely false. Seriously, children have more logical thoughts than you. You’re easily over 50 years old, I’m only 20, less than half your age in case you couldn’t do the simple math, and I’m undoubtedly schooling your sorry ass. Just quit while you’re behind. It’ll be better for you. Have a nice day :)

    • Ari32

      My GPS on my Galaxy Nexus also locks on rather quickly… Much faster than my previous phone. I’m sorry to hear that’s not the case for everyone, though.

    • Foxy

      S3 -> another Touchwiz phone. Ok.

  • dcdttu

    Ever take your Nexus and do a side-by-side comparison of dBm on 3G only (voice and text) with another Verizon Android phone? I’ve done it with an original Droid, Droid Charge, Droid X and 2 iPhones and the Nexus is always 10-20dBm less, which is HUGE. It’s not just my phone either. I have 5 friends with this phone and the results are as consistent as can be. Something’s wrong with this phone’s 3G antenna.

    Also, in Austin, call quality is horrendous. Calls never stop cutting out. I can’t hear the other person (that is on a land line even) and they can’t hear me. Oddly, when I went out of town for the holidays, the call quality problem went away (but the reception issue did not). And again. I have 5 other friends with this phone, and all have this problem.

  • JonnyP

    I give mine a firm 9.5. I haven’t noticed the camera quality as being lacking, but then again I upgraded from an OG Droid which has probably colored my assessment of the phone. Literally the only problems I have with it are the battery life and the lack of available car/desk docks here in the states, and all of these things are addressable with $30 for an extended battery from Amazon and a little patience and possibly ordering the better car dock from the UK with the built in power & audio jacks.

    Great review, Anthony!

  • Matt Yearian

    Not sure, but the video is coming up as Private for me.

  • Nathan D.

    If only I didn’t need to import it, then I would have gotten it.

  • falltime

    I switched from GN to Rezound after about a week.

    I found the GN to be awkward in the hand and slippery (too wide and thin) – but I acknowledge that will vary depending on hand size and usage.

    I also found the wifi reception to be god awful. (and 3G/4G switching was incredibly slow)

    But ultimately what caused me to switch was ICS – I dont know how anyone can call it an upgrade. Other than a nicer font I see nothing about it that is easier, more intuitive or faster (less swipes) than Gingerbread.

    To me ICS is mostly hype.

  • GlennA

    Upgrading from the Motrola Droid, I love the Galaxy Nexus. Like the review, I wish it had a better camera. Other than that, the phone is perfect. It’s lightweight, screen size is perfect and Ice Cream Sandwich gives you the full Android experience..

  • Andromedo

    It must be just me, but I haven’t had the battery life problem everyone seems to talk about. Compared to my Nexus S on T-Mo, I would say this one only drains about 10% faster, and that’s not too bad considering the screen size difference is larger than that.

    I am usually in an area that gives 2 bars or better of 4G LTE… When I look at the “battery” page, the biggest user is always the screen. Easily lasts me through a normal day, although I am not screen-on constantly.

    I have “disabled” most of the apps I could (including the dreaded Verizon-branded ones) but I’m not sure what kind of a difference this might be making.

  • Krihcs

    I’m about to upgrade from an LG NV Touch (to the Galaxy hopefully >_<) and the biggest problem I've had with it is the fact that I took a LOT of pictures. Because of that the ENTIRE phone was slower (expecially opening the camra and just getting to the pictures). My question is if anyone has experienced this yet with the Galaxy? Oh and for those of you that complain that the Galaxy is way to slow or incapable for all the hype that it's getting, shut up. Seriously. If you think that it's that bad, fine keep switching between phones because nothing is going to find something that holds your standerds, so go ahead and wast you're money :). Also about the poor battery life, honesly just try not to use it as much, plain and simple. It will last you easily a full day if you arn't constantly on it, and if you are just charge it at the same time. If you can't charge it (ex. at school or at work) then you shouldn't be on it anyway.

  • GrendelJapan

    Nice review, but I have to say that I’ve all but lost interest in the idea of a new phone since I updated my NS to ICS. The only thing that I find periodically lacking is the fact that it doesn’t have an SD card slot. Other than that, OS improvements really trivialize incremental hardware improvements (or at least, put them in perspective). ICS has, however, boosted my interest/curiosity in tablets (an ICS tablet, that is).

  • Starship

    I have had the Galaxy Nexus for 2 weeks now. Mini Review.. GO!

    Camera – Fast and vivid – The camera seems to vary based on the person reviewing it.
    Beef with it – It doesn’t load fast enough. Like when you unlock into the camera it takes a good 5-8 seconds to load. Also the shutter sound cannot be turned off (Google intended this) Night shots are grainy. So is every other smart phone camera. That’s why I have a DSLR.

    NFC chip – Awesome. Right now it sucks because no one else has a phone with a chip in it. I was lucky to chill with my friend who has a Gnex from San Fran ( I live in Chicago) we sent links, games, contacts. Awesome. Also Google Wallet is awesome.( I paid for some candy at CVS – seamless) I’m waiting for Verizon to come out with theirs so I can maybe pair my actual debit card with it. (got a Visa debit card)

    The screen is amazing.

    Ice Cream Sandwich is amazing. Everything works together. Still miss the pinch to see all screens at once. The folders work smooth.

    I give it a 9/10 – The phone obviously isn’t perfect but gets the job done. I’m happy with my choice.

  • http://pixelswim.com Steve Heinrich

    Good lord there are a lot of lengthy comments to get through on this one… anyway, thanks for the great honest review. Definitely making me want this phone even more. There really aren’t any perfect Android phones out there, but this one has a lot of great features and is worth a go it would seem.

  • Mark

    Yo, that Dick and squiddy kid are hilarious. They are always at it. LMAO!

  • Matthew H

    Quick question here for the community. I am thinking of getting the Galaxy Nexus unlocked (importing it) and running it on Simple Mobile. How will I get the updates from Google when they release updates for the phone? Will they automatically come OTA, or will I have to side-load them? I am very curious about this and would appreciate any feedback.


  • donger

    i got both the gsm version and the verizon. The battery life on the gsm literally last me 3 days under average usage. The version one lasts close to a day but i feel like if i use it more i’ll have to switch out the batteries.

  • Rad Stevens

    I am a G Nex owner since day 1. The phone is awesome, but has MANY flaws. I actually am thinking of returning it for a Rezound or Razr before the 15th. The 4g signal is very weak. Transferring from WiFi to 4g usually doesn’t work or takes forever. The same goes for switching between 4g and 3g. The camera sucks. Its the worst camera I have ever had on a modern day smart phone. All that said, I just don’t know if I can part with stock android 4.0! I hate Sense and Moto Blur, so I might just end up hanging on to this.

    • http://oceanmedia.net Scotter

      I’m sure you know this but I’ll remind you just in case: If you get the Rezound or Razr, you can root and get rid of Sense or MotoBlur. It’s what I did with my HTC Amaze and I’ve been very happy with it since I got that Sense crap off the phone. And oh is it fast!

  • Frankenbike

    I got my GNex the first day it was out, and I’m a non-rooter (for now). I’ve never gone this long with a phone without going from love to just tolerance. It’s just an amazing phone.

    The one gripe I have about battery life, is that it’s something that can be largely addressed by software. Because software could do what I do manually: turn the data, wifi and sync off when I’m not using the phone. You don’t need 4G just to get notifications that you have messages, etc…that can be done with 1x or at worst 3g. Your phone doesn’t constantly need to sync. If you need frequent syncing, but not realtime, it should have settings to sync once an hour, or every few hours, or every 15 minutes on the clock, only turning on data while it syncs and then turning it off again.

    I also wouldn’t mind a setting that only enables data on demand. I had this on my Windows 6.5 phone, and when I exited something like FB or a net browser, the data turned off. Manually turning data/wifi on/off extends my battery to days instead of hours. And when I’m reading email, I just need the high speed data on for download. It could turn itself off when the download is complete. Seriously poor data radio management on ICS so far, considering how well known it is that these 4g phones suck down the battery. Same with GPS….just turn it on when the software you’re using it needs it, and turn it off when it doesn’t.

    The camera is unfairly getting a bad rap, and again it’s something that can be fixed in software. If you zoom into some of those outdoor pictures with the snow and dead grass above, look at the detail in the grass. It’s amazing. The problem is, the saturation is low. A slight amount of editing (on the phone), increasing the saturation and contrast, improves the photos immensely. All digital cameras and phones of any sort, process images by default, and it’s the base camera settings and processing that can be easily fixed by someone who actually has eyes in Google. And the flash is amazing and can be used with the video camera. My gripe about the camera? I wish it had a 2MP setting, because the eventual destination for photos on the camera is mostly social networks, and more than 1600 x 1200 is wasted on that.

    The feature of the camera that makes it better than any other phone I’ve seen or used: it’s fast. I can take 5 pictures for every one other people are able to get on their phones. There are a lot of shots I got with perfect timing that would have been a completely lost moment with other phones with “better” cameras.

    I don’t blame weak reception on the phone. I blame it on Verizon. They need more 4g towers, and they need to locate more sites with more carefully selected ground topology and to fill the signal shadows.

    Network lock is another issue I don’t blame on the hardware, but both the software and Verizon. I hope to see this sort of thing addressed in updates.

    What I love: the size of the screen, the resolution of screen, and the fact that I can actually see the screen in direct sunlight; the flash, which is bright and can be used as a flashlight, and it can really fill in light for a good distance with the camera. Everything about using this phone is a joy. Reading a book on it is like reading a paperback, websites with the large screen can be tuned to “desktop” and still be very usable. It also doesn’t seem to be well known that you can use the voice search for a lot of the built in software: if you say “Navigate 1234 Ranch Road” it will bring up the navigation program and set the destination (same way iPhone users generally use Siri). The phone is huge, yet I don’t even notice it in my pocket because it’s so light and thin.

    I love this phone and ICS is such a joy to use that I can’t imagine giving it up.

  • Cara

    I have the Nexus (for about a week), and so far love it! Upgraded from the Charge. Missing swype though. Downloaded Slide it, but it is far inferior to swype. Maybe it will be in next update? Hopefully……

  • robwhittaker

    I don’t get why there’s so much realestate around the screen. As it has no buttons, why doesn’t the screen go to the edge?

  • http://oceanmedia.net Scotter

    My opinions about this phone are based on research, not ownership. I own an HTC Amaze. I had the Nexus One and really wanted another Nexus device but Samsung keeps disappointing me and my high expectations :-)

    So here is my mini review and recommendation:

    Great screen. Yay. I would love to have a screen that big and high rez.
    Crappy camera. My opinion is not based on megapixels but on lens and sensor quality, which is low.
    Crappy battery life. Welcome to all smart phones but yeah they could have shot for a higher mAh battery.
    Graphics chip from 2009 :-( Yeah, OK it’s snappy right now but how long will that last?
    Crappy speakers.

    Get a different phone or wait for the next batch of badassery.
    See my comparison chart of all relevant and rumored phones:

  • Jackie

    Why include so many “private videos” on this site… that no one can ever view????

  • RichieWCW

    Thank you for making this article. I’ve been eligible since august last year. I held out on the Motorola Droid Bionic in September, the Apple iPhone 4S in October, and the Motorola Droid Razr in November,…. Only to finally upgrade to the Samsung GALAXY NEXUS on December 15th. To have 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.2 GHZ Dual Core processor and Verizon’s AMAZING Coverage and 4GLTE, there’s absolutely no comparison. If anyone is looking to upgrade to the Galaxy Nexus, DO IT. The upgrade is SO WORTH IT =]

  • Peter Striker

    If this phone battery can last through one day, then it will be a good phone. Currently it can’t even last through 4 hours of normal use with 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


  • dutrak

    Great review guys!