New Toys Part 1: A Review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

New Toys Part 1: A Review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Thursday of last week I went to the toy store (Verizon Store) and picked up two new toys.  A Motorola Xyboard and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, my intention is to review both of them this week.  First up is the phone.

What I really wanted was a Droid 4, but it now looks like they may not be available until February and my Droid 2 was beginning to struggle badly, so I decided to get whatever Verizon phone I liked best.  Assuming you’re a nerd with disposable income, that means either the Galaxy Nexus or the Razr.  Let me tell you the three reasons I have the Nexus instead of the Razr:

  1. Removable Battery – If you know me, you know that I like to keep spare batteries at home and in the office so that I can be on the go without charging.  The Razr’s battery is not removable.  This also allows me (though I’m not sure if I’m going to do it yet) to buy an extended battery.
  2. It’s a Nexus – With each new release of Android, Google makes a phone to showcase how perfectly it can run… in the case of Ice Cream Sandwich it is the Galaxy Nexus.  I’m a nerd, so of course I wanted to check out the phone with the only top of the line Verizon phone with Google’s new operating system and the one most likely to receive updates like Google Wallet.
  3. The Razr Feels Fake – It is an amazing engineering feet that Motorola was able to cram two cameras, two antennas, CPU, memory, storage and more in to the Razr’s slim little profile, but the ridiculously large screen and ridiculously thin profile makes the phone feel cheap and fake to me.  I got one for my Mom for Christmas and she loves it, but it just wasn’t my style.

So those are the reasons for the decision.  Now that I own the thing, I’m feeling like I made a pretty good choice.  It’s definitely not without its flaws though.  Here are some of the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • 4G – I had underestimated what a difference 4G would make, at least on Verizon’s LTE network.  As I wrote this post, I ran a speed test from my home office in the South Side and got 12mbps download and 10.5mbps upload over 4G.  By comparison, my Comcast Cable is only 20.5 mbps download and 2.7 mbps upload.
  • Screen – The screen is noticeably prettier than anything I’ve seen before (not that the Razr’s looked bad).
  • Performance – Apps load quickly, partly due to the 4G and partly due to the fact that it’s significantly beefier than my old phone.
  • Camera – The camera may be only 5 megapixels, but it feels more like a camera and less like a phone, snapping very crisp pictures very quickly.
  • Google+ – The integration with instant upload and other Google+ features gives this phone a significantly more cloudy experience.  In less than 10 minutes the phone had everything on it that my old phone had.

Cons:

  • Battery – Even right out of the box with no apps, there is no way this phone could last a full work day without a charge or battery replacement.  One of the things I had gotten spoiled on with my Droid was longer battery life (due to 3G vs 4G and a smaller screen size).
  • Apps – Some applications (most notably Twitter) have clearly not put in the time to work properly with Ice Cream Sandwich.  Twitter fails regularly and several others just don’t look right.  I’m sure this will get corrected as adoption increases, but it was a little disappointing out of the gate.
  • SD Slot – The phone comes with 32GB of storage and Google is hoping you won’t need anywhere near that because you’ll use mostly their cloud services, but I still would have liked to have had an SD card slot.