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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The GSM Galxay Nexus by Google

Here it new Samsung Galaxy Nexus direct from Google

Simplicity, no flim flam
What a beautiful piece of technology!  I have been wanting to get this phone since Google started offering it months ago.  Thankfully I was waiting for my contract end date, so I refrained from purchasing any phone until I got closer to the end date.  I spent countless hours researching what phone to get.  I searched plenty of used bargains on eBay, craigslist, CowBoom , but I ended up deciding on this phone as soon as Google dropped the price to an amazing $350 at their I/O 2012 conference. What I want from my technology is no bloatware, fast and frequent updates, simplistic design and lots of features.  The Galaxy Nexus checks all those boxes for me. 

My entrance to the smart phone world was the original Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless.  That was cutting edge when it was released, and is still a damn decent phone today. I ended up waiting a month for that one because the demand was so high.  Just over a year of having that phone I accidentally broke it and ended up with the HTC Thunderbolt.  I really have enjoyed the expanding 4G LTE network of Verizon.  I am a speed demon when it comes to technology, so that was a nice fit.

My comparison in this review is based entirely off of my experience with the Droid Incredible and HTC Thunderbolt.  I know that comparing them may be seen by some as apples to oranges, but I feel sharing the things I find and notice about my transition to be most important for any consumer.


Simple packaging
First thing I noticed when I opened this all up is the nice 4 color border (right most box pictured).  What a nice touch for Google to add their colors and a gentle detail overall.  Inside is a quick start guide, nice headphones, USB data cable, charging brick, battery and the phone.  No advertisements fell out and there was no unnecessary papers.  I would have liked to see a guide to all the awesome features, but the phone has plenty of information on it and makes it easy to figure things out.
The Galaxy Nexus is larger than my thunderbolt, but not by too much. It uses the same micro USB cable that more and more phones are using, so finding a backup charger or borrowing one from another phone is pretty convenient.

I opened the back cover to expose the batter slot and the SIM card location.  The back panel bent more than I liked while removing it.  The battery is a nice 1750 mAh, compared to the 1300 mAh that came with both the Original Incredible and Thunderbolt.  The 1300 mAh is just too small for phones.  The Incredible would get me through the day, but any taxing usage would need charging at some point.  Same for the thunderbolt.  The Incredible had a AMOLED screen which used a bit more power, but the 4G LTE on the Thunderbolt would just suck battery life away.  I would be luck to get 4 hours of intense use out of my thunderbolt if not on WiFi.

Once assembled, I immediately noticed the difference in weight between my Thunderbolt and the Nexus. I swear my thunderbolt feels like it weighs 1 ton compared to the Nexus!  The nexus is free of carrier branding, but is made of all plastic.  The thunderbolt has a great solid feel when you hold it (despite the weight) and that is where the Nexus gets a minus.  While I still believe the nexus to be solid, I certainly will not be keeping it unprotected (got a nice TPU case from amazon for under $3).

Full Power!

Pressing the power button the device quickly shows Google in white on the screen.  Within a few seconds, there is a beautiful color animation as it powers up.  This really shows off the Super AMOLED screen and makes me appreciate the colors even more coming from the Super LCD on the Thunder bolt. Before I knew it, I was setting everything up and downloading my favorite apps.  I will detail my carrier setup as soon as I switch over this week.

I love Android 4.0!  Such a great interface and so clean.  No bloatware apps loaded, just Google stuff that I find myself always using (Maps, G+, Google Earth etc).  Since I am not on a carrier yet, I set up my wifi so I could get updates and start configuring my phone to my liking (again a huge advantage of Android).  I decided to do a speed test on both of my phones to see what kind of speeds I get.  I couldn't believe the difference!

Galaxy Nexus
HTC Thunderbolt (you can see some of the water
damage from sweat) 

My Internet service is rated at 15/5 Mbps (up/down) on Verizon Fios.  I used the same server and stood in the same spot of my place to test this.  I was blown away how much faster my new Nexus is.

With a decent 5MP camera with zero lag, I have enjoyed taking photos so far, but will review more as I go.

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) also comes with a great data usage feature.  It will allow me to better monitor my usage and notify me when I approach limits which I define.  It will even shit my data off after I reach the maximum, which is pretty awesome when carriers are moving to tiered data and throttling you down (or grossly over charging in AT&T's and Verizon's Case).

Some Nexus Pros and Cons:

-Thinner and Lighter than my Thunderbolt
-Awesome earphones included that sound amazing
-Only 2 exterior buttons (Power and Volume) that are well placed
-Face Unlock!
-Gorgeous AMOLED screen
-Turning the screen off by pressing power button looks like old fashion TV screen

-Default keyboard numbers are nearly impossible to see and typing isn't as nice as I hoped.
-Device does get warm while really pushing it
-Plastic feel is not as nice compared to Thunderbolt and Incredible.


If you want the latest updates and no bloatware, the Google Galaxy Nexus is the best candidate for the job.  Period.

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