Verizon Galaxy Nexus Review

There has been much debate as to whether or not the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is truly a “Google phone” given its Verizon branding on the battery door and a couple of Verizon applications preloaded — unprecedented for a Nexus device. Yet, after spending some quality time with the phone and the latest version of Android, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, there’s no doubt that Samsung and Google’s latest collaboration is absolutely the best thing out there for Android lovers and is definitely deserving of the Nexus pedigree.

There’s nothing special out of the box besides a pair of very usable Samsung branded ear bud headphones that were thrown in on the house, much appreciated Samsung. When I first picked up the phone I noticed three things: the lightness of the phone itself, the 4.65” screen length, and what Samsung is calling a “Contour Display”. Although the phone is longer than most (nearly a full inch longer than the iPhone 4s) the slight curve of the phone and screen naturally contour to the palm of your hand – how appropriately named. As with the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy S2, the Galaxy Nexus is made of a durable plastic which gives the phone a light, almost air-like feel without coming off as cheap. There’s a carbon fiberesque finish on the battery door which is a great design addition and feels nice against the palm.

As for the quality of the screen itself, the Galaxy Nexus has a 720p HD Super AMOLED screen which even at 10% brightness is clearly visible (this is important for battery life which we’ll get to later). At 40% brightness and higher, the screen is vibrant and full colored, able to handle the darkest of backgrounds and videos without feeling blended or blue. Coupled with Verizon’s 4G LTE speeds it’s perfect for YouTube and Netflix streaming on the go. The camera also takes advantage of the 720p HD screen as it is capable of shooting and recording in 1080p with the 5 megapixel rear camera. One useful feature for quick snap photos is the ability to swipe left on the lockscreen in Ice Cream Sandwich to launch the camera application. Google’s addition of “zero shutter lag” to the camera enables this device to take pictures just about as fast as your finger can hit the capture button. A 1.3 megapixel front facing camera is also included for all of your Google+ Hangouts or Skype conversations.

Unfortunately, with all of the distance the Galaxy Nexus covers between its beautiful screen, the speed of Verizon 4G LTE, and a 1.2 GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 processor, it’s hard to travel far from your charger. With somewhat moderate to heavy use, I find myself charging my phone before night falls…even with an extended battery. This may be due to the fact that Verizon’s LTE network does not play well with dual core processors and battery life. A potential work around to improve battery life would be to turn off the 4G and instead opt to cruise at 3G speeds. However, once you experience instant status updates and timeline refreshes, instant streaming, and clear video chat, it’s hard to go back to the days of waiting and pixilated streams…first world problems indeed. On the brightside, the extended battery does offer a nice weight to what some may think is a too light phone without adding any bulk. In fact, the two extended batteries offered by Samsung go well with the contour of the phone and it’s a wonder why the phone didn’t include one of the larger batteries out of the box. Another redeeming quality of the relatively short battery life is that the phone does recharge unusually quickly when connected to the wall, quick enough at least to get a bump before heading out for the evening.

At the end of the day, the biggest selling point for the Galaxy Nexus is that it is just that, a Nexus device. It’s the first Android device to run pure, untainted a la Touchwiz or Sense, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which deserves a review in and of itself given all of the new features that separate it from earlier versions. That means, if you’re the type to live on the edge by rooting and installing custom ROMs, there are tons of developers cooking and kanging their own versions and tweaks to the operating system – to varying degrees of success. Combine that with Google’s preferential treatment to Nexus phones in terms of upgrades and you have a phone that’ll always be at the forefront in terms of software and more or less in terms of hardware…because really, there’s always something bigger, stronger, and faster on the horizon. But, if that new two-year agreement is calling you through your dated and possibly cracked screen, then the Galaxy Nexus is the phone to answer the call, for 299.99 that is.

Overall score: 9/10

By: Van Winn

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Reviews

Author:chizzwhiz

Full Time Engineer, Oil and Gas Industry Full Time Tech Enthusiast...Part Time Blogger Favorite Sport: Soccer

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