Galaxy Nexus: First Impressions

29 Dec

I’ve had my Galaxy Nexus (Google’s new phone, and the Android operating system’s flagship product) for a little over 24 hours now. Despite the huge anticipation, the phone was one of the worst product launches I’ve ever seen (more of a whimper than a bang), and was plagued with delays and misinformation ahead of launch. A case of too many cooks in the kitchen perhaps, with Google, Verizon and Samsung all involved.

There were also some issues with Google Wallet (google’s payment system that they were to showcase on this phone), which Verizon ended up blocking due to ‘security concerns’. Interestingly, Verizon have their own similar product coming out next year, in partnership with AT&T and T-Mobile.

Make of that what you will.

Anyhow, here are my first impressions of the phone, after playing with it for 24 hours.

The Good

  • Verizon’s 4G is quick. And I mean really, really quick. Apps download in a flash and web pages load almost instantaneously. It’s a joy as an internet device, it really is. HUGE plus for me there given how much data I use.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich (the new version of Android, only available on this device thus far) is really slick. Still not quite iPhone levels of slickness, but getting there for sure. Definitely a big step up from previous versions.
  • Call quality is great: much, much better than my previous phone (HTC Incredible). People sound sharp and clear.
  • The screen is absolutely stunning.  Incredibly clear and sharp. Love it.

The Bad

  • Battery life is appalling. Really, really bad. I have the standard (non extended) battery in there, and I get about six or seven hours of very light use. Not good. Makes me scared to use features like GPS.
  • It is a really big phone. Not heavy, just BIG. The footprint isn’t all that much smaller than my Kindle, and although it still manages to feel sleek and elegant, there’s a part of me that feels that it’s just too big as a phone. Hold an iPad to your face for an approximation of what it’s like to talk into.
  • It takes an ages to find signal again when I come up from the subway. I assume it’s Verizon 4G network related rather than the phone, but it’s still really annoying.
  • No hardware button for the camera. Why? I hate that bloody software button. May sound like a minor gripe, but I love to take pictures with my camera, and this really annoys me. Pressing the screen is just not the same as pressing a button. Despite the fact that the photos come out nicely (see below), this really bugs me.

Summary: it’s a really slick phone, but I’m definitely disappointed with the battery life and the software camera button. The camera itself takes nice pictures (not iPhone nice, but still decent), and the 4G speed is a joy, but so far I have to say I’m a little underwhelmed.

Early days though: I’ll re-evaluate again in a week’s time.

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4 Responses to “Galaxy Nexus: First Impressions”

  1. David Cushing December 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    You can find apps that will let you “repurpose” a hardware button as a camera shutter button (volume buttons or power button).
    I’ve been running ICS on my Galaxy S for a month now, and you’re right, it is a really nice step up from the previous version.

    • kai macmahon December 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Cheers scally, good tip. Will do some digging on those apps… it’s so infuriating. Grr. Hopefully I don’t have to root to use ’em?

  2. Danny Brown January 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Cheers for the overview, Kai. Getting mine tomorrow (as per our convo on Twitter) and battery is one of the biggest bugbears I’ve heard about phone. But, there’s always the industrial strength super battery… oh joy. 😉

    Cheers again!

    • kai macmahon January 18, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Quite! I lasted about a week before buying that new battery, which definitely helps. I also bought two spare batteries and a standalone charger, which helps too. Haha!

      Enjoy your new phone, anyhow! It’s a super slick unit!

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