Samsung Galaxy Nexus 15-week Review [Video]

This is Google’s flagship device, 15 weeks later from the perspective of an Android enthusiast and a fairly advanced user. It’s running the latest build of AOKP with a Franco Kernel handling the power. Enjoy the video!

Hardware

The Galaxy Nexus has held up very well for the past few months. One of the major initial complaints on launch was that this could have been one of the best smartphones ever if it has a better build quality. A lot of people weren’t a fan of the trademark plastic Samsung back. I’m happy to report that the phone has held itself together just fine! The back has no blemishes or signs of wear and the display has no scratches whatsoever (likely because of the invisible shield it’s been wearing).

The screen is still my favorite part of the Galaxy Nexus hardware. That 1280×720 Super AMOLED HD display absolutely rocks. The way OLED technology works makes for rich colors, sharp contrast and pitch black blacks. The notification tray and navigation bar are perfectly black, blending into the frame of the phone, making the border almost indistinguishable. White it isn’t the brightest display in the world outdoors, it handles itself well in just about every other lighting scenario and is impressive to say the least!

Experience

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is beautiful. Since Day 1 I’ve loved the Holo theme, Roboto fonts and smooth animations. The Nexus pushes around millions of pixels with ease, and I can’t help but think that display make everything look a little nicer than it already is.

As mentioned in the video, one of the biggest reasons to get a Nexus is the easily unlocked bootloader. Once you’ve unlocked and rooted your phone, the doors to millions of additional customization options are opened. Making my phone tailored to my exact needs and messing around with settings, user interface, performance tweaks are all reasons why I enjoy Android, and having a rooted Nexus makes that experience infinitely more accessible.

This is also the Verizon variant of the Galaxy Nexus, which means it carries an LTE radio on board. In the New York City / Metro area there is typically always some amount of 4G coverage wherever I go, which is awesome. I can leave WiFi off and roam without any fear of slow data for an entire day. Outside the city, where there isn’t a 4G signal, there’s often a buffer period while the radios switch over to 3G only, and there will be no signal during that time. If you’re using your phone during those 15 seconds or so, you’ll notice and likely get frustrated. If your phone is in your pocked, the transition is seamless.

Battery

Battery life has been a mixed bag since launch day. Let me explain.

Before I was rooted, I got just short of a day of medium usage, typically with less than 2 hours of screen on time with the stock 1800 mAh battery. I consider myself a medium user, not a heavy user because I use my phone relatively conservatively and let notifications tell me when I need to check something. I don’t make a lot of voice calls and I text relatively infrequently, but my usage of applications is pretty high. With the extended 2100 mAh hour battery, stock, I got about 1 full day.

After rooting, flashing AOKP builds 31 and 32, and Franco’s kernel I’ve easily gotten 2 hours of screen on time and a full day off the charger without any management of running applications. If you’re a heavy user, I highly recommend the Samsung extended battery for the Nexus; It’ll remove your fear of running out of power while out and about, and it barely adds any heft. Your phone is still ~10mm thin!

Conclusion

This phone is a boss. Seriously. It handles unlocking, flashing, overclocking, underclocking and fearless customization with ease. Put all of this behind that Super AMOLED HD display and it’s a beautiful package. 10/10.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,