Its been 5 years since I last bought a mobile phone, and that was the iPhone 3G when that was first released back in the UK. I have to say that phone has served me well until I upgraded the firmware a few years ago that made it unusable because it was so slow. Apps would take about 30 seconds or more to load and then there was the occasional freeze forcing me to reset it.
I figured it was time to get a new phone, and after careful consideration I decided to get the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, my first phone running Android OS 4.0. I purchased an unlocked version of this device on Amazon so I could use my AT&T prepaid SIM. It was expensive ($670) since it was a European device which meant shipping costs was included in the price, but was it worth it?
The device looks cool and its light, if not a bit big for my small hands, so those of you like me would probably have to get used to holding the device with one hand while you tap and swipe with the other. I can no longer text with one hand compared to the iPhone, but that’s not an issue.
The back of the phone does look flimsy, but the advantage is, you can remove the back panel easily to replace the battery, which is a great if you carry a spare one. How many times have you been camping when your phone has almost run out of juice, and thought it would be a great idea to put a new battery in?
The user interface looks superb, although the navigational buttons layout took some time to get used to since I was stuck with an iPhone for so many years but I am adjusting. It has all the standard things you expect from a smart phone, multiple page home screens, front and rear camera, a selection of native Apps, and folders. One thing did catch my attention was live wallpapers, which are essentially animated wallpapers. These put life into your background, but I felt might drain the battery a bit more so I set a static wallpaper.
In terms of transferring multimedia across the device to a PC for example, this is how it should be done for all portable devices. Simply connect the two with the USB cable, then drag and drop content using Windows Explorer. I really hated having to install additional software like iTunes to transfer stuff and even that was restricted because it relies on syncing so sometimes I’d end up removing content accidentally since I use multiple PCs.
Apps load quickly and run at a decent frame rate, although there are a still a lot of apps on the marketplace that have not updated to perform on Android 4.0 so they may not run properly. 3G speeds are twice that of my iPhone too which makes it better to use on the move.
The biggest gripe I have is the native Photo Gallery app. After signing into your Google account on your device, it auto syncs the gallery with all your associated Google apps, such as Blogger, Picasa, Google+, so you end up with a ton of photos already cluttering your gallery. Since these photos aren’t on your device, you can’t remove them too which is extra annoying. Personally, I prefer a photo gallery that I have control of what I want displayed.
Overall, it was worth it, I like the Galaxy Nexus. There are some things I think it does right, but it does lack polish in some areas which future updates can potentially address. I would recommend this phone.