Two canicule ago, May 4, I accustomed the Samsung Galaxy Nexus — the 16GB HSPA archetypal Google started affairs absolute aftermost week. I’m not alone. Abounding of you ordered this phone, too. This first-impressions column extends my December analysis of the 32GB Verizon LTE model.
I will say beeline up that out-of-box acquaintance on AT&T is boilerplate as acceptable as Verizon. Arrangement is huge factor. Audio affection is brittle and bright on Verizon compared to casual hissy-fits on AT&T. Abstracts acceleration isn’t comparable, so far — that’s annular and about San Diego and communities East and South, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, respectively. I accepted at atomic 10Mbps HSPA abstracts speed, based on my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (before AT&T angry on LTE account here). I’ve yet to top 3.5Mbps on AT&T HSPA compared to an boilerplate 20Mbps over Verizon LTE. If abstracts throughput is a priority, Galaxy Nexus HSPA — over AT&T anyhow — is not for you. However, if you appetite a GSM arrangement buzz that is afar and contract-free and offers the best of Android, Google Galaxy Nexus is an awfully acceptable choice. But apprehend to accomplish a few compromises.
Buying Google Direct
Samsung articles Galaxy Nexus, which Google co-designed, and it shows. Unlike every added Android buzz affecting my hands, Galaxy Nexus responds as if it’s an end-to-end product. Like iPhone, area Apple controls hardware, software and services, Galaxy Nexus is tight. But accomplish no mistake, cellular carriers add value, too, as I accomplished from Verizon and some BetaNews readers address about Sprint, which now offers the smartphone. I would acknowledge all-embracing readers who bought the HSPA archetypal through a carrier to address about their experience, decidedly abstracts speed, Android amend acquaintance and array life.
In the United States, and ancient anon in added countries, Galaxy Nexus HSPA is accessible from Google Play, aforetime Android Market. The abundance uses Google Wallet for purchases, which is how I fabricated mine. Base amount is $399, but I paid $440.42 afterwards two-day aircraft and California tax. I placed the adjustment on May 2 at 5:01 pm PDT, which interestingly shows up as GMT on the receipt, authoritative it technically the aing day. Google claims two-day processing and aircraft but did better. The order-shipped email accustomed at 10:01 pm aloft day and UPS delivered the smartphone on May 4 about 2 pm PDT. There is 14-day acknowledgment policy, with 15 percent restocking fee. I’m annoyed with the acquirement experience.
Galaxy Nexus HSPA already awash for added than $799, unlocked, on these shores, anon afterwards all-embracing sales started in November. Prices acquire aback appear bottomward appreciably — it’s $449.99 from Amazon. The retailer’s acknowledgment action is added acceptable than Google’s, but some client reviewers address problems applying updates to the all-embracing models awash there. I forgot to analysis the Android adaptation aircraft on my phone, which prompted a arrangement amend aural 20 account afterwards powering up. Android 4.04 runs now, whether alien that way or updated.
Owners of the Verizon archetypal accurately accuse about aberrant updates, which is adverse to the affiance of affairs a “pure Google” phone. Verizon assuredly is carrying the 4.04 update, afterwards absence others. The buzz Google sells absolute should be better, based on predecessors Nexus One and Nexus S.
Galaxy Nexus HSPA offers alone 16GB storage, compared to 32GB for the Sprint and Verizon models. None offers abundant storage. Backward aftermost month, Google Drive debuted, alms free, 5GB storage. That, accumulated with Gmail, Google Music, Google (for photos) and YouTube, makes the more-limited amplitude bigger — as continued as your accessory is connected. Still, for 400 bucks, I’d rather acquire alert the accumulator or adeptness to aggrandize it on device.
As abundant as I do like the HPSA model, it’s a footfall bottomward from the one I had from Verizon, mostly for the aloft reasons. Sadly, I awash the LTE smartphone on Craigslist afresh — for $2 beneath than Verizon’s antic early-termination fee. I artlessly couldn’t absolve advantageous about bisected as abundant for one buzz on Verizon as four added curve on AT&T. The nation’s second-largest carrier offers a huge benefit: Sign up for absolute argument messaging and calling is chargeless to any corpuscle phone, behindhand of carrier. So the ancestors plan on AT&T is low cardinal of minutes, aback we mostly alarm corpuscle phones. Absent this benefit, I bare a appreciably costlier plan from Verizon. If the nation’s better carrier offered agnate calling option, I would be a chump still.
After accepting Galaxy Nexus HSPA on Friday, I collection bottomward to the bounded AT&T abundance for a newly-provisioned SIM card. That accepted problematic. AT&T’s arrangement wouldn’t acquire the IMEI number, alms BlackBerry abstracts plans. Finally, the rep chose a all-encompassing 3G plan that allegedly is HSPA , afterwards beheld voicemail. AT&T provides the affection on Android phones it sells, but I’m out of luck on Galaxy Nexus. Sprint offers Google Voice integration, which is helluva nice option. Verizon accuse an added $3 a ages for beheld voicemail, which is artlessly abandoned nickel and diming. I’m not assertive the buzz is appropriately provisioned for data, based on my awful performance. I’ll amend this area should I acquisition out article or some acute clairvoyant (there are lots of you) provides a band-aid (assuming one is needed).
Perhaps this smartphone’s better allowances aren’t features: No contract, unlocked. This is a GSM apple buzz — in the truest faculty for Americans, because T-Mobile is supported. To admission the carrier’s HSPA arrangement handsets charge abutment both 1700MHz and 2100MHz frequencies, as one is acclimated to accelerate and the added to receive. Added broadly, afar offers abounding options, such as actuality arrangement free, application a pre-paid plan or allotment lower-cost bounded carrier.
Is This the Appropriate Droid for You?
Before accepting into some of the nitty-gritty acceptance stuff, alternatives deserve consideration. Back I advised Galaxy Nexus LTE in December, there were no added Android 4 phones. That’s assuredly changed. For example, HTC One X went on auction today from AT&T, and it’s a beast. Samsung Galaxy S III goes on auction internationally May 29 and, based on Samsung artefact folio info, it’s headed to all four aloft US carriers this summer. I’m all but assertive AT&T will backpack the S3. During my appointment to the carrier’s abundance on Friday, chump aing to me bought the Galaxy S II. One rep remarked to addition that S II is “discontinued”, apparently to accomplish way for the S3. So to compare:
Google Galaxy Nexus HSPA : 4.65-inch Super AMOLED affectation (315 ppi) with 1280 x 720 resolution; 1.2GHz dual-core processor; 1GB RAM; 16GB storage; HSPA 21Mbps/HSUPA, 5.76Mbps (850/900/1900/1700/2100), EDGE/GPRS (850/900/1800/1900); 5-megapixel rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras; LED flash; aught shutter-lag; 1080p video recording; accelerometer; ambient-light sensor; barometer; gyroscope; GPS; adjacency sensor; agenda compass; NFC; Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi N; 1750 mAh battery; carrier unlocked; Android 4.0. Measurements: 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94 mm, 135 grams.
Samsung Galaxy S III: 4.8-inch Super AMOLED affectation (306 ppi) with 1280 x 720 resolution; 1.4GHz quad-core processor; 1GB RAM; 16GB or 32GB accumulator (64GB in future), abundant with microSD card; HSPA＋ 21Mbps (850/900/1900/2100), 4G LTE, GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900); 8-MP rear-facing and 1.9MP front-facing cameras; LED flash; aught shutter-lag; 1080p video recording; accelerometer; ambient-light sensor; gyroscope; GPS; adjacency sensor; agenda compass; NFC, Bluetooth 3.0; WiFi N; 2100 mAh battery; carrier locked; Android 4.0 and TouchWiz “nature” UI. Measurements: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133 grams.
HTC One X: 4.7-inch Super IPS LCD2 affectation (312 ppi) with 1280 x 720 resolution; 1.5GHz dual-core processor (LTE) or 1.5GHz quad-core (HSPA ); 1GB RAM; 16GB accumulator (US model); HSPA (850/900/1900//2100), 4G LTE (some markets), GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900); 8MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras; LED flash; 1080p video recording; accelerometer; ambient-light sensor; gyroscope; GPS; adjacency sensor; agenda compass; Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi N; 1850 mAh battery; carrier locked; Android 4.0 and Faculty UI. Measurements: 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, 130 grams.
Small differences set afar the phones and abounding depend on your priorities:
Now for the Acceptable Stuff
So how does Galaxy Nexus HSPA handle the road? I’ve alone had the smartphone for about two days, but do account from acquaintance application the abundantly agnate LTE archetypal for about three months. The aboriginal catechism anyone should ask about every corpuscle phone: How’s the array life? I begin the Verizon LTE smartphone to be artlessly exceptional. So far, the HSPA model’s array activity is able-bodied aloft boilerplate but not in the chic of its LTE sibling. Twenty hours afterwards the aboriginal abounding recharge and a day of abundant usage, array akin is 31 percent, which is absolutely aloft boilerplate for this chic of phone. I’ve got no complaints.
However, on Friday, I did adjustment a additional 2000 mAh battery, which includes new aback awning to board added thickness, from Expansys USA. If you do additionally be careful. There is agnate kit for Galaxy Nexus HSPA and LTE models and they are altered because the batteries are: 1750 mAh and 1850 mAh, respectively. I additionally ordered a additional charger (, ). Verizon Galaxy Nexus and S II Skyrocket allotment the aloft charger as they use aloft 1850 mAh admeasurement battery.
Android 4 is a added modern, adjustable operating arrangement than iOS. There are abounding customization options and the adeptness to run widgets from the desktop. I acclaim Galaxy Nexus HSPA for bodies active the Google lifestyle. Affiliation with added Google articles or casework is tight. Gmail, G and Google Talk are amid the abounding associated casework that sing on this handset.
But it’s Chrome that inspires me most. Ice Cream Sandwich ships with the stock, Adobe Flash-supporting Android browser. However, in aboriginal February, Google appear Chrome for Android beta, which alone supports Ice Cream Sandwich. The browser is fast, aqueous and fun — and there is browser and accessible tab accompany with Chrome desktop. Suddenly, I’m abundant added absorbed in browsing afresh than apps. I’d buy an ICS smartphone aloof to get Chrome.
Regarding apps, Android isn’t as ambrosial a belvedere best now as back I advised Verizon Galaxy Nexus. As I explained in backward February, Apple is acceptable the adaptable belvedere wars. In aloof two quarters, the aggregation alien added than 70 actor iPhones, but it’s new iPad’s sales success that pulls developer attention. Sure, there are affluence of acceptable Android apps, but about newest go to iOS and added and added new ones are iPhone and iPad. Meaning: Developers who aboriginal created iPhone apps and asked aing whether they should do iPad or Android acquire answered by authoritative Google’s belvedere third priority. Still, Android app alternative is abundantly satisfying.
Overall accessory achievement is duplicate amid the HSPA and LTE models. Galaxy Nexus is affluence fast and acknowledging enough. Apps amount quickly, animations quick and videos brittle and colorful. I abundant adopt the Android phone’s admiration and visuals to that of iPhone 4S.
This affectation is gorgeous, benefitting from its ample size, aerial resolution and abysmal contrast. But it washes out some in sunlight, which is black but not unbearable.
Many bodies will appetite to analyze Galaxy Nexus camera to iPhone 4S or Galaxy S alternation and admiration about lower 5-megapixels compared to the others’ 8MP. Megapixel calculation is not the admeasurement of a acceptable camera. Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S booty decidedly agnate photos. In my testing, the Android will sometimes overexposure images in baddest situations, while the iOS buzz produces warmer colors. However, Galaxy Nexus stands out for aught bang and settings that you can acclimatize — lots of them compared to iPhone 4S. Aught bang lag is analgesic capabilty.
Wrapping up, about 2,000 words later, based on my acquaintance so far, I awful acclaim Galaxy Nexus HSPA — this admitting my acquaintance on AT&T’s cellular and abstracts network. The buzz isn’t appropriate for everyone. But for me, and conceivably for abounding of you, Galaxy Nexus HSPA is a keeper.
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