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Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Big Disappointment

Finally received our unlocked Galaxy Nexus yesterday. Connecting to AT&T was seamless using the SIM chip from our iPhone 4S and a SIM adapter to "enlarge" it to standard SIM size. That's it for the good news.

Quality: Fit and finish of the phone reminds me of a $200 Android phone, but worse. Cheap plastic battery cover on the back of the phone. This phone costs nearly $800 and yet the battery cover won't snap into place without leaving open snaps.

WiFi Report Card: WiFi connections are just as squirrely as they always have been with previous versions of Android. Connects quickly and then randomly loses the connection even with 5 bars from the access point. No, it's not our access points. Same thing happens on four different brands of access points at four different sites. iPhone 4S works fine.

Security: Face recognition to unlock the phone is slick when it works. Unfortunately, it also works with a photo of yourself displayed from another cell phone.

Quality of Apps: As others have mentioned, for almost every app that is available on the iPhone and Android platform, the Android app invariably comes out on the short end of the stick.

Battery Life: Last but not least, there's the battery. Even on a solid 3G network with an AT&T Microcell within spitting distance, the Galaxy Nexus blazed through half of the battery in just over 2-1/2 hours. No phone calls. No web surfing. Mostly idle time.

Memory: Did we mention that this phone only has 16GB of internal storage and no MicroSD expansion slot? Come on, Google, what are you thinking?

Bottom Line: Our phone is headed back after less than 24 hours. Not only did we miss the iPhone 4S, but this phone (even ignoring the manufacturing defect) wasn't even in the same league. Never could appreciate the big, huge screen for the reasons outlined above. Save your money!
Leif Sikorski's profile photoMarc Seiler (DigitalFiz)'s profile photoWard Mundy's profile photoJack Doyle's profile photo
This was an unlocked phone so there was no AT&T crapware. The screen was set at about 75%. The default Automatic setting would make you go blind it's so dim. So they obviously know the screen causes serious battery drain issues which they've chosen not to address... other than dimming the screen display. And this is about our sixth Android device so we've seen good ones and not so good ones. This one would be at the bottom of the list.
It's strange that two people with the same phone can get such vastly different results.
For the record, having reviewed, owned and otherwise spent time with more Android smartphones than I can count, I can't recall a single instance in which battery life has been better than 6 hours. 3-5 is the average. And yes, whether it's iOS, BlackBerry or Windows Phone, I ALWAYS have the settings to maximum brightness, push email, and everything else that makes the device more useful than if it's in a half-turned-off-mode designed to save battery life. If you're going to have the settings to numb anyway, you might just as well go to the battlefield with an unloaded gun, keeping the ammo on your belt. I think the main advantage of the Galaxy Nexus is the very nice big screen and the fact that it is an improvement over Android 2.3 / 3.0. But other than the big screen, are there really that many advantages over an iPhone? Any at all?
I prefer the Galaxy Nexus over the iPhone 4S for a number of reasons. It's all subjective, just like music.
Good review, I'll forward this to a friend of mine who is looking to update to this phone.
Hello +Ward Mundy I've had my Nexus for a few weeks now in the UK and I haven't had the same experience. I've never owned an iphone so I can't compare it. Although the batery life is short I can surf and use wifi make calls and still get 24-36hrs from the batery. wifi hooks up fine and stays lokced on for me. I did find the back cover a bit cheap but didn't have any problems getting it to fit flush.

This is my first android phone so perhaps I have rose tinted specs on.
Dan P
Care to share the actual screen on time from that battery use image?
I have a Samsung Galaxy S II and ever since I put Cyanogenmod on it the battery lasts twice as long. When I connect the phone to charge at night the battery usually is still above 50%.

Which makes me wonder what Samsung put onto the phone that kept on using the battery...
Hong Z
Turn of data sync you don't want first, and check how long the screen stays on.
Ouch. I am surprised it's 16 Gig only - they were saying it's 32. Is there something wrong with the specs? Weird...
In regards to the battery life, there have been many reports of the AT&T MicroCell actually reducing battery life.

This seems to occur on all platforms, and I have personally experienced it on both BlackBerry and Android.

Here is a snapshot of my battery graph:

The first half is idle at my office with full signal and the second half is when I got home to my MicroCell. Clearly something is going on here :-)

Just to be clear I am not defending the Nexus' battery life... just noting you should test battery life away from a MicroCell.
Well, I would have to respectfully disagree. This is by far the best phone I have ever touched. I had a thunderbolt, charge, bionic, and most recently a razr and this phone blows them out of the water. Screen is simply amazing and the build quality is great. Phone is thin light and blazingly fast on the verizon 4g network. Maybe that's the difference, but to say this phone is a disappointment is just wrong on so many levels. You are entitled to your opinion and I appreciate the review.
There must have been something wrong with any App, your device or this screenshot is from first hours where the system is syncing everything at the beginning to set it up. I've got the GSM version for about a week now and had some great battery times for such a huge display.
This google services and google core apps Prozess has never been shown up in my battery usage statistics. That's not normal.
My Galaxy Nexus is 32GB and the battery life isn't fantastic, I'll admit. I didn't pay $800 for it, I paid $250 (on contract) at Verizon.

Even off contract the phone was $649, a far cry from $800. Not sure where you're getting that price, but you're getting ripped off.

I used to have Wifi issues with Android (with my original Droid), but the DroidX (while it had problems, too) doesn't have them on Cyanogenmod. Also, my tablet, running Honeycomb, has no issues and neither does my Nexus.
+G Ellenburg - push (for your email, and anything else that supports it) is exactly what you want. Uses much less battery than periodic polling.
+Ward Mundy - If you click on the "screen" item, it will show the actual amount of time that the screen was turned on during that time. I'm suspecting it was a very long time.
We've already returned the phone. Suffice it to say that we configured the phone almost identically to our iPhone 4S and then charged it overnight. The screen capture shown was taken the next day after using the Galaxy Nexus in exactly the same way that we typically use our iPhone 4S and other Android devices. The usual battery life with our 4S is about 10-12 hours. The Galaxy Nexus appeared to be about half of that. We're not new to Android. We have a half dozen Android phones and tablets dating back to the original Nexus 1. Other devices that we use in our business include several LG Optimus phones, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, the Acer Tab, and Vizio's tablet. None of these devices have displayed the poor battery life that we experienced with the Galaxy Nexus. It speaks volumes when Samsung launches an "extended battery" the same day that Verizon released the phone.

The only other Android device we've ever returned was the Motorola XOOM, primarily because of all the vaporware, e.g. missing 4G and Flash support and a non-working MicroSD port. Although heavily advertised, none of these "features" were functional when the XOOM was released.
Might have been the gsm version which has 16gb but guess it got returned too fast. Not more than 1day of testing isn't much and maybe it was just a faulty device. Experience here is completely different and also the experience of other users. Selling started 1-2 weeks ago here in Germany and most are positively surprised by battery life and such things.
Yeah I have only seen positive reviews on it. This one is completely in a different direction as the others on every subject. It seems like a faulty device more so then just normal operation. Sucks that your experience was like that but I would try again it is definitely worth it. My friend has one and he loves the battery life and how fast it is. He never has problems with WiFi (although neither do I and never have on any version of Android modded or not...)
+Allan Dennehy - you could have returned it. If it is a Verizon Nexus you still have until 1/15 to return it.
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