Tomorrow, or tonight, is the big US Verizon launch of the Galaxy Nexus LTE so I figured I’d better get my HSPA+ review up already. The short version: The HSPA+ version is the best Android device on the market today. Buy it. You’ll be ahead of everyone else software-wise for the next year or so.
The long version:
I’ve been using the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ version with both AT&T and T-Mobile SIMs and here are my takeaways.
- In my particular neck of the woods (Westchester just north of NYC), AT&T is faster and has better coverage. However, when I train into the city, T-Mobile has better coverage and is significantly faster as a broad generalization. Both SIM phone numbers are tied to Google Voice so the change is pretty smooth otherwise. What’s nice is the Google Nexus HSPA+ isn’t a BSer – it tells you when you have regular 3G or when you have HSPA+. Most phones I’ve tested tell you you have 4G whenever you have a connection at all.
- The 720P 4.65 inch pentile screen is the best in the business, bar none. I realize that the Rezound has a IPS LCD true 720P display and just about everyone is producing some sort of 720P display but Samsung’s is the best I’ve yet seen. The only display I liked more? Samsung Galaxy Note’s 720P 5.3″ display but that is a freakishly big “phone”. With limited bezel, the 4.65 inch display “works” for the GN. I still think the Droid RAZR is the coolest looking phone and won’t fault anyone for picking one up, especially at the significantly discounted price it was on offer for a few weeks ago.
- The GPS, like all Samsung Android devices, is still behind HTC and Motorola as far as accuracy. Samsung has been improving since the Captivate and Vibrant debuted over a year ago but they aren’t there yet and it sometimes takes 30 seconds for the phone to kick into navigation. On the up side, you can use a normal charger and actually charge your phone while using GPS. On the HTC Rezound, I actually lost charge while the device was plugged in and used GPS (and Pandora and Tethering). So upside is low power GPS. Downside is low power GPS.
- ICS is fast, feature-packed and a pleasure to use. Android, like iOS, had gotten boring but there are a lot of cool new hooks inside Android 4.0. Favorites include the new social contacts lists, screenshots, rapid fire camera shooting, dictation, and the improved CHROME browser.
- The Google Wallet omission thing is lame. I understand Verizon blocking it. But why can’t I use it on the International unlocked version? Read more