The wish of the anxious Android fans was fulfilled on Dec. 15 (Thursday) as Verizon began selling the long-awaited Android 4.0-powered (Ice Cream Sandwich) Galaxy Nexus. The handset sells for $299 with a 2-year Verizon contract. No doubt, it will get scooped up like hot cakes as the smartphone is being touted as an iPhone killer but the billion dollar question is - is it really worth buying?
Let's analyze Galaxy Nexus' merits and shortcomings.
Without doubt, Galaxy Nexus is a top-end phone - it has 4.65 Super AMOLED Display (720 x 1280 pixels), Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, NFC capability, 4G LTE (specific regions) and 1GB RAM. The world phone also has HD (1080p) video camera and boasts of single motion panoramic mode for stills. Android Beam (NFC technology that allows Android smartphone users to share contacts, web pages, YouTube videos, directions, and apps), Google+ Messenger, Google Music and Face Unlock (a new, fun way to unlock your phone and perhaps Google's answer to iPhone's swipe/slide to unlock technology) are some other features Galaxy Nexus boasts of. However, on closer look, you'll find that other features in Galaxy Nexus are, at best, average i.e., not bad but not good either.
In fact, after the handset launched in other countries such as U.K., Germany and Canada, many people who bought the phone were left disappointed and pointed out its shortcomings.
Alex Ioannou, the first customers of Galaxy Nexus in U.K. , complained about his new handset, saying he had problem of syncing Gmail, for the usual account setup options are missing. On the contrary, the new smartphone was preloaded with a slew of weird dev stuff, including the option to Report a WTF condition, according to Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/17/first-happy-galaxy-nexus-customer-isnt-so-happy-wants-to-excha/)
Alex had to go back to the store for replacement.
2. Volume Bug
Barely a few days after Galaxy Nexus was released in the UK, many users reported in Google's Android Developer Forum (http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=22021) about problems relating to volume control, saying, Volume drops to nothing seemingly at random, volume rocker becomes unresponsive for a few seconds.
One customer replaced his Galaxy Nexus for another one from the store because of volume control issue. However, to his dismay, he found that the replacement had the same problem. I was already awake and had not touched the phone yet, the alarm sounded for a second and then went silent. Thought that was weird so checked the phone and the volume was down. I can't trust the alarm to wake me up now for work! the owner complained.
Another user named Stuartea also had similar problem.
“Had this issue since purchasing the phone around the 17 Nov. Happened to date on 3G, wifi and taking advantage of the gps. Additionally, it happened today again when my alarm discontinued,” Stuartea wrote.
“I had been awake coupled with not touched the telephone yet, the alarm sounded for any second after which went silent. Believed that was weird so checked the telephone and also the volume was down. I can not trust the alarm to wake me up let’s focus on work!”
Incidentally, on Nov. 23, Samsung had acknowledged that the problem did exist. We are aware of the volume issue and have developed a fix. We will update devices as soon as possible, a Samsung spokesman said in an e-mail. However, he never elaborated the reason.
Even though the company has developed a fix for the smartphone, it seems it wasn't fixed properly.
3. Average Features
Even though the highly-anticipated smartphone sports some very good and useful features as the ads suggest, some components are rather average, considering that Galaxy Nexus is not only the latest Android smartphone to hit the market but also the first smartphone to sport Ice Cream Sandwich OS.
For instance, the camera of Galaxy Nexus could have been more powerful - the smartphone sports only a 5MP rear- and 1.3MP front-facing camera. And though Google has tried its best to merge two OSes (Gingerbread and Honeycomb), Ice Cream Sandwich isn't all that delicious and the seams sometimes show, CNet said in its review of Galaxy Nexus. Ice Cream Sandwich is a patchwork of visual themes, and one that lacks flow throughout the entire experience, the site said.
In conclusion, Galaxy Nexus is a powerful smartphone, a workhorse and it does offer some features the iPhone can't touch. And, though Ice Cream Sandwich isn't perfect, it's Google's best bet yet to date to lick Apple's iOS 5. So, if you're an Android fan (or Apple hater), go get yourself a Galaxy Nexus. You won't regret it.