The Galaxy Nexus – 21 Days Later

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve made it three weeks without an iPhone.

To be honest, I didn’t think I would make it. I mean, as much as I wanted out of the iOS ecosystem, my digital life was so tied into it, I actually thought I would be running back. Fortunately, however, my online life is heavily tied into Google, making the transition to an Android phone extremely simple.

CDMA controversy aside, the Galaxy Nexus is an amazing phone. While I’m not a huge fan of the fact that it’s a plastic built phone, I will concede that it still feels like a premium phone. While slightly heavier than my iPhone 4, it actually manages to feel lighter due to the weight distribution covering a larger space.

But before I continue, let me just say that I’m in no way attempting to review the phone. Reviews done by amateurs come off very subjective and are either full of praise or full of complaints. Instead, I offer my impressions of the phone after using it as my daily driver these last three weeks.

I haven’t missed my iPhone. Not once. I may have missed an app here or there (I’m looking at you, Instagram and Hipstamatic), but the phone itself has not been missed. In fact, I’ve grown to enjoy my Galaxy Nexus more than I enjoyed any of my three iPhones (2G, 3G, and 4).

Please don’t get me wrong. I loved the iPhone. I was among those that jumped at the opportunity to own one. I was astounded by its capabilities and simplicity. But over time, I grew bored with it. It was lacking something. It felt. . . incomplete.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to switch to Android. More specifically, a Nexus phone. So here are my thoughts.

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Android has finally caught up to (if not surpassed) iOS. It’s snappy. The term lag doesn’t even come to mind as I use my phone. Animations are buttery smooth, and everything reacts exactly as I expect it to. The screen is beautiful (but it’s a Super AMOLED screen, so while it may be technically more impressive than Apple’s Retina Display, the screen itself doesn’t appear as bright or vibrant as the iPhone’s. But it’s a minor drawback that’s only noticeable when the two devices are sitting side by side), and I think that it’s actually really cool that it’s made of curved glass. I don’t notice any substantial difference between it and a flat-glass screen, but it’s still quite impressive to me.

The screen is nice and large. It’s not too big (the Galaxy Note comes to mind), but it’s definitely bigger than the iPhone’s screen, making video-watching a much more natural experience. But it’s still small enough to make one-handed typing possible (though admittedly not as easy as on the iPhone). Some have complained about the size of the phone. I suppose I can understand if this writer is a girl or a really small guy. Throughout his/her review, he kept blasting the size of the phone. Now, I’m barely 5’9″ and hovering somewhere around 170 lbs. I don’t have large hands by any stretch of the imagination. For you musical types, my span is maybe an octave plus 2 or 3 keys. On my 13″ MacBook Air, my span goes from the A key to the ” key. And I haven’t dealt with the issues that this writer apparently dealt with. Typing with one hand isn’t a problem for me, and I’ve never had to “shimmy” my hand down the phone.

Actually, I’m more convinced now that the writer is most likely a girl because she mentioned that the Galaxy Nexus was too big for her pockets. That seems to be a common problem with girls’ jeans. Small pockets, I mean.

Anyway, enough about her impressions of the phone. Let me get back to mine.

LTE is ridiculously fast. Unfortunately, where I live now doesn’t get LTE coverage (but my parent’s house gets full LTE signal, so I may find myself hanging out in Morristown again). I ran a speedtest, and the LTE network clocked in at Wi-Fi-like speeds. While it’s a drain on the battery, I don’t worry too much about it. I have a spare battery, and I recently ordered the extended battery from Verizon (which was 50% off when I placed the order).

Speaking of battery life, I know that a lot of people have complained about it. I haven’t had an issue, but I’ve always been one to do that battery-drain thing when I get a new gadget. Basically, I let the battery run all the way down until the device shuts itself off. I then give it an overnight charge and run the battery all the way down again. I drain and charge like this for about three or four days, and 95% of the time, it has helped get me the most out of my gadget’s battery.

NFC and Google Wallet are a blast to use. I have a friend who works for Google, and while he’s not allowed to officially comment on the Google Wallet APK that’s been floating around the Internet, he did say that I shouldn’t be afraid to use it. In fact, I went to McDonald’s (which is something I never do) and bought something just so I could pay for it with my Galaxy Nexus. It was, to say the least, a whole lot of fun.

Face Unlock, like Siri for iPhone, is really nothing more than a novelty, and its usefulness wears off after a week or so. But I can’t deny the “wow” factor. It’s definitely a fun way to show off my phone to my friends.

Overall, the phone is a good fit for me. While I do have a few quarrels (namely, the Verizon branding—and lack of Google branding—on the back of my device and the sudden announcement that CDMA versions—including Verizon’s—would no longer receive AOSP support, Super AMOLED instead of Super AMOLED Plus, and a non-competitive rear camera), I’m much happier with this phone than I was with my iPhone.

That said, there’s a lot to love about the iPhone. It’s just not for me anymore. Personally, I like the freedom of being able to do what I want with my phone. I’ve become a huge proponent of widgets. I love having information at a glance. I like a little variety on my home screens. I like being able to find bargains on apps. But that’s just me. You may like the polish of iOS, or not having to think about customizing your phone to fit your needs. You may actually enjoy the walled garden and one-stop shopping for all your apps. You may be one of those “set it and forget it” types who’d rather have the manufacturer set up your phone for you than go through the rigors of personalizing your phone.

That’s just not me.

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