It arrived late afternoon this past Thursday from FedEx. I got home, settled in and enjoyed looking at the unopened box for a few minutes. I decided I would do an unboxing video but after doing the video, I was not happy with the way it came out so I trashed it. Unfortunately, you can't do an unboxing twice. So that opportunity was lost. But look around the web and I'm sure you can find one somewhere.
I decided on the unlocked and carrier unbranded GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus as I really wanted to give the pure and uncontamined verion of the Google superphone a try. My previous two experiences were with an HTC Evo and the HTC Inspire. Both of these were decent phones but the carrier add-ons and HTC skins affected my view of the devices in a negative way. So in order to be fair and give Android a true opportunity to be my primary device, I decided the unlocked version would be the way to go. (I know I can root, but I am just not emotionally ready for that big of a decision on a brand new +$700 product right now no matter how easy the process is.)
Upon opening the box, I was struck by two things:
- 1) The device looked so thin. I know that technically, my iPhone 4S is thinner but I think the GN appears to be thinner due to it's larger size.
- 2) The screen was big and it was gorgeous. There is a lot of back and forth between smartphone enthuiasts on the sweet spot for a screen size. I can honestly say that while I like the display of the 4S better, I do admire the size of the GN better. Would something in the middle be perfect? I think that depends on who you are. I have big hands and have no trouble with the bigger display. I like having that kind of screen real estate and if I had to make a choice, I would choose the screen of the Galaxy Nexus over the 3.5" "Retina" display of the iPhone 4S.
After having the device in my hand for a good hour or so, I was surprised at how snappy it was. Everything happened very quickly and there was no lag or slow down. More time will have to be spent with the device before I can give it the thumbs up on this matter, but for a first impression, let's just say I was pleased.
I found myself navigating better than on previous versions of Android. The design of the OS is more intuitive than in previous versions and things just make more sense. I still think there is work to do but it is obvious that Google understands user interface is important. They made that obvious with Ice Cream Sandwich.
How about I quickly list a few things I like and dislike about Ice Cream Sandwich compared to iOS 5.0.
What I like better than the iPhone:
- Multi-tasking: Full screen previews with a swipe to dismiss is nice.
- Home Screen: Customization is nice whether it be widgets, shortcuts, settings toggles, or live wallpapers.
What I don't like better than the iPhone:
- Email: iPhone 4S renders mail and attachments SOOO much better that on Android. I have spoiled by this on the iPhone and no one comes close in my opinion.
- App Icons: On Android, it's still just ugh.
- Android Market: The market has nothing on the App Store. Looking for apps is nowhere near as enjoyable on the Android platform.
I haven't had a whole lot of time with the phone but I will as I plan on keeping this phone through most of 2012. I purchased a prepaid plan so I could get a phone number to use with Google Voice. I am using Groove IP for making all calls over a wirelss network and when I am not at home, my iPhone 4S is doing a relatively good job at being my mobile hotspot when needed. So for now anyway, I will not commit to a 2nd line where I am paying $50-60 a month for something I will only be using part time. Will I take the SIM card out of my 4S and use it in the GN? Not right now. I am spending time here and there setting up the device and making sure it's totally usable for me before I go that route. For now, my $25.50 spent on a prepaid AT&T account for a SIM card will have to do the trick.
Over the next few weeks, I will take my time getting more familiar with the phone. I will start by installing apps that wiill sync data back and forth with my iPhone. I have got some ideas on how to manage my media and critical information on both devices. I am not planning on investing a substantial amount of cash in the Android Market but that will be up for renegotiation later. My iPhone 4S will continue to be my daily driver at work and through the week and my Galaxy Nexus will get some tryouts in the evenings or maybe on the weekends. I look forward to learning more and more about the platform. However, knowing I have the iPhone 4S ready for use at a moment's notice makes this trial run much easier.
Until later, cheers.