The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has already made its mark and is now being touted to be the best Android phones to grace the planet. Not to be left out from the competition to provide the best smartphone for consumers, Verizon has now released its own version of the phone, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. This phone has definitely got a lot of promise especially given the fact that it will be able to make full use of Verizon’s 4G LTE connectivity. Now it’s up to us to find out what the Verizon version of the phone can offer that its competitors can’t. So read on to find out.
In terms of exterior design, there’s really nothing much to differentiate this phone from the GSM version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So you can be forgiven if you couldn’t recognize this as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus the first time you pick it up as even the materials used for the phone are the same. However, at 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.37 inches, this phone is a mere 0.02 inches thicker than its GSM sibling. You wouldn’t really notice the difference in thickness in the Verizon Galaxy Nexus since it still feels as streamlined as the GSM one. Adding to that, the Hyper Skin finish on the back of the phone and its balanced weight makes it really comfortable sitting in your hand. Although the body might be of an all-plastic make, but we can assure that it feels solid and is built to last.
On the front of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is the 4.65 inch HD Super AMOLED screen which sports a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. Apart from that, on the front you will find that Android’s trademark capacitive buttons are missing. You also get a 1.3 MP front-facing camera which you can use to check your makeup and it can even record videos at 720p. Apart from that, the camera can also be used for the new face unlock feature. On the right side of the phone is the power key while sitting on the left is the volume rocker. Much like most other Samsung Android phones, we loved using those buttons as they are exactly how you want them, not too easy to press – to avoid accidental presses – but at the same time not too hard either. On the bottom of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is the standard audio jack as well the microUSB port which in fact doubles as an MHL port for video-out purposes for instance. Flip the Verizon Galaxy Nexus to find a 5MP auto-focus camera on the back that also comes with LED flash.
So what kind of a CPU is needed to power a beast such as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus? The answer to that is the 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 CPU, or at least that’s what Samsung thought. Sure, the CPU together with the 1GB of RAM breezed through all the simple tasks, but try working around the phone with live wallpaper and you will find some choppiness while navigating through the interface.
The Verizon Galaxy Nexus just like its GSM sibling is the first breed of phones to run on Android’s latest OS, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This OS had a lot of people excited as Android looked to provide a brand new experience for smartphones with this OS. If you already own a tablet that runs on Android Honeycomb then using this OS shouldn’t be a problem right off the bat as you will find most UI elements applying similar logic as in Android Honeycomb. However, if you haven’t had any previous experience using Android Honeycomb, don’t worry; you will still be able to master this UI in a matter of hours. One of the things that haven’t changed is how the homescreen can be divided into a few pages. On each page you can choose what you would like to have from widgets to app shortcuts. One new feature that caught the eye is how you can create application folders just by bringing one app shortcut over another.
The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is also candy to the eyes as it looks very pretty too. However, that’s just on the surface of things as on the inside you find some major changes too like the removal of the context menu key. This key was there previously to show all the additional options for anything you were doing at the moment. Now these additional options can be found embedded into each app’s interface so that things look more streamlined and organized. We also liked the changes that were mad to some of the applications like the People app that has a new UI. With this new UI, you get all the important details first minus all the stuff you don’t need.
As mentioned earlier, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch HD Super AMOLED display and it’s the same kind of 720p display we have seen previously on phones like HTC Rezound for instance. Its resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels churns out a pixel density of 316 ppi meaning you get a great amount of detail from the phone. The screen also sports high-contrast and also gives some great colors. The viewing angles are also wide.
The Verizon Galaxy Nexus ships with a new camera interface as well and we like that it is easy to use. There are many options to toy around with like the different scene modes and white balance. You also get Panorama mode with this new camera interface. Moving on to the camera itself, it’s a 5MP camera with LED flash. Yes it’s not an 8MP camera, but this camera proves that numbers don’t usually tell the big picture. Once we started snapping away, we found pictures taken outdoors turned out great and macro shots were amazing too. You also get a good amount of detail from the phone. We can surely live with the fact that the camera is not an 8MP one as it showed what it’s capable of. However, taking videos at 24 fps is definitely not acceptable as other high end phones are offering 30 fps. To make matters worse, artifacting and poor details were to be found when taking videos in low light situations.
Call quality had a good and a bad side to it on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. While there were no issues hearing our friend on the earpiece, things were not the same for our friends on the other end as they say our voices wasn’t natural. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus also comes with a powerful 1850 mAh battery, a good choice given that this is a 4G LTE connectivity smartphone. However, even with that battery you get only about 10 hours of average use, so if you are going to be using 4G all day, then you can expect the battery life to be less.
Pros and Cons
We definitely like the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience on the phone. The screen was also of the very best quality. Of course, 4G LTE connectivity being available was a plus too.
Battery life on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus should have been better. We would have also liked the camcorder to do much better.
Verizon Wireless being able to provide 4G LTE connections on its own version of the Galaxy Nexus will definitely a winning formula for a phone that’s already great on its own. So if you have the cash, then don’t think twice.