After weeks of waiting, rumoured launches and even a few accidental sales, the elusive Verizon Wireless Galaxy Nexus is finally here. We dropped by a New York City retail store to try out Google's first Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone in the flesh, before bringing one home for a proper unboxing and LTE performance test. As expected, the production version that we finally got our hands on today is virtually identical to the sample that popped up at the Samsung Experience earlier this month, but with one major exception: there's a Micro SIM installed, letting us try out core functionality, such as placing phone calls and accessing data without a WiFi network in range.

The Verizon Nexus arrived with Android 4.0.1 pre-installed, but prompted us to update to 4.0.2 just a few minutes after we added a Google account. It is noticeably thicker and heavier than its HSPA+ counterpart, but this thing is fast when it comes to transfer speeds -- not quite as speedy as we've seen with some LTE devices on AT&T's budding 4G network, but it's definitely in line with competing handsets from Verizon, and the MiFi we used for a comparison speed test. Our salesperson wasn't willing to let us leave without first confirming that the phone was in fact working, so he had the honor of first peeling back the phone's plastic cover. Ready to check it out? Roll up your sleeves and join us after the break for our unboxing and speed test.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon LTE unboxing

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Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ vs. LTE

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Myriam Joire contributed to this report.

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Galaxy Nexus for Verizon LTE unboxing and speed test (video)