- Reception and call quality As long as I have T-Mobile signal everything is fine and getting 8 Mbps down is pretty amazing (LTE is overkill for a cell phone IMO).
- Display Great 720p screen but there are some weird color banding issues.
- Battery life Despite the larger screen, it lasts about the same as the Nexus S which is about a day long. It's alright but not great.
- Camera No comments
- Ease of use There is a slight learning curve to using ICS but it's very simple after 30 min. of tinkering around.
- Design and form factor This is the 1st Samsung phone where I'm actually ok with it being made of plastic! It combines the great color scheme the Nexus One with the curve of the NS.
- Portability (size / weight) It's very large and thin but can still fit easily in my pockets!
- Media support The new Google Music app is wonderful to use. For videos, it can play the typical .mp4 files.
- Durability It feels very durable and there's no crappy glossy plastic that's prone to scratches! It just survived a fall w/o any scratches or scuffs! This deserves a 5!
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) I'll give it a 5 if the new car dock is similar to the N1 one. There's an app for every need in Android and the UI is feeling more consistent with ICS!
The Nexus One was great but the crappy digitizer on the screen really ruined it as more and more advanced multitouch features were used on apps.
The Nexus S was just an incremental upgrade to the Nexus One and felt like a downgrade at the same time due to the build quality. The cheap glossy plastic material was crap and gingerbread was definitely not the upgrade that revolutionized Android.
The Galaxy Nexus, however, was the perfect upgrade. It combined the GREAT look of the Nexus One (the gunmetal gray color scheme and the notification light) and combined it with the fantastic curve of the Nexus S. The plastic isn't glossy so it is much more scratch resistant and the back has a similar coating like the Nexus One but textured so it's very easy to grip the device.
The 1.2 GHz TI OMAP processor is very snappy as well. I've yet to experience any hiccups at all and all apps (that have been working in ICS) have been snappy as well so far. I can finally feel secure in knowing that my phone will last at least 18 months without any slowdowns (which wasn't true for the Nexus S).
The 720p super AMOLED screen is fantastic as well and I can barely see the pixels. To me, the pentile display isn't an issue since I can barely see the green pixel outline on the left edge of the screen. The color seemed a bit more balanced as well unlike in the Nexus S where it was too warm and too cool with the Nexus One. The only problem I have with the screen are the weird bands that may appear when it's not at its highest brightness. Even then, the bands are not that much of a hindrance at all.
Ice Cream Sandwich, aka Android 4.0 (4.0.1 when I received it), has finally brought a consistent UI to Android. The menus are cleaner, the edges are defined, there are no random missing lines, everything is aligned, and everything is silky buttery smooth. The brand new Gmail and Calendar apps are amazing as well letting you see more info on the screen. Being able to swipe away open apps to close them is amazing as well. I'm glad that something from webOS was grafted into Android.
For those wondering, yes, the Google Voice app is updated for ICS and it now only takes one tap from the inbox screen to compose a message but batch operations are still missing. Also, the eternal "sending" pop up of doom will actually go away now when it can't send a message if it can't find signal and you can press the back button to get rid of the pop up!
Also, the ICS keyboard is so much better than the old stock keyboard. It finally has spell check and replacing words is much faster and easier. Unfortunately, there seems to a rare bug that duplicates the first word in a sentence twice. The almost instantaneous text-to-speech is very accurate as well and amazingly fast provided that you have good signal.
Now for the 1 mild complaint.
The only real weakness this phone has is the camera. Yes, it takes amazingly fast photos but the quality is not as high as the Galaxy S II or the Infuse. I agree with Myriam from Engadget and Josh from The Verge that Samsung or Google neglected to put a good sensor in there. I'm suspecting that Samsung did it on purpose so that this phone will not cannibalize the sales of the Galaxy S II. Despite the not-so-great camera, it doesn't change my claim of this being the best phone I've ever used since I never take "serious" photos with a phone anyway.
The Galaxy Nexus is the best phone I've ever used. It gets almost everything right and I have a wonderful time everytime I use it. If you're on Verizon, I highly suggest holding out and waiting for the Galaxy Nexus. It'll be the best $300 you'll spend on a phone assuming that LTE doesn't destroy the battery life.
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Updated detailed review
Durability rating changed from 4 to 5
Edited comment on Durability