- Reception and call quality Best call quality I've ever experienced both in my ear and for the person I'm calling (I'm told).
- Display The 720p display is absolutely gorgeous and because of the screen size, it's the best display I've ever used.
- Battery life This is the only weak point of the device (so far) for me. The battery is not exceptional, certainly not as good as my iPhone 4.
- Camera No comments
- Ease of use ICS is my favorite iteration of Android, and the easiest to use in my opinion, but some of the deep functions are still a little convoluted.
- Design and form factor It's thin and light which makes it seem smaller than it actually is. It feels great to hold in the hand, and is not outrageously large in the pocked.
- Portability (size / weight) Similar to my notes above, it's very portable (but obviously bigger than many phones). It's not going to be easy to conceal in class, that's for sure.
- Media support There's no USB Mass Storage or microSD slot, which I'm not necessarily docking it for, I just would like the option.
- Durability Seems WAY more durable than the all glass iPhone 4 and 4s. I was always scared to set my iPhone down, but this I don't really worry about.
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Next to battery life, this is probably the weakest point of any Android phone. The app store is still very fragmented, but ICS is a step in the right direction.
The phone booted up quickly, and automatically updated to the latest software (that fixed the volume bug). There was a quick tutorial, and then it was all up to me. Coming from an iPhone, the setup of getting all of my apps and information downloaded and ready to go took me three or four hours (which seems like a long time, but I was geeking out the entire time so the time flew). There were a couple problems with setup - Chrome Bookmarks refused to sync and after a couple of days of fiddling with Chrome and the device, I realized that bookmarks do not sync with 2-step verification enabled. One of the only other bugs I found was that pinning music for offline use was a bit glitchy - it seems to hang at certain percentages and if you manually sync during the process it starts over.
The OS is extremely polished and now that I’ve used a non-skinned version of Android, I’m in total shock that Google still allows skins. The browser is amazingly fast and apps load quickly, but there is still a hint of lag on the device doing certain actions (mainly pulling up the multitasking list) that is especially pronounced when using live wallpapers. As pointed out in most of the professional reviews, the camera isn’t amazing. If you’re coming from an iPhone 4, it’s probably comparable, but it’s definitely not as good as some of the shots I’ve seen from SGSIIs or iPhone 4Ss. The front camera is positioned weirdly, and not tilted at all, so that when you hold it up to face unlock or video chat you have to tilt the phone 10 or 15 degrees to the side to get it centered on your face. As a part of this camera, one of the coolest features is Face Unlock. It works probably 3 out of 5 times, but isn’t such a hassle that it’s too annoying to leave on when it doesn’t work.
Speaking of security options, I used Face Unlock for a while, but got tired of how haphazardly it worked. I switched to a pattern unlock, but didn’t like that I couldn’t see my notifications without unlocking the phone. I just went to the standard slide unlock and like it the most - I can see notifications and go straight into the camera from the lock screen. A quick note about that though - the camera switch from the lock screen isn’t fast. It actually unlocks the device and then loads the camera and takes a significant amount of time to do it - about 2 or 3 seconds. It isn’t that much time, but it seems silly for it to take as long as it might take to open it normally.
The Nexus has a multicolored LED that can display several different colors, but I actually like the default color the most - it’s a whitish rainbow color that is a lot nicer than the green LED I’ve had on previous Android devices. Coming from an iPhone, the LED is truly awesome. You know if you have notifications without even turning on the phone. The application LightFlow lets you set up custom colors for your notifications (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ragecons...)
A couple of these gripes aside, this is definitely the best phone I have ever used, and I used to use an original flip RAZR! Also, all jokes aside, this is by far the most polished version of Android I’ve used, and the software keys are a much welcome addition. The Google+ and social integration (once Facebook/Twitter, etc… get updates out with the new APIs) is really awesome, and the new people app is great. It’s nice to have a phone with NFC too, but the sad part is that Google Wallet is not included or downloadable from Google (although a “hacked” .apk can be found that works - www.droid-life.com/2011/12/17/download-google-wall...), and finding people with other phones to play around with Android Beam seems like it will be tough. I am looking forward to doing my own home project creating my own NFC tags to do specific things around my house, but I’ll report back on that later.
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Updated detailed review
Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) rating changed from 3 to 4
Updated detailed review
Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) rating changed from 4 to 3
Ease of use rating changed from 3 to 4
Battery life rating changed from 4 to 3
Ease of use rating changed from 4 to 3
Battery life rating changed from 3 to 4
Reception and call quality rating changed from 5 to 4