Why the Galaxy Nexus is a gigantic disappointment.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already got the device and you’re looking for reviews that justify your purchase when deep down in your heart you know it’s crap…

We heard rumors, we waited. I for one, didn’t expect all that much from it… but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited to own my first Nexus device. I had no reason to change devices, and on paper the Nexus had specs I was less than impressed with, but I figured it’d be worth it just to have an OEM unlockable bootloader. Well, I was wrong, it’s not worth it, this phone sucks, and here’s why….

First and foremost.. a Nexus is a pure Google experience device. Did Google make “My Verizon Mobile”? No? .. Is it on the phone? Yes? … Then it’s not a Nexus. Period. It’s just a phone borrowing the Nexus name to help cover up it’s mediocrity.

For those that haven’t seen it before, it’s large. Really large. Too large. It’s clunky to hold and the width and slipperiness of the device make me know it’s going to take more than a few tumbles on the asphalt. That happens, and usually I’m alright with it.. bummed, but alright. Since any new device is eventually going to be dinged and knicked… I try to not obsess about it.. because nothing stays pretty forever. In this case however, the chinsy plastic and huge glass surface area is sure to make for an unhappy day in the event of a spill. Whatever. It’s a phone. It needs some kind of chassis, and it needs to be somewhat cost effective. I get that. So… no big deal.

The screen blows. Period. I don’t understand all the freaks on the internet going off about how this is the greatest screen ever on a mobile device because it’s 1280×720 Super AMOLED. Know what that means to me? Nothing. I don’t care what kind of screen it is or what the resolution is if the display looks like crap, and in this case… it looks like crap. Solid whites look like textured grays, and solid grays look like a coffee stained gray flannel. This is the case whenever the brightness drops to around 40%. I found the screen to be infuriating in lower brightness conditions, and really nice at higher brightness. “That’s just the way it is with these pen tile AMOLED screens” … well, then they suck, and shouldn’t be used on high end phones. Who’s going to run an LTE device with that sized screen and that battery at high brightness. Anyone that does can use their phone for about 13 minutes.

Next up on the list of reasons this phone is a turd cream sandwich is the lack of an SD card and no USB Mass storage. I get the reason for this. I really do.. and it is NOT because google thinks it’s an intelligent design decision to better the lives of developers and make a better end product by removing the dependency on mount locking and multiple storage locations. That may be a minor side effect in some cases, but it’s pretty clear… There’s no USB Mass storage because Google doesn’t want to pay Microsoft for licensing FAT32. You’re douchebags for not just coming out and saying it. Nobody blames you. But instead of coming up with a new filesystem, or a universal driver…We’re supposed to use MTP to transfer files to the phone. Seriously Google? MTP? It never, EVER worked correctly and everyone knows it. Still doesn’t. It might work out of the box for Windows 7 users… kinda, but that’s it. Are you running windows XP at work? Better hope you have admin rights to install Windows Media Player 11, because if you’ve got WMP10 you can only transfer media filetypes. Infuriating.

Have you heard of linux Google? You kinda use the kernel in android, how about some consideration for the people that actually use the OS. Ever try MTP on linux? It sucks. Part of the reason I switched to android was that I got tired of messing around with libimobiledevice and libgpod or depending on a Windows VM to communicate with my device reliably. Android gave me that simple, reliable connectivity but you took it away. Now I can fiddle around with libmtp, which is even worse. (this isn’t a dig at the developers of these libraries, you’re doing great work, but you shouldn’t have to be). You guys run your own custom Google Linux, you’re more than capable of contributing some driver/library to support a nonlocking filesystem.

Yeah, you can use ‘the cloud’, webdav, ssh, cifs, ftp, or any other network protocol… but try that when you’re stuck down in a datacenter without a USB key and no signal. There will come a day when you need that UMS support, and it’s not there. The storage situation is a joke and I hate it.

Which brings me to reception. What’s to say really? The radios are atrocious. I never saw > -100db.

As for the camera.. I’m not a photographer, but generally I can point a phone, snap a picture, and it comes out decent. Not so on this phone. I did see some impressive shutter shots by @koush of his dog though.. I certainly couldn’t produce anything of that quality. Regardless … No big deal.

It did have some good points. Having an OEM unlockable bootloader is fantastic and I truly appreciate it, though that’s the way all phones should be, so I don’t really know if Nexus should be considered a better phone because of it. They managed to fit in a respectable battery in my opinion. It doesn’t last long, but really, how could it with a screen that size that requires a brightness that high. I think they did the best they could to keep the phone light and thin, and it’s acceptable.

ICS is nice, but it’s still android. It’s not the giant revolutionary OS of your dreams, it’s just an incremental evolution of a java stack running on top of a linux kernel. It’s still wonky. Things like the “Menu” button aren’t uniform.. sometimes the menu button is in the button tray, sometimes it’s randomly placed within the app…oh, and have fun sifting through a hundred widgets page by page 4 at a time in the app drawer.

Any one of these things would be annoying, but not a deal breaker. Taken together, it’s easy to see… this phone is just plain not good.

So.. in short, here’s my review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

As far as hardware goes.. it sucks.

As far as software goes.. it sucks, just less than the alternatives.

This entry was posted in Computers.

23 Comments

  1. joe greene May 31, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Everything this review says is 100% spot on. I’ve owned nothing bit android phones for the last 5 years and I would take my original droidX over this POS anyday. Not only is the battery life and screen terrible, the cheap plastic battery cover flies off with the slightest force. I’m not one of these phone nerds, but I’m honestly so pissed at how bad this phone is I’m just posting this with the hope that it saves at least one person from having to deal with this bs. I drop at least 20 calls a week and NEVER have more than 2 bars…avoid this phone at all costs.

  2. avery February 25, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    My battery life sucks

  3. JP September 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    The Galaxy Nexus is not a good phone because it can’t be called a phone to begin with. Reception is crap in all but the best coverage areas, the sound quality is mediocre at best and the usability of the call interface is atrocious ( which is an ICS problem)

  4. Matt September 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    You suck. Your phone review is shitty, as is, unquestionably, your breath.

  5. tcpsyn August 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Enjoy it. Lots of people like shitty things, you’re welcome to.

  6. Andreas August 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Galaxy Nexus with JB 4.1 it’s over Apple Iphone 4S and his iOS so, this includes also HTC, I had an HTC before and I found GN emazing and superb!, I also hold an HTC ONE X and a Iphone 4S… this is the best phone ever and your review, from my opinion it’s SHIT!

  7. tcpsyn August 9, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    That sir, is a good comment.

    This article was written right when the phone was first put out, when everyone was very excited about it.
    But to get things straight… I never had a problem with VZW. VZW is the best network in my area. My issue
    was with the radios in the phone. When I can take two separate phones on the same network side by side, and
    drop signal on one while the other remains strong… the radio sucks. That’s a hardware issue, not verizon’s.

    4.) There are plenty of other file systems to chose from. Not all of us run windows. Many of us don’t. How about the choice?
    I’ll happily format my sdcard as ext3/4 … if of course I can use an sd card at all. This is a ploy to prevent you from storing
    your data on the phone, which will make you upload it to something like google music, and in turn use significantly more data
    when streaming it. I think it’s a lame move without any positive upside.

    5.) I want a camera that is comparable in performance to the other phones on the market. At this time the competitors were the HTC ReZound and the iPhone.
    Both smoked the gnex.

    6.) I like ICS. It’s not that I don’t like it. My complaint was it’s not a big enough jump in functionality or performance to justify
    buying the gnex over phones that were nicer… as at the time of this review, gnex was the only ICS option.

  8. Sin Jeong-hun August 9, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    So your complaints are,
    1.Verizon
    2.Too large.
    3.The screen is not white.
    4.Lacking direct file system mount
    5. Bad camera quality
    6. ICS is not great
    Is that it?

    Well, sir, I have a GN made in Korea, I am almost satisfied with it, the biggest complaint I have is that the volume of the built-in speaker is too small for me. So let me iterate about your complaints:

    1. Verizon. It is not really the phone’s fault. I do not know about the U.S., but you can always buy an unlocked version with full price, can’t you? Wasn’t it your decision to buy it on Verizon to save money?
    I bought mine from Korea Telecom, and it contained very few non-Google stuff. But the hardware was the same as the unlocked version, so I flashed the European stock Google ROM. If you want pure Google, can’t you afford that little effort?

    2. It is really a subjective problem. I have small hands, I thought it was too large before buying it, I still feel difficulties to touch the top screen with my thumb, but I can do it any way, I mean it is not impossible. Even though I have that problem, big screen gave me a lot more. I set the font size to large, now the text look large and sharp, easy to type… When I look back the text on my old 4-inch phone, my eyes sour. I like the big screen, now.

    3. Yes, I hated AMOLED. It’s not really bright or white. I usually set the brightness to the maximum, and still it is not so bright, but that is acceptable, I can get used to it, it is not a deal-breaker. Other than that, the colours look good. So, it is really good for watching YouTube and viewing pictures. The high DPI (almost the same as that of iPhone 4(s)) makes everything crisp.

    4. I agree on this, I do not like MTP. But I want to blame MS. MS is purposely charging for that simple FAT32. Google was not using FAT32 because FAT32 was a superior file system, far from it. FAT is a very rudimentary file system. The only reason Google supported it was to help Windows users, and MS tried block it with that ridiculous patent. Anyways, I think it would have been better if Google came up with another file system and drivers. But I do not copy files that often so it is not a deal-breaker for me.

    5. I am not a photographer either. A phone camera is a phone camera, what do you want more. I do not think the camera is great either, but it is OK, besides I am enjoying the shutter speed.

    6. Well, maybe or maybe not. I liked ICS. But now Jelly Bean has been out for GN, and it is phenomenal. It is very pleasant to use the phone. And no other phones got Jelly Bean officially yet.

    GN is now relatively cheap. Every phone has pros and cons. I think GN is worth its price. Please watch all the reviews from Galaxy Nexus users who like the phone.

    Plus, my review for my GN is at:
    http://typingcat.blogspot.kr/2012/07/why-you-would-still-love-galaxy-nexus.html

  9. Mnero June 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Totally agree! GN is the worst phone I have ever owned and I owned quite a number of phones. These stupid constant reboots without any reason, phone sluggishness at its best (or worst). This is definitely my last Android phone. Both iPhone and WP are way better and providing a lot smoother user experience, totally polished as they should be. Android is just not ready. It’s fun though to look at these pathetic Android fanboys, defending something even when most of them experienced these same annoyances. One of the reasons I don’t want to be part of Android community. Bye Android, GN out of my life for good.

  10. Andre May 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    I totally agree this PHONE is THE WORST that I have ever had. Had 3 Samsungs in 3 years and all of them sucked BUT this one is THE WORST. Read the RAVING reviews and thought to myself WOW, finally a good Samsung so replaced the Samsung S, which died for some reason, for this one, what a mistake. Have had but problems with it. 1. Volume issues, NO VOLUME, have to download an app to get reasonable volume on this phone. FAIL. 2. Constantly loose antenna. Once you reset the phone the signal returns so that means reset at least once a day!! FAIL 3. Started bugging telling me that my SIM CARD was un readable. Had to replace the phone FAIL 4. Put the widget contacts on home screen and started writing LOADING under their names for no reason, have to delete them and put them back until eventually this problem will come again. FAIL. 5. Find it slower to react than my old Samsung piece of crap, press back and it seems to take forever to do what I want it to do. FAIL. Look I cannot find anything that is worth ANY PRAISE for this phone, NOT EVEN the fancy oled screen which to me is no better than any other HTC phone out there AND LETS NOT TALK ABOUT the Android 4.0. Wow it’s been on the market for 6 months and alread 5 upgrades, speaks for itself doesn’t it.

    This is my LAST SAMSUNG phone, can’t wait till it dies.

  11. Allan D May 24, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    Yippee! my phone is 6 months old and now its unlocked so now I can dump it. What worries me most are the reviewers. Are they all corrupt or just retarded inbreds? Dont know which is worst but I dont trust any moron who would give a thumbs up to such a weak phone.
    Btw its latest bad habit is to swith itself off every coouple of days. I dont care Ive just gone back to my old Desire.

  12. Ash May 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Mine has been actually usable since the latest update, so much that I bought my gf one too.. A complete back peddle I know, and I’m sure there’s now better phones out there but I’m happy with it until my next upgrade.

  13. M J May 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    It feels like a scam.. wifi suck big time too
    Sigh…

  14. Christian March 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Finally an article that actually shows the truth. I’m having multitouch issues, games lag, I thought the phone is pretty slow and not responsive but it’s just been getting worse. And the quality of the plastic is not even near good, I put a silicon case on my Nexus directly when I got it. And it got damaged by the silicon even though I never dropped it once… About the Amoled screen, you’re totally right. The white is grayish… Basically like the comment above, I will never buy a Samsung. But either way, I will never go to iPhone either… If I buy a product, I wanna be able to do what i want with it without having any restrictions… Might try the Optimus 4X since the quality seems better…

  15. Trav March 20, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    It just broke down on ME TODAY!!!! New phone is going to me soon

  16. Ash March 19, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Agree wholeheartedly – This phone sucks, I miss my HTC Desire – If only it was a little faster, and I could install more than 10 apps on it at once, I’d go back to it.

    Will never buy a Samsung again.

  17. Allan D March 12, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    I havnt changed my opinion either. I am seriously thinking of selling my soul to the Apple devil when iphone 5 with the larger screen turns up.
    But I still have no one to blame but myself. I knew that Samsung with a few exceptions have always made junk but all those stupid positive reviews blinded me.

  18. Bill March 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    3 months in and the phone STILL REALLY SUCKS harder THAN IT DID AT launch….

    FINALLY, the truth this phone just plain sucks and all teh “oh you are having difficulty with a Nexus,I’ll look right into that” BS form google, verizon ,and samsung doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzy feeling. Fact is, they know it sucks and are only attempting to squeeze just a few profit dollars out of it before it’s finally declared a Titanic failure ….call teh tug boats if you plan to continue to use this POS !!!

    I could take it A LITTLE bit better if it wasn’t for all the BS all the involved parties throw out at us…
    Keep it samsung and put it right next to all your failures the first of 2012 !!!! And PLEASE..when disposing of all this crap DO NOT LITTER as this is a vulgar piece of crap to be in a dump site

  19. Allan D January 6, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    Ill just add a few of the many faults; the off/on switc is in the wrong place and conflicts with the vol. switch, you couldnt hear it ringing unless you hold it up to your ear, contacts import is a catastrophe and if youre used to A HTC phone youll think youve fallen into a time warp.

  20. Allan D January 6, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    I wholeheartedly agree. I would warn everybody to try the phone for a couple of hours before you buy, you just might agree with me. I went from a HTC desire and its like going back to the dark ages.

  21. tcpsyn January 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Well said.

  22. mikel January 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I think u suck

  23. Your review is too big therefore it sucks December 19, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    You may want to get that iphone from your assistance before writing the next review

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