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Five Months With The Verizon Galaxy Nexus

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Five months ago, I walked into a Verizon retail store and bought the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with the hope that it would replace my iPhone 3GS as my go-to smartphone. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.

That’s because my Galaxy Nexus experience has been a difficult one to say the least and one that has completely turned me off to the phone, to Verizon, and really, to the Android platform.

When Verizon announced that it would host the Galaxy Nexus on its 4G LTE network, I was elated. It had the HD display. It had the 4G LTE speeds. It had Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. And it had the Nexus name which I thought meant unparalleled support.

Five Months With The Verizon Galaxy Nexus

I had to have it.

So, I went down to the Verizon store, forked over a wad of cash, and took the phone home. For the first couple of days, I was thrilled with my purchase. The screen was beautiful. I absolutely loved the 4G LTE data speeds. Android 4.0 was far and away better than any version of Android that I had ever used. And again, this was a Nexus device so I figured that I was set.

My iPhone 3GS suddenly started to look old and I thought I was on my way to becoming a diehard Android user.

A few weeks later though, the problems started.

My battery life was and continues to be atrocious. I even bought the extended battery and I still don’t get the battery life that many users claim to pull down.

My Galaxy Nexus started to shut itself off from time to time for no clear reason. This still happens on occasion.

My mic started to cut out on phone calls. This still happens often.

I started to experience connection issues where I lost my connection in areas where signal strength was normally good. This still happens from time to time.

Worst of all, the ‘Nexus’ in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus name hasn’t meant anything. I haven’t gotten a single update to my Galaxy Nexus in five months.

All of this has been going on since January, and to be honest, I haven’t really used my Galaxy Nexus much since then. Sure, I pull it out on occasion, but for the most part, it just sits around collecting dust as I pay my monthly fees to Verizon for a phone I barely use.

That’s not what I was expecting when I plopped down $300 and signed a contract with Verizon back in December.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought about paying the ETF fee to break my contract with Verizon. The only thing that has stopped me from doing that is the upcoming Android 4.0.4 update.

It’s my hope that Android 4.0.4, an update that may be on the horizon, will finally fix the issues I’ve had. Maybe then, I’ll finally be able to pull my Galaxy Nexus out of my drawer, blow off the dust, and start using it on a regular basis.

It’ll just be a shame that it will have taken five months to get to that point. I won’t say that I’ll never buy another Android phone again, but I will say that I will never buy another Android phone again at launch.

For those who have owned the Galaxy Nexus since launch, how have your five months been?

39 Comments

  1. Klugey1

    05/14/2012 at 3:45 pm

    Adam,
    Read my post from a few hours ago.
    “http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/04/03/5-things-i-hate-about-the-iphone/comment-page-1/#comment-155826″

    The main reason that the Android people like Android is how open and customizable it is. With that said, it is a very easy process to gain root access to your Nexus, then you should put a custom ROM on there as soon as possible. Many of these ROMs are IC4 based, but they have been tweaked for better battery life and better processor usage. This also gives you access to using the ‘Volume+’ app. You have to have root access to use this app, but it makes the lousey ringer volume and speaker volume on the Nexus actually usable.

    • M Perdue

      05/15/2012 at 7:40 am

      But why should a phone require so much effort to get working properly? My Android has so many bugs and issues it is not possible to list them all. The battery is atrocious, there is no way to close programs so they stay open forever and drain the battery and slow the phone to a crawl. The phone then gets overwhelmed and does a kind of reboot where it closes everything. The speakerphone has an echo… The software is complicated, redundant and functions poorly. The address book mysteriously removes entries that are still in my Google address book. I am not sure what is going on but this product is just not ready to be on sale yet period. I honestly can’t believe anyone would consider buying these pieces of trash over the last generation Blackberries. The only thing it has going for it is a better web browser (as long as the phone isn’t slowed to a crawl do to Android’s “memory management”. This is an outrage! b

  2. Michael

    05/14/2012 at 3:46 pm

    I have had my Nexus in the drawer and switched back to my HTC incredible for the past month. I just switched it back to the Nexus in hopes that the ICS update is any day now.

  3. Kevin

    05/14/2012 at 4:08 pm

    Yeah, right there with you all. My Nexus has been a great disappointment. It’s a shame that I can’t use ICS’s flagship smartphone as a phone.

    Mic anxiety has led me to use landlines instead when I need to make a call. I keep incoming calls VERY short because I don’t want to have to deal with the mic cut-out.

    That combined with the awful battery life and the constant auto-reboots means this phone is a disaster. I’m just waiting out the time until I can swap it for something, ANYTHING, else.

    • Kevin

      05/14/2012 at 4:09 pm

      I’d also like to point out that Verizon has been worse than useless in solving any of these problems. It’s gotten to the point where they promise to call me back and then never do.

  4. Randy

    05/14/2012 at 4:35 pm

    I can’t say that I love my Galaxy Nexus mainly because I’m looking to get a Nokia WP8. Although I can’t see where all of these problems come from? The only problem I had was low low speaker and bad battery life(which I was use to using Android).

    That was then and now I have rooted my phone, installed a new kernel, and changed my radios..!! It use to be terrible with a restart but with Titanium Backup and Android Backup and I am all great.

    To be honest it was a bit of a learning curve but once I got it it became like butter with any customization that I messed up with. With everything input on my phone I get 15+ hours battery life, even more buttery smooth interface, & Tablet Mode.

    Now only if Android would have made these changes and upgrades it would have sold more. BUT I don’t care cause I’m getting a Nokia WP8 as soon as it comes to Verizon..

  5. Klugey1

    05/14/2012 at 5:00 pm

    Ditto what Randy said. Randy, since you’re rooted, I’d like to know if you used the ‘Volume+’ app to fix the ringer and speaker volume? It seems to work very well, but I’d also like to hear what ROM, Radio and kernel you went with to get the 15+ hours. I think my wife gets about 12, but I doubt she uses it as much as you.

  6. Rob f

    05/14/2012 at 5:03 pm

    Almost my expeierence exactly, except I can’t park mine in a drawer.This could be my last android phone. all of the issues mentioned above and does anyone else have issues with slow screen reorientation and spell check that wont work in landscape mode? I did expect bugs buying on the first day, but put too much faith in the Nexus facor that updates wold solve it all…..

    • eric_edge

      05/15/2012 at 12:04 pm

      slow reorientation is a known bug with samsung phones, as understand. my gnex does it too.

  7. jivester

    05/14/2012 at 7:13 pm

    Got my international unlocked GSM changed to Google Server update and I couldn’t be happier my phone. Now that I’ve seen the One X and SIII, I want to buy my wife a GN straight from Google.I’m lucky that AT&T has a common radio but only in as much as it affords me the opportunity to buy a phone not controlled by the carriers!They mess everything up, and now slow updates on Nexus phones! Its a shame,I wish they would just get out of the way and let us be happy customers of their wireless services. Cause when they are out of the way as they are on my Galaxy Nexus then the experience rocks!

  8. David

    05/14/2012 at 7:37 pm

    I just got the samsung galaxy nexus 2weeks ago, i have to tell u that the artical that u wrote on dribbler about ur phone with the battery etc. I couldnt have said it better my self word for word. Im from Montreal Que. And i got this phone becuze of all the hype I d say im a little disapointed. Keep up the good work.

  9. ethibault

    05/14/2012 at 11:20 pm

    I never had any of this issues with my Galaxy S2 with gingerbread and 3G+ :-)

  10. Robb

    05/14/2012 at 11:26 pm

    For those thinking about getting a galaxy nexus, please ignore this article. Go to the google play store and buy an unlocked nexus for $400. It’ll update to the latest version of ics as soon as you turn it on and awesomeness will ensue.

    The g nexus is ment to be unlocked or rooted. It sucks that the carrier and or Samsung hasn’t updated the Verizon version of the phone but the beauty of Android is that you can do it yourself. The author writes for gotta be mobile for god’s sakes; surely he can figure this out. Or maybe he just isn’t that bright and really should just stick with vanilla iOS spoon fed to him.

    I am writing this as someone who recently bought a galaxy nexus after 4 years with an iPhone. I love my nexus so far. It’s taken some time to find the right apps and tweak the phone to the way I like it but I love doing that shit. If don’t like to bother with customizing and optimizing your tech tools than maybe stick to iOS but if your willing to put in a little time, Android has more to offer.

    Note: IMHO the galaxy nexus is a much better option than waiting for and or paying more for the s3 or htc onex. The leap in tech isn’t big enough to justify. Get an unlocked nexus for $400 and sell it in a year or so if u want to upgrade.

    • Kevin

      05/14/2012 at 11:32 pm

      Robb, just because you’ve had good luck doesn’t mean that there aren’t a LOT of people who have been having continuing problems with the Galaxy Nexus EVEN when they unlock and root it.

      Quite simply there are a lot of problems with this phone that customizing the crap out of it doesn’t help.

      • Robb

        05/15/2012 at 7:40 am

        Yes Kevin,

        A fully upgraded Nexus that had hardware problems would be a DIFFERENT story. (Recognizing that every phone manufacturer; Apple included; ships a few lemons.)

        The problem with this article is that Adam is complaining about a phone he could quite easily upgrade on his own but hasn’t. Could you imagine a writer for ‘Car and Driver’ doing a long term test of a new car without performing the required oil changes and then writing an article about how the car performs badly.

        • Lean6

          05/16/2012 at 12:10 pm

          Glad I stopped in here first. I was looking for a 4G option to hold me over until the iPhone 5 release. Saw a “like new” Verizon 32GB Nexus model on Craigslist for $300…was going to talk down to $250. I think I’ll pass. Rob, the overall quality about iPhone, that you can’t sometimes put your finger on, is that you don’t HAVE to jailbreak it to get it to work. I tried a Samsung Galaxy Note for a week on AT&T, downloaded more utilities for crap that just normally…works on the iPhone. I don’t root my Androids, and I don’t jailbreak my iPhones. I just want them to work.

    • Seb

      05/15/2012 at 5:22 am

      Couldn’t have said it better myself…

    • eric_edge

      05/15/2012 at 12:11 pm

      a new phone should be basically functional and *then* be capable of being modified, not the other way around.

  11. Rodney Silva

    05/15/2012 at 12:14 am

    Adam just like your employer… go milk a cow. Android platform us for smart people . Your an idiot.

  12. Rodney Silva

    05/15/2012 at 12:15 am

    Adam just like your employer… go milk a cow. Android platform is for smart people . Your an idiot.

  13. TiM

    05/15/2012 at 5:20 am

    I have had my Galaxy Note since late November. While the big screen is nice, I really miss my Jailbroken iPhone 4. The customization on android is not as functional as jailbroken apps/add ons provide for me. They are “neat” but that’s all. I don’t need Neat, I need to get things done.

    I’m really looking forward to the next iPhone, I don’t care if they keep the same design and only add 4g and the a5x…I will buy it.(I may even buy a old iPhone 4 so it can be jailbroken) In the end I don’t “need” the jailbreak, or customization on android, but it’s nice in the long run. That’s why the Note is still in my pocket…it’s makes a good reading device when my iPad 3 is not around.

    • Seb

      05/15/2012 at 5:38 am

      Jailbroken apps???…you have no idea what you’re device can actually do, do you?
      With Android you can install third party (paid apps) for free without having to root (jailbreak) your device if that is what you’re into!!!
      No disrespect but it seems to me that Iphone users expect an Android device to work the same way as IOS. Is your device even rooted?.

  14. Rick

    05/15/2012 at 5:47 am

    Having owned a Nexus one for 2 years, and switching to the international unlocked HSPA+ version of the Galaxy Nexus, here is my take based on discussions I’ve seen here and elsewhere. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus leaves a lot to be desired, while the HSPA+ version is pretty darn good. In my opinion, a phone isn’t a true Nexus unless the carrier has no involvement; ie purchased unlocked and updated directly by Google. Verizon has completely killed their version by holding the updates and creating their own accessories that are more expensive/less useful than the standard ones. That’s the problem with androids in general purchased from Verizon and ATT (see Nexus S for ATT, still waiting on ICS). Sprint is actually pretty good with the updates, but best is to buy unlocked, use on ATT or T-mobile and get the updates directly from Google. Big difference, but unfortunately not a choice for everyone due to coverage issues.

  15. Raminder

    05/15/2012 at 6:36 am

    Hi,

    I bought a GNexus in Netherlands in first week Jan2012 and using it in India (still not launched here). Now its around 4.5 months and I never faced any above ‘mentioned’ problems so far. And I also saw upgrade notification twice for ‘new-version update’ during this time and that happened without any issue (currently its on 4.0.4 having 3.0.8 kernel). This is my first smartphone and I’m actually enjoying my time with it. Also created a few apps for this device which makes me more happy. :) The Mic, camera, BT, wifi are fine. Yes, using too much wifi drains the battery but I normally do my wifi stuff on weekends.

  16. John

    05/15/2012 at 7:14 am

    Verizon has us on the horns of a dilemma here: one horn is Verizon’s unexplained delay in pushing the update (in fact, I don’t recall reading anywhere that Verizon has even publicly acknowledged the existence of the update). The other horn is Verizon’s policy that rooting the phone to try to end-run their tight-fisted control over the software voids the warranty.

    Nobody really knows what Verizon is doing with the update but they have an unfortunate history of tinkering with OS features that they don’t want their subscribers to have. Their coverage is very solid in my area but I am careful not to let them get within stabbing distance of my back.

  17. M Perdue

    05/15/2012 at 7:34 am

    I read your article with interest because I have a new Android phone (Samsung Galaxy SIII) and my verdict is that it is just a worthless piece of garbage. Quite frankly, for Google to put its name on this hodge podge disaster of a product is astonishing. The battery is just awful, it can’t close out of programs properly so the phone gradually degrades until it doesn’t work, the navigation loses the signal all the time, etc etc etc. There are too many bugs and problems to list. The keyboard is awful, Swype doesn’t guess the correct word often enough to be a liability (i.e. erection instead of projection). In conclusion, it is just a piece of trash.

  18. Steve B

    05/15/2012 at 7:36 am

    I have had my Verizon Galaxy Nexus since they first came out. By pulling the battery twice a week I don’t get the call quality issues other complain about and it seems to stop the random reboots. However I still have to go in and out of airplane mode when leaving wifi. The speaker volume is unacceptable, I use Volume Plus but I am afraid to push it too much. The extended battery inst anywhere near extended enough. I did expect more for my $300, more support, a phone that works better than the rest and what really burns me as that when my 2 years is finally up I have to pay a $30 upgrade fee. I am sure by then there will be a fee to access the web site to buy the upgrade, oh, and a fee to pay my bill too.

    Jailbreaking your phone to avoid paying for apps is plain old stealing. At least the Android Apps are reasonably priced and you don’t have to battle Itunes to make it all work.

  19. M Perdue

    05/15/2012 at 7:40 am

    But why should a phone require so much effort to get working properly? My Android has so many bugs and issues it is not possible to list them all. The battery is atrocious, there is no way to close programs so they stay open forever and drain the battery and slow the phone to a crawl. The phone then gets overwhelmed and does a kind of reboot where it closes everything. The speakerphone has an echo… The software is complicated, redundant and functions poorly. The address book mysteriously removes entries that are still in my Google address book. I am not sure what is going on but this product is just not ready to be on sale yet period. I honestly can’t believe anyone would consider buying these pieces of trash over the last generation Blackberries. The only thing it has going for it is a better web browser (as long as the phone isn’t slowed to a crawl do to Android’s “memory management”. This is an outrage!

  20. Michael S Coleman

    05/15/2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m not as tech savvy as some,but I’m just a wee bit upset w/ Verizon myself. This is what happens when u get too big. I’m trying to find a credible site that will help me root my phone n help me istall the 4.0.4 update I’ve been reading about. Anyone out there w/ the scoop on a how-to package?

  21. John III

    05/15/2012 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve had my VZW Nexus since it launched.
    I am fortunate enough to have not experienced any of the signal issues, reboots, mic cutouts (though I always use a BT headset), etc. The only issue that annoyed me was the javascript issues, that most don’t even notice.
    I installed a custom ROM only because I knew the javascript problem was resolved.

    I totally agree that a device should not “need” to have a custom ROM installed just to make it work as expected. I honestly hate it when people say that this phone was “meant” to be rooted and have a custom ROM. That is such a ridiculous comment. Even Android devices with locked bootloaders can be rooted and have custom ROMs, so to say this phone was meant for it is just stupid. The Nexus is a developer phone for Google, that doesn’t mean Nexus owners should have to have custom ROMs installed just to make it work.

    As to the comments about programs running and draining your battery, that isn’t entirely accurate.
    Yes, the programs are kept in memory so that they will be easily launched when you return to them, but they are not using much if any CPU.
    Proof of that is (if you are rooted), install a terminal emulator and busybox, from the #prompt, run the top command.
    You will see that very little CPU is inuse, in fact, your terminal emulator will usually be your highest running app with regard to cpu at that time because that’s they active app.

  22. John

    05/15/2012 at 3:00 pm

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/15/google-planning-multiple-nexus-devices-android-jelly-bean/

    Anyone want to bet whether Verizon ever allows any of these devices on its network?

    Back when we all relied on land lines the carriers were kept in their proper place — we could connect any piece of hardware we wanted to the phone line we were paying for and the carrier couldn’t say boo about it.

  23. tom maloy

    05/16/2012 at 4:40 am

    Yep tye battery life sucks no doubt there. The voice dictation could be alot better. I have not rooted my nexus and i got it on day one. Using apps and widgets i have gotten my nexus to become a very good phone. Only 2 times has it randomly rebooted…. ive never had the mic cut out. That being said foxfi and easytether are great on this phone.

    My wife on the other hand got the Razr(returned it within in a week) and her HTC rezound she has had replaced 3 times im the amount of time since nexus came out.

    I am very very anti-apple. I am happy with my phone i love my nexus

  24. Jon Page

    05/16/2012 at 7:25 am

    I’ve had my Galaxy Nexus for about five months too. My only complaint is battery life. To address the battery life, I have a very small battery backup that I use for my phone and my wife’s iPhone. Yeah I reaaky shouldn’t have to do this, but my phone experience has been great. I really get the impression that many issues are hardware. I had a Droid Incredible that had the reboot problem. I had it replaced several times. I still loved the Incredible and my Nexus.
    I had hoped that updates would be coming faster. This is what I dislike about Verizon. But I would change carriers. I still have lots of friends that experience the lame coverage of other networks… they cannot always use their cellphone at their house. This still happens, but at least they can talk and browse the web at the same time… when connected. :-)

  25. Brad

    05/16/2012 at 12:52 pm

    And if you had so many problems with the phone, why not take it back and check to see if it needed replaced. I have had my Galaxy Nexus for three weeks. And not one issue. Oh, this Galaxy Nexus is on ATT. Its unlocked. Bought off of google play.

    Im a former apple 3Gs phone user and owner. And switched to a Nexus when it was released. And since that day, I have been sold on the android platform. I have a Nexus, HTC Sensation 4G, Samsung Galaxy S2, and now the Galaxy Nexus.

    I can say not one of those phone gave me issues. Im a heavy phone user due to the line of work that Im in. And can say, that with all the android phones, I never had any issues. If you jail break, or add outside apps or skins, then you have issues. Thats a given

    But this article is so poorly written, because the owner basically, out of whatever reason, decided that all android based phones act as this and thats all that can be said.

    Never did they take it back to find a solution to the problem, or if the phone was the issue, or if it was a user that abused his phone beyond what it should be used for. This is why his apple phone probably works, because he cant do anything other than what apples tells him to do with it.

    And if you havent gotten an update, thats your problem. You dont know how to use the phone. I have received updates when they are released. Being a pure google phone, the updates come directly, via ota with wifi turned on from google.

    This article is from an apple fan boy as far as I can see. It pure junk and does not reflect the true Galaxy Nexus users.

  26. Richard Thanki

    05/19/2012 at 4:25 am

    “My Galaxy Nexus started to shut itself off from time to time for no clear reason. This still happens on occasion.

    My mic started to cut out on phone calls. This still happens often.

    I started to experience connection issues where I lost my connection in areas where signal strength was normally good. This still happens from time to time.”

    Did you even think about returning the phone under warranty?

    • Doyle Hirsch

      05/23/2012 at 3:47 pm

      The problem with returning the phone under warranty is that you don’t get a new phone – you get a refurbished phone that someone was dissatisfied with. So Verizon cleans it off, maybe reinstalls the operating system, and then gives it to you. Guess what, it probably has exactly the same problems it originally had. I’m also waiting for 4.0.4 to see if that fixes my isues. If not I’ll either ask for a Razr Maxx as an exchange or end my Verizon contract and wait for the Galaxy S3 on AT&T.

  27. Rich Phillips

    05/21/2012 at 12:10 pm

    I too got suckered into buying this half baked lemon. What many have failed to address, is the lack of a usable phone i.e. radios on 4.0.2.

    I work out in the woods, 100 mile circle around Denver. You get up West into the mountains, where my old Blackberry would get signal, and it’s hit or miss. A stretch of I70 30 miles long I used to talk on from the Eisenhower tunnel into Denver now get’s 3-4 disconnects.

    I’ve been stuck “texting” clients, family hoping they get a smidgen of message before out of service again.

    I never could get the native email client to work, without it going into boot loop, and gobbling data, 5 GB in one day trying to connect to my exchange server. I ended up paying for Touchdown, just to email.

    I’m telling you, it’s the worst of any phone I’ve seen except way back when T mobile first rolled out, and it died approximately 12 miles outside of town.

    What’s bad, is my work requires me to be connected 24×7 to respond to emergencies. With this phone, that’s a laugher.

    I’ve had the disconnect issue, but it’s usually your customer saying, “hello, hello” with you screaming into the phone, “can you hear me now?” etc. etc.

    And don’t even ask about Blueants lack of support for their T1 headseat and ice cream sandwich, piously saying there are “very few” deployed phones with ice cream sandwich, as late as 2 weeks ago.

    I’m looking at jumping backwards to an S2 on my sons Sprint network, just to get a usable device.

    I doubt if I’ll be Verizon’s guinea pig much longer. When i see Microsofts’ “beta tester” commercials, I just laugh because I feel like the chump that helped Sammy/Verizon “fix” their issues before they rolled out the real product.

  28. Lynn

    06/26/2012 at 2:18 pm

    I purchased the Droid Razr and then a month later the MAXX came out but like the rest of you I’ve been very disappointed. The phone is very glitchy and the battery life just sucks — which they knew otherwise the MAXX wouldn’t have come out so quick.

    I’m thinking about breaking the contract. I spent a lot of time speaking with Verizen’s sales staff about the best phone for what i do and am just pissed off.

  29. Jack Witherell

    07/16/2012 at 2:54 am

    Time to start petitioning guys, https://www.facebook.com/jb4toro

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