Verizon Galaxy Nexus Update: First Impressions and Performance

Last night, something amazing happened. After nearly six months of waiting for it, Verizon finally delivered the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0.4 update to my device. I have spent today messing around with my new piece of software and I wanted to share my first impressions of the update.

First though, a little bit of a back story.

For those that don’t know, I bought the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on launch day in December to replace my iPhone 3GS. However, my experience with the phone was plagued with bugs. It got so bad after the new year that I decided to start using my iPhone 3GS as my daily driver once again.

I then started writing about my issues and discovered that I was not alone, that many other Galaxy Nexus owners on Verizon were experiencing the same problems.

Read: Five Months With The Verizon Galaxy Nexus.

Random reboots, microphone issues, poor battery life, crashes, sluggishness, and connection issues where I seemingly lost connection for no reason in areas where I had had good reception before.

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So, I figured that an update would roll out in a timely manner, this is a Nexus device after all, and I would soon blow off the dust and go back to my Android phone.

Unfortunately, Verizon had different plans and decided to make us Galaxy Nexus owners wait more than five months for a bug fix update. And personally, I had to wait several days after the initial roll out date to see the software arrive, days that seemed to go slower than normal.

Last night though, my pleas were answered and Verizon delivered the Android 4.0.4 IMM76K update to my phone. I was both excited and nervous. Excited because the software finally arrived, nervous because I have been hearing mixed things about the update.

Read: Verizon Galaxy Nexus Owners Reporting Issues After Update.

Some owners have been claiming that the issues have been taken care of, some have said that some are persisting, even with the new software.

It didn’t help that Verizon left some big fixes off of the changelog either.

So after about 20 minutes – Verizon says 5-7 minutes – the update downloaded, installed itself and my phone was up and running on Android 4.0.4. Finally, after five months of waiting and moaning for Verizon to do something, my update had arrived.

Almost immediately, I got the sense that things had changed for the better. The phone itself just seemed, snappier. I immediately attributed this to my excitement but no, after playing around with it extensively today, I can say that I haven’t experienced the same sluggishness that I found before.

Surprisingly, this actually sums up my experience with Android 4.0.4 on my Galaxy Nexus. I keep waiting for things to go wrong but they don’t.

So far, I haven’t experienced a single reboot of my phone. I can’t tell you how nice that is. There were times, recently, where my phone was rebooting itself three times in one day.

This is going to sound crazy but I think my battery life has actually improved. Before, my phone would just drain like crazy, especially when it was in standby, but my charge is holding steady today and I have high hopes for the future.

I have yet to encounter the microphone issue that I ran into several times when making a phone call. My microphone has yet to cut out when talking on the phone.

Additionally, I have yet to run into any of the trade-off issues whether its cellular to cellular to Wi-Fi to cellular. Often I would have to flip connectivity on or off or put my phone into Airplane Mode as a quick fix. It looks like Verizon fixed that issue.

I also haven’t had a crash or freeze yet. Once in awhile, I would enter the native Camera or Music apps and my phone would go bonkers. That, fortunately, has not happened yet.

My only complaint in the few hours that I’ve had my Galaxy Nexus on Android 4.0.4 is that the volume is still much to low for my tastes. I’ll live but it’s still an annoyance.

Clearly, Verizon did its homework in the five months that it had to fix all of the issues that were on board the Galaxy Nexus. Honestly, this feels like a vastly different phone. Now, it’s too early to crown the update because it has been less than a day but so far so good.

After spending more time with it, I will return with my final thoughts about the software and about whether  I have once again replaced my iPhone.

I know I’m not the only one that has success with the update and I’ve heard from several people that are still experiencing issues. Saying that, I’d love to hear about your experiences thus far with the update.

I really want to say that it made the five month wait worth it but let’s be honest, that’s ridiculous.

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Chime in, folks.

Comments

  1. Matt_H says

    I received the update this morning. I haven’t had many or any of the issues you mention, but my battery life has been underwhelming. I had no expectations for the update and didn’t know it was coming, but after 1 day of use (an admittedly small sample size) my batter life definitely seems better. Specifically, the Android OS category of the Battery Usage screen indicates a significant improvement. Before, this would often be in my top 2 or 3, using 10-15% per day, today its at 6%… and CPU time is a fraction of the “keep awake” time when before it was usually close to even.

  2. Barry_C says

    I agree with all but that it seems my 3G is still much weaker than my “old” DX and something I seldom experienced was the frequency of dropped calls and waffling (?) during calls. Goodness gracious VZW is supposed to be the communications king and yet they can’t get its flagship phone to work consistantly? Yikes.

  3. Kirt says

    I am having microphone problems. The thing is I never once had that problem until the day after the 4.0.4 update. Now I’ve had it in three out of four calls.

  4. Don says

    The first improvement I noticed was that my GNex was able to hold a 4g signal way better. Places where I got a weak signal and flopped between 3g and 4g are now solidly held in 4g. On the downside, I seem to lose 4g pretty regularly while on a voice call.

  5. Greg says

    I’m noticing problems with Bluetooth pairing. It has problems connecting to my Plantronics headphone. Also won’t automatically connect to my Toyota Highlander like it used to. Prompts me for the PIN number and takes like 3 entries before it accepts and connects. If I turn the engine off and back on, I have to go through the whole thing again. This never happened until the update.

  6. Trevor says

    Huge improvement in battery life as a result of the new radios. Before, the brick building I spent the day in would block signal most of the day, which absolutely nuked battery life while the phone tried to reacquire signal. The signal is still almost non-existent in that faraday cage of a building, but it is enough. 12 hours later, I still had 50% charge. I used to need to swap the battery out after about 5 or 6 hours.

  7. Curto says

    Battery life is much improved. Signal is better, no drops, sluggish keyboard in landscape is fixed, Live wallpapers don’t drain the battery. All of my problems have been resolved.

  8. McKay says

    The update fixed several of my issues: random reboots, slow screen rotation, and overallsystem sluggishness. However, my four chief complaints are still evident. (1) The mic still cuts out on calls. (2) The volume is insanely low. (3) The life sucks. (4) My phone is still auto-dialing *22899 when on the US Cellular network. The call can’t complete on a roaming network, so it just continually dials over and over. My only option is to pit the phone is airplane mode and forward my calls to my house. I was hopeful that the update would fix the issue, so put off Verizon sending me a replacement Nexus. Finally, after the update not fixing the issue, I had Verizon send me a replacement. Guess what? It does the same thing. Verizon will not switch me into a different phone, only another replacement Nexus. Any suggestions, anyone?

  9. RMStringer says

    I didn’t have a lot of the issues either. i got my 4.0.4 3 days ago I am happy with it so far. I did see an increase in response of the phone. I am rooted but not unlocked. lost root but used Voodoo to restore. So far so good!

  10. Kevin says

    The Mic still cuts out on calls with 4.0.4 although it seems to be far less frequent. Verizon appears to be claiming you have to do a factory reset after the update in order for their “fix” to take hold.

    To me that sounds a lot like rebooting Windows, but I’m going to try it. If that doesn’t work I’ll be demanding Verizon give me a smartphone that can be used as a phone.

  11. TG says

    My biggest issue pre-update was the lousy volume. Post-update, that still seems to be an issue, but I think I’ve added two more. Despite what I’ve seen a lot of others say, I think my battery life has decreased since the update as well as I’m seeing wifi (at home) cut out rather frequently, when prior to the update that hardly ever happened (and I’ve had the phone since day 1). Kind of disappointed overall.

    • Marcus says

      TG-

      I installed an app called Volume+ (the pay version) from the market. Works AWESOME! I usually play my music and talk radio via the speaker while carrying it on my hip or leaving it on the counter or nightstand. Be careful with the settings though, it can blow your speaker.

      Hope this helps!

      Marcus

  12. James says

    I got the update about 5-6 days ago by clearing out the Google framework services….BUT GUYS YOU MUST REALIZE A FACTORY DATA RESET IS ALMOST MANDATORY AFTER AN OS UPDATE NO MATTER HOW SMALL TO ENSURE THE DEVICE RUNS IT SMOOTHLY. I did it and the phone is now flawless.

  13. jdolbeat says

    I’ve had the update for about a week or so now and I am still having many problems. First signal quality has dropped I went from having 4 bars in my house to being lucky to have 1 bar. Wifi will not stay connected. Mic still cuts out. So I spent a hour on the phone with Verizon today and they offered me a razr maxx I said no thanks I’ll wait for
    The s3. By the way on my 8th gnex in two months

  14. jon says

    I forced the update by deleting google frameworks cache…..i probably would not have it yet……so far no reboots, font bug fixed, can use large fonts without distortion. smoother operation, better call quality, still bad reception, dad’s iphone4s many bars, my gnex none at his place. data rate testing via speedtest reveals a drop in speed, not expected, but my tests show a lower download rate but same upload.
    before the update at 4.0.2 the phone was unusable and unreliable, had switched back to my berry on tmobile for daily. the phone with 4.0.4 is markedly improved and i am growing to trust it more, but the battery still not good, better , but not good enough to take all day without berry backup….also i am using swiftkey which is really hard on battery, but gnex keyboard layout is awful imho.

  15. jon says

    also, the 6 months between the purchase and update is really pathetic, had 4.0.4 been on the phone in december i would have a better opinion of google universe.
    mac integration is still piss-poor. and verizon backup app still fails, phone never successfully backed up :(

  16. sean says

    I am I first time owner of the nexus line, I did my research on the phones that verizon was offering and decided on the galaxy nexus . I have owned this phone since released and it has been a nightmare charging problems, phone bricked its self no 3G or calls could be made from phone to having to do soft resets to get the phone to work. I stuck it out and waited and waited and waited for the update and finally got it last week. Well issues still there not as much though. On the signal bar indicator two arrows on the right one IP the other down. The down one will sometimes have a X over it can’t go on to web pages, but still stream music I’m holding on to the hope that verizon will put 4G towers up here soon and fix it. And I live in a area with great coverage.

  17. Kevin says

    After the 4.0.4 update, I was still getting mic dropouts. As advised I recently did a factory reset, as advised above.

    Since then I have not had a mic dropout, although like I said above, between the 4.0.4 update and my factory reset the frequency had significantly diminished so perhaps it’s just yet to happen.

    However, I do have some hope because I know the radios are behaving differently after the factory reset. Previously I had an issue where if I was dialing into voicemail while I had it on speakerphone, when I went to punch in my passcode, it always said it was invalid….I think the phone was “hearing” the echo of the speakerphone and transmitting incorrectly. It was still doing this after the 4.0.4 update…but since the factory reset it works how it should.

    So something I know has changed….for the first time in about six months with this phone I have hope.

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