I noted on Twitter the other day that I had upgraded my phone from my Droid X to a Galaxy Nexus, which precipitated a rash of queries about the phone and what I thought of it (and also of Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest iteration of the Android OS). Because I cannot refuse you all anything, here are some brief thoughts.
Generally, I like it quite a bit. In a general sense, it’s a substantially more capable phone than the Droid X, which was in itself not a slacker. The screen is slightly larger (it’s a 4.6-inch screen with 720 x 1280 resolution), which means the phone itself is a bit wider (although thinner) than the X. I think this size phone is about as large as I want to carry around; I can use it one-handed but it’s a close thing. The screen is bright and gorgeous; its dpi is not quite that of the iphone (316 vs 326), but it’s close enough that you’d have to be a super nerd to complain. The screen was ultimately the deciding factor for me on the phone; it came down to it and the Motorola Razr Maxx. The Maxx has a significantly larger battery, which is not a trivial consideration, but the screen was jaggy.
The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android is in fact much better than previous versions; it looks prettier, seems more capable and makes it easier to deal with the phone and its various apps. I particularly like the dedicated button that shows you all the programs that are open at any one time; it’s substantially easier to multitask now, and also easier to find which things are sucking your battery dry and kill them as a process. It also kicks ass in camera management; unlike every other camera phone I’ve used, which featured an at least two second lag from when you pressed the button to when the thing took the actual picture, ICS has almost no lag at all. It’s a little thing, but it’s a little awesome thing.
So those are a couple of things I like. Some of the things I’m not 100% happy about: The camera, although faster, isn’t as good as the one I had on my Droid X, either in resolution (is 5mp vs 8mp for the X) or in general quality of picture. The resolution would not be an issue if the general picture quality were better, since from a practical point of view most of the pictures I take with the phone end up being viewed on my site in 500 x 333 anyway. But the picture quality does matter. Second, I’m not in love with how quickly the battery drains; if you have location services and syncing on, you’ll chew through your battery amazingly fast. I’ve invested in one of these — I was planning to get one anyway because I travel with a ridiculous number of electronic devices these days but watching the Nexus slurp down its battery got me to pull the trigger.
(The other small, annoying thing which is not the fault of the phone is that it’s 4G capable but Verizon hasn’t installed its LTE service out where I am yet (it’s supposed to arrive in May). Stupid 3G. The good news for me at least is that I have a grandfathered in unlimited data plan, so when 4G arrives I’ll get to see how much they’ll actually let me blast through the pipe before the throttle me back. That’s some nerd fun right there, son.)
But overall I’m happy with my purchase and figure that this will get me through the next couple of years just fine, by which time I’m sure phone will have gained intelligence and launched our own nuclear missiles at us. Whatever, man. As long as I can read the Internet on the phone until the very last second, I’m good.