I had been looking up cell phones knowing the life of my Droid 2 is limited these days. I love Google products and really enjoy the Android OS, so I was excited reading about Ice Cream Sandwich and this phone. Curved glass, zero shutter lag camera, etc all enticed me to buy the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, even though I was wary of the battery life.
I love Google and Android - my Droid 2 is by far the most amazing phone I have ever owned. I got my first cell, that Nokia 3310 up there, in the 6th grade. It was meant for me to call my dad to pick me up from school things. I didn't use it to call friends until about my sophomore year of high school, which was when I got the upgraded Nokia with a colored screen, that blue phone there. My favorite phone in high school was a tiny Sony Ericcson T290 which was about the cheapest thing you could buy, but it was SO small and fit in anything. My small and short affair with Sony Ericcson phones started there - I tried a W810i, a Walkman co-branded phone with actually great music integration for 2006, that ended up failing, and let me into a free k550i, a Cybershot co-branded phone. I loved that phone. It had Japanese stickers on it, cell phone charms, and felt like a "smart phone" in that time. The last phone I had on my home network (Cincinnati Bell, I think Cincinnati, Ohio may be the only city with it's own cell company) was a Nokia XPress music, which was terribly slow, brick like, and hard to type on. I hated the thing. Every few weeks I had to take the battery and SIM card out or else it would stop making calls. I would randomly call people without touching the phone. Weird things. Then my husband got his Droid, I got jealous, and made the switch to Verizon.
It's been wonderful. My Droid 2 is, and still is, everything I have ever wanted. Easy to type on pull out keyboard, pretty darn fast even still, and customizable. It's only missing a decent camera. It's getting up there in age, and with some "upgrades" on our account, I figured while my husband is in town, I might as well upgrade. Having a phone that works well is important with us living apart, and I have been worried that my harsh treatment of my Droid 2 has shortened it's poor life. I should be nicer to my phones.
I made the switch to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Monday and returned it on Thursday. I was so excited for Ice Cream Sandwich, curved glass, and all of the Google goodness that I have come to love so much. But poor battery life made me stressing for the three days I had the phone so much I constantly felt like I was having a panic attack about my phone dying before I left work (which it did 2/3 days, and the last day it died at 6:30pm).
The phone itself is just okay - it's fairly thin and the textured back plate actually just feels slippery. The looks are amazing - the curved glass is really stunning - but the grey plastic takes away a bit from that. The power on/off button on the side (which seems to be getting more popular) was annoying as I kept hitting it accidentally with how I hold the phone in my hand. The headphone jack being on the bottom was also weird, and while I thought I would like it, when I plug it into the Aux port in my car, it makes it incredibly hard to use. It's a large phone, you should expect that, it brags a huge 4.65" screen. But in my hands, it was fairly mammoth. For reference, I have a size 4.5 ring and my hands are really tiny here, but I felt like a 5 year old playing with my dad's big-boy electronics or something. Not a good feeling, at all.
The operating system is the pull here and the only thing that pulled at my heartstrings when I pressed the "restore to factory defaults" button. It's such a beautiful upgrade from Gingerbread and super smooth. Everything from the cool but simple glowing clock widget to Google+ hangouts to Face unlock worked amazingly. I love the ability to separate into circles and had my contacts reorganized quickly because it was such a nice feature. No Facebook integration did make things hard - apparently I had been using Facebook to pull numbers of actually quite a few close friends and for the first time, I was asking people to give me their numbers because of a phone issue. I read that Facebook would be included in 4.0.3, so I could overlook this, plus, it's better for me to get off of it anyway.
The voice commands were amazing and easily out performed my husband's iPhone with Siri, always finding things faster, being able to directly dial the pizza place we looked up, and correctly sending a text when the iPhone couldn't. I don't ever use voice commands though.
Phone quality was okay - I couldn't notice much of a difference between this phone and my Droid 2. Big problem was how often I would just randomly drop a call. No ending beep, just all of the sudden I would realize I was talking to no one. This happened more often that I'd like to admit in the 3 days I had the phone. My husband is in grad school in a different state, so call quality is important as we talk a lot. We also tested how much my battery would die in 1.5 hours of talk time with the screen off - a normal amount of time for us - and the answer was just over 25%.
Navigation with Google Maps was excellent as always - I easily looked up a restaurant, it found it, and navigated my way there. No problems, other than my battery life dropping over 10% in a 7 minute trip.
My Facebook app stopped working completely the second day. Never figured that one out.
I was most impressed by the camera, which I thought I wouldn't like. I hate my Droid 2's camera - always have, it's the one huge downfall of the phone - and was looking forward to something better. The tap to focus worked well, it shot quickly (making photos of my wiggly corgi much easier to take), and performed fairly well overall. Not iPhone quality, but sharp with not-too-muted colors. The editing software, which is similar to Instagram or in my opinion, a mobile Picnik (which is owned by Google now, so that makes sense) with filters and effects to choose from. Definitely awesome.
An unedited photo of my corgi, Teemo, taken, surprisingly, with flash on
Now the killer, and what made me return the phone, is the battery life. I read about it being not great. I knew this going in. But I didn't get how bad it really could be. My plan was to keep 4G/LTE off and just switch it over to CDMA. I did this. First thing I did. Did it help my battery life? I don't know, I sure don't think so. I couldn't get this thing to last through a day of work. It dropped 40 percent sitting there doing NOTHING. I had pushed turned off overnight, the pulsing light off overnight, etc, and 40 percent down.
My big test was to turn the phone on after fulling charging it at 7:30am, when I wake up for work. During the day I tried to do what I normally would have done with my Droid 2, except a lighter load. I sent about four texts over the course of my 8 hour day, answered 1 call, made my 1.5 hour call to my husband, sent a tweet, looked up a website in a meeting, checked my e-mail twice, checked in at work on Foursquare, and took a photo. By 8am, I was down to 94 percent. By 9am, I was down to 90 percent. Between 7:30am and 9am, I had sent two texts to my boss and checked in. I was driving most of the time with my phone off. Between 9am and noon my battery dropped to 50 percent with my checking my email once. When I left work, I was down to 37 percent when I called my husband. When I hung up with my husband, I was at 12 percent, and at 6:37pm I was at 8 percent. I had done all I could to get the battery town. No location services. No NFC. I never even bothered to try and turn LTE on on this thing. Etc.
Oh, and visiting ONE website to show my boss something during a meeting dropped my phone 10%. And my screen was super dim which made it pretty much worthless anyway because she couldn't really see what I was showing her anyway.
I wanted to love this phone, but I'm waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich devices to gain some battery life and have a better "feel" (not slick plastic, basically) to them until I buy a phone. For now, I'm back with my beloved Droid 2, which could last more than a day with me checking into every ride I went on in Disney World.