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Galaxy Nexus In My Pocket

I’ve been using my new Galaxy Nexus phone for about a week now and thought I’d write some thoughts down for anyone who cares about such things. I chose this much delayed and horribly launched phone mainly because I’m on Verizon and I wanted to finally get my hands on a pure Google phone. While this phone is not as “pure Google” as its brethren, its all I have access to on Verizon.

I’m not a heavy phone user and I really don’t care about all the stats that phone geeks do. As long as it works and doesn’t frustrate me, I’m happy with it. I’ve lived for two years with a decrepit, Motorola Droid and probably could have lived longer with it. Even after having been dropped by my kids and being so far behind the curve that it couldn’t take newer versions of Android, I was pretty content with the device.

So when I have the lastest and greatest phone in my hands, it’s a little like trading a Model A Ford for a 2012 Mustang. It’s fast, beautiful and high tech, compared to my old Droid. The first thing you notice about it is the size. It’s freakishly large compared to most phones. But then you turn on that screen and your mouth falls open and stays there. It’s gorgeous. Of course what I always wonder is how great will it be in two year’s time? Will it no longer take upgrades? Will it seem puny and underpowered to the point of feeling like you’re holding an antique? Let you know in about that in 2013, I guess.

In the meantime, the latest version of Android is smooth and fast. I like. They finally have a camera that works and works great. I use my phone for taking pictures all the time and now that I have one that doesn’t have a busted lens, I’ll be taking even more pictures and HD videos with it.

The coolest app I’ve installed so far is Autodesk’s SketchBook Mobile, which I payed for. Yes, Virginia, Free Software advocates on Android will pay for apps.  The TWiT app is quite nice too and I anticipate listening to their podcasts to and from work in my car. The one or two glaring omissions so far have been a Hulu app and QuickOffice. It seems that bad karma is all this phone knows. I installed a speed app and found that I have no 4G access at my home. Good thing I payed a fortune for this phone with 4G capability!

* The lack of Hulu could be due to the 4G outages at Verizon and the lack of QuickOffice might be due to the lack of an ICS version.

Despite the lack of speed, the phone works pretty much as expected. I installed Skype and then it wanted me to choose between Skype and the regular phone app just to make a call. Really? Once I figured out how to default to the phone, that was solved.

The facial recognition only worked in ideal lighting and with perfect alignment. Turns out I don’t always want to pose to get access to my phone. How about voice activation? Much easier for a lazy user to talk than to pose for a picture. I turned it off after being amused that it didn’t recognize me with a hat on or dark sunglasses or even Mickey Mouse headphones.

I didn’t get any kind of a case with it and now I may have to relent on that and get something. The sides are too smooth for a decent grip on the large phone. Despite paying for decent insurance, I really don’t want to drop this nest egg.

Do I recommend the phone? Well, sure if you love tech, it’s probably fun for you. But if you just want a decent phone, there are much cheaper alternatives in the Android line and of course the iPhone. I only hope that Verizon gets its act together and starts supporting this phone better, because I’m hanging with it for the next two years.



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