I had been thinking about upgrading my Nexus One to a Galaxy Nexus and the Amazon Wireless deal pushed me to do it. The devices were back-ordered for about a week and arrived yesterday, on the day Amazon promised. With the switch to the GN I will be moving to Verizon and marks my first time away from GSM, since I started with Bell South Mobility about 11 years ago.

First impressions….

  • It is big, but not as big as you would think for the size of the display.
  • It feels too light for it’s size.
  • ICS is a significant update that brings more visual and functional consistency.
  • As promised, ICS, at least on the GN, is much smoother than previous releases.
  • Compared to the N1, it is fast!
  • Sadly, Verizon has only slightly better coverage than ATT in our house.
  • LTE is amazingly fast and coverage around Charleston has been solid.

What’s good…

  • I could never type very quickly on the Gingerbread keyboard, but I can on the ICS keyboard. As good or nearly as good as, the iPhone.
  • The virtual navigation keys work well.
  • The web browser has improved, syncing with Chrome is welcomed.
  • Task switching is nearly effortless.
  • Overall the UI is very smooth. I’ve only had some lag and stutter with a few heavy tasks going on in the background.
  • Handles Video/Audio Hangouts from G+ and Gtalk very well.
  • With the brightness set to 40{9a59223fbbfa3706fcb6f14a9d1c0e9d874b8faac7a72cc56b28c77d373fa104} or more the screen is beautiful.
  • Battery life appears to be about what I was getting with the N1.
  • The camera starts and takes pictures very fast. Panorama mode is cool.

What’s not so good…

  • It’s too big. Even with my large hands, it feels a bit unnatural to reach for the top of the screen.
  • PENTILE! I knew this might be an issue I would just have to get over and as I mentioned above, when the brightness of the display is 40{9a59223fbbfa3706fcb6f14a9d1c0e9d874b8faac7a72cc56b28c77d373fa104} or more, beautiful, but let auto-brightness bring it down below that level and it looks like crap. Grainy and dull.
  • One glaring UX issue is the placement of the menu navigation button. It used to always be in the same place at the bottom of the screen, in the navigation button group. Now, it will be at the bottom or the top, depending on the app. You never know where it’s going to be.
  • A couple of issue with Beaming. You can’t currently beam pictures or files, the first two items I tried to beam. Since the phone is so thin, it is difficult to hold two of them together to cause the beam to activate. I feel like I am going to drop the phone every time.
  • Camera image quality is an upgrade from the N1 but lacking. The quality of the stitched panoramas could be a lot better.

Overall, it feels a bit more effortless to use the GN than the N1.