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Verizon Galaxy Nexus Review: Bigger, faster, cheaper and less Google

LTE makes Ice Cream Sandwich all the more tasty…

The biggest difference philisophically is demonstrated in the logos above. No longer a Google phone, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is a Verizon LTE phone – for all that is worth.

After 24 hours with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, I am not going to say something that hasn’t already been guessed, so refer to the previous Galaxy Nexus Review for most of my original thoughts. However, here’s what is different:

  1. The Verizon GN is slightly thicker to house the LTE Radios/antenna and the larger battery required. It’s also slightly heavier, but you will not notice or care about the size difference. Five people, who I’ve given blind tests to, could hardly determine one from the other. Battery life differences will matter more, though, as I have not run through my initial full charge on Verizon. So, that’s a good sign for the LTE version, but I still believe people will be able to go longer on HSPA+. By perhaps saving a little bit of space, Verizon/Samsung opted for an LTE Micro-SIM rather than a full sized one. This is interesting, especially when the International version is a full sized GSM variant.
  2. Bigger also means 32 GB on Verizon’s LTE vs. 16 GB on HSPA+
  3. LTE is faaaast (shocker!) and adds to an already lightning quick phone. Browsing is silly fast here: You have the fastest browser, coupled with one of the fastest processors, and an LTE connection to boot. We’re talking about desktop speeds here folks. Honestly, when I’m on a good LTE connection, it is as fast as Wifi on a Cable broadband connection… almost indistinguishable.
  4. GPS is still a bit laggy compared to other manufacturers; however, since GPS is often tied to the Baseband, I was hoping for improvement. Both versions are the same.
  5. They feel the same processor/GPU wise. There might be some differences, but real world – you won’t notice much.
  6. Verizon Backup Assistant and My Verizon Mobile come on the device. You can delete these from Manage apps, and I’m sure many will.
  7. For $149 on a Verizon LTE plan vs. purchasing the International version for $700+ and getting on an HSPA+ plan from T-Mobile or AT&T, I am going to wager that it is going to sell much faster than the international/unsubsidized (and the lines seem to bear this out). Whatever Verizon did to get the exclusive here was worth it (for them, not for us Google/Samsung customers).
  8. While there are no VCast Apps or navigation apps, it would appear that Google relented in putting its Wallet on the Verizon device. Verizon’s line needs more testing. I anticipate it will be allowed on the device around the time Verizon’s ISIS service arrives in 2012, if ever.


Bottom line: If you are cool with Verizon and their 4G plans, missing out on Google Wallet and battery life isn’t the dominating factor in choosing a phone, so go grab one of these now. This is by far the best Android device on the market (by the way, Verizon is offering a bigger battery pack for $25).

However, if you want to roam internationally, hope to use Google Wallet or want some carrier/plan freedom or need to be on AT&T/T-Mobile, you are going to want the International version. So, pick up another device or wait it out.

Anyway…we’ll have a more in-depth look at this device when we’ve had more time to play.

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