Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Golly I think I should've posted this much earlier since I've now owned this phone for a little over a year now. This Galaxy Nexus used to be the flagship phone a generation ago since the Nexus 4 already came out. I think my phone before that was some HTC one. Either way with this phone I was thrilled because I would get a clean slate OS without any UI additions or locks. Was it worth it? Yes.

As stated I wanted a Vanilla pure Google experience and I certainly got it with this Nexus. The only thing that it’s still missing is a numerical notification of the battery life on the top bar, but hopefully one day the Android devs will get the hint that this is a very important missing feature. Besides that though, the UI has been smooth and fairly stable compared to other AT&T branded phones that I've had in the past.

Software Updates
This is one kickass thing. Whenever a new update comes out, this phone gets it OTA within a few days. We’re talking ICS and Jellybean and all of the minor updates in the middle. I've probably gotten one major update and 3-4 minor ones since getting this phone sometime early last year. That almost never happened back in the carrier-branded days.

So the phone is fairly stable but yes it does occasionally go slow, restart itself, Wifi can’t connect automatically, etc. Most of these things happened to me on iOS as well so it’s nothing new, but it’s certainly not bulletproof. Still, a minor quibble for a modern smartphone.

So one bad thing did occur with the phone a long while ago. When I did a major update to Jellybean, I didn't wipe the phone before installing the OTA update and what happened was that it broke Google Wallet to the point where it didn't work even after an additional wipe. For some reason the NFC (Near Field Communication) chip that I had thought was on the battery was connected to my “old” Google Wallet account and the data could not go across to the new OS. So I essentially had a phone that could never be able to be synced up with Google Wallet again because of a hardware link.

Long story short I called Google and they tried to assist software-wise but after wiping my phone numerous times they verified that it was hardware and that the chip was a part on the mobo and not the battery. So since it was past the 30 day warranty through Google, I had to call up Samsung and get support through them. Surprisingly it went pretty smoothly and I had to send in my phone, they repaired it, and sent it back to me. I think I was phone-less for a week or so.

Yeah these days all of the phones are essentially the same now. Other than the huge screen of the Samsung Note line, I don’t see anything really special that one phone has over another. It’s all about updates and stability at this point.

So yeah one would think that my support experience with the NFC chip would sway me away from Android and the Nexus line but it really didn’t. I know that with branded phones you are locked away both SIM-wise and software-wise so it’s pointless to want to have any freedom and get upgrades. I’ll still take my chances vs having to deal with the GPS hardware fiasco that occurred with the Samsung Captivate. I’ll be skipping the Nexus 4 and wait for the next Google Phone to come out but yeah I’m all about buying direct now. Next round of upgrades via AT&T I’ll just get an apple and sell that shit to make money.