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Summary:

You can’t buy the Galaxy Nexus from a U.S. carrier just yet, but that’s isn’t stopping early adopters from getting their hands on Samsung’s newest phone. After reading reviews and tweets from happy owners, I decided to pull the trigger on my own. Hello Android 4.0!

galaxy-nexus-featured

You can’t buy the Galaxy Nexus from a U.S. carrier just yet, but that’s isn’t stopping early adopters from getting their hands on Samsung’s hottest new phone. Debuting in October, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first handset to run Ice Cream Sandwich, otherwise known as Android 4.0. An LTE version is expected in Verizon stores within a few weeks, although the carrier hasn’t yet announced official news. And GSM versions are already available overseas, causing some to order the Galaxy Nexus and have it shipped here.

As someone who jumped on the original Nexus One — at the full $529 price — the day it became available nearly two years ago, you’d think I’d be all over the Galaxy Nexus. Quite frankly, I’ve been enjoying my iPhone 4S so much that the new Nexus has taken a backseat to my iOS interest of late. But then I started to see the early reviews and happy tweets from new Galaxy Nexus owners.

Early reviews rock

The Verge gives the new Nexus an 8.6 out of 10, saying, “The Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone ever made. It’s one of the best smartphones ever made, and with a couple of minor tweaks (particularly to the camera), it could be the best smartphone ever produced.” Chris Ziegler, a senior mobile editor at the site, didn’t write the review, but like I often do, he put his money where his mouth is and ordered an unlocked GSM version. Not long after receiving his own personal Galaxy Nexus, Ziegler tweeted this:

Andy Abramson, a long-time friend who travels more than anyone I know, has very positive thoughts on his own Galaxy Nexus experience. By way of email, he pointed out that the software pairs nicely with the high-definition display dual-core processor, telling me: “Simply put, what Android always promised to be.” Since he travels so much, Abramson focused on how well the Galaxy Nexus can enable modern-day globe-trotters and has excellent VoIP support in his blog post discussing his new phone.

These are just two examples of happy Galaxy Nexus owners. Search the web or social networks and you’ll see even more. No phone is perfect, of course, but between the high-end Samsung hardware and Google’s newest mobile operating system, it already sounds like the Galaxy Nexus will be a hit. Now I can’t wait.

So I bought one

After some online research, I pulled the trigger on my own unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus which works on both T-Mobile and AT&T’s fast mobile broadband networks. And for my rare overseas trips, I can use the phone on any GSM network. Instead of buying from an importer here in the U.S., I opted to buy direct from a U.K. retailer that will ship me the phone via 3-day FedEx. Some are selling the handset for near $800 — without shipping — but my total ended up being £439.98, which works out to $672.24 U.S. I’m hearing that an unlocked U.S. version could run $629, so the $43 premium to get an early unit isn’t too bad of a deal.

Aside from the positive feedback about the phone, my activities this holiday weekend also influenced my purchase decision. Both kids have a T-Mobile Sidekick 4G, which earned a solid review from us. But over time, both handsets have shown instability, lagginess and freezing; sometimes to the point of having to pull the battery. Samsung may be working on updates to address these problems, but I took matters into my own hands. I rooted both phones and installed a custom ROM on each. Guess what: All of the problems are gone and the phones are running faster than ever.

I like Android’s freedom to play

As I fixed both phones, I looked down at the faithful old Nexus One on my desk and thought back to the number of times I flashed custom software on the device these past two years. I’d guess I’ve done so well over a hundred times. And I had fun each and every time. I also installed the latest Android versions months before most phones saw them; if they ever did, that is.

Being a Nexus device, the new Galaxy will allow me to do the same: have fun by taking control of my phone. Based on the high praise for Android 4.0, I may not have to do so, but at least I’ll have the option to keep tinkering like a little kid with a new toy at Christmas. And of course, I’ll share my own hands-on thoughts with both the new phone and Google’s updated platform along the way.

  1. Kevin C. Tofel Sunday, November 27, 2011

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  45. Would you share which UK company you ordered from that ships stateside?

    1. Yeah, can you share who you imported from? A lot of people would like to import from the UK directly but don’t know of any trustworthy sellers. Expansys price of $750 is too steep for many people.

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  49. what retailer? I want to buy one if it works on t-mobile high speed. they also wouldn’t have your IMEI

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  63. Kevin C. Tofel Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Happy to share where I ordered: Handtec is the retailer. http://www.handtec.co.uk/

      1. Think they’re out says :Due in soon, take preorders!
        Has anyone ordered it other than Kevin?

    1. Thanks for the link. Now time to decide, I can still return my Skyrocket… Custom ROMs are great which I liked when using the Nexus S and the GSII. :)

    2. They’re out of stock!

      I’m in the same boat as you – I loved my N1, and only replaced it to get a device that supported HSPA+, but since then bought a 4S and I love it also. I now want to also get the GN, and was looking for a retailer in the UK, but I guess I didn’t look hard enough. Hopefully they’ll show up in greater numbers soon.

    3. I’m just curious, I have T-mobile. What were your data speed like on the T-mobile network? Was it edge, 3G or 4G? I’d just hate to shell out all that money and only have edge/2g data speeds on such an awesome phone.

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  120. The Nexus series are the only Android phones I’ll consider after my experience with a Vibrant (Galaxy S). Like Kevin, I found the stock OS to be laggy and not that good. I rooted and flashed a custom ROM and it’s actually pretty nice… but I’m stuck at 2.2. I’ll never see 2.3 much less 4.0 on a device that’s just a bit over a year old, never mind that my contract runs for most of another year…

    The question I have to answer, though, is why I should have to shell $630 out to get a top Android experience. The more likely course for me is to get an iPhone next time. While it’s nice to have the freedom to tweak I’m not actually interested in spending significant time on that. The only reason I did it on my Vibrant was that I had to in order to get decent performance.

    1. Or you could just root your vibrant or any other android phone. CyanogenMod promised to have 4.0 out in less then two months. (I hated my vibrant so much – I got rid of it, and went back to using my rooted G1!)

      1. The problem with CynogenMod on the Vibrant is that the GPS is even worse than it is is normally (even with various workarounds) and the battery drains quickly. This is my last Samsung phone unless it’s a Nexus. Samsung has shown they are not to be trusted to keep their phones updated. Considering that both Gingerbread and ICS were on their phones, it’s completely unacceptable that they would not provide updates (immediately – not months later) on all their existing phones. On top of that, they don’t provide drivers so the open source community can do what they are clearly not willing to do. Samsung phone – Never Again.

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  125. Your post answered my tweet to you. Thanks. I will be following your experiences very closely.

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  132. did you pay any import duties or VAT upon receiving your lovely galaxy nexus??i would like to order one and i am from berkeley

    1. If the phone is shipped to the U.S., no VAT is required.

      1. Will there be no VAT shipping to Canada aswell?

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  136. Hi, may I ask, how did you get it for only £439.98? The price right now is set to £509. This is at Handtec. Did they increase the price recently?

    1. The higher price includes VAT, which isn’t charged in the U.S.

      1. How much do they charge for shipping? will order once it becomes available.

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  150. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/AE0l3e4y died hard iphone fans get ready for shock therapy of new cool.

  151. Another positive review for Galaxy Nexus phone http://t.co/2NjdE3ZF

  152. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/otXEStVD

  153. Christopher DeFreitas Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Hey Kevin, did your Nexus One ever have any of the instability, lagginess and freezing that your kids’ Sidekicks had? Or are Nexus devices immune to this since they have stock Android? It seems like most Android devices succumb to this after starting out great. The Galaxy Nexus looks great but I am afraid of those same symptoms affecting it, whereas with the iPhone those are not really concerns.

    1. My Nexus One was one of the best phones I’ve ever owned. I wouldn’t have kept it for 2 years otherwise. ;) I wouldn’t say that Nexus devices are immune from any problem, but if they have one, it should be fixed quickly since they’re typically flagship Google phones.

      1. I guess you got the 16GB version as they show the 32GB version coming soon…

      2. Correct. For most people, more storage is generally better, but I take advantage of the cloud more and more as time goes on.

    2. I wouldn’t say that iPhones don’t have the same problem after installing a new version. My brother-in-law’s iPhone 3 runs as slow as molasses since he installed iOS4 on it.

  154. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Bhwsrh21

  155. Salome Shanice Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/y6dX08ss

  156. Android Marvin Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me – http://t.co/o0eMU9jj

  157. Sent from my Galaxy Nexus via Tweetdeck RT @anselmolucio Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/gMLBWOnC

  158. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/2egFm8Av via @zite

  159. I prefer my phones to have functioning volume buttons, no malware, and voice recognition that isnt complete trash. Maybe thats just me.

    1. I agree, but to be honest, I’ve been having volume issues with my iPhone 4S. The volume varies for some reason, even though I haven’t changed any settings. Odd to be sure. I’ve been using Android full time for about 2 years, across several dozen devices and haven’t had a malware issue yet. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but for most people, it’s a non-issue. Siri does impress me — I use it every day — but Google’s voice recognition is quite useful. It needs improvements in terms of functionality, but “complete trash” isn’t my experience.

    2. don’t get an iphone then.

    3. Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena iPhone ftw Sunday, November 27, 2011

      IPhone 4S has volume control problems, certainly doesn’t have ‘no malware’ at all. Siri only understand certain acents. Yes I wouldn’t get an iPhone either.

    4. Don’t be suck an iPrick fanboi…

  160. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/PGPRaHCT

  161. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me: You can’t buy the Galaxy Nexus from a U.S. carrier just y… http://t.co/zlAdC3tz

  162. RICHARD SAUNDERS Sunday, November 27, 2011

    GigaOm: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me – http://t.co/ID9xqeWK via http://t.co/VNX3kcXt

  163. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/cZsB1RCw

  164. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans

    http://t.co/ohOUnyyE

  165. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  166. Harrison Slowde Sunday, November 27, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  167. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  168. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  169. Hey @PaulOBrien are you able to claim VAT back on those GNs you sent overseas? US gets it cheaper than us again! http://t.co/2jBaMbuS

  170. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  171. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  172. RT @gigaom: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/ZaixlqIM

  173. Mirza Mushtaq Baig Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/N1hJV2Wr

  174. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  175. Guadalupe Blaise Sunday, November 27, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  176. RT @gigaom: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/ZaixlqIM

  177. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  178. Hmm. So glad to see this. I live great competition in the market. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/ZOM0NgRa

  179. Humphrie Denzill Sunday, November 27, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  180. I am forced into Verizon. I wish I could get my #Nexus!!!!

  181. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/dh9L6B9D

  182. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/EaoTFQLb

  183. Did yours come with the Adapter when you ordered from the website? Also you tested on ATT do u know if the volume bug will be a problem for Tmobile?

    1. Karen, as far as I know, the adapter won’t be included as this is a model designed for Europe. I already have adapter plugs and I anticipate that any microUSB charger will work, so I’m covered; I found adapters at my local Radio Shack and they weren’t that expensive. I haven’t tested the phone on any network yet as I’ve only just ordered it. It will work on both AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks and the volume bug fix is in progress so it should be a non-issue.

  184. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me: You can’t buy the Galaxy Nexus from a U.S. carrier just y… http://t.co/hz0ZwJIN

  185. RT @gigaom: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/ZaixlqIM

  186. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me — Mobile … http://t.co/r9aGfFtv

  187. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/6L8wgXGX $GOOG

  188. baran yurdagul Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/OO1tQhuS

  189. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/pHNzoU1h

  190. Zeldene Viljoen Sunday, November 27, 2011

    RT @mikeasaunders: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/pHNzoU1h

  191. RT @mikeasaunders: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/pHNzoU1h

  192. RT @mikeasaunders: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/pHNzoU1h

  193. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/pyp67b5l

  194. Sanjeev Dhanda Sunday, November 27, 2011

    get excited!!! RT @gigaom: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/lhnGWFNz

  195. The volume issue won’t be a problem in the US, and Google is sending out a fix for it soon.

  196. Kaydence Douglass Sunday, November 27, 2011

    http://t.co/v8dLE0WJ Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me – GigaOm

  197. Rungroj S. Tui Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/LSdIOtFg

  198. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/csw6STC3

  199. Enrique V. García Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @gigaom: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Z7D632oH <– Buenas críticas a los nuevos Android

  200. You can’t buy the Galaxy Nexus from a U.S. carrier just yet, but that’s isn’t stopping early adopters f… http://t.co/lwuTjYk8 #android

  201. Ramiro Mora ✔ Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/U1vYyCKB

  202. Paulo O. Andreoli Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Q7nxf2fk

  203. Android Marvin Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me — Mobile … – http://t.co/TkIEdEcN

  204. All Google World Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me – GigaOm http://t.co/My9IIX86

  205. RT @AllGoogleWorld: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me – GigaOm http://t.co/My9IIX86

  206. Andrew Brisman Monday, November 28, 2011

    This is all good, but what if FACEBOOK PHONE overshines both Galaxy nexus and iPhones? According to what is already known I anticipate something GRAND!
    http://www.coldscoop.com/2011/11/28/buffy-the-%E2%80%9Cfacebook-phone%E2%80%9D-everything-you-need-to-know/

  207. Antonio Jodice Monday, November 28, 2011

    GigaOM – Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/YjXBBAzO

  208. George T. Thibault Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/6HlndepB

  209. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/p8jPDweL

  210. I’m on the same boat. I’ve been following the Galaxy Nexus since it was announced and waiting for T-Mobile to hopefully announce it. I purchased the G1 and Nexus One on the days they came out and used both phones without the need to switch. I got the GF a Vibrant which stopped working for her and then she upgraded to the Sensation 4G after her screen cracked. As fast as the phone is and how nice it is, I cannot stand all the bloatware that comes on phones. I ended up ordering a Galaxy Nexus from a reseller here, since all the ones in the UK were out of stock and the US release is delayed, and am waiting for it to arrive this week. After testing phones and using a lot of Androids that my friends have, Nexus is the only one I will go with.

  211. Steven Giovano Monday, November 28, 2011

    Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/AhwjRW4f

  212. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans – http://t.co/sm1GloIQ via @zite

  213. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gain fans – http://t.co/smxu0P30

  214. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/7nxZ5rpn

  215. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/BEtjku4l

  216. Why the Galaxy Nexus is probably the best cellphone right now. http://t.co/lPoEAKk8 & http://t.co/zOZShUiB #android

  217. Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus is looking like a hot item: http://t.co/IlfAgRpO

  218. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me #GalaxyNexus http://t.co/5pAZ9HHV

  219. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/RFeF7jxg via @zite can’t wait to get one

  220. Timothy Zachary Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  221. Hamilton Foster Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  222. Jessica Minchincon Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  223. Peter Alexandrov Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  224. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  225. Peter Sidney Burton Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  226. Purvis Robinson Monday, November 28, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  227. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  228. RT @louiebaur: Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/Toz0cwMP

  229. Bonnie Sainsbury Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    just upgraded to 2.2 – hard to keep up – Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me — Mobile Technology News http://t.co/zpd4W6OA

  230. Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 gains fans; including me http://t.co/6J870J9G

  231. I got an email that Handtec had them back in stock. Mine’s on it’s way!