This was a great week for Android’s Nexus brand. Google has started selling unlocked GSM version of Galaxy Nexus for $399 without a contract (US only for now). Given that this 5-month old phone was first sold for $299 with a 2-year contract, this is an excellent deal. Both T-Mobile and AT&T offer no-contract “unlimited” data plans, which at T-Mobile are as low as $50 per month.
I strongly believe that the best way to experience Android phones and tablets is by buying Nexus devices with pure Google experience, such as Galaxy Nexus. Pure Google experience means stock Android, no crapware, future updates directly from Google and pre-installed Google Wallet app (Verizon, shame on you).
Galaxy Nexus ships, of course, with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and will be the first phone to get any future Android updates. The phone feels very light (135 g) relative to its large 4.65″ display running at 1280 x 720 resolution. It is truly a world phone that supports both AT&T and T-Mobile HSPA+ frequencies. The full list of supported networks is the following: GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 3G (850, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz), HSPA+ 21. Note that AT&T LTE is not supported.
The only notable drawback of this phone is its ordinary 5 MP camera which is not as as good as, for example, camera on Samsung Galaxy S II.
Let’s be honest, US wireless providers are truly awful. With generally crappy coverage they charge excessive fees for substandard service coupled with ridiculous restrictions. Any action that takes power away from them is a good karma, and buying Galaxy Nexus without a contract certainly qualifies.
For further praise of this phone let’s now turn to these two notable Googlers, Jean-Baptiste Queru:
It’s SIM-unlocked, supports all the HSPA+ networks in the US and in Europe and roams happily around the world.
You don’t need to sign a 2-year contract to get your hands on one. You can use it with any type of SIM you want, you can make operators compete for your business and switch whenever you want. You can even us it without a SIM, it becomes a WiFi device that can also call 911.
and Tim Bray:
It’s got, by a wide margin, the best radio I’ve ever carried. They say “Pentaband”; what that means is, if you’re a heavy traveler, go anywhere in the world and you’ll be online with fast data toute suite. I suspect it might just be the best phone in the world for globetrotters.
If you are in the market for a new Android phone, you should strongly consider getting Galaxy Nexus. The only other phone which may be worth considering specs wise is HTC One X, but it ships with HTC Sense 4.0, which is a step down from stock Android Ice Cream Sandwich experience.