Why I just bought another Galaxy Nexus

Over the last year or so I have gone through quite a few phones, I’ve dabbled with Windows Phone, I’ve had Samsung, HTC and even Motorola devices. Whatever phone I have the grass always seems greener on the other side.

When I upgraded from my aging HTC Desire Z to a Samsung Galaxy S2 I was blown away, the screen, the speed, the camera, etc etc. I was really happy with my new purchase. As is always the way with me after a few months of using a new phone I decide to root it and flash some custom roms. XDA developers as to be expected held all the information I needed, I flashed an insecure kernel with root and clockwork et voila. Thanks Mr Chainfire. “What now” I thought.


Some devices take to custom roms well and some don’t, the Samsung Galaxy S2 certainly has an awful lot of development going on for it. But every rom I read about or tried always resulted in battery problems. Although the original stock rom wasn’t exactly astounding battery wise. I kept up this experimenting for a few months, I soon grew tired of this though.

The Google Experience Nexus devices had always passed me by. I skipped the Nexus One for an HTC Desire, I got an HTC Desire Z instead of the Samsung Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was skipped for the Galaxy S2. With a bit of luck I manage to get hold of a Samsung Nexus S within a few days of Ice Cream Sandwich being announced and it was the first device to get a working ICS rom. Once again I was blown away, I had been expecting to wait months and months before I would get to try it out. The Nexus S did seem a little chunky though, having used a Galaxy S2 for a while. I knew what I had to do, I had to sell loads of stuff and buy a Galaxy Nexus.

Here started my great early 2012 eBay selling spree. I soon had enough money to buy one and once it arrived I knew I had made the right decision. Again the battery life wasn’t amazing and no end of roms and kernels seemed to fix it. By this point I guessed batteries just don’t like me. Again I started an almost weekly swapping of roms and kernels trying to find an ideal combination. After a few months once again I started looking over the fence.

On the other side of the fence surrounded by lush looking green grass was a huge great thing. It was the Samsung Galaxy Note. Once again I sold some things and got hold of the Galaxy Note. Once again I was blown away, the move back to Gingerbread was not as big a problem as I thought it would be. Rumours of an imminent update to Ice Cream Sandwich were all over the internet, which made me happy. Various roms had started to leak out, accompanied by horror stories. Samsung had done the unimaginable, they had introduced a bug in the new kernels that would make changes to a chip deep inside your device. So that the next time you did a factory reset you phone would die, forever. This news made me sad.

The annoying thing about this bug is that Samsung had seen it before. They had already fixed it once with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and more recently with the Samsung Galaxy S2. People were cross and upset about this. Threads on XDA developers about the bug and possible fixes were populated by thousands of angry children being rude to each other. No visible solution seemed to be close.

I decided that I would not root my new Galaxy Note for fear of this new kernel bug. I decided that I would wait for the official update to become available, it soon did and I updated via Kies. I then stupidly decided to check if this official update was subject to the kernel bug. Lo and behold  Samsung had pushed out the bug with the official update and potentially signed a death warrant on thousands of devices world wide.

To this day there is still not an official fix for this bug. Samsung are meant to be fixing it and some kernel developers seem to have created new kernels that do not have the bug in. Although if your chips firmware has been corrupted no end of new kernels are going to fix that. My new Samsung Galaxy Note was looking less appealing as the days went by.

The next nail in the coffin came the other with the big announcements at the Google I/O. Jelly Bean. I like many others sat and watched the presentation for the Nexus 7 tablet. Jelly Bean looked amazing. We all pre-ordered one and then went to bed. During the night something happened. Google had been handing out freebies, which happened to include a Galaxy Nexus running a previously unleaked version of Jelly Bean, this quickly got packaged up and shared on the internet. The morning after the event people were able to flash this new Jelly Bean rom to their Galaxy Nexus. I looked at the Galaxy Note and realised that Samsung would probably never release a Jelly Bean rom for it, which made me sad.

I decided that it would be a good time to move on. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X were likely candidates. But again if and when HTC or Samsung would release a Jelly Bean update was just pure speculation. Because of this neither appealed, I knew what I had to do, buy another Samsung Galaxy Nexus!

It arrived a few days ago now and I have not quite got it up to Android 4.1.1 which was released today. The complicated combination of Root, ClockworkMod Recovery, Busybox, Kernels and Radios nearly made me late for work. I guess the weekend is a more suitable time to sort this out, not 6:07am on a rainy Wednesday.

Google really do have something special with the Nexus range. They have established the Nexus name as their own and the direction they seem to be moving in as regards selling their own hardware direct to the customer should hopefully pay off for them. The fact that the Nexus devices get the latest version of Android almost as soon as it was announced is a massive selling point for them. Google should really emphasise this. To me it was the main factor in buying another Nexus.

If the rumours are true about four or five Nexus devices later in the year I think the Play Store will be getting lots of visitors. Although I think that five will break the brand up too much, one seems like a better idea, just maybe not Samsung next time and maybe put a bigger battery in it as well.

Do you have a Nexus? Do you prefer the Nexus range to other devices even though they are under powered? Lets us know below in the comments.

Do you say "no" to upgrades?
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  • I’m reading quite a lot about this quandary at the moment. I have recently tried the Galaxy Nexus (lasted just 24 hours with it before selling it on) HTC One X, and now have the Galaxy S3.
    I think I will wait for the next round of Nexus devices to appear though – I love taking photos, and the S3 and HOX cameras are excellent in this regard (not so much with the GN).

    As for JellyBean…I’m really keen on the efficiency focus in order to make the devices smoother (although I have been reading in every Android device review since the Desire that Android is already buttery, my own experiences were at odds with this!).
    Google Now is also pretty cool, although I’m sure it’s an awful lot cooler if you’re a cosmopolitan, travelling social butterfly. For most of us, I’m sure it’ll get bored advising us of the best route from the sofa to the fridge, or when you’ll have to set off in order to just catch the kettle boiling….

    I think, James, the decision is the right one for you (and for your colleagues here at CS). You need to be at the cutting edge, and to be able to report on new developments. I must say, however, that I’ll miss reading your “week with” series.

    • James Pearce

      Hi Rich
      I am sure another the grass in the next field will appeal soon. Once I have Jelly Bean sorted.

  • TVDN

    I would definitely have a Nexus solely on the fact that it is guaranteed updates. I think it is crazy that the manufacturers don’t keep up with the OS updates. If Samsung (i.e) maintained a solid upgrade (timely as well might I say), its brand would be more solid in the options for purchases.

  • troyboy

    If the nexus had a sd card slot i would have it but it hasnt so had to get on the S3 boat….

  • J.

    Hi,
    I’m thinking of going for the Nexus purely for latest updates, and will sacrifice weaker processor, camera etc for latest OS.
    Just one query though, if I purchase a network locked Nexus, probably on Three, can I expect to get the updates when they are released by Google, or will I have to wait for the network to doctor and release their own version?
    Cheers.

    • The nexus isnt network locked afaik. They were only available from phones 4u brand new.

      • J.

        Just checked on ebay, there are some Nexus handsets locked to O2 and Vodafone. I thought only Carphonewarehouse sold unlocked contract handsets.
        Just to confirm I’m talking about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which was released last year.
        Can anyone answer the original query please? ie…
        “can I expect to get the updates when they are released by Google, or will I have to wait for the network to doctor and release their own version?”

        • I can’t say for any other networks, but I bought my Galaxy Nexus from Three and it is neither network locked or branded. It has always had updates on the day of release.

          • J.

            Hi Ronnie, many thanks for the response, I decided to ask the question on the Three Blog too, and you have confirmed what Three said, ie the updates come directly from Google, I assumed therefore the handsets would be unbranded. and if they’re unlocked as well that’s even better! I’m due an upgrade in a couple of weeks, looks like it will be the Nexus… but a liitle concerned the networks are asking the same money as S3 and One X despite lower hardware spec and much older.

          • My advice would be to buy a Nexus outright on a 30 day rolling contract. You can get them far cheaper than an SIII/One X that way, and you’ll be able to upgrade when the next Nexus arrives without waiting for a network upgrade. Whilst I wouldn’t trade my Nexus for an SIII/One X, the age of the handset and lower specs means they aren’t worth as much. That’s what I did anyway, and have no regrets.
            And I’m now on Jelly Bean :D

          • J.

            Yes, I think that’s a good idea, had already been considering this but just a little unsure about where to buy from, the prices vary considerably… eg Expansys 320 for EU model or around 450 for UK. I’m not sure what the difference is in terms of spec, updates, OS version(?) etc. I will probably end up going for a UK version regardless but not all retailers make clear which version they are selling, so not sure if it’s a genuinely cheap UK model or just the cheaper EU model… hence the original question on Three’s Nexus handsets, I’ll know it’s a UK model from them and from past experience I know their warranty service is very good.

          • J.

            Looks like it will be HTC One X after all, selling at arounf £380 sim free, and the nexus is still going for silly money £320-350. On balance I’ll accept delayed updates for a much higher spec’d phone.

  • Khurram

    I’m using galaxy nexus and Motorola atrix both with original latest roms. Motorola atrix has butter user experience despite being on just gingerbread. Plus better battery life and of course great accessories i.e hd dock and lapdock.