So, this is the phone I now love to use here in Japan, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) Android 4.0.1 – yes, I know, we’re among the first to get it (had it since Dec 07, 2011) and we are indeed lucky that most of the advertised functionality has been kept alive – in spite of docomo. One thing the phone doesn’t have though is tethering, although the drums say it’ll become available in January 2012 (Edit: updated and functioning since June)…
Well, to all those who are just talking about this phone – as I said above, I’ve got one – it’s the best thing since sliced bread and the iPhone 4S, that I also have, can’t touch it! I’ve got that free 50 GB from Box.net and will sync what Google doesn’t to that soon. It’s such a breath of fresh air and is a really Smart Phone. Android 4.0.1 (Edit: now 4.04) does it and the learning curve is really not that steep, rather more logical. I love it! Oh, and the best case for this phone that is a bit slippery in the hand is from Buffalo. namely the iBuffalo
BSMPSC04DTXX I already have, beats CaseMate’s Barely There that I also got hands down. So now, when the phone comes your way you know what to do: get it and that iBuffalo case. I’m so stoked! unbelievable…makes me smile when I see it or use it… Big it is, but not unwieldy.
The screen is wonderfully sharp and bright, applications run fast and the OS has most of the Android kinks simply ironed out so that things are now logical and finding individual settings no longer a game of guess & tap then tap again. Also the change in application installation has been made shorter and more to the point: locate the app or widget, hold and drag it to the desktop location where you want it, done! I was tempted to go for the Galaxy S II LTE, but I don’t believe that phone will ever be updated to Android 4 (perhaps 3.0) and there’ll be a Galaxy III before then, and LTE won’t be available in any strength over a wide area for some time yet…
So all that computer syncing a la iTunes is almost over. Gmail, Contacts & Calendar just do their sync thing without fuss OTA as usual. Pictures and Music I still drag and drop through USB though that should change soon. Nevertheless, currently it goes like this:
- File transfer Samsung Galaxy Nexus with ICS to Linux Mint: install mtpfs and on the phone set Settings/Storage/”menu”/ USB computer connection to Camera (PTP).
- File transfer Samsung Galaxy Nexus with ICS to Mac mini: download and install the Android File Transfer application available from here. Set Settings/Storage/”menu”/ USB computer connection to Media device (MTP).
- As for Windows users, the above mentioned Android application page says that “You don’t need extra software to connect your Android device to a Windows computer”.
After that, UB connection works like an external disk source. Pictures are in DCM/Camera, Music is in Music, downloaded pictures in Downloads. Drag and drop both ways works.
Edit: I found a much better matte black case/back cover for the Galaxy Nexus sold in Japan that fits really snugly. Sanwa I think, the packaging is gone & the case has no ID marks. Yodobashi Camera had bl. matte and shiny pink or blue. The one from Case-Mate has a belly for the LTE bits and makes the case kinda loose just above the bulge at the back on the docomo GN. The front fitting is also not good as the edges that protrude above the screen do so more at the top of the phone than at the bottom!
The TPU case from Buffalo I actually like, but I felt it changed the character of the large & light Galaxy Nexus as it is quite heavy. It is nevertheless a great back cover if the weight is acceptable.
Note: none of these cases has an access opening for the side charging pins so a dock is only useful if the respective case is removed!
Edit Jan 25. 2012: The Galaxy Nexus does have one problem: it restarts at will! It’s not clear if it’s a hard or soft reboot or something else, nevertheless, the colourful flying pages animation suddenly runs until the login graphic is visible. It has happened many times, sometimes multiple times in one day, although I’d have to stare at it constantly to be certain how many time/day. My GN is certainly not the only one with this bug judging by the number of blog reports, and it’s not even certain if it’s the OS or an application causing it – and Google has as yet to find a solution.
Edit: The GN locked up again and needed the battery removing & replacing to get it up and running again. So, Jan 28 or so I went to docomo and they offered to exchange the phone this one time only. I declined the offer and said I would wait and see what happened and then if the phone got worse I’d then take it back. It did so I did…
I took the phone to docomo Sat 4 Feb, 2012 and they gave me the GN battery and a loaner, a brand new REGZA, not bad, but not anywhere near the GN. Thur 9 Feb I got the GN back with no screen protector suggesting it was a fresh phone. There were also no visible scratches on the screws inside and the back cover had all its tabs intact which the old one didn’t. They said there were two problems: both an IC (they said CPU) and speaker had problems that they had fixed – for free. This one has reset itself once since then. Feb 12 and all seems well up to now – so it was hardware! Where’s that wood…?