While there are several smartphone manufacturers that use Google’s Android operating system, the Nexus line is often considered the cream of the crop. The Nexus line is the only series of handsets designed with the help of Google, and therefore the phone are always the first to get updates to the OS. The new Samsung Galaxy Nexus debuted on December 17, and almost immediately customers began to report issues with some of the phone’s key features.
The most widespread problem deals with the phone’s less-than-impressive signal strength. Numerous customers are reporting that their shiny new smartphones simply can’t get a decent 3G or 4G connection. The outcry has become so broad that Verizon issued a statement letting new Nexus owners know that a fix is on the way, though no date has been revealed for when the update will go live.
Finicky Face Unlock
But it’s not just signal strength that has new Nexus owners up in arms: it appears that Face Unlock — a marquee feature of the brand new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system — isn’t exactly perfect. In fact, our own testing confirmed that the new facial recognition technology, which unlocks your phone without so much as a tap, was only accurate about 50% of the time. The feature requires almost perfect lighting and a direct view of your face to even have a chance of unlocking your phone. If the device is even slightly askew, it tends to default to the secondary security function.
A lesser-reported issue — and one that we weren’t able to produce on our own Galaxy Nexus — has to do with a faulty touchscreen. Several users report that their device’s massive 4.65″ multi-touch display fails to detect tactile input in some apps and games. Certain apps appear to be affected more than others: the games Heavy Gunner 3D, Pew Pew 2, ShadowGun and Gun Bros. are confirmed as having the bug. The issue can usually be corrected by exiting the offending app and then locking and unlocking the device; however, re-opening an app that has the bug will cause the problem to resurface.
Needless to say, some customers aren’t entirely pleased with their new purchase, and while the majority — if not all — of these problems can likely be solved through a free, over-the-air software update, Android early adopters are feeling the sting. If you’re one of the unlucky few experiencing a less-than-satisfactory introduction to your new Galaxy Nexus, you can either wait until a fix appears, exchange it via your carrier’s return policy (most are 30-day), or jump ship entirely — though the latter option will definitely cost you.