Several months ago, driven by the love of Android 4.1+, I switched from my EVO 3D to the Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus. I craved the latest Android OS to exist not just my wonderful Nexus 7 tablet but my phone as well. So I hopped on eBay, found the cheapest listing ($300) and a few days later my new Nexus was at my door.
The first few days were a mad love story. It was so thin! The unfettered Android experience was better than ever and the improvements in android 4.1 were a joy. Then after a week, the romance started to wane. I would unplug the device in the morning, go to work and 5 hours later my battery would be screaming for a recharge. What’s worse, the issues I had with Sprint’s services before were amplified. Having lived a year and a half with weak signals and slow data, the hardware in the Galaxy Nexus picked up cell signals even worse than they already were, killing the battery even faster as the phone desperately heated up while trying to capture a clear signal. What’s more, the WiFi antenna had a tendency to drop signal mere feet from any router. As it turned out, the GNex suffered from the exact same issues as the Nexus S (read: Samsung’s shitty build quality), something I’ve already documented some time ago.
How could this be possible? Had a year and a half really taught Samsung nothing about proper quality control? Obviously not.
The Galaxy Nexus’s battery issues are already well documented, and the inclusion of LTE on the Verizon and Sprint versions exacerbated the issue immensely. Sprint even went so far as to give free extended batteries to anyone who registered their GNex on their Sprint account. Guess what I did. And guess how much that fixed the issue (not at all).
For weeks I dealt with the issues, all to have the latest OS in my pocket, even going so far as to buy one of those Mophie travel battery chargers to give my Nexus a daily I.V. of extra life. My frustration grew in the face of Sprint’s horrifyingly slow data speeds. Months of speed tests in various locations in my region showed that I was lucky to ever net a download speed of 1Mbps, usually netting an average speed of 300kbps. That is egregiously BAD, Sprint, and inexcusable in the current mobile market.
The final nail in the coffin came after an impromptu trip to Atlanta for a weekend getaway. I was excited to finally experience an LTE service area, thinking that the experience would be so much better than my 3G woes that I would be given a boost of confidence big enough to wait out Sprint’s LTE rollout. I was so, so wrong.
At first, my phone connected to the LTE network just fine. I ran a quick speed test and averaged 3.4Mbps. Not at all the fastest when it comes to LTE carriers, but leagues better than what I was experiencing (for reference, I was with someone connected to Verizon’s LTE network, which has an average down speed of 14Mbps). Then the crap hit the fan. Not only did my phone drop it’s 4G signal, but it lost data altogether. Multiple times. Sometimes it would flat out drop all signal, both data and voice. For the rest of the weekend, my phone would latch on to a 4G signal for all of 30 seconds then revert to 3G and no amount of hard resets alleviated the issue. In short, my phone was rendered practically unusable and my battery averaged 3 hours per charge.
By the time we were headed back to Alabama that Sunday, Sprint and Samsung’s phones were dead to me forever more. I’ve given both companies more than their fair share of chances and been burned badly every time.
Where did all this lead me? Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out.