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  • jontech - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Was comparing it with the rzr. I was shocked how cheap it felt and that cheap plastic "peel off" battery cover. They probably want to go back to ripping Apple off. Reply
  • cj100570 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Um, yeah.... NOT! The Galaxy Nexus feels excellent in hand. I have several phones in my collection to compare it too. And although it may not have the heft of some of the metal clad phones out there, it definitely doesn't feel cheap. Reply
  • Zshazz - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Trolololo Reply
  • Alexvrb - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Dude, while you were posting, some guy crossed your bridge! You need to pay more attention, maybe set up some motion detectors or something. Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    He's right. Its cheap and plasticky feeling like pretty much every other Samsung phone. Deal with it. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    It only seems cheap if you make the mistake of assuming all plastic is created equal. It's not. Plastic doesn't mean cheap and metal doesn't mean quality. Some plastics are actually more durable than some metals and they're almost universally lighter. Mistaking 'plasticky' for cheap is ignorant. Deal with it. Reply
  • ananduser - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Don't reply to trolls with "darwinOSX" name... Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    The back does look cheap though. They could have wrapped the insert around the sides instead. It would have been stronger, and wouldn't look as though it was just a cheap decorative element.

    This is an expensive phone, and a small stamped out piece of the backing just costs a few cents, as does the blowmoulded back it's glued to. Let's not make as though this is an expensive part.
  • steven75 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    The "rip it off" battery cover is indeed, very junky feeling on a $300 subsidized device. Guess they gotta cut corners (build material, outdated GPU) to make some money. Reply
  • sooper_anandtech12 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Hate to break it to you, but most of the GPUs that show up in mobile devices these days are dated. Even the venerable SGX543 that keeps the iPad2/Phone4S on top of the heap is at least three years old. Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    So if the SGX 543 is old, what does that make the even older GPU's in every Android phone?

    THe SGX 543 may be old compared to when it was created, but it'll only be outdated in the smartphone world when a faster model makes it onto a smartphone.

    Right now, the iPhone 4S leads the way.
  • Ammaross - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I think you're confusing "light" with "cheap." Just because it isn't classified as a blunt-force object like the iPhone, doesn't mean it isn't a premium device. I, for one, like the lighter weight. Very tangible compared to my Charge and iPhone4S I have kicking around. Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    The Galaxy Nexus weighs 146g.

    The iPhone 4S weighs 140g.

    Tangible, huh? :-)

  • jd1992 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Next time try to compare apples to well.. apples.

    Galaxy Nexus LTE weighs 146 g.
    The comparable Galaxy Nexus GSM weighs 135 g.

  • jeffkro - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I personally prefer my rubberized plastic battery cover to metal or glass because it sticks in your hand and doesn't feel cold. Reply
  • robinthakur - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Agree, coming from the iPhone 4S, the Samsung phones feel like toys by comparison. Motorola's feel nicer, but their designs are dated and more suited to the American market IMO Reply
  • Malih - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I like the iPhone 4 design, and many people on different part of the world love it too, but It's not the case with high-end Android phones, most of them have this strong Business feel. Reply
  • TedG - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I compared with my Razr and felt that it didn't offer much difference. I wanted the Nexus but go sick of waiting. Now I'm glad I didn't wait. ICS is nice but the Razr will get it in time. I think sometimes the anticipation/hype is too much. Reply
  • Concillian - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    In drop tests the SGS2's "cheap plastic peel off" back seemed cheap, but significantly outperformed the iPhone's expensive feeling back in drop tests.

    Form follows function. Sometimes plastic is a good design decision.
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Just like a house would be better in a bomb situation if it was built like a bunker...

    Except people don't care as much about sustaining the life of ugly things.
  • jd1992 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link


    Who wants a phone made out of glass? You're just asking for trouble.

    Any the Galaxy Nexus looks by far nicer than the iPhone 4S. Strangers have complimented me on mine.
  • sooper_anandtech12 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    While this guy is obviously trolling, I do have to confess that the Galaxy Nexus is plasticky and I don't expect to have to peel off the back cover of my $300 device on contract to just get at the battery. However, I will say that, despite its plasticky-ness, like most Samsung devices, it is very solid. The plasticky nature of the device has its advantages such as being light weight. The manner in which the edges are rounded and even the junk-in-the-trunk bottom characteristic to Samsung devices lends itself to being very well situated in the hand. No, the Galaxy Nexus isn't going to win any awards in the way of industrial design. And no, it's not made of glass and metal. But yes, it is an incredibly solid device and is appears to be a well-thought out design. This is something I cannot say about the RAZR. While the RAZR is made of incredible materials, it's top heavy and if possible, is too thin. Coupled with non-rounded edges and a bezel that seems to extend from screen to infinity, the comparison with it to the Galaxy Nexus is what makes your comment scream "troll." Reply
  • pedrobeach - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Brian - My wife has a Bionic and I have a Galaxy Nexus. At home, we have always constant but weak signals. The Bionic always has an LTE connection and typically has 5mb down speeds using speedtest.net. The Nexus is always 3G and typically has 200k down speeds. The Nexus switches to LTE a few blocks after leaving the house. The Nexus signal problem is real. You may want to re-do your test in an area of marginal coverage. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    The handover cutoffs are different for each device, and obviously isotropy is different between the devices as well. I've gone to areas with marginal coverage and tested and find that things are pretty much the same here (again, that -108 dBm sample is in a low signal area).

  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Typical Brian, always retreating behind numbers and measurements with units in the face of overwhelming anecdotal evidence... Reply
  • nafhan - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Awesome comment! :) Reply
  • Davest - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    You're welcome to visit my house to see the issue. Bring a Bionic along to compare to my GNex. Reply
  • folsom - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    The only thing this article shows is that the antenna efficiency between the units are about the same, but not the SNR. The SNR could be worse on the Nexus on some units, and this may be why some users are seeing increased 3G-4G handoffs at equivalent signal strengths. Reply
  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Agreed. I have compared my phone to a Droid Charge on 3G only (so there are no mix-ups with what the phone is reporting) and found dramatically different signals between the two. The Charge was a champ for signal and the Nexus barely had one.

    I am wondering if the 4.0.2 update killed reception only on certain phones. Some of my friends have the Nexus too and report that their reception is fine.
  • numberoneoppa - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Did you read the article at all? Just curious. Reply
  • dcdttu - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I did. Care to elaborate? Reply
  • wogzi - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    Reading ain't skimmin, guy. There's a chunk of the article devoted to putting out a hypothesis as to why the 'bars' you see on the Charge are an exaggeration and the bars on the Nexus are more honest. A good counterargument would've been based in theory (ie 'science') and not you spitting out the very same mistaken perception that Brian enumerated on. Reply
  • Lord 666 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    While not scientific as signal strength readings, look at the history and current status of LTE. VZW is not being fully forthright. Hearing excuses that it is a new technology does not cut it since it been beta tested for over 2 years.

    1. Its only available on VZW Android handsets and tablets. Could it be battery life, heat, signal strength, or collusion?

    2. VZW has had two major outages of LTE since last year's release.

    3. VZW has delayed every LTE release and the Xoom upgrade dragged on.

    4. VZW has painfully pushed back public and static IPs for LTE month after month. The only device that has limited support is the 55 usb card, but that device is horrible all around. Why?
  • prisonerofcs - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I live in an area without LTE coverage at all. My OG droid typically had 3-4 bars in my home and 5 bars at work. Download speeds average 900K at work. It now has no signal at home (not just no bars, but no signal - can't connect to the internet) and at work averages 120K downloads. At home sitting on the same table as my cisco e3000 router it gets 3 bars of wifi. At work sitting an office away to our cisco access point it gets 2 bars. In both locations my old droid got 5 bars of wifi.

    I went to tampa this weekend (which has LTE) it found the 4g signal pretty quick but as soon as I tried to load a webpage I lost all connectivity. I had to reboot the phone, it found 4g again, and lost connectivity. I turned off LTE and forced it into CDMA only, and hung on to 2 bars of 3g.

    I had Verizon swap my Galaxy Nexus for another. The weak signal is at least as bad at home. I haven't tested the other scenarios yet.

    This problem is very real. There seem to be some people who are getting lucky, but I believe the vast majority of us are suffering these problems. Its extremely disappointing because I love everything else about the phone, but if I can't reliably make calls, whats the point of paying almost $100/month for a phone.
  • pedrobeach - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I am going to swap for a Razr while Brian theorizes about isotrophy. I bet I get LTE at home after the switch. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I have a RAZR right here with me (currently on my desk are the Bionic, RAZR, and Galaxy Nexus) and all perform the same. Again I see many implicit comparisons with EVDO which just cannot be made.

  • bplewis24 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I'm with Brian here. I had a Bionic before purchasing the Nexus. While the Bionic constantly reported stronger signal strength, it dropped 4G just as often as the Nexus does. Additionally, the Nexus has a strong 3G connection for me. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    And even better, it's a higher UE category than any of the Motorola phones, so it can hit higher downstream throughput in better signal environments.

    I guess the issue really is communicating and explaining that 1x/EVDO signal != LTE signal. The cell layout is different, the propagation characteristics are different, and you just can't compare coverage that way. It's deceptive because all the previous phones showed the wrong thing in "About-Status" and people simply assumed that was really LTE signal.

  • bplewis24 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    "you just can't compare coverage that way. It's deceptive because all the previous phones showed the wrong thing in "About-Status" and people simply assumed that was really LTE signal."

    This is the point I'm stressing on the AndroidCentral.com forums. If it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, then it's essentially worthless for using as anecdotal data.

    I look forward to your full review of the LTE Nexus, Brian.
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Yeah, the cells are laid out differently, and I've seen places with absolutely great (-50 dBm or better) EVDO signal and close to cutoff LTE signal (-100 dBm or worse is almost nothing). It's really a problem that has been created as a result of virtually every phone but the LG Revolution showing LTE signal wrong.

    I guess one point I didn't make either was that I still haven't finished coming up with some intelligent conclusions/data about EVDO at all. Via 7.1 is a new part in the US, and that's where I think people have seen voice issues and 3G data problems.

  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I compare CDMA (3G) to CDMA (3G) with my GN and a Charge, and get very different reception results. I've tested multiple times at multiple locations, the GN is always lower by quite a bit. Also, my friend's Charge doesn't drop signal/calls all over the city like me. Reply
  • Davest - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    No, you're wrong...that's not the real issue. Bottom line...my GNex, with total consistency, fails to connect to the LTE network in places where my Bionic, with total consistency, could. I'm not talking about bars...I'm talking about the ability to connect to the network. Reply
  • Garstud - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Same exact situation with me. With my bionic i never lost 4g at work, now with the nexus i constantly bounce in and out of 4g. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Do note that in the past week, the Bionic has had significant upgrades to its software, which include the baseband.

    I do not know which system version Brian used, but it may affect the outcome. Version 5.5.893 was released the middle of last week, squashing a large number of Bionic issues, and several people (myself included) received a 5.9.901 update this week that the community is still debating, as neither Verizon or Motorola have released any information about it.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I used the pre-update version (I was concerned for a while that the update would remove Motorola's dumping of signal data out to logcat), but it shouldn't change things too much. The update is a bit hard to get a read on though.

  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I am sitting at my desk with a Charge and Nexus. Both are set to EVDO-only, thus their 'bars' and dBm are both reading for EVDO. My work is a 3G and 4G tower for Verizon. His Charge is reading in the -60's to -50's, very good and what you would expect for a phone next to a tower. My Nexus reads in the -70s to -80s, what you would expect from a phone about a mile or so from a tower. Very different.

    I believe that 4.0.2 broke the reception for some phones, but not all. I drop service and reception all the time in Austin, TX. But its just a theory.

    Also, this is affecting my 3G service as well, not just 4G.

    Either my Nexus has an issue, or Verizon doesn't have a good signal or signal at all over most of the Austin area, which I don't believe because my friends with other Verizon phone have no issues.
  • turbon50 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    This is a real problem. Try going into an area that has really bad reception with a phone that is known to have a good antenna, yet barely has reception in this area. Then try make a call or surf the web with the nexus. You wont be able to as I tried this with my droid x. I could make calls and surf the web whereas the nexus was useless (no calls or web surfing). Hope they fix this soon. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Again, you're making a tacit comparison of LTE signal and 1x/EVDO signal. The two are not equal and you cannot make expectations for how the Galaxy Nexus will fare on LTE based on what the coverage profile with your Droid X (which is 1x/EVDO) was. It's a completely different spectrum and air interface.

  • yelnatsch517 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I don't quite understand. I thought Turbon50's post meant he was comparing Droid X 1x/EVDO to Nexus 1x/EVDO. Does the Nexus require the user to manually switch to 1x/EVDO? Reply
  • turbon50 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    No matter how you put it the reception is worst. I turn of 4g so both on 3g and it makes no difference. If you can't make a call, I don't see how any excuse matters. No calls in exact same spot= weaker reception. Reply
  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I compare CDMA (3G) to CDMA (3G) with my GN and a Charge, and get very different reception results. I've tested multiple times at multiple locations, the GN is always lower by quite a bit. Also, my friend's Charge doesn't drop signal/calls all over the city like me.

    It's easy to test, just go into Network settings and turn off 4G. Then you're on the same playing ground and both the Nexus and the Charge (or other Android phone) are both reporting reception of their CDMA signal.

    Nexus gets owned by the Charge every time in 3G CDMA dBm tests.
  • abhaxus - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    AT commented on a similar issue with the GS2 review and wifi performance. I have enjoyed my epic touch quite a bit and appreciate that it reflects a proper amount of signal for wifi around my apartment instead of the full strength my OG epic would show until it magically cut off.

    I suppose this is similar to the pressure from Sprint to switch the Nexus S 4g to a 6 bar display for signal strength instead of the 4 bars that is AOSP.
  • dtm4trix - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I don't know if its where I live but I have to say, having had the Droid Bionic for a bit and comparing the speed tests in exactly the same spot in my house I have come to the conclusion that the Nexus kicks the crap out of it in download speed. Was averaging about 18mbps with the droid bionic and with the nexus I have hit up to 30mbps download and 18mbps upload. I have had no connectivity issues at all. Granted I have only had the phone less then a week but thats been my experience thus far. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I completely agree, again this is partly because the Galaxy Nexus (and others) are UE Category 3 as opposed to UE Category 2 (Motorola Wrigley). Some of my first impressions with the Galaxy Nexus were actually that from an RF perspective it seems above average.

  • Tabs - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link


    My Nexus has noticeably worse signal readings in low-signal areas when locked to 3G only mode than my OG Droid does. I had both sitting on the desk today and the Droid showed -90 to -85 dB while the Nexus was showing -120 dB. I get bad reception in my house and had calls drop on the Droid too, but the Nexus does seem noticeably worse assuming that signal level when in CDMA only mode is correct. I had the phone in San Francisco this past weekend on a trip too and it seemed to lose signal very easily when I went inside stores and stuff, even without going very deep into them. I'd lose 4G and end up with a 3G that showed 0 to 1 bar. (believe the dB was down in the high 90s to low 100s range then)

    Also wanted to mention too that I've heard that many manufacturer modded Android builds are actually showing the voice signal level too, while AOSP shows the data signal. Not sure how accurate that is, but it could explain certain other instances of this where someone compares 3G on the Nexus to what's actually the voice signal level on another phone. I doubt this is the issue I'm seeing though as my old Droid has an AOSP 2.3.7 install on it (Peter Alfonso's GPA19).
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    That's absolutely true, I've seen OEMs sometimes show 1x signal instead of EVDO under about. Sometimes it's just based on what they chose, other times the carrier makes their own demands about what's going to be shown where.

    I haven't tested CDMA and compared between it and other devices with MDM6600 but it's entirely possible that the Galaxy Nexus isn't as robust on 1x/EVDO. Via's CBP 7.1 is apparently used pretty heavily abroad but has only made it here to the US in the Droid Charge and now Galaxy Nexus. That's the next thing we're taking a look at for sure.

  • Tabs - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Funny, I've seen people on XDA also saying that their Charge was a ton better than the Nexus - that doesn't really make sense if it's the exact same radios... hmm.

    Can you say what you're coming up with in your battery life testing at all yet? I'm pretty disappointed with that aspect of the phone - the screen and having 4G on just murder it. There also appears to be a bug with ICS where "Android OS" is always taking up double digit battery life by keeping the phone awake and out of the deep sleep state that's adding to it... Just using it though I get maybe 3 1/2 hours on 3G and way less on 4G - I ran it down really fast in SF the other night just using the browser and sending texts and stuff for an hour or so. I know the old Droid was a lot slower, smaller screen etc, but I didn't expect it to be this huge a difference, esp with an 1850mAh battery.
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Yeah essentially the Charge has the same exact cellular architecture as the GN, though CMC221 versus 220 means they probably fixed some of the connection stability issues we saw with 220 in a variety of products it shipped in.

    Battery life on the LTE GN isn't as bad as some of the worst LTE devices. I've run two of the couple battery life tests (the others are still in progress), thus far:

    Web Browsing (Cellular 4G): 3.844 hours
    WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (4G): 3.517 hours

    So not the worst, but not much better either. All around what we expected - very close to other devices with LTE.

  • Tabs - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Ok thanks for the info - guess I'm buying 3 or 4 extended batteries if I actually want to be able to use it all day constantly like on a car trip or something... I can get away with that on the Droid usually and almost never have to switch to the 2nd battery. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Yeah and the unfortunate part about the LTE/CDMA Galaxy Nexus extended battery is that it's only 250 mAh (so like .94 Whr) bigger. I'm not sure what they were going for there, it isn't a huge gain at all.

  • thomase - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Any battery testing done here MUST also look into standby battery life. Determining how long it takes the drain the battery under constant network load, while important, is not representative of the typical usage pattern. In the real world, phones spend most of the day in our pockets. If there is a real "deep sleep" problem, the message needs to get out and it needs to be loud. Reply
  • Tabs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    It's pretty apparent there is one from the XDA thread - all kinds of crazy screenshots. My own Android OS is at 23% right now, #2 behind screen - I never saw that process get above single digits on the Droid. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I don't doubt your finding, but different versions of android report assess battery usage differently. When my Droid Incredible was upgraded from 2.2 to 2.3 the reported percentages for each process changed dramatically. Similar differences may apply between 2.x and 4.0.

    So it's possible that the Nexus, in its default configuration, runs more processes in the background (killing battery life). But it's also possible that the operating systems are reporting battery metrics differently.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • thomase - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Identifying the issue is a lot simpler than looking at the reported battery drain percentages.

    If you download the BetterBatteryStats app and look at "Other" stats, and see that "Awake" time is significantly higher than "Screen On" time, then there is a problem.
  • dcdttu - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    I've tested my Nexus against two Charges and a Stratosphere while in 3G mode. Definitely is a distant third place as far as signal. This likely explains why I can't keep calls and when I do, the clarity is not very good at all. It's a shame it seems to have such bad 3G/1x reception. It's kind of important... Reply
  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I have done this test between my Nexus and a coworker's Charge multiple times and the results are always the same: the Nexus is 10-20dBm less than the Charge with both set to 3G only. That is a huge margin, and not something that should pass through any carrier testing hardware-wise. I think something's wrong with the software of some or all Nexus, reception-wise. Reply
  • ZPrime - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I have a Stratosphere and the Nexus, I'm guessing the Stratosphere would be similar to the Charge?

    Completely subjectively, reception feels worse on the Nexus. Objectively, the "Time without signal" has been FAR higher on the Nexus than the Stratosphere, but I'm not sure how that is actually calculated.

    Trying to get into test mode on the strat so I can compare numbers, but I can't find the code after a bunch of googling...
  • Brian Klug - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Correct, the Stratosphere uses the same combination of Via 7.1 + CMC220. If you want to unlock ServiceMode on the Charge (or Fascinate, and possibly the Stratosphere), try the following from: http://androidforums.com/samsung-droid-charge/3713...

    "Go into the Dialer and enter *#83786633 then press the Home key
    Go back into the phone dialer and enter *#22745927
    Now a box will come up asking for the SPC code. Enter 000000
    Press the Hiddenmenu Enable radio button."

    Then you should be able to dial *#0011# (which is the Samsung shortcut for field test inside ServiceMenu) and compare actual LTE RSRP.

  • Steve.P - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    It is possible to lock the Nexus into a LTE only mode using this service mode? I have the Thunderbolt which I can use the testing mode (*#*#4636#*#*) to enable LTE only. I really find this very helpful in area which I know have LTE but where the phone wants to select 3G instead of LTE.

  • mitra88 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link


    Thanks for a great info about GN. It was very useful to know.

    I did a comparison test myself between my new GN and my wife's Thunderbolt. No sure if you are aware, but Thunderbolt users have been using the app called 'LTE On/Off' for switching its network mode. This app also shows the signal strength and other parameters of each network mode. So, I thought that utilizing that app may give me a fair comparison test result.

    The result showed the following;

    GN in LTE 14: -100dBm
    TB in LTE: -80dBm

    GN in CDMA - eHRPD: -83dBm
    TB in CDMA - eHRPD: -81dBm

    Do you think that the test result 2 of TB was actually showing that of CDMA? Not LTE? I checked the About>Status of TB, and it was also -80dBm there. So, I am a little bit confused. Can I trust the number from 'LTE On/Off' app of TB?
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Hmm so the last time I used a Thunderbolt, I was pretty convinced that I couldn't get LTE signal RSRP to show anywhere. The number being reported in LTE On/Off I believe is the same one shown in *#*#4636#*#* (INFO) which is just what's reported through the RIL to Android.

    The fact that the numbers are so close above (eg -81 dBm for EVDO w/eHRPD, -80 dBm for LTE) makes me think that it is in fact just EVDO. There might be a way to expose LTE, but I'm not sure how. I'd have to poke around on a TB again to say for sure, but when I did that review way back I couldn't find anything.

  • mitra88 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Ok, thanks for the prompt answer, Brian. I appreciate it.

    I remember seeing some other article about LTE signal of TB before in one of TB community. I think I had better do some search for it.
  • mitra88 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I believe that it would be nice if users could have a way to look at those LTE signals of other phones directly, I mean, other that those two you compared on your article. If they see no difference with their eyes, it will effectively make many GN users calm down in no time.... :) Reply
  • naalex - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    You guys put every other "review" website to shame with your well-researched and methodical posts. Just hurry up with that Galaxy Nexus review please! Reply
  • Tabs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Agreed - this is the kind of actual research I wish more sites would do. Compare this to say Engadget launching a "review" of the phone after less than 24 hours... Reply
  • xype - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    People are probably just Holding It Wrong™. :oP

    Seriously, though, at some point it doesn’t matter if "comparisons" are "apples to oranges" if the signal gets dropped. How many people will say "Oh, yeah, of course, it’s a different band, after all and true LTE!" compared to the people saying "Shit won’t work, damnit!"?

    Technical explanations are all fine and dandy, but if the phone running on a LTE signal isn’t working, and if, by chance, that’s still gobbling up the battery doesn’t that make it a _real_ problem? Isn’t saying "apples to oranges!" a really simplistic, evasive answer to it (that, say, an Apple or RIM phone would get shat on for)?
  • xype - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    And just to make it clear; I see this as a hardware problem, and am using Apple and RIM as hardware manufacturers only, no OS flamewar intended. If the problem is the carrier’s weak network, they deserve as much or more shit for selling devices that don’t work well on it, since the device’s antenna design might actually good enough (but is hard to test). Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    That's a valid point, for the average user the LTE->EVDO and then EVDO->LTE hard handovers do annoy and create a problem. These are things that will get better as time goes on and VZW improves their LTE coverage profile though.

  • BigRedNole - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    At first I though Anand wrote the article. If my understanding of his address is accurate, we do not live too far away. I do not see these speeds at all. I am typically in the 10Mbps range and never exceeded 18Mbps.

    I live in N. Raleigh with one Verizon LTE tower ~500 feet from my house and a second less than 1.5 miles away. Using Wilson, NC as the closest server on Speedtest.net and one of the fastest networks to the public in the US, I get abysmal speeds.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    These tests are by me (Brian) in Tucson AZ. I'm not sure how the NC markets are but I know he's done some LTE testing up there with the Tab 10.1 LTE.

  • Tabs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    You're in Tucson? Sweet! lived there for 15 years or so and am a U of A grad. Reply
  • ssddaydream - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Thanks for providing all the nitty-gritty details that are hard to find elsewhere. I definitely enjoyed you Droid Charge review.
    I have a Charge. I don't have 4G in my area, but when I force EVDO mode only in TSM parts under HDR1X Selection, the signal strength in the status bar shows zero bars with a little "x", even though the 3G icon is active and I get 3G connectivity (just no phone calls or texts). Also, in the phone's status the signal strength is 0dbm.
    Do you know of a way to further segment the signal strength correlating to 1XRTT and EVDO-RevA or Rev0?
    Interestingly, I can force EVDO Mode under TSM Parts (not under the HDR1X Selection this time) where it will force the system selection to EVDO-Rev0 while still allowing 1XRTT. In this case I can verify the signal strength in the settings and I get my bars back along with text and voice. Sadly, Rev0 is slower and lamer than RevA.
    Also, I think you should make mention of the eHRPD network selection system. I personally feel that eHRPD is the main reason we get data dropping out. This AndroidPolice article describes the data dropping issues relating to authenication of the phones on the network, although oddly making no mention of eHRPD.
    I was forcing Rev0 for a while to see I would have less issues with data dropping out in my poor wirless reception area, but I'd rather have it quite a bit faster and even if less stable to I reverted back to eHRPD, even though I don't have 4G here. I've always had the system selection in the settings set to CDMA mode, although the phone still uses eHRPD.


    I will delete the link if you prefer I don't post links to other sites.
  • SCG - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I got a Nexus Google on Friday and the signal SUCKS! 0 bars on 4G and 1 bar on 3G. BB 9930 and a 6 year old Droid get 4-5 bars in the same location with Verizon on 3G. This has made the phone useless, internet non-existent, call quality the worst I've ever had. Dropped Calls, Locked up Frozen Internet. The best signal I got was outside on top of a 12 story building in downtown LA and then I only had 2 bars of 4G. Internet still locked up, and phone quality was so bad it sounded like something out of the movie 12 Monkeys.

    Working in Tech for several years, it's always hard when some have the issue and others don't. It appears that the issue is not universal but for those that have it, It is VERY REAL VIRGINA! I know that there are always issues being a early adopter (I can handled the Multi-touch issue) but NO phone and internet service is just plain Ridiculous for the price of the phone and monthly service.

    If they don't get this fixed fast I going to have to evoke my 10 day return right given by CA law.
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Have you also considered that you might have a defective phone?

    One person's experience, whether you're a tech or not, does not equate to a standardized experience. If your performance is that inconsistent in a strong LTE area, I'd consider exchanging your phone to rule that out. Since the experience isn't universal, where the blame truly lies (network, phone design, or a defective unit) is a moving target at this point.

    In this advanced age of smartphones, it is unrealistic (even though it is what you and I both want) to think a smartphone will be perfect within the first month of its release. Many of us are just too quick and pay the early adopter curse as a result.

    I myself wouldn't have bought a Bionic if a huge patch hadn't come out last week. From what I'm reading from others who bought it early, that update makes a huge significance in how the device performs.
  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I have 4 friends with this phone, and 2 (incl. me) seem to have the reception problem. I am not testing 4G because 1. It's new and likely not as pervasive as 3G, and 2. Many phones have 4G hacked onto them and getting accurate readings are not reliable.

    I tested my Nexus against a Charge on 3G only and the Charge is usually 10-20dBm higher in signal on 3G.

    My phone definitely has a problem. I'm going to wait to exchange it because if it's a bad update or hardware batch, I want to know before I go to the effort.
  • Garstud - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Yup, that was my experience also. Huge improvements. Reply
  • tallperson117 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link


  • catnaps - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    You can't read. Boom. Reply
  • dcdttu - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    This article says the Nexus has bad call quality, signal and 3/4G aside. I completely agree. I called my mother on a land line and there was a lot of cut-outs happening as I drove through Austin, TX. I've also had more dropped calls with this phone in 4 days than I have with any other phone I've ever owned. Reply
  • Toughbook - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I do not have a 4G phone, however I have been a subscriber to Verizon's LTE for over a year while using the Pantech UML290 on a daily basis in my vehicle I have been a subscriber to there 3G/EVDO plan on my embedded modem for close to 4 years. I travel all throughout the Atlanta area which consists of going in and out of 3G and 4G areas all the time. Some things that I have noticed and have confirmed with hundreds of people is that it is very hard to get full signal strength in a LTE area. As Brian explains, it is totally different. I'm not saying that there might not be a problem with the handset. You just can't go around expecting to see full bars while in a 4G area. I can be showing 1 bar while in a 4G area and still hit 15.0 DL and UL speeds. It really does not make a huge difference in the performance between 1 bar and 4 bars in a LTE area. Verizon still has ALOT of work to do with the handshake of the networks and stability but it is getting better.
    My son has a 4G phone on Verizon and I will say that LTE eats that battery alive! It a Pantech Breakout and it actually is a pretty decent phone for the money.
  • FreeAintFree - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    This is good news. At least there doesn't appear to be some inherent problem with Galaxy Nexus. Not yet. I'm happy because I really like the phone.

    Comparing 3G only signal between razr and gnex (I have both) and the comparison is much closer. More testing will be needed to determine if the gnex can hold "service" in all the same places as the razr.

    But for now at least, I think we can stand down with regard to some inherent defect in gnex signal sensitivity. Time will tell if it's above par or below.
  • Conficio - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    thanks for trying to clarify a difficult issue here.

    However, I can't say it is helpful to set you own opinion based on a single device and defend it against everybody else, even Verizon's own Teet. You are a reporter, and a good one at that, but don't feel like your observation needs to be proven right.

    I'd rather have you educate and ask people what they really compare as to educate about the issue. You loose your objectivity if you try to be right, rather than reporting the truth and clarifying your statements.

    Happy Holidays all at Anandtech, authors, reporters, editors and readers and a Happy New Year!
  • rothnic - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Did you get a chance to investigate the handover between 3g/4g. I've seen much of the signal level talk and I haven't really had a problem with that. The issues I've seen a lot of people mention is handover.

    I will have a lowish 4g signal at work that works a good bit of time. However, when it goes to switch to 3g it seems like it has trouble actually initiating the data connection. This same location my droid x seemed to never have an issue with 3g. Anytime it is going to/from 3g/4g the issue to me is more initiating the data connection with the tower.

    I've seen many reports of people having to toggle airplane mode to get it to reestablish a connection. Since after toggling, it connects right up, obviously there is some connection stability issue. I've seen more people complaining about this compared to the actual signal level. I think people suspected signal level and started comparing after dealing with the stability issue. It seems you have debunked their initial theory, but what is the next step?
  • rothnic - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    To follow up....

    This happened again this morning:

    1) Working with 2 bars of 4g
    2) Go to update a twitter widget and see it has dropped to 3g
    3) Later do the same and see the grayed out 3g icon, then no signal at all
    4) Sits with no signal at all, notification menu says "searching for signal"
    5) Wait awhile longer, and decide to toggle airplane mode after having no signal for 5+ minutes
    6) Airplane mode is shown in top bar, but is grayed out so I can't switch back off
    7) Reboot phone
    8) On reboot, instantly get 2 bars of 4g

    This is my lifecycle of use for this phone. Not a low signal level, but instable 3g and 4g connections and handover
  • Mastibeta - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I can see where their strengths may actually be the same. The issue i have, is how the device actually chooses which network to be on. In my office, a Razr will connect to 4g and maintain 4g speeds, but my Nexus will connect for a few minutes after an airplane mode cycle...then drop down to 3g. So even thought the 4g network is available to the nexus...at the same strength as the Razr, it reverts to 3g...why? Reply
  • rothnic - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Exactly. The Nexus will drop down to 3g when 4g is available, and fairly often when it goes to switch to 3g it seems it fails to connect. Then I get either the grey colored 3g bars, or it will drop all connections and show no signal at all. Then you can try to toggle airplane mode to bring it back. Reply
  • northamerican - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I have both the Samsung Droid Charge running 2.3.6 version and the Galaxy Nexus.
    I have both phones opened to phone status and the -dbm readings average about 10 points difference.,If the galaxy is at -93 dbm, the charge reads -83!I have pictures of this and it's pretty much constant.I wonder if the receiver is more robust on the Charge?It definitely gets a higher -dbm level with the 2 phones right next to each other or 20 feet apart.I'm willing to document this however that is done.
  • northamerican - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    How do I upload the pictures to you? Reply
  • SmokeNMirrors - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    One thing I haven't seen referenced yet, while the Charge and Nexus may use nearly identical radios, they may not have the same antennae or internal layout. This can be every bit as much an influence as the radio chip set in signal strength. Reply
  • qualm - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link


    What about wifi connectivity? My girlfriend has a HTC Droid Incredible 2 and sitting in the same spot I barely get a connection on my Galaxy Nexus pulling down 3mbp, her phone does 15mbps. Standing right next to the router I can get a great signal and great speeds, but as soon as I walk away the reception drops drastically. As soon as 7 feet or so you notice a drop in signal strength and mbps download speeds. 10 to 15 feet away and I am having connectivity problems and down to 1 - 3 mbps. Every other object in my house connects and stays connected. (2 laptops, PS3, ipod, HTC Droid Incredible) It seems that my Nexus does terrible compared to all these other devices. That was how I noticed that it seemed the reception, on the Nexus, was not great at all. Also on Androidforums.com there are reports of people forcing 3g and getting crappier reception than other 3g devices.

    Thanks for looking into this.
  • magnimus1 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Brian, thanks for the great analysis.

    I bought a RAZR and Gnex on the 15th. I now understand the fact that I am comparing the dBM wrong.....

    HOWEVER.....if that's the case and if the GNex does indeed have a UE category 3, then why do my RAZRs speeds tend to be about consistently 20-30% faster at the same location?

    I went back to the Verizon store and compared my dBm to other Nexii in there and I don't think I have a lemon. The dBm values match across Nexii

    Do you see a statistical difference in download speeds between the Nexus and a Moto phone as well? Or do your speeds match?
  • dcdttu - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    After having dropped calls all over Austin and losing signal altogether in areas that other friends have no problems with their Verizon phones, I went to the store to compare my phone to other Verizon LTE enabled Android phones. I noticed that the Nexus was the only phone reporting bars and dBm in LTE and CDMA, according to which it was connected to for data.

    My coworker has a Charge, and my work is a 3g/4G tower, so I thought I would do a little test there. I put both phones on 3G only and recorded their respective dBm. The Charge showed a signal that was appropriate for being virtually right next to a tower (in the -60's). My Nexus showed a vastly different signal (in the -80s) that would be accurate if the tower were about a mile away even though we were right next to the tower.

    I also notice that, out of my 4 friends that have the Nexus (I have an Android group on FB and we're all nerds about it), only 1/2 seem to have the issues I'm having. Everyone else reports fantastic 3G and 4G connectivity. I am meeting up with a friend tomorrow that has a Nexus that doesn't appear to be having the issues mine is for a direct comparison of signal.

    But the fact that my phone and friend's Charge show markedly different signals in 3G only tells me something is up. Also, dropping calls everywhere I go, having poor in-call quality and flat losing all service in areas I know to be just fine with other people's phones tells me something is definitely up. Verizon is very good in Austin and I never get above 1-2 bars on my Nexus (yes, I know, they don't mean anything.. but srsly - 2 bars at most all over a large city???)

    All of the GN reviews before it launched reported fantastic connectivity and call quality. The reviews such as PC Magizine that were posted after the launch and subsequent 4.0.2 update show issues with reception. I think the 4.0.2 update busted reception for some Nexus devices.
  • qualm - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Very interested in your comparison with your friends that has no connectivity problems.

    Also how is your wifi connection?
  • dcdttu - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I just met my friend for lunch. I did a dBm comparison on his phone in 3G only with mine, and they were identical. Then I asked some questions to try to determine why he was having seemingly no issues and I was: he leaves it in 3G. He told me he had left it in 3G the entire time, never putting it on 4G.

    I had him put it in 4G while we ate, and during that one little hour, his phone failed at sending texts, failed at connecting to 4G and eventually lost signal all together, requiring a reboot.

    After the reboot, he had full 4G again like my phone (we were right by a tower) and then both of our phones suddenly had a very bad 4G signal, and then no 4G and they reverted to 3G until we forced a connection with Airplane Mode. Something's definitely up.

    There you go.

    Also, his phone had the same poor 3G signal mine had. His house isn't good for signal to begin with so he didn't notice between this Nexus and his previous Incredible.

    It's my conclusion that all Nexus are having 4G issues as far as connectivity and holding a signal, are having issues switching between 4G and 3G because of authentication or some other problem, and have very poor 3G signal. I do think, however, that the 4G signal seems on par with other phones, minus the issues surrounding the connectivity itself.
  • dcdttu - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    My wifi connection seems VERY poor. At my friend's house with a brand-new Linksys router, I had to walk to within 10' of the router to get a full signal. At my work in my office, my Evo had a full signal and never dropped Wifi, but my Nexus barely has a signal and drops it all the time. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I think it may be quality control. My coworker has a GN and he got reasonable signal (-80's) when I got little to no signal (-120's), both on 4.0.2. So, at least mine is probably a hardware issue. Wouldn't be shocking if there was a manufacturing issue making some of them have poor signal. We'll see what happens when I get my replacement in a couple days... Reply
  • crankerchick - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Brian I hear you on the apples to apples comparison and agree with all things being equal, performance is the same. My example is I lined up the Droid Charge, Galaxy Nexus, Razr, and Rezound all in the same orientation in the Verizon store and did a speed test and also looked at signal strength. The Galaxy Nexus of course reported much weaker signal (-100 dBm) while the others all reported stronger signals (-70 dBm). The Galaxy Nexus was reporting 2 bars of signal while the others reported 3, sometimes 4, bars. However, with speed test performed 5 times on each device, the data speeds and ping were all within 1 Mbps of each other. This is what really left me feeling comfortable to go ahead and trade in my Rezound for the Nexus. I felt that as long as my data speeds were comparable to the Rezound then I could live with whatever issue there may or may not be until a "fix" is released.

    My biggest worry was and still remains how the Nexus will perform in fringe areas. So far, my only data point is my office, where my service is pretty bad. My original Droid struggled to maintain 3G at this location. The Rezound was a champ and could hold 4G and pull 5-6 Mbps speeds but he Galaxy Nexus won't even lock to 4G at all, let alone stay connected.

    The Rezound in my experience after a month with the phone holds a 4G signal much better than the Nexus and also handles the handoff between 3G and 4G better.

    I hope your review will include tests performed in areas of weaker 4G and compare to other devices so that your readers can have the full picture of the performance of this (and other) devices. It's not enough to say the devices performs as others unless, as you said, you do an apples to apples comparison, which would include detailing how well they perform under different situations, not just when the 4G signal is strong.
  • freestylee30 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Maybe I'm not reading this right or not fully understanding, but your article doesn't explain my experience with the phone (as limited as it is)...

    (In Seattle) I'm in a Verizon store, they have all the 4G LTE phones lined up and their Galaxy Nexus is the ONLY one with 2 bars... Everything else has 4. I wasn't convinced this was a huge issue so I ran speedtests multiple times on the GN and the Razr... Consistently the GN was in the ~5 Mb range (download) and the Razr was 15+.

    If this isn't a real problem then how do you justify the speed differences? I also rebooted the GN thinking it might help. No luck.

    The GN was on 4.0.2. My contract is up December 22nd and I'm trying to find my next phone =((
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    The bars comparison is the problem there - these aren't standardized at all and aren't useful for comparing reception at all. I can't speak for why throughput would be so much different between the two in the store, but what testing I've done so far seems to put the GN in front of other UE Category 2 devices.

  • freestylee30 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Obviously I just looked at the "bars" but if I had access to the actual signal and saw some fairly large discrepancy (20 dbm? - not sure what one would consider "fairly large") would that explain the throughput problem I saw?

    Also, Brian or anyone else that likes to share their opinion - with Verizon's current Android 4G LTE lineup, which phone would you choose?

  • nonand - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I have two phones - A Charge and a Nexus.
    Sitting next to one another, the Charge is getting 4G and the Nexus 3G.
    When the Nexus does finally get 4G it will often fall back to 3G with extremely poor performance.

    The author makes light of the issue. Perhaps he should do a little more research before calling all of us having problems idiots.

    Verizon has acknowledged an issue because there is one. I give them 10 days to resolve it or the phone goes back.
  • Rukkian - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I read the article and did not see anybody calling anybody an idiot. While you may have problems, he was not saying that there are not any phones with issues.

    I am happy to see good comparisons, and from what I see from others, it seems that the problem seems to lie in the handoff, and how the phone chooses which network to use. This is my first real smartphone (last non-feature phone was an original BB Storm) but I get better call quality than my old phone, and can keep a connection in places that most people drop (and I used to with my old phone) with verizon and other carriers.

    I have left 4g off most of the time I have had the phone, as I normally do not need the extra speed and am on a limited plan, but the speeds have been pretty good, but would always like better.
  • nonand - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Here is what the author said...

    The only real issue that exists is that the Galaxy Nexus (and really just the stock Android 4.0 signal strength to bars mapping) doesn’t line up with what Verizon has shipped on other devices, thus leading people to make apples to oranges comparisons and imagine an issue. I wager that some of this confusion is also compounded from the number of Verizon customers that are just now getting their first LTE handset with the Galaxy Nexus...

    I am NOT making an apples-to-oranges comparison here. And, yes, the author is implying that anyone doubting the performance of the NEXUS on LTE must be a newb. This is my 3rd Android phone.

    As I sit here looking at a NEXUS and CHARGE sitting right next to one another, the Nexus has -111 dBm on LTE, and the CHARGE -95. The NEXUS will drop LTE and the CHARGE will not. To add to the confusion, in other locations these phones will have almost exactly the same signal strength and performance. Unfortunately, I don't live at the Verizon store.

    There is definately something wrong here, and anyone willing to ignore it is just being ignorant. My point is that the author needs to do a little more research before making bold statements that everything is fine and anyone saying otherwise doesn't know anything.

    I will gladly take up the author on his wager that there is nothing wrong with the phone except for some minor reporting issue. Perhaps he can come to my house and try out the phone.

    I am happy for you, Rukkian, that your NEXUS works well where you are. I hope you are never in a place where it doesn't. I, however, just spent $400 on a phone and accessories that performs significantly worse than a CHARGE I purchased several months ago.

    I hope Verizon acknowledges and addresses the issue because on all other counts this is a fantastic phone.
  • jersiq - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Kind of curious how you did you comparison there. RSRP is not the same as RSSI.

    RSRP is the energy of the reference symbols in LTE for the current cell you are on, whereas RSSI is just the received power over the entire bandwidth you are measuring, inclusive of interference. A minute difference, but a difference nonetheless.
  • Kiouerti - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I cannot vouchsafe for everyone but in my case the connection issue is real. Having two Nexi, one S2, and one HTC TP2 in my hand i found the following:

    WIFI-N: In my office I'm surrounded by WiFi networks--at any point, I can connect to at least there of them. The Nexi failed even to see the WiFi-N routers. The S2 saw it and connected immediately.

    CELLULAR RADIO: In the same location the HTC TP2 had consistent connection. The Nexi could place calls and send text messages, but data was unavailable. At the same location, the S2 was inconsistent--but at least could connect most of the time.

    LTE: In places where LTE is available in Phoenix, the Nexus had problems fetching data. Even voice was inconsistent. The Nexus would often refuse to fetch data, even after switching off/on the device.
  • Davest - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I can't speak for anyone else, but the problem that I'm having with my GNex is real. My home is on the ragged edge of the 4G range. I had a Bionic for about two months and, while the signal wasn't stellar, there were certain areas of my home where I could receive a reliable 4G signal, and I could always get very strong reception outside.

    Fast forward to GNex release day, when, thanks to Costco's 90-day return policy, I was able to exchange the Bionic for a GNex. The difference in signal strength is night and day. I'm not talking about how many bars show up, I'm talking about being able to get a 4G data connection at all. There's not a single place inside my house where my GNex can pick up a 4G signal. When I go outside, I can get a signal in some areas, but not in others.

    Based on what I've seen on the forums, this seems to be an issue that affects those in borderline 4G areas. How much of your testing was done in such an area? By referring to "some perceived issue with connectivity and stability", and stating that "The only real issue that exists is that the Galaxy Nexus (and really just the stock Android 4.0 signal strength to bars mapping) doesn’t line up with what Verizon has shipped on other devices", you're doing a disservice to those of us who really are having a very real issue with our new phones. I don't care how many bars my phone shows; I care that I can't connect to the network at all places where other phones can.
  • Tabs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Where did Brian ever say that there aren't 4G to 3G handoff issues (threshold at which it switches, hanging on the switchover etc) or that there wasn't a 3G signal strength issue?

    Everyone's accusing him of this on all the blogs now since the article caught on but that isn't at all what he said.
  • Garstud - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Brian is content with the idea that this is a indication only problem and does not seem interested in investigating the many reports of real problems here. I am one of those experiencing a real loss of 4g where i never lost it with my bionic. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Well, as another anecdotal experience, I just got an LTE Nexus today and could barely get any signal in my office where I normally got great signal on my Droid X. I was able to connect long enough to activate and update to 4.0.2, but the connection was horribly unreliable.

    Our IT support guy had just received his Nexus late last week, so we did a comparison of the phones. In the same location on LTE, my signal strength never got above -120 dBm, compared to his at -80dBm.

    Mine would not seem to be able to get a reliable CDMA signal either. When we lost LTE, his would drop back to CDMA and get 2 bars, whereas mine would show no bars and not be able to connect at all. I tried choosing CDMA preferred and rebooting with no improvement.

    When I reboot the phone, it would connect OK for a few minutes and then drop the connection and never reconnect. I tried doing a *228 but the call would never go through.

    I'm guessing I just got a bad unit, but seems like perhaps they are having some quality control issues. New one should arrive in a couple days....hopefully that will be better. That my coworker's works well is a little reassuring.
  • qualm - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link


    I know that the values that they are comparing may be the wrong ones, but I am more interested in the dropping of connection, the Nexus not be able to get LTE where the other phones are, and struggling to maintain 4g which may be draining the battery, and the fact that in almost all of the tests the Nexus was at the bottom of the download speeds.
  • slowhand - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    in a weak 3g signal area at work in a metal building... placing my galaxy nexus near a moto razr - the razr had 3g and 4 bars, my galaxy nexus 1x and no bars... every day...

    something is different, eh?

    Sitting on it now waiting to see of there is a fix other than a placebo... I cannot download where the razr does so effortlessly....

    just dont like the locked batt compartment of the razr or I would get one.
  • wpwoodjr - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Brian's results for the Nexus on Speedtest.net aren't that impressive... I can regularly get 24 mbs on my Bionic if I use the Washington, DC based server. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    "The Galaxy Nexus (and really just Android 4.0) now correctly reports and accommodates LTE by reporting its signal strength under “About->Status” and visualizing that as bars appropriately. Switch to EVDO on the Galaxy Nexus and signal strength appropriately changes to reflect an entirely different air interface’s signal strength. It’s nice to see people using dBm instead of bars when possible (which are effectively meaningless as a comparison metric), but now that there are multiple air interfaces on handsets, we have to be explicit about what numbers we’re actually comparing."

    I think it's a mistake that you are giving so much weight to "signal strength". Rather than educating the population, you're simply spreading the misinformation that this is a useful metric.

    Let's review:
    * THE significant fact about wireless digital communication is that the signal strength varies DRAMATICALLY (ie by factors of tens of dB) over a very small spatial range (about the size of the phone) and time-scale (10s of ms).
    * This in turn means that the MEAN of the signal distribution tells us little about how we can usefully use the signal.
    * Furthermore, the primary "noise" source for most cell systems nowadays is not thermal noise (ie a largely fixed number), it is noise from other devices. This matters because signal strength, by itself, is meaningless --- what matters in terms of how easy it is to figure what bits have been transmitted is the ratio of the signal to the noise PLUS INTERFERENCE.

    * So, given all this, what do you expect "signal strength" to display? The mean strength of an electrical signal? Or (CORRECT) this strength weighted in some fashion that reflects how much data the signal can carry? Should it display the strongest signal of what the two antennas measure or the weakest or an average? Should it be modified if the receiving tower has four smart reception antennas that can do a better job of receiving a weak signal? Should it be decreased if there is a lot of interference in the cell? Should it be increased if I'm using a new chip with a smarter FEC algorithm that can do a better job of extracting signal from noise? etc etc etc

    * The actual engineering of the system is not blind to this. A variety of modulation schemes, a variety of FEC schemes, and now a variety of ways to utilize multiple antennas (both at the base station and at the phone) attempt to work around and exploit these statistical characteristics. But these further add to the irrelevance of "signal strength".

    * But what this all boils down to is that "signal strength" MEANS FSCKALL. Yes, if your "signal strength" is zero bars, then you're going to get no throughput. But beyond that, all bets are off. The number anyone cares about is throughput. That's what should be reported in reviews (and that's what should, one way or another, be displayed as "bars").
    I guess this obsession with "signal strength" comes from the fact that it is *something* that the phone can show you in the absence of any actual transmissions. But the fact that it's easy to measure doesn't change that fact that it's now 2011, not 1988, and it is a MEANINGLESS indicator.

    Now I don't expect the phone companies or the carriers to do anything about this soon. They've all experienced (and created) too much stupidity (from Antennagate to "more bars in more places") to have any incentive to improve what they are displaying to the user.
    But AnandTech is not under the same constraints. There is nothing stopping you from writing, in big bold letters: "LISTEN UP MORONS. STFU TALKING ABOUT SIGNAL STRENGTH BECAUSE IT SIMPLY REVEALS YOUR CLUELESSNESS."
  • ssddaydream - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I mostly agree that signal strength isn't a good indicator of overall signal quality.
    Signal strength is certainly more useful than bars. Bars, of course, are nearly useless.
    Does anybody know if there is a way to measure noise floor with the phone?
    Signal to noise ratio, in my experience, is a decent indicator of signal quality. I think there are exceptions, but I've had very good luck with all the wireless links I've used that have a SNR greater than 40db.

    For all practical purposes (assuming that the bar levels are well-adjusted as found by testing), what more useful metric do you have than bars?
    Face it, dbm or db is confusing.
    You complain about bars but what simple and useful method do you suggest?
    If I want a better idea about signal quality, I usually ping a website as I run a speedtest.
  • name99 - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I said what the correct metric is --- the data rate. In simplified terms, what should be displayed is the cell phone equivalent of the WiFi MCS index.
    I also said what the problem is --- you don't have an exact handle on this number until you start transmitting data. However I suspect you can figure out some reasonable approximation based on what you do know, and that approximation will be a whole lot more useful than a dBm number.
  • Korey_Nicholson - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Geometry 101, independent variable on the x-axis (number of tries or time), dependent variable on y-axis (results or measure) Reply
  • Korey_Nicholson - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    And that means don't use a bar graph for this data...use a scatter plot lmao...c'mon! Reply
  • AnnoyedGrunt - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I believe the graphs are a histogram showing the number of occasions each speed was achieved. IMO they make sense. Reply
  • crankerchick - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    "Where did Brian ever say that there aren't 4G to 3G handoff issues (threshold at which it switches, hanging on the switchover etc) or that there wasn't a 3G signal strength issue?

    Everyone's accusing him of this on all the blogs now since the article caught on but that isn't at all what he said."

    I think people are making assumptions from Brian's article and putting words in his mouth. My take-away from the article is simply him reporting how things are reported on the Nexus compared to other phones.

    However, his comments in this comment section to seem to indicate that he does indeed feel there is no signal issue and that it is a perception problem due to differences in the reporting from one phone to the next. This I disagree with. There is a problem. When i'm on EvDO, my signal readings are consistently lower than my Droid and the Rezound. I plan to compare to my husband's Thunderbolt when I get a chance. And it has already been stated multiple times that the Galaxy Nexus isn't handling 3G/4G handoff as gracefully as some other phones or holding the 4G signal as well as some other phones. Although this wasn't the focus of Brian's article, I do hope that it will be a part of the Nexus review when it comes out. I really do believe there is something not playing well in the Nexus--it's hard not to when there are report after report along with my own experiences, that I can see plain as day that the Nexus isn't keeping 4G or 3G signal as well as other phones, regardless of what signal strength reading is reported by any of the phones.

    I always look forward to AnandTech reviews for being more substantial, informative, and technical and really delving into performance as opposed to just reporting on specifications like most reviewers do. I hope the forthcoming review will focus on the RF performance of this device, because something is wrong--either by design or by a fault.
  • Tabs - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I don't see him saying anything at all about EVDO - he said as much in replies to me after the article was posted too.

    I see the same thing as you do on EVDO - lower dB than my OG Droid at the same location in low signal areas. I think that is likely a real issue.

    A bunch of the commenters at other blogs though (Droid Life, Engadget etc) are jumping all over this article as if he claimed there are no 3G issues or that there's not an LTE/3G handoff threshold issue, when that's not at all what he claimed.
  • ObliteRon - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Nice article. For what it's worth, the MiFi 4510L doesn't seem to expose the numbers but it does show a different number of signal bars when on LTE vs EvDO. Reply
  • WiWavelength - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    In the Galaxy Nexus screen caps, why does the mobile network type indicate "LTE: 14"? I would interpret that to mean LTE band class 14. But VZW has deployed LTE band class 13, which corresponds to its Upper 700 MHz C block 22 MHz licenses.

    Surely, there could be no way that the Galaxy Nexus is tuned to the wrong LTE band class. If so, I would presume that LTE would not function at all.

  • Tabs - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link


    Great, so now we're going to get 3G signal shown when on LTE... why is Google allowing this? I'd much rather see what the signal really is.
  • jmcb - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I dont understand what your saying....

    My Droid 1, Droid X and RAZR ALL show similar decibel readings. By saying the G Nex is showing actual LTE readings doesnt help. If thats the case it shouldnt.

    I want my future phones to show decibel reading like older phones. It should be universal. I can take my RAZR and DX1 and tell if I'm in an actual overall good or bad area. I dont want a phone to show good or bad LTE signals and inaccurate signals for everything else.

    This is a phone too. I use it for more than just LTE.
  • jmcb - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    I wanted to add...until we can use VoLTE...I dont wanna see accurate LTE readings. And inaccurate phone reception readings.

    I use my phone as a phone first, not as a PMP, gaming system with a data plan.
  • folsom - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Is there a way you could show SNR instead of RSSI? When you are comparing two different phones, the actual signal level only tells you how well the antenna performs between units. The RSSI doesn't say anything about the noise figure. If the noise figure between the two phones is different, then this would explain earlier handoffs from 4G to 3G as reported by some users, while you report the same RSSI. Reply
  • nonand - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, I will be returning the NEXUS tomorrow. I love everything else about this phone, but the connectivity just sucks in my area compared to other phones. As a final trial, I did speed tests accross Pinellas County, FL. In 20 simultaneous tests, the NEXUS never outperformed the CHARGE, and in many cases it was running 3G when the CHARGE was at 4G.

    AnandTech and Brian are not doing anyone any favors by calling this a "perception" problem. And indicating it might have something to do with poor handoffs is also minimizing the problems. It is true that the NEXUS does not do well when going from 4G to 3G, but that is just a small issue compared to the fact that other phones are getting 4G when the NEXUS cannot.

    I sent Verizon my info, and the best they could do is say the phone can be returned (with a $35 restocking fee). Like the author, they have yet to fully acknowledge the scope of the problem.

    Until Verizon clearly states what is wrong with this phone and how they will fix it, stay away from it.
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    It is true that the NEXUS does not do well when going from 4G to 3G, but that is just a small issue compared to the fact that other phones are getting 4G when the NEXUS cannot.

    That is not a fact, it's an anecdote. My experience is the opposite: I purposely left 4G on all day yesterday and kept wifi off, and I never once lost signal and most of the time I was on 2-3 bars.
  • dcdttu - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    If Verizon says there is nothing wrong with the Galaxy Nexus's RF performance, I will be returning the Galaxy Nexus. I have never seen a phone that performs so poorly, RF wise, in 3G. Places where my friend's phones work just fine mine is struggling to find any signal at all. Calls are dropped and ones that do continue are garbled beyond recognition. My other friends that received this phone are having the same issue. I didn't get a bad one.

    I'll just wait for the GSM one to make its way over here.
  • jmcb - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    And this is the point some are overlooking. Real world use.

    Like with the iPhone 4 antenna issue...it wont really be noticed unless in a weak reception area. Hate to say it but weak phone radios has been a part of Samsung before Android even came out.

    It doesnt necessarily mean its a defect, just that previous phones or other phones just have better radio hardware for reception. I assume all this noise about real world use is mostly from former Moto and HTC owners.

    One thing I'm learning is that HTC is a good alternative for good reception after Moto. But as I value using my phone as a phone more than anything, even in bad reception areas...I will stay a Moto fan until something proves better. Whats wild is the iPhone 4S is reported to be on par to maybe better....

  • randy klimek - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    This article means nothing other than you cant go by bars on your phone between two samsung products(both have horrible reception in real world,not bench mark tests)and a motorola device,not one htc device was mentioned at all.there should be at least a mention of the htc thunderbolt since that was the first lte device to hit verizon.If your going to publish a article that has a biast opinion for samsung at least do a full study. Reply
  • barncii - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    As always, great article. I have recently purchased the phone and im a little worried. I do not live in a 4G area so i cant speak on those issues. My concerns are with the 1x, which i have never seen, i dont know if this phone cannot display it or not. And more importantly the signal strenth on 3g. I never trust the signal bars, coming from a droid x which never properly displayed them.i have always checked the dbm meter in the about phone settings. When comparing the dbm reading on both phones there is a big difference. My droid x typically runs on the -90s at my home. At the same locaton and others the galaxy nexus will almost stay on -120. Have you compared the 3g signal to ther phones? Thanks again. Reply
  • houndawg3 - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    I think you're letting your over-massaged brain get in the way of reality. This has nothing to do with people misinterpreting bars or reading the wrong numbers. People are having real problems with signal. Not being able to get data connections and make phone calls constitute a real problem. Now, probably because of your BS article, Verizon is saying there's no problem. I have an idea. Quit writing articlea about stuff you have no idea about. Reply
  • Gasaraki88 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Testing the phone in strong signal areas is useless. I could careless about 10mb/sec vs 20mb/sec. I have the Droid X and the GNex would drop data sometimes for no reason both 3g and 4g. I was in a very strong 4g area and it dropped data for no reason.

    Go test the phones at a weak signal area.
  • jmcb - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    Exactly....cuz some like me live n work in a bad reception areas. And we all dont have the luxury of being in good to great reception areas on a daily basis.

    Its almost exactly like the iPhone 4 issue....cant really be seen unless in a bad reception area.
  • Pureburn - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    So all these graphs are nice to look at and all but how does your "study" and "non-issue" respond to the fact that in a strong 3G area, my GNexus has NO SERVICE (as in if I try to connect to any internet based application, it tells me it cannot) and my friend's Razr about 10 feet away from it has full service and quickly connects to internet applications and websites.

    This is not an issue of bars, it's an issue of the Galaxy Nexus simply cannot get a connection in places where other 3G and 3G/LTE VZW phones can. I am far from the only one having this problem - it is a critical problem that needs to be addressed or on 1/15/11, VZW will be getting a good chunk of these devices back.
  • xsoulbrothax - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    Same here - I was looking into this because my phone essentially hasn't had 4G service since I woke up this morning, and it's been dropping 3G completely and losing data for chunks of time during the day. Reply
  • dcdttu - Monday, January 09, 2012 - link

    I think you should go ahead and test the 1x/EVDO connectivity on the phone. I am sure you'll find it not identical to the Droid Charge. I've tested multiple Nexus with multiple other Verizon phones and none are near as bad as the Nexus at 3G reception, incl. the Droid Charge. Always 10-20dBm better. Reply
  • Garstud - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I have the same poor experience compared to the bionic. Any update of these test results? Reply
  • pltommyo - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    Sitting here with my Thunderbolt pulling 7Mbs on a strong 4G LTE signal while my Nexus Galaxy cannot even get 3G. I have to connect ti WiFi ... weakly. Not looking at the bars or dBa figures ... im looking at the connection network and Speedtest results. The Nexus Gslaxy has a problem no doubts at all Reply
  • raen_rfm - Monday, February 06, 2012 - link

    I think all these comments are a bit misguided. Using a cellphone to gauge signal strength is indeed comparing apples to oranges, and not very good apples and oranges. The only way to settle the issue is to use a CALIBRATED field strength meter and compare with each phone and even then all the phone can tell you is the signal it's receiving based on it's orientation, whether or not you're holding it with your hand or a myriad of other possible combinations.

    Your carrier can only provide one signal for every possible handset that they support and trying to tweak that signal is a very fussy task (I work for a telco). Just the nature of wireless technology makes it impossible to please every single subscriber all the time and everywhere. Things like traffic on a given cell can shrink the coverage and that is another issue that has to be dealt with. I'm not defending any telco's but I do have an insight into the challenges involved in delivering coverage that satisfies the maximum number of subs at any given time.
  • mrmichaelhallett - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    There are 2 hardware versions of the Galaxy Nexus which one do you have?

    It seems that the people with radio version 9 are having most of the problems.

    Mine was so bad I got it replaced. ... unfortunately they sent me a refurb v 9.
    (1515.09 instead of the coveted 1515.10 radio)

    Can't get a straight answer about whether this is hardware (seems to be) or firmware.

    Tried different roms , different radios, going back to stock radio software .

    Now on a version code named EK02 and still having Could Not Connect errors. etc.

    At times going into market to install anything takes forever (one app only installed after an hour of waiting once I woke the screen back up.

    Sometime voice command will errror out with Could not Connect.

    often get message could not be sent texting.

    BTW I am in the middle of the second most populous city in Maine (04240)

    Toggling in and out of airplane mode sometimes allows phone to connect.

    also note that call quality is very good and I dont really have dropped calls.

    I think that there is more going on than just peoples perceptions. I am hoping that an update (4.03? 4.04? will help ... otherwise I'll be pushing for a second replacement and hoping for a v 10 radio)

    Just my .02 worth.

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