In a rather absurd turn of events, a handset that Samsung chose to leave off Indian shelves has suddenly become one of the hottest selling models in geeky circles. The company denied us a Nexus launch after promising it for months, presumably to promote its Galaxy S models, but that hasn't stopped the Galaxy Nexus from sneaking its way into determined hands—and the numbers are rising steadily. I happen to be one of these individuals.

After four and a half years of drifting from handset to handset, I decided it was time to finally buy one I could call my own; to have and to hold it, at least till it dies and I move on to the next one. After a couple of buddies got the Nexus and proudly showed it off, a kind of fever spread and the model's popularity grew even more, perhaps, because of its somewhat illicit nature. Before I could even say iPhone 5, there were over a dozen people who told me they wanted the Galaxy Nexus. Within a week, they were all proud owners of either the white or grey version.

We never wanted ICS to get bogged down by an unnecessarily bloated UI, no matter how much quality control it's gone through. The core UI has always had a beautiful aesthetic of its own. Sure, rooting and ROMing various devices even gave us the Jelly Bean feel we now crave, but to see it in all its glory—essentially, in the nude—was something else entirely. For developers and reviewers, this handset makes perfect sense, as it presents fewer challenges when trying to upgrade to the latest Android release, which the rest of the world must wait for. We’ll always be the first to see what Google’s cooking up in its candy kitchen, which means staying on top of our game.

Like I said, I had many many questions about this phone's features and functionality: Does it make sense to buy one? What do I get for that much cash? Why was it not officially launched in India if it’s so good? People are always looking for a phone that isn't excessively expensive but still covers all the essential features like emailing, messaging, calling, gaming, social networking etc. Style is also a factor that’s taken quite seriously now. I have recommended Nexus to several people knowing fully well that their level of technical expertise was quite low (by their own admission) and so far, it seems they're perfectly happy.  The Galaxy Nexus meets all these  requirements head on. In nearly every case, when asked if one should buy this device, my simple advice is a resounding “Yes.”

Something BIG is unveiled!

Aren't we the popular little smartphone!

For a price of Rs. 23,000, you get a handset with a 4.65-inch 720p display packaged very neatly in a super svelte, lightweight body. Sure, there are a few features missing such as microSD card support, but that's not a major concern on a handset with16GB of onboard memory.

I was curious to know why exactly the Galaxy Nexus had become so interesting to the regular Mobile Joe, so I did what any good journalist would do; I asked. My assumption that it was simply because they saw someone else using one and thought it looked cool, proved to be somewhat false. I was rather surprised to learn that most of these individuals had found out about the device online, but were put off by a lack of warranty because Samsung hasn’t officially launched it here. However, after seeing people like me flaunting this bad boy, it became clear that the new attitude is “warranty be damned!”.

Of course, it was also all about the updates and having bragging rights that you’re running the very latest version of a very popular mobile OS before devices that are priced at Rs. 37,000 and above could even get a glimpse of it. Jelly Bean brings a beautiful smoothness to the phone's overall functionality and there’s no denying that the Galaxy Nexus is definitely one good-looking piece of hardware.

Had the Galaxy Nexus been launched through more official channels, it would have been awfully hard to look at most of the other models in Samsung’s ever-expanding fleet. I'd like to believe that the decision to keep it off Indian shelves was taken after serious consideration.

So far, I feel there's no buyer's remorse whatsoever. The Galaxy Nexus is a versatile handset with plenty to offer and is by far the best choice in its price bracket, notwithstanding the warranty concerns. Let’s just hope that Google continues to give us Nexus owners the first shot at new updates as and when they become available.

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