Google Nexus S Android phone

Google Nexus S review: Google's Nexus S may be the first smartphone to run the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of the Android platform, but there is nothing revolutionary about this smartphone

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Google Nexus S
  • Google Nexus S
  • Google Nexus S
  • Google Nexus S
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5
  • User Rating

    4.50 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Android 2.3, contoured Super AMOLED display, good battery life

Cons

  • Plastic finish, crashing issues, no microSD card slot, poor quality of voice calls

Bottom Line

The Google Nexus S Android phone isn't a revolutionary smartphone, but remains an excellent option thanks to the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Android.

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The Google Nexus S Android phone is just the second Google-branded smartphone to hit the market (succeeding the Google Nexus One), and is also the first mobile to natively run the 2.3 version of the Android platform. While the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Android is smoother than ever, the Google Nexus S doesn't bring anything new or revolutionary to the table, even if it remains an excellent smartphone.

Read our reviews of other top Android phones.

UPDATE: The Google Nexus S Android phone is exclusive to Vodafone in Australia, and is available on a number of Vodafone plans across 12 and 24 month contracts. It is free on Vodafone's $79 cap over 24 months, and on Vodafone's $85 'Infinity' plan over 24 months (offering unlimited calls, unlimited text and unlimited access to social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Foursquare).

The Google Nexus S has an entirely plastic build. The gloss black finish gives it a sleek look and feel, and the slightly contoured display is responsive and sits comfortably on your cheek when making phone calls. Although it doesn't feel cheap or flimsy, the Google Nexus S Android phone does have a toy-like resemblance when compared with handsets like the Apple iPhone 4, the HTC Desire and even its predecessor, the Google Nexus One. The Nexus S design is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S, which makes sense given both phones are manufactured by Samsung.

At 4in, the Google Nexus S has a larger display than its predecessor, and the super AMOLED screen technology also makes it brighter, clearer and more vibrant than the original model. The Nexus S screen is one of the best on the market and is responsive to touch, as are the four touch-sensitive, backlit buttons below the screen.

The Google Nexus S runs the latest 2.3 or "Gingerbread" version of Google's OS. The new features are best described as refinement rather than revolution; a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface are all part of the package. Both text entry and text editing are much more efficient than previous Android iterations, and now almost on par with the slickness of the iPhone. Battery life is also much improved, as our review unit easily lasted over a full day — even with Wi-Fi and auto-sync switched on.

As with all Android-powered smartphones, the software is highly customisable via third-party apps which can be downloaded through the Android Market — Google's answer to Apple's App Store. In addition, the new Gingerbread interface is slick and smooth, and the darker colour menus and notifications give the Nexus S a much more professional look. The main menu has a cool scrolling 3D effect, and the new 'TV Off' screen-lock animation looks superb.

Unfortunately, we experienced a number of crashes during testing; our review unit inexplicably turned itself off on more than one occasion daily, suggesting that Google still has a few kinks to iron out in the Nexus S software. Thankfully these should come thick and fast in the form of software updates given Google's commitment to push them out to Nexus devices as soon as they are released.

The Google Nexus S comes with a hefty 16GB of internal storage but disappointingly no microSD card slot. The lack of digital zoom on the camera is also an annoyance, particularly as the Nexus S takes reasonably good quality photos. We were also disappointed with the quality of voice calls; audio quality often sounded distant and tinny.

The Google Nexus S is exclusively sold through Vodafone, but can be purchased at online store MobiCity outright and unlocked.

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Recommended

Lee Cooper

1

The bit you wrote about Google being committed to pushing the latest updates to the Nexus phones is just nonsense. The Nexus One is still waiting for the official release of Gingerbread, six weeks after Google promised it would be 'just a few weeks away'.

I switched to Android (from Nokia) two years ago. At the time the whole Android project was too compelling to ignore. It's still an excellent platform but the whole fragmentation thing and delays getting updates to some models has taken the gloss off it slightly. If Google can get past these problems and get their updating as slick as Apple then they'll clean up.

At the moment it just seems to be stalling and the complaints concerning updates (or lack thereof) are all over the internet.

Come on Google. Pull your finger out.

james

2

I dont think a plastic finish is a negative at all. My Samsung Galaxy S is so light because of the plastic! Its the screen and appearance that trumps the choice of materials. Combine glass and metals and a 4" screen and youre likely to get a heavier phone.

Plastic is fine by me.

steven999

3

What is up with all the whining about delayed Android releases? You would rather they release it with lots of bugs quickly? Your all acting like your phones don't work, and waiting for a new phone! Chill out and just enjoy what you got. I bet all these people were the same as the kids you see in the supermarket screaming and crying for sweets and junk food when they young!

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Adrian

4.5

1

Pros
The phone
Cons
Nothing
• • •

The Nexus S is a great phone. I have had mine for about a month now and it has met all my expectations and some. I love the pure android os and that it did not come with piles of third party features. I have found the apps I want from the app store; in most cases free. The performance of the phone is fast and I have not noticed any lag in application use, web browsing or other. I have turned the display brightness down not just to conserve the battery butbecause I found I don't need to run the screen at full brightness; The sreen is so good. I have been using PDAs and smart phones for years now and I now have the device that brings every thing into one unit. As for updates I have received one OS update and the process was simple and smooth with no problems. I have and will continue to recomend this phone to anyone as it is well made and runs so well. I have had no problems with call quality or drop outs, work email is pushed via outlook web access and was easy to configure. I'll give it a 4.5 rating because its hard to be perfect but for me this phone is very close. A great job Google and Samsung.

james

4.5

2

Pros
Clarity
Cons
video player
• • •

With nexus s,nyone got prob while playing youtube????

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