Google Nexus S Android smartphone
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Review What do you want from a smartphone? Good looks? New, new features? Decent battery life? The latest operating system? If so, the Nexus S should be right up your alley. The latest Android handset comes direct from Google but where its predecessor, the Nexus One, was made by HTC, this one is created for Google by Samsung.
Home-baked Gingerbread: Google's Nexus S
It’s slim, sleek and curvaceous, and like the best catwalk models, as light as a feather. The shiny-plastic casing may not be to everyone’s taste, but it helps with the weight and lends a showbiz glamour. Every edge and corner is rounded and there’s a hefty swelling at the base on the back – otherwise it’s quite a slim handset.
The 4in display – bigger than the HTC Desire, iPhone and Nokia N8 – doesn’t bulk the phone up too much, as nearly the entire front of the device is its display. This phone has an eye-searingly colourful AMOLED screen which is hard to take your eyes off. And the front of the phone is slightly curved, so it will hug the contours of your face that little bit more closely when you’re on a call.
One last thing about that striking display is the way it switches off. Instead of simple blackness, it animates into a black background with a white line that folds in on itself like a traditional TV. A small thing, but deeply enjoyable. The front of the phone has no buttons, only four backlit icons for Back, Menu, Search and Home. They’re subtle lines which vanish utterly when the screen is off.
Slim, for the most part
Anyway, you’ve switched the phone on, so you can get your first glance of Gingerbread, the latest edition of Android, version 2.3. Since this phone comes direct from Google, there’s no additional skinning as there would be if this were an HTC or Sony Ericsson phone, say. But that doesn’t mean it’s bland – the latest interface has a quietly improved look that’s demure rather than cartoony.
Next page: Touch and go
A Mac user pining for "standard protocols"?
The first thing you need to do is dump your Mac...
@ AC 10.32
.....then why are you reading the review of a handset that clearly does not have a keyboard?
"And the ability to sync calendar and contacts with my Mac using standard protocols and without jumping through unnecessary hoops. Why is this sort of thing never covered in these reviews?"
....maybe because synchronizing your Mac with an Android phone is a piece of piss operation that the rest of us worked out how to do years ago?
Seriously, what else would you like the review to cover? How to turn the handset on and off? How to install the SIM card? How to get it out of the box it comes in?
I like it....
Got mine delivered a few weeks ago, and have had no problems (T-Mobile slashing data limits notwithstanding!).
A few points:
>Samsung have a proven track record of "Release and Retire" for high-end handsets. They pump out new models quickly, forget old ones (by months, not years) which get no updates, and their support is notoriously horrid.
Software is released by google directly - other than the lettering on the back, there is no mention of Samsung elsewhere on the handset.
Battery life... I'm a "heavy user"... It's a phone, an email client, an mp3 player, a portable games system, and I get around 18 hours from a charge. Not fantastic, but better than the last generation of Android handset. Don't expect Nokia-like weekly charges though.
The screen is fantastic. The contrast between black and colour is immense - you can safely leave the screen on its dullest backlight setting and read the screen in daylight - saves the battery too.
Only cons are: the quality of plastics used. Feels a little cheap, and the smooth shiny plastic casing easily slips out of your hand (unlike my HTC Hero with a rubberised backing).
And the lack of SD card. I tend to uninstall apps I don't use, delete music once I'm bored of it, and I don't watch movies on my phone. 16GB should be ok with me, but I can't see why Google/Samsung aren't releasing a 32MB "professional" version.
Oh, and Mac user worrying about syncing... love the cloud. Transferred my phonebook, email and calendar to the device within 30 seconds... by signing into my Google account.
The Reg seems to be having an Android spurt at the moment, keep it up! Creative ZiiO, Motorola Defy and HTC Desire Z next please.
I really like this phone
The letdown for the N1 for me was its battery life - no such problems with the Nexus S.. I'm getting 35 hours with everything switched on (VOIP listening keeping wifi up, Lattitude running, some background apps, GPS, Sync). With the N1 I had to practically bust it down to a dumbphone to get 18 hours.
Only downside is it looks a bit cheap.. very plasticky. Not that I'm a style guru, but it might matter to some.