on June 12, 2011
I imagine that some of you are choosing between the EVO and Nexus S. Well...I had been debating between this phone and the EVO and first picked the EVO because the camera was better. Then I noticed that programs kept popping up on the EVO that I never installed, such as Nascar, Blockbuster, and Nova, and it wouldn't let me uninstall them. I searched online and found a list of programs that come on the EVO that you can't uninstall and have a huge list of "permissions" including things like reading your gmail emails and sending text messages from your phone. I called customer service and the tech support suggested return the EVO & get the Nexus S because it doesn't have all those other programs and that most other smart phones on the market do. That's what I did. True enough, it is just straight Google. Everything is very well integrated with Google because there isn't a duplicate HTC (or whatever company makes your phone) program to do everything. For example, I use Google calendar, and it syncs automatically, but if I was on the EVO, I would have to keep the HTC calendar installed. And there aren't all those other programs I never wanted that I am forced to keep on there. Since I use all the Google features, there is more of what I want already integrated and less of what I don't want to be stuck with. With battery life being such a problem on smart phones, it just doesn't make sense to be forced to run a dozen programs you hate.
The screen is very crisp, bright, and contrasty - definitely better than the EVO. I feels just right in my hand, less bulky than the EVO, but still big enough to see what I need. The keyboard is responsive enough but also very smart at figuring out what I meant to type. The voice commands even work pretty well. My reception has been fine.
The only thing that I can really complain about is that in the alarm clock, it only has annoying ringers (not the full ringtone selection) so you need to install another application for that, as far as I've been able to tell.
on May 26, 2011
This phone literally has everything I've wanted in a device - for that reason, it didn't even occur to me that the actual phone signal and calling would be the fatal flaw here. I get terrible reception everywhere, and the wifi signal is weak even when I'm in the next room from the router. I have friends who own the Evo 4g that get great reception where I get none. I miss calls and then get random voicemails, the phone cuts out and then comes the "can you hear me, did you hear me, I couldn't hear you for a second" frustrations. Thats just unacceptable. This is literally the only major issue I have with this phone, and its sad that it happens to be a HUGE DEALBREAKING ISSUE. I will be returning my device if I don't hear of some sort of firmware fix or something in the next few days.
Apart from the actual phone calling and data reception, when I actually do get enough signal, I can video chat on gtalk, use google voice, google maps navigation, and all the other great features that shine in Google's Gingerbread OS. The processor is super fast and the interface is sleek and smooth, I've downloaded a ton of apps and they all work flawlessly and smoothly. Installing and uninstalling apps is instantaneous.
-Fast, sleek, perfect size (not huge like the evo), better battery life than other android devices .
-Front facing camera for video chat
-Great camera for taking pictures
-NFC functionality for google wallet
-processor and interface is fast
-SIGNAL / RECEPTION ISSUES - and yes, its this sprint device that is the issue, not the network. I have a buddy I ran around all day with the other weekend that owns a Sprint Evo 4g and where I was missing calls and not getting data, he was getting blazing fast operation on voice and data.
-Horrible echo for the person on the other end of the line when using SPEAKERPHONE
-Extended batteries that require a larger back casing will disable the NFC functionality (part of whatever makes this work is housed in the OEM back cover). I'm used to a blackberry that goes days without charging, so for me, I need a larger battery for these android phones. I don't care if it makes the phone bigger if it lets me get through a day without charging. Not having an official extended battery with special NFC-enabled back cover really detracts from the overall "all in one device". Looks like you're stuck carrying your actual wallet if you want longer battery life.
Other minor cons:
-no upgradeable memory, you're stuck with 16gigs. This is plenty for me, but some of you that use your phones for watching movies and storing all of your music, an option to load different micro sd cards will be terribly missed.
-keyboard takes some getting used to, and you will never be as fast as you would on an actual qwerty like on a blackberry
-google disabled facebook integration on this device so it won't pull data and pictures from facebook into your contacts automatically. there are some workarounds, but not really worth the time.
on June 20, 2011
I'll start off with this review is with 4G off, it's too flaky in our area.
I bought this phone for my Mom, and this is her first smartphone. She is one of the most tech-illiterate persons I know. She never texted on her old phones (last was LG Lotus). But a week later, here she is texting me. Granted, I set everything up for her to go so I have a good feel for the phone.
One of the big questions right now is reception. Call quality has been fine, no dropped calls for where she normally frequents. Wifi signal shows a little weaker than my Pre, but it seems to work just fine. Loads things faster than my Pre from the same spot =) She has light data usage, but she gets her email fine and browsing through her picasa library. It hasn't been too long, but the phone seems solid. My brother has the same phone, and his data has been good as well.
The biggest downsides I have to this phone are it scratches pretty easily on the back (dunno about the glass) and it's slippery. I highly recommend the Ringke cases.
Other notables: camera is OK, but my opinion on all smartphone cameras sans the nokia N8 and like is they all are not up to par. The android button row is impossible to see even on a cloudy day. If you memorize the order of the buttons, you're ok. If you flip between different android phones a lot, you might have issues. The screen itself is nice, haven't tested in full sun though. But I haven't had any smartphone be easy to use outside in bright light. Inside, the screen is absolutely beautiful.
Finally, having a clean, stock, Android system is certainly nice to work from. You probably will want to spend a bit of time customizing everything, so if you do that anyway, this phone will probably be perfect. Just be warned, customizing isn't always free to get exactly what you want.
on August 1, 2011
The NS4G, which is basically an untarnished version of the original Nexus S on T-Mobile is (was) my dream phone. Period. It's a stock, vanilla Android experience that runs on a super smoothly spec'd device. It's fast. It's screen, absolutely gorgeous. Every app I downloaded, and used on this phone ran impeccably. The camera takes amazing shots and the shutter speed is next-to-none on any other Android phone I've owned (I've owned 3) - I took the phone on an escapade to San Francisco and the detail of the photos were amazing. The contoured screen felt very natural against my face when on a call (when I could make one) and the call quality (when I could make a call) through the earpiece and the speaker was great, and the person on the other end (when I could actually stay on a call) could hear me well at all time. The keyboard worked relatively well as the stock Gingerbread keyboard but had a few quirks, but not much to write home about. The screen scrolling was super smooth like an iPhone 4 and app selection/launch was fast with very little lag and I haven't experienced one force close yet.
Ahh, it all sounds like cupcakes and fairy tales right? Well, all I can be about the DEVICE ITSELF is giddy and optimistic, but sadly, it remains a mystery as to why this device simply makes the entire experience a major buzzkill with its horrid reception issues. And I am not over-exaggerating here, the issues are TORRID.
Let's start with the Sprint signal... Yes, I know, it could very well be the area I live in, but it SHOULDN'T be - because after 4-5 times on the phone with Sprint trying to figure this out, they all reiterated to me that I live in the BEST coverage area. All of them. I know this could be them telling me what they're told to tell me, but still, to hear something like that and not having the actual performance to back it up, well, that's that. Dropped calls, consistent 'gray-barring', sporadic complete loss of signal (inside and outside) and all of this with NO 4G in my area (while paying $10 extra a month for 'premium data'). Just awful. Moving on to the other extreme issues that shouldn't be... WiFi... This should be simple, right? I mean, WiFi is one of the most simple, basic features of today's smartphone, and Samsung completely missed the mark on this in extreme fashion. My WiFi signal, sitting directly in-front of the router, doesn't have full bars... I mean, c'mon right? Not only does it not have full bars, but it goes down to 2 or 3 out of 5!!! Seriously? How is this possible? Ugh, it's just heartbreaking....
PROS: Amazing performance, beautiful screen, excellent shooter around the back, responsive hardware
CONS: Every radio and antennae in this device seems to be defunct which ruins this otherwise near-perfect device.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you're an Android enthusiast and you had the gleaming, giddiness I did when I saw I could pick one of these puppies up for dirt cheap and have basically THE GOOGLE PHONE to have, you're simply going to absolutely despise this thing if your device has the same issues mine (and my wife's, equally) had. It's heartbreaking, it's devastating, and even more, it's disillusioning. If you do get one of these and you don't have these problems, consider yourself one of the lucky ones, and I envy you, deeply.
on May 30, 2011
I believe that people are too caught up in how many bars or what their speed test numbers are. I have not personally tested my phone as far as the speed test goes but I will tell you that even though it does not show as many bars as my HTC, I have not dropped a call yet or have I had someone tell me that they could not hear me. My internet experience has been fine so far. I have not done a lot of intensive downloading but I do use Pandora at work and often times in my part of the building, it shows that I have 1 to no bars at all. The music has not skipped a beat and I still get my messages and e-mail. The phone has just come out for Sprint, sure there are kinks to be worked out but nothing major to the point where people are rating this phone so low. Yes, the screen reflects that the signal is low, but who really cares what the screen shows. If your calls go through and you can browse the internet without any lag, then I don't see what the real problem is. People these days are too fixated with what the numbers show, I want to tell those people that sometimes those numbers are meaningless. I say this because my HTC had 4 bars most of the time in my house but the call quality was terrible. I really enjoy all the things about this phone, especially the battery life. The battery life on this is very good. I have been able to go a full 24+ hours without needing a charge. Battery life all depends on the settings you have on your phone. You just have to be careful about the apps you download and whether they are not allowing your phone to sleep when they are running. I will possible update my review later with more info but I just wanted to let people know that there should be no reason why they shouldn't get this phone.
on November 1, 2011
I recently decided to make the switch from the HTC EVO 4G (which I LOVED) to the Nexus S 4G. My decision was based on the product lifecycle. Since this is a Google phone, it will continue to be supported for at least 18 months from the day it was released. The EVO 4G however is not a Google phone, and is extremely long in the tooth. As such, the EVO 4G is slated to be end-of-life'd by Sprint by November 2011.
About the phone:
The NS4G has no MicroSD expansion slot, so all storage is located internally on the superfast iNAND storage. The phone sports a 1Ghz Hummingbird processor and a PowerVR SGX540 graphics chip (same as the iPhone 4). By today's smartphone standards, these specs are very outdated but they hold up well with the vanilla android operating system. The phone also has 512MB of mobile DDR RAM. Again, all processing is very smooth, which is something that I couldn't really say about the EVO.
1. Slick design. The device just feels good in your hand, and it is ALMOST the perfect size. Not too big, not too small.
2. Excellent display. Samsung really comes through on their display tech. I wish HTC would step it up instead of cheaping out with TFT LCD or SLCD on their devices.
3. Pure vanilla Android interface, with updates directly from Google. This is how ALL Android smartphones should do it.
4. NFC capability and Google Wallet. Right now Google Wallet is exclusive to the NS4G and I can tell you that I'm a HUGE fan of this. It's a very welcome feature.
5. Though this could technically fall under #3, this phone WILL receive Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.
6. 5MP camera takes really good pictures. Now this is an area where the HTC EVO 4G is horrible...that shotty camera. Sure it may be 8 Megapixels, but more often than not I wound up getting 8 Megapixels of blurry or out-of-focus pictures. I HATED that camera, but that's typical HTC. Cheaping out on displays and camera CMOS. I can honestly say that the NS4G takes MUCH better pictures with less Megapixels behind it. The NS4G simply has a better CMOS for processing the images.
Despite the good things about this phone, here are a couple of issues I have (and these are common among other NS4G owners).
Cons: (Some of these are major technical issues, and some are personal nitpicks)
1. *Major* The main gripe is that the cell radios for CDMA, Wifi, and WiMAX are WEAK...VERY WEAK. Now some of that may be due to how they interact with the vanilla Android OS...but I also believe Samsung used shotty radio antennas too. My EVO would get much stronger reception in the same places (and I am taking the calculation differences into consideration here). For instance, on my EVO I would get 2 out of 3 bars on Wifi at home from my farthest room. On the NS4G I get 1 bar (out of 3). I literally have to be 4 feet from the router to get full strength...that is pathetic Samsung. Now, despite this complaint I can say that I have never lost or dropped a call, but I can't help but feel that this is also part of why my battery drains so quickly as the phone is using more just to stay connected.
2. *Nitpick* There is absolutely ZERO LED notification lights on this phone. Missed a call or text or email? You won't find out until you wake up the phone and go to your homescreen. Yep...that's right. Even my basic LG Rumor 2 had notification lights, but my super duper Google smartphone doesn't. However, again, I blame that on Samsung as a poor design choice because very few (if any) of their other Galaxy S smartphones have them (specifically the Fascinate on Verizon comes to mind).
3. *Nitpick* This is a Pure* Google phone, only in the sense that it has the Vanilla android UI and the updates come directly from Google. Sprint, as of the September update to Android 2.3.7, decided to disable the USB/Wifi tethering feature and now wants to charge you an extra 30 bucks per month for it (yes I know I can root the device and by pass that...but this is about the principle of being "Pure Google" here).
4. *Major* Battery life is marginally better than the HTC Evo. I'm not a heavy user by any means. I send about 20 text messages, make a couple of 5 minute phone calls every day, and maybe respond to an email or three. Yet my battery barely lasts a day. I was expecting much better performance out of this phone (and disabling data services is NOT the answer), however it turns out that this phone is only marginally better than my HTC EVO. I look to the HTC Arrive as an example of a smartphone that KNOWS how to manage battery and data services correctly. Microsoft got it right on that part, so Google should take note.
Despite these shortcomings, I still think this is a good device. If the EVO 4G wasn't being EOL'd, I would recommend it over the NS4G, but since it's not, the NS4G is what I recommend to my friends. Despite my lengthy detail into the Cons, the Pros do outweigh them.
on December 1, 2011
I am a big supporter of Android and currently own 4-5 Android devices. Needless to say I was very excited when I heard that Sprint was getting this phone. It would be my first pure Google experience on an Android device. Read below to see my impressions.
Lets go ahead and say it; the Nexus S is a sexy phone! The all black design with the curved glass display is almost stunning. When I first laid eyes on the device I just wanted to pick it up, however, that is where the love story ends. My immediate impression of the hardware is "cheap". The Nexus S is comprised mostly of plastic with a piano finish look which attracts finger prints and makes the phone appear oily. Samsung claims that the screen has a special anti-fingerprint coating on it but I will have to call BS on that right now. In terms of attracting finger prints on the screen and body, this phone is one of the worse I have ever used. Even after wiping the screen with my shirt, microfiber, or pants; it just seemed to make it worse. I don't know what kind of glass is used on this device but I will say that it does a very poor job of handling scratches. I do not use screen protectors on any of my devices and always keep my phones in my pocket separate from keys, coins, etc. The Nexus S is the first phone that I have noticed micro-scratches on the screen after a few weeks of use. This is unfortunately because the Super AMOLED display is just beautiful. The blacks are very black, with the display off the screen blends in with the phone very well. Only one problem I noticed is with the whites, there tends to be a pinkish hue to whites and I am told that this is a common problem with AMOLED screens. When compared to my Epic 4G or EVO 4G, the difference between the whites is like night and day.
I no longer use this phone for one reason: signal strength. I the signal strength on this phone is just horrible. There are random periods in which the phone will just lose signal, I will not be able to surf the net or make phone calls until I perform a reboot and hope that signal is restored. I went through all of the trouble shooting techniques such as updating profile, PRL, software (if available), but the only thing that seems to work is to reboot the phone. Sprint is no help whatsoever with regard to this problem. This is simply unacceptable!
The Nexus S runs generic android with no special skin overlays. Some people love it and some people hate it. I tend to fall into the second group. Coming from a HTC phone using Sense UI, I found myself missing many of the widgets provided by HTC such as the calender, clock, etc. I know that you can simply download widgets from the Market Place and this solution will work for 99% of you out there. It doesn't work for me because I like the consistency in UI appearance when all of your widgets are made by the same company (as seen with special UI skins such as Sense). If you own or have used any current gen android super phone then you will be familiar with the performance. I found the phone to be very snappy with little lag. One thing I will praise the phone for is the battery life. For some reason this phone is able to retain a charge for a particularly long time. After a 7-8 hr outing, the phone still have approximately 75% charge. I can't say the same for my EVO.
I am holding on to the phone because of the Ice Cream Sandwich promise. Hopefully they will fix the signal issue too.
Final Rating: 2/5 stars (Sexy design, poor signal, cheap materials)
on July 4, 2011
I like the Nexus S so far. It's my first smartphone, so I don't have much to compare it to. Battery lasts pretty much a full day with moderate use, though I haven't been making many calls on it.
With wi-fi inside the house it gets the same basic download speed as my laptop, around 9.5mbps. I walked across the street to where the Sprint map shows the best 4G signal and I got about 5.5-6mbps down and about 1.5mbps up. Not bad. The phone seems to only ever show 2 bars of connectivity though, but so far the speed has been ok so I guess that's all that matters.
The speakerphone has a pretty bad echo, which so far is the biggest problem I've found with it. That, and the lack of memory card slot. But it has 16GB of internal memory, so I don't need much more than that, since I'm not putting movies or music or games on it.
Android is pretty great, totally customizable sounds, fonts and colors and layout with some simple free apps, and by hooking up via USB to your computer to download stuff from. Voice commands are great and recognize pretty much everything I say.
Google Voice I am not a fan of as it takes over all your text messaging and voice mail and transcribes it all over to Google's servers so it shows up in your google account, which is kind of scary. So I disabled that and just use the regular Sprint voice mail and text. I guess they keep it all too, but I don't want my whole life broadcast on Google's servers. Plus half of the transcribed voicemails come out all funny anyway so you end up having to listen to them anyway.
Swype text input is pretty awesome - it's a free app to download. It's faster than regular texting and doesn't make your thumbs sore at all. You may want to try it out before you decide you need a physical keyboard. But even without it, the on screen keyboard is pretty easy to use and large enough for thumb typing.
The screen is great, but it gets super fingerprinty... though with a greasy italian like me that's unavoidable. Some people have said it is fingerprintless for them online, which I believe. I'm horrified whenever I got to dinner with people and notice that my wine glass is a mess of greasy fingerprints and theirs are usually still totally clean. So really, it's probably just me.
Some people say it "feels cheap and fragile" and stuff like that, or that it feels like it will slip out of their hands. I don't see any of that though. The thing is jet black and fits nicely in the hand. Sure, it lacks some of the industrial design degree elements that an i-phone or HTC might have. As a designer I can appreciate that. But I got over it real fast.
Online community is pretty good at Sprint and Google, I posted a couple newbie questions and got knowledgeable replies within a couple hours.
I also got the 10% discount on my bill for being a AAA member.
Oh, and I got this from Amazon Wireless, too, which saved me on sales tax. They also shipped it out SUPER FAST, I think it showed up next day via Ontrac.
on June 24, 2011
I understand that others have had reception issues and no doubt I'd be very unhappy if that had happened to me, but since I picked this up a few weeks ago I've had no complaints. I had owned an iPhone since soon after it debuted, and was ready to give Android a try. Gingerbread is very impressive, even if there are some ways in which it's not quite as polished as iOS (which I think can be a positive). It is very, very fast, I know dual-core is the next big thing but I can't imagine needing anything snappier. The display is bright and crisp, and I find the handset itself very pleasing to look at and hold. The big selling point for me was the pure version of Android, being among the first to get Ice Cream (and future versions) was a big selling point. I see that it's back to $50 again, which is what I paid over Memorial Day weekend. I think it's a steal at that price and Sprint is the only carrier left with unlimited everything, all in I'm paying $87/month and that includes equipment protection for if/when I need to replace it. For the money, it's a great, great phone.
on June 5, 2011
This phone has very poor reception. I live in San Franciso--work downtown in the financial district and live in Cole Valley area. In both places, data is almost zero. This is very frustrating if you want to do simple things like check muni schedules; don't even bother with email and more data heavy applications. I've tried to shut down the 4G function/turn the phone on-off, so that it will only work 3G--but that doesn't help. I think there must be a hardware problem. The Sprint call center people haven't been very helpful either.
It's too bad because the phone is good in other ways--the apps open fast, I like the sync with google/google voice. The navigation/GPS is usable.
But what good is a smartphone if you can't access data? It's no good.