155 of 163 people found the following review helpful
(I would expect someone investigating purchasing a cell phone would do some price comparison, $700 for this phone is a bit steep.)
The Nexus S is an interesting phone. It is the sequel to Google and HTC's Nexus One (incorrectly regarded as a flop) and like the iPhone 4 it sets the bar for the current generation of smart phones.
I bought this phone on its release day, so I am very familiar with what it can do. I came from using a Nokia N900 Unlocked Phone/Mobile Computer with 3.5-Inch Touchscreen, QWERTY, 5 MP Camera, Maemo Browser, 32 GB--U.S. Version with Full Warranty which was another great unlocked phone. But this year alone has seen a lot of improvements in what phones can do.
The Nexus S, made by Samsung, is a gorgeous gadget. It is a little underwhelming in person, glossy all-black, but its a sleak package and it has some definite power under the hood. The 1GHz Hummingbird processor absolutely blows through apps, I have not experienced anything I would consider lag. I've encountered latency and bad apps, but those are not the phone's fault. The Gingerbread version of Android is a real stunner. I still read about issues with 2.2 (Froyo) and just have to shrug because this phone does very well with every app i've installed.
The camera(s) and other features function very well. The optics of this camera are not all that impressive, but the software behind the camera works very well and even resource hungry apps like Photoshop Express function very nicely on the Nexus S. As for displaying those pictures, this is one of the most beautiful displays on any phone. The "contour" glass is curved just enough to be comfortable when held up to your ear, and it separates it from all the "slabs". The glass coating is wonderful to touch and fingerprints wipe off without a lot of smearing.
One of the big gripes I've heard since this phone was announced was that it lacked an SD card. I was nervous stepping down to a 16GB phone after having 32GB plus an SD card slot on the n900, but now I do not miss it. The streaming apps (youtube, last.fm) do a great job of keeping me entertained and I've gotten quite good at plugging in to my computer every so often to move media onto and off of the device. An interesting thing to note: The 16GB is partitioned similar to a phone with SD card, So you have about 2GB of "root" space- where the apps and actual Android OS stay, and then the 14GB "SD" partition that will be unmounted when you connect your phone to a computer (if that didn't make sense to you, don't worry). You can move apps onto the "SD" partition. In short, I have not missed having a huge hard drive on this thing.
The other gripe is "No 4G" and this one is more of a "religious debate". We are only seeing the tip of 4G. Every carrier claims to have 4G service, but that's a debatable statement. Its pretty clear that carriers didn't even roll out 3G as much as they could have, so really we're waiting for proper high speed connection of any sort in most areas of the country. If you are one of the fortunate few who lives in 4G land, and you KNOW that you need extreme speeds NOW (and you won't travel anywhere, because then you're back to 3G or EDGE pretty quick) then this is not the phone for you. For the majority of people, 3G speeds are quite adequate for the majority of applications (both software and usage) that people will use, the phone is also 802.11 b/g/n compatible, so using wifi will improve your experience over many 4G connections. Consider also that you get tethering for free with this phone (a very nice feature that makes any Wifi device far more mobile so long as you have your Nexus S with you).
Now on to the Nexus S's unlocked status. Is it expensive to buy a phone without a contract? of course, you are only paying for the phone once. If you do the math it is cheaper in the long run (and you have more freedom) if you buy your phone and choose your carrier. Also take into consideration that Google will send the Nexus S Android updates before any other phone on any carrier gets them in the US. This shortcuts all the "fractured" issues with different manufacturers and carriers limiting your access to the latest Android software. This phone's usability will be extended because of it. There is no carrier in the way who will want you to upgrade to get the next batch of features for Android, instead you're plugged directly (or more directly) to the source. That is a big advantage.
UPDATE: Having now used this phone daily for a few months, I am still very pleased. The main comment complement I get when people notice the screen and just how good videos look on it (even rather low quality youtube videos). Having Gingerbread on here is a real treat (ha ha). Its a shame I can't recommend certain apps (like Google's Navigation or certain widget functionality) since its running a version of Android that isn't available to my other 'Droid brethren and I feel like a snob explaining how this is practically the only phone with the latest OS.
About the only thing I miss on this phone is an LED to indicate incoming messages when the screen is off. And I have noticed a weird quirk where the phone will randomly reboot itself. This is a known glitch that should be resolved with the next update to Gingerbread (2.3.3).
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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 27, 2011 6:25:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2011 6:29:18 AM PST
J. MACLEAN says:
Outstanding review--thanks. Just to be clear, you're saying this does have a free hotspot feature, right?
Posted on Feb 17, 2011 9:09:32 PM PST
Ibrahim A. Alyahya says:
Do you know if the phone works on non-Tmobile 3G network?
Posted on Mar 8, 2011 12:17:36 PM PST
E. Palombo says:
You could buy it at Best Buy for $529.00 plus sales tax...free shipping!
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2011 12:22:56 PM PST
E. Palombo says:
Yes. If you buy it unlocked.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2011 1:56:18 PM PST
Amazon Customer says:
That's exactly what I did.(bought at best buy) I just stated that the asking price here was high given that price in the store.
Posted on Mar 22, 2011 12:24:58 AM PDT
J. L. White says:
this is the exact review i was looking for. i'm also coming from a nokia n900 and i'm looking for a phone that i'll really be using. the n900 is a good tablet/phone but it's more for linux users. my friend told me about this but i figured it'll be out of my price range but it's actually is in my price range(used). i love the android os too so that's a plus and all the apps. as soon i get my refund back i'm ordering this bad boy!! thanks for the very informative review!!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2011 10:45:17 PM PDT
C. SINGH says:
Kind of funny. because my current phone is a Samsung Wave, and my last phone before that was a Nokia N900, lol
I am interested in this phone, that's funny to see two other people who also owned N900 which was a fine device in its own right.
Posted on Jul 20, 2011 5:31:07 AM PDT
Jack Lyons says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2011 1:21:14 PM PDT
Amazon Customer says:
I assure you I dont work for samsung, amazon, google or any other company. You can look at my profile or check out my twitter feed to clear up any concerns. I understand your skepticism, and it is warranted, but I'm just a dude reviewed a phone I actually own and use.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2011 10:18:04 AM PDT
I am considering buying this phone. I currently own the MyTouch Slide. My biggest problem with this phone is the limited number of apps I can add to the phone before I run out of memory. My top apps; dictionary, blogging, fb, twitter, groceries, podcast, g reader, g documents, weather bug, places app, key ring, movies, g talk, g tasks. Wondering if I can fit all of those without running out of space. I really use my phone as a small computer. I would also like to use it for pictures/ video. Wondering how much picture/ video will hold. Also how much video will it take at one time.