By Courtenay Escoffrey
We happened to get our hands on Google’s new phone made by Samsung called the Nexus S. It’s running the company’s latest version of Android…Android 2.3. Check below to see what we thought!
We loved the overall sleekness of the design. I’m a simple man and I was totally impressed with the form factor. It’s all black and unassuming, yet when you look at it, you know there is something special about it. The buttons capacitive buttons light up only when the device is on so when it’s asleep it’s just a dark black device in your hand. When you turn it off, it kinda flickers off in the same way your old CRT TV used to which we thought was a nice touch. There is also a really cool burst of orange (wish you could change the color) that happens when you get to the top or bottom of a long list…i.e the bottom of your contact list. It’s those little things that let us know that the folks over there at Google are doing good work.
The phone is really thin and light weight. This can go either way, but I don’t mind light devices if they work though the phone did almost slip a few times with simple gesturing. The call quality is nothing special, but the speaker phone was a little better than I was expecting. It’s by no means the best speaker phone we’ve ever heard but it held it’s own which was surprising. These light-weight devices usually have terrible speakerphones.
The camera was ok – I really liked the HD2’s camera to be honest, but this one will do. Still 5 MPs with single LED flash. Some devices have dual LEDs which is nice, but I didn’t find myself missing the second LED.I found the shutter a little slow but I can’t really complain too much because its a phone however, some mobile devices are getting better at this. I also liked the front facing camera, though it may not be of much use if you don’t know anyone with compatible software.
The Operating System is great. It was quite zippy and I had no problems scrolling through long lists. As you may know, Android offers near seamless integration with your Google life. It picks up all of your Google Contacts, Calendar Appointments etc… This pure Android experience also offers wireless tethering to other devices via wifi or a hard connection. I wish there was a quick shortcut to the tethering functionality like the palm devices on Verizon, but a hotspot is a hotspot and I’m not complaining. We didn’t get to try out its NFC powers, but we knew it was there. We think this will be big in the near future, though it’s not very prevalent in other devices just yet. However, it may be something you wish to think about when making your next phone purchase.
Data speed. I have a G2 and though it’s only coming in at 800 MHz while the Nexus S has a 1 GHz processor yet many times the G2 felt faster because I spend a lot of time downloading information on the web. Because the G2 takes advantage of Tmobile’s 3G+ network, I was bringing up pages and downloading apps much faster on my G2. This is the one jinx in the armor so-to-speak for the Nexus S. I also didn’t like the plastic feel of the back cover. It makes the device quite light in comparison with other smart phones in the same size range, but it makes the phone feel a little cheaper than it should. Also, Samsung – please stop putting the lock button on the right side! I ended up going into the Android boot-up sequence by pushing the power button and the down volume button at the same time! I also kept changing my sound settings accidentally because of this.
Lastly, my 3G conked out towards the end of use. Not sure if this was because the phone was a trial phone or what, but after a while, I was unable to reach 3G speeds at all on the device.
Overall, the device is solid and would love to have it for the front-facing camera, sleek look and feel, along with the pure Google experience. Other than a few hang-ups like network speed, I found this phone to be quite useful and a pleasure to use. Not sure about that 3G issue though. That may be a major issue if it is widespread. However, if it’s isolated – then I’d just replace the phone for a new one as I found very little to be disappointed with.