Review: Samsung Nexus SPosted by Mike Yawney on April 6th, 2011 View Comments
Hard to believe it’s only been a year since the infamous Google Phone first hit the North American market. The Nexus One had many nice features but Google’s decision to sell it online instead of purchasing the handset through carriers was an obvious mistake. The phone didn’t sell nearly as well as it probably could have. Fast forward one year and we now have a true successor to the Nexus One, this time offered through multiple carriers in the US and Canada.
Is it a worthy follow-up? Read our review to find out.
The Samsung Nexus S has a very sleek profile. It’s surprisingly thin at only 10.88mm and weighs a mere 129 grams. The front glass is slightly curved at the top and bottom making it feel quite nice when held up to the face to talk. However since the phone is so light and the backing is made of plastic it tends to feel like it’s cheaply made.
Google claims the front glass has an Anti-fingerprint coating and is much easier to read in the sun than many other smartphones on the market. After using the Nexus S for a week I have to say I question how effective both measures are. the screen (like any touchscreen phone) is a fingerprint magnet and is very difficult to see in bright sunlight.
That being said the screen is very nice. The colours are bold and bright thanks to the Super AMOLED screen. The contrast is also incredible with super-rich black levels. On dark screens it’s almost impossible to tell where the screen ends and the black bezel begins.The touchscreen is also very responsive which is important for any smartphone.
Samsung’s Nexus S is the first cell phone to sport Google’s Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. We have to say Android has come a long way since it was first introduced and Gingerbread is living proof. The Nexus S has some new features including optimized keyboard, improved cut and paste, and better camera management just to name a few. However my favourite feature has to be the battery optimization which shows you what processes and apps are running and where your battery power is going. This is helpful to ensure your phone lasts as long as you need it to.
A feature Google likes to brag about is the inclusion of an NFC chip. Near Field Communication allows you to read information from “smart” tags which have NFC chips in them. Smart Tags contain RFID chips which are starting to show up in movie posters and can in theory even be used to pay for items by simply swiping your phone near one.
The first thing I noticed when I started using the Samsung Nexus S was just how fast this phone performed. The 1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor cut through everything I threw at the phone with next to no slowdown. The performance is certainly the best I’ve seen on any Android phone. This could very well be in relation with the newer OS.
The Nexus S has two cameras. The front-facing cam is a simple VGA camera primarily used for video chat. The rear camera is rated at 5 megapixels (2560×1920). It certainly takes nice pictures. I did notice some of the colours were slightly washed out, as you may be able to tell by the photos below.
For those of you who want more out of their photos, The Nexus S has a myriad of features within the photo software. You can adjust focus modes (macro, infinity), change exposure and white balance according to the light source.
The rear camera can also shoot 720p HD video. The video quality is quite good. You can see a sample video below. I took the Nexus S to capture the spring thaw in my neighbourhood. Audio is not great, but it seldom is when video is shot on a smartphone
One disappointment I had with the Samsung Nexus S has to be the lack of expandable storage. The Nexus S comes with 16GB worth of memory, but no SD card slot means you are unable to upgrade. This may be an issue for those who really take advantage of both the Google Marketplace and the built-in camera.
Overall the Nexus S is a solid performer. The quick processor and the improved OS prove Apple isn’t the only company capable of creating a great smartphone. If you are a fan of Android you’re bound to fall in love with the Samsung Nexus S. If you have never tried an Android device, what are you waiting for. The Nexus S is worth a serious look.
New Gingerbread features
Good call quality
The Samsung Nexus S will be available in Canada near the end of April through Bell, Telus, Rogers and other carriers. Price TBD
This review originally was posted on the Future Shop Tech Blog
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