Samsung Nexus S with Gingerbread Review

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Google's Nexus S smartphone has a lot of attractive features, but the one that attracts the most attention is the fact that this smartphone is the first to ship with the latest version of the Android smartphone operating system—version 2.3. Otherwise known as Gingerbread, this OS is said to be the fastest version of Android yet. In addition to Gingerbread, the Nexus S touts a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and 16GB of internal memory.

Although the Nexus S is the sequel to Google's Nexus One smartphone, Google is taking a different approach with this product. Whereas the Nexus One was only offered through Google's website, the Nexus S is available through Best Buy stores. Given that the Nexus S will be more visible to customers thanks to its retail presence, we expect Google will enjoy greater success with the Nexus S than it did with the Nexus One.

Since the Nexus S is a Google-branded phone, there isn't a custom UI that alters the Android experience—In other words, you'll get to use Android 2.3 in all is raw glory. Along with that, you'll get the new and improved features of Gingerbread, including a new user interface, an improved keyboard, support for near field communication (NFC), and more. This new OS also builds on many of the most popular features of Android such as multi-tasking and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities.

Our test unit came with service for T-Mobile, but it's important to mention that this is an unlocked phone that you can use with any GSM / HSPA carrier. Best Buy currently offers the phone for $199.99 with a new 2-year contract with T-Mobile service. For a contract-free version of the phone, you'll need to shell out $530.

Read on in the coming pages as we take an in-depth, hands-on look at what the Nexus S and Android 2.3 have to offer.

Samsung Nexus S Smartphone
Specifications & Features

Processor and memory
1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor
16GB iNAND flash memory
Operating System
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Quad-band GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
Tri-band HSPA: 900, 2100, 1700
HSPA type: HSDPA (7.2Mbps) HSUPA (5.76Mbps)
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Near Field Communication (NFC)
Assisted GPS (A-GPS)
microUSB 2.0
4.0-inch WVGA (480x800), 235 ppi
Contour Display with curved glass screen
Super AMOLED Capacitive touch sensor
Anti-fingerprint display coating
Size and weight
Approximately 2.48 x 4.88 x 0.43 inches (63mm x 123.9mm x 10.88mm)
Approximately 4.55 ounces (129g)
Haptic feedback vibration, Three-axis gyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Light sensor
Physical buttons: Power button, Volume Up / Down button
Illuminated soft buttons: Back , Menu , Search, Home
Cameras and multimedia
Rear-facing: 5 megapixels (2560x1920), Auto focus, Flash
720 x 480 video resolution
H.264, H.263 MPEG4 video recording
Front-facing: VGA (640x480)
3.5mm headset jack (stereo audio plus microphone)
Software noise-cancellation
Talk time: up to 6.7 hours on 3G (14 hours on 2G)
Standby time: up to 17.8 days on 3G (29.7 days on 2G)
1500 mAH Lithium Ion battery
Unlocked and carrier-independent
Available at Best Buy stores in the U.S. and at Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone stores in the UK
In-Box Content
Nexus S
Li-ion Battery
AC Charger
Micro USB Cable

Image gallery

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coolice 3 years ago

Good review, though as a whole, i'm a little disappointed at the Nexus S....I always presumed that when a google branded phone would come, it would be a top of line device that would set the tone for other phone companies to follow, match and surpass.

Sure the screens beautiful, and we have 16gbs of iNAND and most importantly gingerbread, annnd perhaps the NFC.... but apart from that, theres nothing revolutionary. Look at the difference between the original G1 and nexus one.... now that was change.... nexus one -> nexus S? not so much.

Just a thought.

Oo, i had a question that i couldnt determine myself when looking at videos. I can see the phone is contoured, is the actual LCD panel also a tad bit curved? or is that wishful thinking on my part.

Oh and about the keyboard, YEP, i have the G/Bread kebo on my milestone... its fantastic! my only problem with phones with no navigation keys/capabilities is when i'm sending a text and i want to edit out a few words etc, its a pain in the ass to get the cursor in between letters/words.

Brains 3 years ago

Didn't see the iPhone 4 listed in the results. So what the heck, I tested mine on WiFi, since 3G is more network dependent and could be all over the map and isn't very useful IMHO. Anyway.

Ookla's app: 22Mbit down, 20Mbit up.

Xtreme Labs app (avg numbers): 16067Kbits/s down, 713Kbits/s up.

elephantpointer 3 years ago

Sorry to point out the elephant in the room, but where tf is iPhone 4? Or was this article written 1 year ago?

iPhone 4 results:

Sunspider 0.9.1: 10625ms +/- 1.2%

Linspack: Avg: 33.30 Max: 36.09 MFlops

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Unfortunately we didn't have access to an iPhone 4 for this article or it would have been in there. Also, our entire suite of handset benchmarks aren't available on iOS platform.

coolice 3 years ago

Hey dave, i'm curious, what do you do with the device(s) after the review's completed? and how did you attain it in the first place? did google send it? or T-mobile? or did you approach a company?

I'm just very curious as to how all these websites/forums operate (including HH). How do you guys generate revenue etc. I'm taking this course about ebusiness right now, and i started thinking about HH. anywho, its just me twidling my thumbs.


rapid1 3 years ago

yeah; I was looking at one of these the other day. It is a nice unit all the way around, but of course you have to sign a contract with T-mobile unless you got over 500 to throw at it. I will not pay that much for a phone smart or just featured period. I have been thinking about waiting for all these super dual core phones to hit the market, and then pick up an Epic/EVO or grab a Droid X most likely and throw it on MetroPCS. I am talking about when the prices start dropping in a couple a month with dual core all over the place.

xraybies 3 years ago

All modern SP's suck balls. WTF you going to do with12hrs juice?

rapid1 3 years ago

Now that Sprint has it I find it more interesting, but for the same price or roughly so you can get a dual core etc phone with better cameras etc. The only thing on top of this is if you are an enthusiast with these units as in general a Nexus user would be you are gonna root whatever phone you use eventually. So the default android while it is cool is not really very much of a big deal as you can grab it as a root for any smart phone including an iPhone. SO this one seems to be a little late to the game capability wise.

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