Google Samsung Nexus S with Gingerbread Review

User Interface

Obviously one of the most touted user interface features of the Nexus S is the fact that it runs on the latest version of Android—version 2.3. With Gingerbread, you'll get a new notification bar that's easier to read. You'll also get an improved on-screen keyboard with multi-touch support that is designed to make typing faster and more accurate.

The Nexus S also has a NFC (Near Field Communications) chip that can enable things such as short range transfers. Although the technology hasn't fully caught on in the US, it's a cool concept that we hope to see more of in the future. In addition to mobile payments, it's quite possible developers could start to take advantage of NFC in apps as well.

Android 2.3 doesn't bring drastic changes in terms of navigation or cosmetics; most of the changes are behind the scenes. That's not all bad, though, since many users have grown quite fond of Android's UI. Still, there are a few small differences worth mentioning. For starters, the status bar icons, dialer, and a few applications have received a revamped look.


Click to enlarge

One of the biggest changes you'll likely notice with Android 2.3 is the revamped keyboard. Google has cleaned up and redesigned the look of the onscreen QWERTY keyboard. There's also new functionality in the form of word suggestions, copy, paste, and selection.

For some reason, the on-screen keyboard felt slightly smaller on the Nexus S than on other Android smartphones, though we couldn't confirm this. Overall, the keyboard was relatively comfortable and easy to use though, so even if the keys are a bit smaller, they didn't have a big effect on our ability to tap out messages.

In the app menu, you may also notice an icon titled Downloads. Here, you'll find anything you've downloaded from the Web in one easy to reach spot. If you frequently download content from the Web to your phone, this will likely be a very helpful utility.


Click to enlarge

Android 2.3 also comes with integrated support for VoIP / SIP calling. This functionality may not be used by all, but there will definitely be a set of Nexus S users who find this to be a very attractive feature.

Since the Nexus S is a Google-branded phone, you won't find a lot of extra apps preinstalled on this phone. That's how it should be in our opinion, so we're glad to see the minimal number of preinstalled apps on the Nexus S.

The Nexus S has five fully customizable home screens. As with other Android smartphones, you can access a list of eight most recently used applications by pressing and holding the Home button.


Click to enlarge

Related content