The Nexus S has a lot of good things going for it, including a thin and attractive form factor, Android 2.3 operating system, fast processor, and more. Since the Nexus S is branded by Google instead of another manufacturer, you'll get a raw look at Android 2.3 without any other custom UIs that alter the experience.
Overall, we were very satisfied with the performance and usability of the Nexus S. We also appreciated that the phone didn't come with any bloatware—something you don't often see on phones today. For some users, the fact that the Nexus S is available as an unlocked smartphone will also be an attractive feature.
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We wish Google and Samsung would have given users the ability to expand the phone's storage capacity with a microSD card, though 16GB of on-board storage will likely be adequate for most users. We also wish the Nexus S was available with additional carrier options. Not that there's anything wrong with T-Mobile's network—we just like options. With additional carrier options, we also feel that the Nexus S would get the extra attention and visibility it deserves.
There are a lot of Android smartphones on the market today. As a result, it seems we're frequently saying, "This is the Android phone to beat." Although we're sure it won't be long before another phone takes the prize, thanks to the fact that the Nexus S is the first smartphone to ship with Android 2.3 (aka Gingerbread), we feel it definitely deserves to be in the running for the title of "best" Android smartphone.
Combine the fact that the Nexus S combines this new OS with some terrific hardware, including a zippy 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED display, and 16GB of internal memory, and we feel the Nexus S is indeed one of the best smartphones out there today. Although many very promising phones will be shipping (or upgrading) to Android 2.3 soon, for now the Nexus S has a definite edge over the competition thanks to the fact that it is the first Gingerbread phone to market.