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The Samsung Google Nexus S is a consumer-friendly smartphone that runs on the latest Android operating system 2.3 Gingerbread.
Boasting a 1GHz Cortex A8 application processor, a 5-megapixel camera with inbuilt flash, a 4in Super AMOLED touch screen and a dedicated GPU, the Google Nexus S is suitably well-equipped for today's mobile lifestyle. Other highlights include the ability to turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, VoIP/SIP support, Google Maps 5.0 with Navigation and a 3-axis gyroscopic sensor that can be used for gaming.
Samsung Google Nexus S unboxed...
Attractive, lightweight and packed with features, the Samsung Google Nexus S is a hard phone not to like. On the downside, its browser could be a bit speedier, and the lack of expandable memory may see you filling up its 16GB flash drive fast. It’s also tied exclusively to the Vodafone network in Australia, with no official way to buy the phone outright.
Click here to read our guide on how to buy an unlocked Google Nexus S.
Despite these foibles, the Samsung Google Nexus S remains a solid addition to the Android fold. While not quite an ‘iPhone-killer’, it nonetheless gives it a pretty good mauling.
After a brief partnership with HTC, Google has joined forces with Korea’s leading conglomerate for its latest smartphone venture. The Samsung Google Nexus S is essentially a revamped Samsung Galaxy S smartphone with new features and components in tow. It’s also slightly bigger than its predecessor, measuring 10.88mm at its thickest point.
The Samsung Google Nexus S shares a passing resemblance to the Galaxy S, which was released last June. One notable difference is the slightly contoured screen, which Google claims is more comfortable to hold against your cheek. We’re not 100 percent sure whether this works in practice, but we can report that the Nexus S handled well during phone calls (mind you, the same thing can be said of the Samsung Galaxy S).
Other changes made to the Galaxy S include a revamped task manager that lets you organise memory more efficiently, and an improved onscreen keyboard. While people with thick fingers will still struggle to bash out quick texts, the screen is a definite improvement over the TouchWIZ interface found on the Samsung Galaxy S. The Gingerbread OS also lets you copy and paste text across multiple applications, which is handy for emails and the like.
The Nexus S is a very attractive handset. The version we tested came with a creamy white backplate that contrasted well with the phone's piano black finish. The large, ultra-glossy display is certainly eye-catching; especially when a colourful library of apps is crowding the screen. We also like the dark menus ushered in by the new Gingerbread OS: they give the phone a much slicker feel.
We do have a few issues with the build quality, however. The phone's back plate is surprisingly flimsy with no locking mechanism to keep it in place: instead, you simply yank it off when you want to access the battery. It makes the phone feel cheap in a way it doesn't really deserve. The plastic finish doesn't seem particularly durable either. It's certainly not a product you'd want to drop out of your pocket.
But these are relatively minor criticisms. All in all, we think the Google Nexus S strikes a great balance between looks and functionality.
Like any smartphone equipped with a touch screen, the Nexus S lives or dies by the quality of its display. For the most part, we found the 4in Super AMOLED screen to be sensitive and accurate, although on very odd occasions it failed to respond properly. This was particularly noticeable when playing the game Angry Birds. The ‘Try Again’ icon (which we see with depressing frequency) sometimes took a few determined taps to register.
That said, we still think the Super AMOLED display does a good job in most circumstances. It also looks fantastic, with razor sharp text and incredibly vibrant colours. Without question, it is one of the best looking screens on the market. More importantly, you can actually see it in sunlight.
The Nexus S has one of the sharpest screens we've seen on an Android phone to date.
We were also impressed by the Samsung Google Nexus S's user interface. Using the phone is an absolute breeze, with most modes and functions just a quick fingertap away.
NEXT PAGE: Picture quality, battery life and performance...
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Issue: 315 | May 2013
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