Samsung Nexus S Review

by Reads (72,700)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 9
    • Ease of Use
    • 10
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Value
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.80
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Latest version of the Android OS
    • Excellent screen
    • Responsive device
  • Cons

    • Extremely low voice quality
    • No memory car slot
    • No zoom on the camera

Quick Take

Despite some issues with voice quality, the Nexus S is an outstanding smartphone for those looking for a cutting-edge device.

The Samsung Nexus S is one of the latest Android smartphones from Google. It features Android OS 2.3 (Gingerbread), a 4-inch contour display, a 5-megapixel camera, mobile hotspot capability, and 3D mapping thanks to the latest beta version of Google Maps 5.0 with Navigation.

The Nexus S is currently available from Best Buy stores as an unlocked phone that will work with any GSM mobile carrier. It can also be purchased online for $200 with a new two-year contract with T-Mobile.


The Nexus S looks like most smartphones available today, with a black exterior and a minimum of buttons and controls so that the overall look is streamlined and modern. Then again, you might have trouble picking out your phone if you put it on a table next to a few other smartphones at dinner, because there is nothing that really stands out about the Nexus S in a stylistic sense.

Samsung Nexus S with Google Android OS 2.3At 4.8-inches by 2.48-inches and 0.43-inches thick. the Nexus S is comparable to other large-screen smartphones available today. It does seem to be somewhat lighter than many of the other phones I’ve recently reviewed–when I first took it out of the box I looked for a battery to install, but it was already in the device. It might create a bulge in your pocket, but it won’t weigh you down. My key ring, with its large assortment of office and home keys, weighs more than the Nexus S.

The screen on the Nexus S is simply beautiful. It’s a 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) Super AMOLED display, so it is extremely sharp and bright. Even when I’m outside in full sunlight I can see the display clearly, which is a nice change from squinting and trying to shade the screen with my hand. There isn’t any ghosting during video playback, and photos looks especially vibrant.

It’s also the first phone with a Contour display, which means exactly what it sounds like — the screen of the phone is slightly curved. The idea is to make it more comfortable in your hand and against your face, when you’re using the Nexus S as a phone. The curve is quite subtle, I didn’t notice too much of a difference except that the phone does seem to fit in my hand a little better than other devices I’ve reviewed recently.

There is an anti-fingerprint coating on the screen, and while I can’t say that it works perfectly — there are still plenty of fingerprints on the screen — it does seem to extend the time between my compulsive screen wiping and cleaning sessions. I simply can’t stand smudgy screens, so something that cuts down on the frustration is a step in the right direction, and the Nexus S delivers on that point.

Samsung Nexus S with Google Android OS 2.3Keyboard
The Nexus S doesn’t have a physical keyboard, so you’ll be doing your text entry on the virtual on-screen one. This has been improved in this new version of Google’s operating system, so you’ll see slightly larger keys thanks to an optimized, clutter-free layout. It has punctuation at the top for convenience, and works quite nicely.

Of course you can bypass the keyboard entirely using Google’s speech recognition, which works amazingly well on the Nexus S. No matter which way you choose, text entry is fast and easy.

Other Buttons & Controls
The Nexus S has very few buttons or other hardware features. The power button is on the upper right side of the device, and the volume rocker is on the left.

The only other controls are the standard Back, Menu, Search, and Home controls underneath the display, the camera lens on the back, and the headphone jack and charge/sync port on the bottom edge of the device.

There is no microSD card slot, which is unfortunate. I know that everything is “in the cloud” these days, but I like to keep a lot of music, photos, and ebooks on my device, and the 16 GB of internal memory can fill up all too fast since there’s no option to add more with an expansion card.



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