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Google Nexus S review

Is Android 2.3 and a curved screen enough of an upgrade?

Our Verdict

A solid if unspectacular performance from Google - it's a great phone with a very usable interface, but perhaps lacks the wow factor of some of its contemporaries

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 13.33 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480

View full specification

For

  • Snappy OS
  • Android 2.3 with early future updates
  • Stunning AMOLED screen
  • Improved battery life
  • Cool lock screen animation

Against

  • Underpowered UI
  • Not enough Home screen widgets
  • Slight freezing at times
  • Light design
  • Random phone restarting

Google Nexus S review: Battery life

We had a good play with the Google Nexus S in real conditions to see how the battery lasted – and the good news is that Android 2.3 seems to be pretty darn good at holding up the power management.

Google nexus s review

We'd usually last about 10-11 hours with an HTC Desire or Desire HD before thinking about finding a charger, but the Nexus S managed to push right through from one day to the next without hitting the red zone.

Google nexus s review

This means that while you'll still need to charge every night (as with most smartphones) you can easily get to two days' use if you're only a little more judicious on use, which is good if you go away for a weekend or something.

Google is quoting talk time of up to 6.7 hours on 3G connections (14 hours on 2G) and nearly 18 days of standby time in 3G mode, which moves up to nearly a month on 2G signal.

Google nexus s review

The 1500mAh battery manages to get pretty close to this in real use – we measured talktime on 3G at around 2-3 hours before seriously depleting the battery.

We also like the addition of this nifty battery meter, which can be found by tapping the top of the screen in the 'Battery Use' section of 'About Phone'.

Google nexus s review

If we were to create the perfect conditions where that standby mode could be achieved (ie nothing updating in the background, no apps running and a 3G mast with no data coming through – perhaps if we stood on Mars) then the number is feasible.

Google nexus s review

But standby time for a normal person could probably be stretched to 3.5 days if you're desperate to keep a lid on the consumption.

And a little bonus FYI – the battery meter has turned 90 degrees to be resting on its base, rather than sideways on. We know. Earthshattering.

Connectivity

Ah, the old favourite of Android lovers the world over – the PC synchronisation software. The sheer detail with which you can process your information, back it up, restore it whenever... we're only kidding. There is no such thing on offer.

You basically get one offer when hitting the phone with a USB lead – the chance to turn on USB storage or not.

Google nexus s review

It's not going to change your world, but it's a great way of getting data onto you phone. No fancy pants media player to worry about, just dragging and dropping. Like our forefathers did.

Debugging mode gets a little Android bug icon now, which is pretty cute, but that's the biggest change on that front.

Google nexus s review

Other connections are all pretty stable. Bluetooth transfer times over 2.0 were fine, A2DP didn't bounce about and cut out randomly as it does on other smartphones, and the Wi-Fi hotspot mode (where you can share your 3G signal with other devices) worked first time, with the ability to specify a WPA key a nice touch, too.

We did have problems with the Wi-Fi connection at times, though – it's very poor, even when we were near the router the phone could only muster three out of four bars. Curiously, the range seemed the same as other phones, so perhaps it's just the way it's being read rather than anything more sinister.

3G connectivity was perfectly acceptable too, although gone is the HSDPA icon to signify the faster speeds – it's 3G or nothing here, my friend.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.50 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyNexus S
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack, Silver
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time13.33 Hour
Product ModelGT-I9023FSA
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)129 g
Maximum Video Resolution720 x 480
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log, Caller ID, Call Timer, Conference Call
Height123.9 mm
Width63 mm
Depth10.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameNexus S Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeCortex
Product LineNexus S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I9023FSA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Latest Google Mobile App

Nexus S comes pre-installed with the best of Google apps, including Google Search, Google Maps with Navigation (Beta), Mobile Instant, Voice Actions, Gmail, Google Earth and more.

Fast just got faster

A 1GHz Hummingbird processor paired with 16GB of internal memory and Gingerbread, the fastest version of Android yet, makes Nexus S one of the latest phones on the market. Menus open faster, tabs are more responsive, and web pages load quicker with virtually no lag time. Switch between apps effortlessly with true multitasking on Android.

Package Contents
  • Nexus S Smartphone
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Headset
  • USB Cable
  • Health & Safety Booklet
  • Warranty Booklet
Limited Warranty2 Year