Google Nexus S review

David Ludlow
22 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

It's the best Android phone on the market in terms of performance and features, but it's not necessarily the best value and build quality could be better.



Android 2.3, 4.0in 480x800 display

When Google said that there would be no Nexus Two handset to follow up the Nexus One, it was technically right, as the next smartphone from the search giant is this, the Nexus S. Just as the Nexus One was manufactured by HTC and was basically the same as the Desire, the Nexus S is manufactured by Samsung and is very similar to the excellent Galaxy S.

Google Nexus S

In fact, we'd go so far as to say that the Nexus S is a slightly upgraded Galaxy S. The new features are the Contour Display, Near Field Communication (NFC) reader and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

Google Nexus S Right Side

While the Contour Display has been hyped by Google, as a curved display that makes the phone more comfortable to hold and use, we don't think it's that much different to a regular screen. In fact, the Nexus S's screen is only slightly curved and you have to really stare at it side-on in order to see its contour at all.

The 4in touchscreen AMOLED display is the same size and resolution (480x800) as that found on the Galaxy S. While it may be slightly lower resolution than the iPhone's Retina display, the Nexus S still has enough resolution to fit an entire web page on screen in portrait mode. Screen quality is fantastic, with bright vibrant colours even at minimum brightness and excellent viewing angles. The capacitive touchscreen's a joy to use and very responsive.

Inside the case there's pretty much the same phone as the Galaxy S, with a 1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor. It's a great CPU and makes the phone incredibly responsive to use. Zooming into webpages is smooth and pretty much the experience you'd expect from an iPhone.

There are some minor hardware differences, though. One of the most glaring ones is that while the Nexus S has 16GB of built-in storage for data (there's 1GB of internal memory for apps), there's no way to expand this, as there's no memory card slot. Admittedly the 16GB of storage should be enough for most people, but it's a little odd not to have a Micro SDHC card slot.

The only other addition is the NFC chip, which can be used to read chips embedded in objects. The chips can contain text information or links to websites. In Japan they're embedded in a range of objects, such as movie posters, so that people can scan them and go to a website for more information. In the UK, though, there's currently no use for this scanner. That's not to say it won't be useful in the future, but it's not a feature that you have to have now.

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