Google Nexus S: 16 tips and tricks

Supercharged with even more hidden hints

So you've read TechRadar's in-depth Google Nexus S review, you've reconciled the (now much lower) price and you've ordered the latest smartphone - now it's time to turn into a power user.

Here's a round up of the secrets and tips you'll need to know to get the most out of your latest gadget, so read on to go from Android amateur to Nexus know-it-all.

1. Reclaim the comma

One of the first irritations you'll encounter with the Google Nexus S is the lack of a comma - the keyboard has a voice search icon where the oft-used symbol should be.

Nexus s settings

But there's a way to reclaim it - head into Settings, and choose Language and Keyboard. Tap Android Keyboard and in there you'll see a dropdown menu labelled Voice input.

From here you can select whether the voice search icon is on the front screen, the symbol menu or delete it altogether - and more importantly, the comma is back where it belongs.

2. Inbuilt battery graph

A massive problem for smartphones is the battery maintenance - so many devices have offered such poor battery life that some have been rendered virtually unusable.

The Nexus S isn't that bad in terms of holding its charge, but if you want to see what's happening with your battery, the phone comes with a battery graph built in.

Nexus s battery graph

Simply go into Settings, then tap About Phone. Open Battery Use and hit the smaller battery graph at the top - this then opens up into a fully-fledged graph complete with information on how fast your power depleted and what the phone was doing at the time.

3. Get rid of unwanted apps quickly

You probably know already how to uninstall applications on the phone in the menu system.

But this can take a while, and ultimately frustrate you into leaving some apps that you didn't reach.

But if you open up the Android Market, you'll see a Downloads tab that shows you everything you've nabbed from Google's portal.

Nexus s uninstall apps

Choose any of these and the option to Uninstall is present in the bottom right-hand corner - the list is easier to access and quicker to use, and you can give feedback to the developer on why you uninstalled it too.

4. Boost your media experience

The media experience on the Android 2.3 platform is unfortunately not that good natively - incompatibility with many file types and basic operation mar the experience.

For music, we recommend MixZing - it has all the features of the Android experience but also has Genius-like abilities to mix a playlist based on a single song choice, as well as a decent inbuilt EQ make it a real step up.

Nexus s media

For movies, mVideo Player is the one we reach for instantly whenever we pick up an Android phone. The powerful player has a high level of file compatibility, multiple bookmark options and even a slider for brightness management.

You can even see the clock when viewing a video if you so wish - an oft-overlooked feature.

5. Unlock the power of voice

We mentioned we didn't like the voice input icon on the keyboard, but that doesn't mean we aren't fans of voice search.

From calling and navigation to text entry and Google searching, your voice can be activated by simply holding down the search key.

Nexus s voice search

If you're already in an application (say text message editor) you can hit the icon to simply say your text - although you'd have to ask whether a phone call makes more sense at this point.

6. Stop the constant sipping

We've mentioned battery management earlier - and there's a way you can stop it plummeting downhill instantly.



Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.