Google Nexus S review

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

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Google Nexus S review: Interface

As we've already heard about 27,000 times, the Google Nexus S is rocking Gingerbread (or Android 2.3). What does this mean in terms of an update? Not that much, if we're honest.

It's especially true when it comes to the Nexus S, which is more ready for future technology than anything else.

Google nexus s review

But it's still the same old Android interface essentially, with a slick feel under the finger and the notifications bar you drag down from the top to see email, text and music updates as and when they land.

Another feature of the new Android 2.3 operating system is an improved efficiency around power management. This is achieved by Android keeping an eye on which applications are running in the background and shutting them down if they step out of line.

Given the Google Nexus S is also rocking a Samsung 1GHz Hummingbird processor in the background (which offers up some fantastic speeds) we weren't surprised to see judder or freezing kept to a minimum.

However, they weren't completely eradicated – there were times when background applications could still bring the phone to a halt, be it on the lock screen or swiping around the Home screens.

We know that the root of this was often applications we downloaded messing about in the background, but still – we expected an iPhone-like flawless experience.

Another big problem - our review unit was subject to some random shutting down for no reason at times - be it in the music player, making a call or just sitting on the desk. Google is aware of this problem and promises an imminent fix, but overall we're not impressed by this fundamental flaw.

Other than a few improvements, there's not a lot more to talk about in the new Android OS.

Google nexus s review

The user interface has been tweaked slightly – things like a black and green notifications bar (which changes to grey on the odd occasion, seemingly depending on which app you're in) are a nice touch, as are menus that 'bleed' into the main display – but overall it's nothing special.

We're still treated to the cool 3D scrolling menus, which the dedicated GPU handles with aplomb, and five Home screens aren't that much to write home about.

Google nexus s review

The amount of widgets on offer from Google needs to be improved – the power control offering is the only one we really care about.

The music widget is tiny and ultimately terrible compared to the ones you can download from alternative players, although the news and weather offering isn't too bad provided you've set up your RSS feeds correctly.

Being able to rate places such as restaurants and businesses is cool though – it's a new offering we haven't seen yet and allows a quick star score to be put through about nearby vendors.

Google nexus s review

One thing that everyone is talking about though – the 'TV Off' style animation for the lock screen, where the image shuts down to a thin line then to a small point, in the same way as CRT televisions of old.

Is it useful? No. Is it a real crowd-pleaser that epitomises what makes modern smartphones so cool? Yes. And for that we love it.

But overall, we're not as impressed with the Google Nexus S interface as we have been with other phones. The lag aside, the offering from the Galaxy S is much better (with pull down power control and music control from the notifications bar) and HTC's Sense is just as slick with more widgets and the awesome Leap View too.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height123.9 mm
Width63 mm
Depth10.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time650 Hour
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 Address
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