Google Nexus S review

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

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Google Nexus S review: Media

The approach for Android has never been one that focused heavily on the media side of things, and that's not really been upgraded for Android 2.3.

There are a couple of tiny tweaks, but if you're looking to get a dedicated media phone, this handset (screen aside) isn't going to give you pause compared to something like the iPhone 4.


Remember the stock Android music player from the T-Mobile G1? Well, not a lot has changed since then, although the UI is a little more attractive now.

The main music display is still mostly album art and easy-to-press buttons for music skipping, but there's not a lot more to talk about than that.

We're not seeing an equaliser (although they do drain the life out of your battery) and there's nothing more exotic than a party shuffle mode to get excited about.

Google nexus s review

Sonically, the Google Nexus S holds its own – bass levels are, at times, non-existent, but for the most part it's eminently usable as a music player.

One irritating thing the Android OS will do to your music: if you've gone through and sorted out your iTunes collection, downloading artwork from Apple's server and the like, the Nexus S won't recognise the picture (because it doesn't tag in the metadata).

Google nexus s review

Instead, it will choose a file with a picture on it, and tag every single song that doesn't have a picture embedded with that image instead, leading to a very amateur-looking media player.


Video on the Google Nexus S looks superb thanks to the WVGA Super AMOLED screen, rocking a full 800 x 480 resolution count.

At full power, the brightness is definitely acceptable for viewing in most situations – we pulled it out on the street and managed to watch footage no matter what the conditions (although we wouldn't recommend it for safety's sake).

Under a lamp and in bright daylight the Google Nexus S' screen was just about visible; that 1.5x brightness increase seems to be correct.

Google nexus s review

Video format support is something more of a worry though, because we weren't able to view the full range of our movie test selections by a long way.

We were told that DivX was supported, but our movie simply wouldn't play. Neither would AVI files, although MP4 seemed to be just tikkity-boo, as you'd imagine, as were 3GP formats.

However, don't go thinking WMV will be an option. It's not, unless you download another media player. The same can be said for video aspect alteration – if something is showing up in 4:3 in the standard Android Media player, it's staying that way, which is irritating for (legally) ripped DVDs that may have gone slightly wonky in encoding - you'll need to get separate software to sort it out.


The Google Nexus S has the same media playback gallery as before – namely it looks awesome, but is pretty much useless.

Don't even think about using this for finding your videos, because the grid view will only show you thumbnails, so working out the names is nigh on impossible unless you head into the file and check the details.

Google nexus s review

Photos are a little better, since you can see the one you're after with a minimum amount of fuss, and in a nicely scrollable view as well that tilts into a third dimension under your finger.

Google nexus s review

However, if you've got a few folders in the Nexus S, you'll have trouble tracking down your pictures at the start because every repository will load up. We'd rather the Nexus S came with a proper file manager or a very simplistic gallery – this is too halfway-house for our liking.

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