Google Nexus S review

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

The definitive Google Nexus S review
The definitive Google Nexus S review

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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.


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.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.