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Google Nexus S Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Camera:

Lacking a dedicated shutter key to instantly launch the camera application, we're resorted to going through the app tray to get it up and running. Once that's accomplished, we find ourselves in the familiar stock camera interface of Android. Sadly, there isn't much in terms of settings or manual controls that are found with some of the variants of the Samsung Galaxy S. Rather, it's basically few and far in between that only provides the most basic elements to be modified – like resolution, white balance, and focus. And no, there is no touch focus option on board with this one, but instead, you'll have to rely on using the virtual shutter button.

Camera intreface - Google Nexus S Review
Camera intreface - Google Nexus S Review
Camera intreface - Google Nexus S Review
Camera intreface - Google Nexus S Review

Camera intreface


Shockingly, we're a bit surprised to see that the Nexus S, which happens to share a lot of things with the Samsung Galaxy S, failing in delivering the stunning photos that its distant cousins dish up. Photo enthusiasts will easily want to look elsewhere after using the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera on board with the smartphone. In outdoor shots, it manages to capture a moderate amount of detail, but its cool looking output doesn't accurately portray the colors it's supposed to reproduce. Conversely with indoor shots with poor lighting, there is a distinguishable amount of noise evident in its shots. However, its LED flash somehow manages to illuminate the scenery decently, but the image still looks a bit overexposed. In addition, the flash produces a pinhole like effect in conditions where it's completely dark – and it's more evident when shooting something more than 5 feet away.

Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review
Samples taken with the Google Nexus S - Google Nexus S Review

Samples taken with the Google Nexus S


Strong - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review
Medium - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review
Low light - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review

Strong

Medium

Low light

3ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review
5ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review
7ft - Darkness with flashIndoor samples - Google Nexus S Review

3ft

5ft

7ft

Darkness with flash
Indoor samples


With its lack of support for shooting 720p videos, it essentially solidifies itself as an unlikely candidate for anyone looking to capture high definition videos. Somehow, it's almost unfathomable to find a respected device like this one to omit that feature, but sadly this is the reality of things. Only able to shoot at a maximum resolution of 720 x 480, which is DVD like quality, it doesn't conjure up anything spectacular seeing that it lacks continuous auto-focus. Instead, we're greeted to some blurry looking videos when things are captured up close and personal – but luckily it manages to shoot at a frame rate of 29 fps which looks decently smooth. However, its output is reduced to a dismal 16 frames per second in low lighting environments which basically blurs any fast or abrupt movements.

Google Nexus S Sample Video:




Multimedia:

Much like many of the apps we've seen thus far, the Gallery app doesn't boast any new or exciting functionality that we haven't experienced already. As a whole, the interface is still visually alluring with its 3D like views for all you media content and the implementation of its background image. Sharing is the name of the game with Android as you'll have the option to send photo in an email or text message, or instead, shoot it directly straight to your favorite choice of social networking services. Besides that, there is a limited amount of editing options you can do with photos – like cropping or rotating them.

The Gallery app - Google Nexus S Review
The Gallery app - Google Nexus S Review
The Gallery app - Google Nexus S Review
The Gallery app - Google Nexus S Review

The Gallery app


Obviously, it would've been nice to see Android music player interface upgraded – even if they're just some minor cosmetic changes. Nevertheless, we're still presented with the usual stock music player that proves itself in being more than functional. Only providing the bare essentials without any glitzy looking effects, the music player displays the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. Unfortunately, it lacks some advanced music playback functions like visualizations or equalizer settings to enhance the overall experience. Thankfully though, its speaker is able to emit resounding and audible tones without being irritating to the ear.

We're presented with the usual stock music player - Google Nexus S Review
We're presented with the usual stock music player - Google Nexus S Review

We're presented with the usual stock music player


Considering that this is a powerful smartphone, it would've been shocking to see it doing anything but offering an exceptional video watching experience. Combing its ridiculously gorgeous looking Super AMOLED display and lightning fast processor, even the most demanding videos played without much stutter. In fact, we're able to watch a movie trailer encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution in full fidelity without any problems. Not only does it chug along at a swift rate, but the iridescent colors emitted by its display will literally make your eyes glow with awe.

The Google Nexus S offers an exceptional video watching experience - Google Nexus S Review
The Google Nexus S offers an exceptional video watching experience - Google Nexus S Review

The Google Nexus S offers an exceptional video watching experience


Unlike its Samsung Galaxy S counterparts, the Google Nexus S lacks a microSD card slot to supplement its internal storage. Alternatively, it packs 16GB on internal memory which should suffice the needs of even the heaviest intensive user out there.


Software:

One of the nicer things about the vanilla experience of this Android 2.3 powered device is the fact that it doesn't include any of the bloatware apps commonly pre-installed on other handsets. Rather, we're only presented with the core Google experience apps that are commonly found on just about every Android device – these include things like Google Earth, Google Talk, Google Voice, and Google Maps.

The latest version of Google Maps is quite inviting now that it boasts some striking new features to truly provide an all-in-one solution for everyone out there. First and foremost, the new 3D rendering views on buildings will accurately portray the visual representation of a city in the palm of your hands. The new feature is quite astonishing as the handset quickly renders building on the fly and without much wait, however, not all places will have 3D views – only some major cities across the globe. Secondly, there are some additional gestures in use which will allow you to pan and rotate the map to your liking – giving you complete control on how you navigate on the map. And finally, losing connection to the network won't be such a detrimental thing anymore since it will pre-cache the map when you're using turn-by-turn directions with Google Maps Navigation.

Google Earth - The new Google Maps offers 3D rendering views on buildings - Google Nexus S Review
The new Google Maps offers 3D rendering views on buildings - Google Nexus S Review
The new Google Maps offers 3D rendering views on buildings - Google Nexus S Review

Google Earth

  

The new Google Maps offers 3D rendering views on buildings


When it comes to gaming, there's no denying that the Google Nexus S is going to be a beast in that department – but even more when it sports a built-in gyroscope to enhance your control. Even though the offerings are limited to only a handful of games right now, we'd imagine that additional developers will eventually begin to make use of this nifty thing. Outside of that, there is no game that the Google Nexus S can't handle – thanks to its powerful, yet optimized processor.

Lastly, the Android Market will be the place you want to visit to download a cornucopia of third party apps to to deepen your handset's capabilities. From pleasure to productivity apps, there are a wide array of apps to choose from to keep you situated and content with the handset. Fortunately, you can update apps simultaneously as opposed to the old school process of manually doing each one.

Android Market - Google Nexus S Review

Android Market



17 Comments
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posted on 20 Dec 2010, 09:34 2

1. Awesome14Axel (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


they forgot to put no HSPA+
No SD card slot
no camera button
no HD video recording
and isn't revolutionary

posted on 20 Dec 2010, 11:30 7

2. gomets15217 (Posts: 38; Member since: 13 Jul 2008)


-nobody cares about HSPA+
-they mentioned no sd card
-thats relatively unimportant.
-they mentioned that as well
-and it is, just not a game changer.

they ignored the fact that the curved glass screen was implemented because 'research' showed that it made the phone easier to use. it wasnt for aesthetics or to make it look pretty.

they ignored the new gyroscope sensors.

they didnt discuss the nfc chip at all besides the fact that, well its there.

basically, they talked about it from the point of view of someone who just wants the newest, most 'high end' phone so they can shoot of tech stats to their friends who dont know what the words mean either. these reviews are really getting pathetic. =/

posted on 20 Dec 2010, 13:44 1

3. kristoferallen (Posts: 34; Member since: 23 Jun 2010)


There were many reasons they went with a curved display but it definitely wasn't for looks like you said. It also keeps the screen from getting scratched when placed on its face.

I actually like the fact that there isn't an sd card and its all just internal. I have always hated sd cards although I guess there are a few who need more then 16 gb, I have no idea who.

The biggest thing I am excited about with this phone is the development. That makes the opportunity for games a lot more exciting. I think 2011 is going to be where Android sets itself as a competitor in the handheld gaming and this phone is going to help.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 06:29

19. XrandomdroidX (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Jul 2011)


i reread this in 2011 right now and what u said was true :D the number of apps is slowly but surely going to beat the number of apps in ios furthermore, theres the nexus prime to look forward too...

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 03:47

20. eyad_996 (Posts: 29; Member since: 10 Jul 2012)


You were right about that NFC chip back in 2010, i don't think it had many uses back then, now, 2012, it's changing everything, you should become a reviewer man, you've got something!

posted on 17 Feb 2011, 13:07

13. Tucknoloji (unregistered)


Nexus S with Stock Gingerbread, does not have the Zoom option..... can anyone ported latest version of Android???

posted on 20 Dec 2010, 19:06

4. McFoster (unregistered)


This phone has down right pissed me the hell off. I was fine with the battery taking 8 hours to charge from nearly 0 to full. I was fine with the fact that it has no HD recording. I was fine with the fact that the call volume was pretty low. The straw that broke the camels back was that picture messaging on the phone isn't working at all and no one on any customer service end has a reason why. Samsung told me to piss off after being on hold for 45 minutes. Those god damn Indians at T-Mobile told me to piss off and call Samsung. Google really must have wanted this phone to fail in terms of sales if they went with Samsung.

posted on 21 Dec 2010, 00:41

5. kristoferallen (Posts: 34; Member since: 23 Jun 2010)


Picture messaging works perfect. I have had 5 pictures since the phone came out. If picture messaging doesn't work though then have them email it to you. If they don't have a phone with email then its probably not that great of a picture lol, jk. But I haven't had any problems so reset your phone and make sure your data is on. It is not a phone issue so it must be something that isn't turned on or some other of the many things it could be.

posted on 01 Feb 2011, 04:41

11. johnConor (unregistered)


Somebody give dis guy a dumb kitchen sink phone..Nexus S is probably smarter than u,stop usin it..n i thought ignorance is bliss..apparently it ain't

posted on 27 Apr 2011, 04:33

15. HB (unregistered)


If the goddamn Indians told you to piss off they probably thought that you are as dumb as you look. No need to be racist simply cos your phone isnt working, which is most probably because you don't have the brains to use it

posted on 23 Dec 2010, 05:37 1

6. jomonsosjoseph (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Dec 2010)


Hello all.

The Google Nexus S has already received its first over the air upgrade - we'll break the news to you now: it's not Android Honeycomb.

The new file from Google apparently updates bugs and upgrades to the latest version of maps - although we're not sure how much it changes if you already have the new fancy Google Maps for Android version 5 already downloaded.

Looking through the internal changes over on EDA Developers Forum, it seems the only changes are to the framework and Maps programs, so this isn't going to be a massive overhaul - although early indications show a slight lag in the browser appears to have been fixed.

posted on 25 Dec 2010, 08:03 3

7. celldude (unregistered)


its better 2 have ne Galaxy S with 2.3 update

posted on 28 Dec 2010, 16:12

8. Oliver (unregistered)


Was the sample video taken at Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville, NJ? If not, there's an imposter mall out there!

posted on 05 Jan 2011, 22:32

10. ThatHarlemKat (Posts: 2; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)


I lost my Nexus One in a cab while visiting family in NYC during the Christmas holiday (Engraved Garry J Murray on back) Anyway, I figured to make the most of my misfortune by replacing it with a Nexus S "upgrade" I went into Best Buy and had my first up close, hands on with the device and changed my mind. It is a light, plastic, cheap feeling phone. No HSPA+ (4G), NO SD memory, No deal!. It just reminded me of my sister's galaxy S. I instead went to T-mobile and picked up the finely designed, well crafted HTC G2. A beautiful phone that more closely resembles the Nexus One than the Nexus S does. Feature rich, wi-fi calling, mobile hotspot, 4G, physical keyboard, can expand to 32 GB. Best decision I could have made. I really WANTED to like the Nexus S, it just fell short in my opinion.

posted on 02 May 2011, 21:05 1

16. larry56 (unregistered)


Seems you really wanted something like N1 which a great phone. I returned my T-Mobile G2 back to T-Mobile after one month of pain. Yes, quality materials, beautiful gadget. Good to play with...but horrible as a phone. Loudspeaker i is terrible , people laugh when they hear it. It is almost completely not usable outside. Background abient noises, voices and static noise of most incoming calls are awful. Overexposed, static sound is very high and you can hear all kinds of noises coming from the earpiece, expecially when the connection is not very good and phone tries to compensate by increasing the background noises. Do not recommend for conference calls . I called HTC and they admitted the problem, received 2 replacement phones from T-Mobile but they have the same issue. On the other hand Nexus S has excellent call quality and loudspeaker but cheap plastic exterior. My Nexus S crashed because of incompatible applications with new Gingerbread. I had to return the phone to BestBuy for replacement because Samsung coudn't help me to fix it over the phone. It looks like all new models are released not fully tested just to get a grip over the competition and attract new customers by highly advertised new features and later on they try to fix them after months of complains ONLY if the model sells good. My advice , buy 1 or 2 old phone model and you wan't regret it. And read the complains before that....

posted on 20 Sep 2011, 06:36

17. ROB KEVIN (unregistered)


Hi Folks,

Bought a brand new Google Nexus s a week ago and yesterday refunded it. With that price not recommended to buy this phone. Battery life is not good and every time you have to be worried about charging it. Sometimes battery doesn't like to charge up to 100 % and keeps on sitting at 97 % despite charging for even 8 hours. Not recommended till the time Google puts in some effort to make the battery life more. You have to turn off multiple features to save battery but whats the fun for buying this phone if you can not run / use the applications.

posted on 15 Oct 2011, 07:28

18. Sachin Dev (unregistered)


Apparently Google Nexus S is gone out of sale right now in India...???
Do yo ppl have any clue about it?

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Google Nexus S

Google Nexus S

OS: Android 4.1.2 4.1.1 4.0.4 4.0.3 4.0.2 2.3.6 2.3.3 2.3
view full specs
Display4.0 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (233 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 3, Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.88 x 2.48 x 0.43 inches
(123.9 x 63 x 10.88 mm)
4.55 oz  (129 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 14 hours talk time

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