Photo: Sam Spratt, Lifehacker
I test a lot of Android phones, too many to keep track of. Recently, there have been times where I’m juggling as many as three separate devices for review at the same time.It’s easy to forget which phone is which. Despite so many manufacturers making Android devices, most have boiled them down to a set of standard features: four-inch screen, 1 GHz or faster processor, and those four little function buttons at the bottom.
Out of all the Android phones I’ve used, the Nexus S was the only one that truly grabbed my attention. So when I had the opportunity to buy an Android phone, that’s the one I chose.
Before I babble on about why the Nexus S impresses me so much, you should know I’m primarily an iPhone user. I have been since 2007, and it would take something drastic for me to make the switch to Android full time. Right now I have the iPhone 4, and it is the best phone I have ever used.
That being said, the Nexus S comes in at a close second.
It’s the perfect combination of a clean Android OS, light design, and quality build. (I’ve always been a fan Samsung’s high-quality products). I love that it’s unlocked, and the customisation options are better than any other device.
I’ve spent over a week with the Nexus S (not counting the two weeks I had one in December for my review), and while I don’t think it will ever replace my iPhone, it’s still my favourite Android phone by a long shot.
After almost four months, it's pretty ridiculous that only two phones run Gingerbread right now: The Nexus S and Nexus One. Luckily, the Nexus has a clean version of Android, meaning it isn't bogged down with crapware from the the manufacturer or carrier.
Too many manufacturers tweak Android to the point where it has become fragmented and difficult for some developers to make apps for. While some modifications like HTC's Sense skin look nice, I still prefer to use Android the way Google intended it. For that, the Nexus S is the best and only choice.
Another problem with Android phones from other manufacturers is that you have to wait for them to adapt each new version of Android to their phone. That's why so many HTC, Motorola, and Samsung owners are still itching for Gingerbread while Nexus owners like me have been enjoying it for months.
With the Nexus S, each new version is ready to go right away, meaning you're the first to get the shiny new dessert-themed update directly from Google.
Since I now switch between two phones, I love that the Nexus S is unlocked right out of the box. All you have to do is pop your SIM card in the back and you're good to go. The model I have will only work with GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, but that's great for travellers since most international carriers use GSM too. If you find yourself abroad and don't want to pay your U.S. carrier up the nose for international service, you can just buy a pay-as-you go SIM card and use that in the Nexus S.
Gingerbread improved on Google's already excellent voice recognition system. I've had no problem dictating text messages, emails, or URLs into the phone. It picks up your natural voice as long as you speak clearly and it rarely makes a mistake.
I'm spoiled by the iPhone 4's sturdy metal and glass design, so at first the Nexus S seemed pretty flimsy with it's plastic covering. But like most Samsung products, it holds together nicely. It's also incredibly light, yet doesn't feel hollow like some other Android phones. You can tell Google and Samsung spent their time designing this thing.
The first thing people say when I show them the Nexus S is 'Wow, the screen is bright!' And that's true. Samsung excels at making clear, high-quality displays, and the Super AMOLED display on the Nexus S is no different. The resolution isn't quite as good as the iPhone 4's, but it is more than good enough for watching video and playing high-res games.
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