- Review Price: £429.99
The Google Nexus S is the first phone to sport the latest version of Google’s Android mobile phone operating system. Android 2.3 Gingerbread packs in a whole host of little and large tweaks including an improved interface, support for Near Field Communication (NFC), better battery management, and improved text editing and typing.
As for the phone, it’s not a massive breakthrough in terms of hardware and is in many ways just a tweaked Samsung Galaxy S. However, it is very competent and combined with the software, it makes for one of the most desirable handsets currently available. You can pick one up for £429.95 SIM free from carphonewarehouse or it can be had for free on £35pm, 24 month contracts on a variety of networks.
The first thing you notice about the Nexus S, aside from its beautifully minimalist design is its curved screen. The very slight concave bow that runs from top to bottom is designed to make the phone easier to grip and nicer to hold against you face while talking, as well as reduce reflections.
With regards the former, the phone does indeed feel exceptionally nice in the hand but this is much more to do with its slightly bottom heavy design and the lip on the back, both of which are independent of the curved screen. As for holding the phone to your face, you can notice the difference, with the mouth piece being nearer your mouth than usual, but we wouldn’t necessarily say it’s better, just different. Far more important to calling comfort is good quality speakers, microphones, and audio circuitry for making calls easier to hear.
Likewise, we didn’t notice a significant reduction in glare and even found it more susceptible in some conditions. Nonetheless, while the curved screen concept isn’t necessarily a revolution, and is arguably just a gimmick, if this is a sign of things to come, it’s no bad thing.
Back to that minimalist design, the front really is quite something. The sheer blackness of the display when off combined with the black bezel, trim, and earpiece-grille looks superb. What’s more, the super-tough Gorilla glass is incredibly resistant to scratches and also shirks fingerprint collecting quite well.
The look of the back is rather nice as well. There isn’t quite the same stark paucity of features as on the front but the mottled design looks nice enough. However, the choice of glossy plastic simply isn’t sensible. Even in the very short time we’ve had this handset, it’s already picked up a few hairline scratches. This can of course be prevented by using a case or potentially changing the backplate if alternatives become available. Even so, we would’ve preferred a slightly more robust and premium feel from the outset. At 124g, the Nexus S is at least deceptively light for its 127 x 63 x 10.88mm dimensions.
Two cameras grace the nexus S with a front facing one nestled next to the earpiece and a 5 megapixel one with autofocus and an LED flash on the back. Sadly there’s no shutter button but what you will find is a power button/screen lock button on the right edge, a volume rocker on the left, and sockets for headphones and microUSB on the bottom.
One complaint we have with many touchscreen smartphones is that they have no buttons on the front that activate the screen, leaving you to stretch to the top edge of the phone where the power/screen lock button is often situated. Not so with the Nexus S, as its side mounted power button is easy to reach with both left and right hands.
Prize the backplate off and you’ll find a 1500mAh battery along with the SIM slot. However there isn’t a microSD slot so you won’t be able to add to the phone’s inbuilt 16GB of storage, which is a bit of a mistake considering Apple already offers a 32GB iPhone.