Android Samsung Nexus S Phone Review


I made the leap to the Nexus S phone manufactured by Samsung with collaboration from Google. Here is a great link to Google's site It is a great phone. It competes feature to feature with everything the iphone. And the Nexus comes free from all the carrier loaded software that removes the clean Android experience. I can also do new things like use my phone as a wifi hotspot without any additional cost. My 3 month update is below.

Here were a few of my concerns:

Integration with Exchange including email, calendar and contacts. This has been a major issue with every release of Android as far as I am concerned because the solution required third party software. The new 2.3 Gingerbread release has seamless integration just like iphone. I was told by others that 2.2 Froyo had good integration as well but this is my first Android phone. Early generations of Android were lacking. Even calendar is perfectly integrated. No worries here.

Integration with itunes. Like most, my entire music collection now resides inside of Apple's closed ecosystem of itunes. Fortunately the folks at DoubleTwist have got a solution that seems to work really well for me so far. There is a small client to install on your machine with itunes that syncs with your playlists and library. You then download an app on the Android phone. Doubletwist takes care of the rest. They have an option to either pay $5 for wireless sync while you are on your local wireless LAN which is nice (and I did) or you can plug into your machine. This means that I am actually less tethered to my machine with Android than I was with my iphone. Nice.

Apps. I have not found a single app that I use on iphone that isn't available in the Android marketplace. I am a heavy user of apps because I invest in the ecosystem so I try a lot of stuff out from utilities to games. The only app I couldn't get was my surf report app from Surfline. I am sure it will be in the store soon.

My final concern is service. Currently the phone is sold by Best Buy with a contract from TMobile for $199 or without contract for $529. I have TMobile (was an ATT user) and I am still trying out their service. Time will tell. I figure worst case is that I break the contract and move back to ATT. I wish it was supported on the Verizon network.

If you have been waiting to get on the Android platform, your phone has arrived.

For those readers who want another opinion that is less positive you can check out SF examiner here which gives the phone a lukewarm review. The major drawbacks are service provider (T Mobile) and somewhat outdated Samsung Galaxy platform including a less than state of the art camera (doesn't shoot in HD etc.). I have concerns about T Mobile as well so time will tell. The camera seems fine to me for what I use it for - and was a huge step up from the iphone 3GS.

Please post questions or comments. Would be great to share with others. I did a lot of research and have been looking to switch for a year or more.

3 Month Update

I want to give an update now having owned the Nexus S for 3 months.

First the things that I think are lacking on the platform

(1) GPS is weak. For some reason, software or hardware my GPS location is not as robust and reliable with the Nexus S. While there were claims that Samsung fixed the problem on the Galaxy platform with the Nexus phone, its not a great fix. Others have noted the problem as well like TechRadar

(2) While 99% of the applications that I use are in the android marketplace, there are a couple that are not like Surfline, which only builds its surf application for iOS

Good news for Google, Samsung and T-Mobile is that the list of additional reasons I like the platform is much longer.

(1) The four hotkeys at the bottom of the phone are fantastic. They make quick navigation much better. I think this is a major design advantage

(2) larger screen area. While probably only a few square centimeters in difference, I can tell when I go back to using my old iphone which I use as a media player in my living room now.

(3) Integration with Picassa and the Gallery is fantastic. Now I use Picassa so I am biased but its really a great free service.

(4) Navigation rocks. Google Navigation is an outstanding application. There are challenges with the GPS signal from time to time but it doesn't take away from the application.

(5) Notifications in the upper left hand part of the screen are great. You know when you have mail and texts all the time. Its not intrusive and is a good way to keep me informed without having to go to the application.

(6) Performance is great. The phone is very fast and has good battery life.

6 Month Update

I want to give an update now having owned the Nexus S for 6 months.

First of all - let me say again. I have never once thought about going back to an iphone. Not once. As far as I am concerned, the Nexus S platform coupled with Gingerbread leveled the playing field. There are many other high quality phones now as well to choose from like the Verizon Thunderbolt. In fact the Nexus S doesn't even make the top 10 anymore on some websites. For those wondering - I still really like the Nexus because of its clean Android install and integration with Google. But its a personal preference. Here is a good list :

My biggest gripe is that the GPS is weak. This was a poor decision by Samsung probably driven by cost and it is a big disappointment. Location based services are key for a phone (for me) and the GPS now is almost as important as voice.

The biggest new advantage for the phone is Google+ integration. It is awesome. Google did a great job with the app. The integration with photo uploads for example makes sharing pictures just that much easier. Some say Google+ is just incrementally better than Facebook - but I will tell you the Google+ app on Android is much better than the Facebook App.

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Comments 5 comments

Brendon Floyd profile image

Brendon Floyd 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK


i should get a nexus

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

How about battery life? Is the battery removable?

Ryan Floyd profile image

Ryan Floyd 5 years ago Author

So far battery life is great

Battery is removable so add that to the list of improvements over the iphone

I have been diligent about killing tasks so maybe that has helped...

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

I'd really like to see how much of the difference in performance between my N1 (2.2 Froyo) and the NS (2.3 Gingerbread) is due to the OS. I should get an OTA update in the next week or two.

But the extended battery life is a pretty compelling reason to upgrade...or at least buy a new battery.

Ren Chin profile image

Ren Chin 5 years ago

nice hub - i am tempted to get a nexus S now. glad to hear there is a decent itunes/music solution

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