I have been using Samsung Google Nexus S for a couple of weeks now and here’s my review of the phone. This is also a review of Android because this is my first Android phone. After comparing various phones I finally chose Nexus S mainly for its 16GB in built storage, screen size and price.
Phone is awesome!
The display, the touch, the responsiveness – everything is superlative! Display is bright and does not strain the eyes even after prolonged use. The screen is feather touch. Although it takes a while to get used to! In the beginning you end up doing random stuff because you touch some or the other part of the screen. The phone doesn’t look too big even though it has a 4″ display. The size is perfect for web browsing and playing games.
I spent first couple of days browsing and installing tons of apps on my phone. Since this is a developer phone it doesn’t come with many pre-installed apps. Only the default Google apps. I took some advice from my friends already using Android and downloaded many apps and games. Finding apps on Android Market and installing them is a snap. The first app I downloaded was Talking Tom. Finding and installing new software for phone had never been so easy on my Windows Mobile or Symbian phones.
As soon as I connected my phone to the Internet I got notification about Android 2.3.4 upgrade being available and I upgraded without a hitch. It was as smooth as installing any other software. I guess that’s one benefit of having a developer phone. You get the first shot at OS upgrades. Android is amazing. It is fast, responsive and lightweight. The thing I liked the most is that I can replace virtually every bit of phone’s software if I wish. I tried my hand at a bit of Android development as well and I was up and running with my first Hello World app in no time. It wasn’t long before I started playing with notifications and vibrations. If something has given me goose bumps at 3 in the night in a long time then it’s Android!
Nexus S has become my preferred device for casual browsing. I no longer trouble my laptop to check emails, read blogs, check Facebook and Twitter. I used to do many of these things on my E72 as well but thanks to Nexus S’ 4 inch screen the experience is as good as that on desktop. The stock Android browser is really good although I quickly installed Firefox and Opera Mobile too. I didn’t like Firefox much but Opera mobile is a gem. It’s better in many ways than the default browser. Although default browser is better at displaying Google’s own sites. I use them both. The best part I like about browsing is that when the pages load I get to see the preview of the whole page and then I can simply double tap on the part of the web page I wish to read and the browser will zoom at that location. The experience is unparalleled.
I was thinking of getting a tablet on my birthday for a better browsing experience but maybe I won’t need one now me thinks.
The phone scored an impressive 1392 on Quadrant benchmark test. The first test I ran showed more than 1400 but that was before I had installed tons of apps. This shows that the 1GHz processor has some meat and is capable of doing some heavy duty stuff. Neocore score of 55 however was not that good.
Camera is ok. I have seen better and worse cameras on phones. The 5 MegaPixel one on Nexus S is better than the one on E72 I think but still not as good as the one found on Nokia N series or Sony Ericsson phones. The box shot on top is taken with the phone’s cam. Click on the photo to view the original full sized photo. 720p video recording is cool.
Wi-Fi is not that good, phone keeps dropping signal at my home. My Nokia E72 was better than this one. Also 3G speeds and phone signal reception is not up to the mark. My phone is virtually useless for talking in my office where signals are very weak. Not being able to use a phone for making calls is terrible. I don’t know when Wi-Fi on mobile devices will become as good as on laptops.
Too much integration with Google
Google forces you to associate the phone with a Google account. Unless you do that you won’t be able to add contacts to your phone! That sucks! You cannot add contacts directly to the phone. You have to select an account for that! That’s bad!! I like the good old way of adding contacts just to phone. And then it syncs with your Google Contacts. That means every single person whom you had ever sent an email from your GMail will show up on the phone! WTF! Yes I can hide the contacts and show only those with phone numbers but still…. it’s junk data on phone and I don’t like it.
Lack of dedicated hardware buttons
There should have been a dedicated camera key and dedicated keys for accepting and rejecting a call. Dragging a green ball across the screen to receive a call is not the optimal way on a large screen phone especially with one hand. The feel of hard keys to make and disconnect calls cannot be matched by soft ones. May be I will get used to it as the time goes.
Speaker sound is very low.
Ah boy! Nothing can match Sony Ericsson phones in terms of sound quality. Both the near ear speaker and the loud speaker. The alarm sound is not enough to wake you up in the morning.
No easy way of synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook
This was shocking! I was not able to sync my Outlook contacts with the phone for nearly a day! I liked it with my Nokia E72, iMate JAMin and SE K750i, whenever I would connect my phone to comp through USB it would sync my Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks and also update phone date time. Samsung did not provide any software or drivers for connecting the phone to computer. I tried Samsung Kies but it didn’t work. Tried some other lousy ways like exporting all contacts as vCards and importing them in phone it didn’t work either. I never had so much trouble in past when I changed phones. Eventually I had to sync my contacts with my Google account using Go Outlook Sync Mod and then I was able to get them on my phone.
There are some paid products for synchronizing Outlook with Android over USB but they are outrageously priced at $35 and above. This gave me an idea for a product for Android. Outlook sync for Android. There are millions of Outlook users who must be having similar problems. May be I can build a product for them and price it reasonably say somewhere around $5.
Overall I am quite impressed and satisfied with the Samsung Google Nexus S despite some of the drawbacks. I mainly use it for browsing and the device does a phenomenal job there. Talking Tom and Angry Birds are a bonus! :)