After letting out some anger at a certain Australian Postage company, I finally received the Google Nexus S from Vodafone last Friday and have been putting it through its paces ever since. There’ll be a bit of a more in-depth write-up later on, but I thought I’d fill you in on the important details now. Enjoy.
As I first lifted it out of the box, that is almost exactly the same as that of the original Nexus One, I thought that the Nexus S looked both ugly yet appealing at the same time. The front of the device is dark and at some angles it’s impossible to see where the display is situated under the glass, a look that I enjoy. Then you get to the rear of the device and it’s all plastic and cheap feeling, a look I don’t enjoy. The front glass that is slightly curved is a nice touch – very niche – but nice none the less. Everywhere you lay a finger on the device you’ll leave a wonderful oily pattern, which is a shame considering how amazing the front of the device looks when clean. The physical buttons are in about the same spots as the Galaxy S (power on the right, volume on the left) which is either because little design effort was put in, or they were sticking with a winning formula. There is also no notifications LED which drives me up the wall. If you get a text message, email or any form of notification, you’ll only know if you’re close enough to the device to hear it make a noise or if you turn on the display to check the notifications bar. Fail. There’s also currently no use for the NFC chip, so I can’t really say that it’s an amazing feature, for now.
The Nexus S is Google’s flagship device for Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ and in saying that you’ll know that Google has put a shit-tonne of work in to making this work perfect on the device. The software is exceptionally fluid, with animations as smooth as butter and applications load up instantly which is always nice. The browser is where most users will spend a fair amount of time, and I can tell you that it’s very fast though zooming can induce a little bit of lag though it won’t put you off using it. The only other beef I had with the software was with the keyboard, it seems to register touches just above where you press, which did get annoying and lead me to switch keyboards after a couple of days using the Nexus S. The camera works quite well and I’ll have a few shots up soon. The loud-speaker almost sounds like it’s inside a tin can, with hardly any bass at all, though it’s not as bad as the Xperia X10.
There’s no carrier branding whatsoever on the device leading me to believe this is a generic ROM with no carrier mods at all, which will hopefully lead to a quicker update path to Android 2.4+ and all the incremental updates in between. We trust that Vodafone is capable of doing this in a timely manner.
I think what most people want to know is ‘Is this device worth upgrading to from my current device?’. In the case of the Nexus S it’s hard to tell. The hardware isn’t pushing ahead of any of the leading devices on the market at the moment and the software will be coming to these other devices as well. So it really depends on what you currently own, if you own anything above an HTC Desire, don’t bother. If it’s anything else, then by all means head into your local Vodafone store and try one out.
I’m a little ashamed that the Nexus S isn’t really pushing any boundaries like the Nexus One did. I just see it as Samsung quickly making changes (they’ve shown they can do it) to the Galaxy S and hoping for the best. I personally wouldn’t go out and purchase a Nexus S as it seems to be just a novelty device with nothing giving it power and presence above anything else in the market.