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Google Nexus S

Yes, Mr Apple has bought a Google Nexus S.

 

The Box is well, come on, it's a complete rip-off of the iPhone 3Gs box. As the readers of this blog may know, the Nexus S is a "With Google" Android phone. This means that you don't get garbage like Samsung's TouchWiz or Motorola's Blur preinstalled. It also means that you'll get the fastest software upgrades directly from Google. The Nexus S is also the first phone to run Gingerbread, the most recent version of Android.

 

So, why did I get one? Here are the reasons:

-     My iPhone is unlocked. I need to sign up with a new carrier anyways, so why not try something new while I'm at it?
-     I wanted to go with T-Mobile because of their cheaper plans and iPhone compatibility (despite lack of 3G support with iPhone).
-     When I worked at Google last year, I did a bit of Android related stuff. I realized that I knew nothing about Android and felt some shame.
-     I don't want people calling me an Apple fanboy any more. ;)

 

So, here it is. Gingerbread is awesome. I'm not going to do a software review, there are better places for that. Here are some general thoughts on Android though:

-     Gingerbread is actually kind of pretty. Can't say that about many of the apps though.
-     Despite the Nexus S being one of the fastest phones, Android still feels a bit sluggish compared to iOS.
-     You'll have to become close friends with the task manager.
-     I love how customizable/open it is.

 

The Nexus S is essentially the same phone as the Samsung Galaxy S.

 

The most unique thing about this phone is the "contour" glass display. As far as I can tell, it's a completely superfluous addition.

 

I've been examining the display for the past few days and as far as I can tell, the display itself isn't actually curved, only the glass is.

 

The glass isn't of iPhone quality, you can see how the curving has resulted in some imperfections, especially around the earpiece.

 

As I have said, this phone is very similar to the Galaxy S. This means that the phone is also made of this very nasty plastic. It's especially disturbing when you consider that the Nexus One had brilliant build quality.

 

Why Samsung why? This photo really shows how plastic this phone is. You remove the bendy backplate by just tearing it off the phone with your fingernails. Not pleasant.

 

I'm so happy that I went with a "pure" Google experience. Android is pretty spectacular... only if manufacturers stopped messing with it.

 

It's a bit big.

 

Make your pick.

 

Now, this is the biggest annoyance; the display. The internet has been full of complaints saying that the phone has a yellow-tint to it. This is very true. You don't notice it at first but once you do, you'll notice it every time you use the phone. The photo doesn't do a very good job of showing this, the camera just isn't the same as our eyes.

 

The display is a Super AMOLED. Samsung likes to proudly present it as the greatest display in the world, but it simply isn't. OLEDs were great when LCDs sucked but these days I feel that LCDs (especially IPS displays) offer superior color reproduction and clarity.

 

The either edges of the display also have this weird color bleeding (green on left, red on right). Strange.

 

Now, I'm slightly bitter about the phone itself. All of my complaints would be waived if the phone was one of the modern HTC phones. It's strange that Google chose to go with Samsung to replace the Nexus One.

 

All of my complaints vanish as soon as I use Android though. Excuse my language but it's fucking brilliant. Just try using Google Voice and Navigations and you'll seriously consider switching from iOS.

 

The 4 buttons on the bottom are touch and are lit very dimly. I constantly press them by accident, would much prefer a tactile button layout like that of the HTC Desire.

 

It's hard to explain the difference in character between iOS and Android. I think I've found a fine example though; When I load my blog on the iPhone and Nexus S:

 

iPhone: Loads about 70~80% but is super smooth to scroll and pan.
Nexus S: Loads everything but is jittery and lags.