Nexus S: PART 1

January 19, 2011

One of my New Year's resolutions was to give Google's smart-phone operating system another chance, after the miserable experience I had with the G1 – the first device running on Android to be released to the market – two years ago.

And to ensure the ultimate experience, I started using the Nexus S, the newest Android smart-phone manufactured by Samsung and designed by Google itself. It is one of the first devices with the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which brought many improvements to the user interface and great support to the latest gaming technologies. This has made it easier for developers to bring their best hits to the platform.

Luckily, this is the best device that someone from the iPhone world can test because of two main reasons. The first is similarity, as there are not too many physical buttons on the Nexus S, just the power/switch button and the volume control button.

Secondly, this device runs Android without any additional software 'bloatware,' which is usually added by device manufacturers to personalise the normal Android interface and enhance functionality. Although these enhancements are good, they dilute the pure Android experience, adding updates to the system's firmware instantly whenever they are released by Google.

I started using the device two weeks ago just to write about it in particular and about Android in general. And what an experience it was, far different from the iPhone, filled with impressions and a little disappointment. Part one of the review will be about the screen, structure and performance while part two will be about the camera, battery, the things I didn't like, and the final judgement.

The first thing that will nail your attention after unpacking the Nexus S is how slim and lightweight the device is, although the screen is bigger than most of the smart-phones released in the market nowadays.
The moment you switch it on and enter your Google account details, you will notice how clear and impressive the screen is (of course, after you remove the transparent cover). It is the most beautiful mobile phone screen I have seen in terms of purity, clarity and colour. All the credit goes to the Super AMOLED screen which is brighter, reflects less sunlight and consumes less power as compared to the normal AMOLED screens.
Contrary to my belief that the large size of the screen (four inches) will be bothersome, the experience of surfing the Internet was the most comfortable and enjoyable. Something else about the screen: It is not flat, but a curved glass touch-screen with a 'contour display' to produce a wider viewing angle. I personally felt it was easier to slide my finger over it. This may distinguish the devices to be manufactured by Samsung in the future.

The form and structure of the device is like Samsung's Galaxy S, but with a bigger screen and softer curved edges. As I mentioned, there are fewer buttons on the device as compared to others, especially the main 'enter' button or scrolling, which makes the device look good, and shows that there is a need for the 'OK' button on most Android phones.
The performance of the device is really stunning, with smooth transition while navigating through menus, and instant launching of apps and games. All thanks to the 1GHz Hummingbird processor and the 512MB RAM, which help you notice at a glance that it is better than any Android device released before.

If you have used an Android system before, or even if this is your first time, you'll notice the speed and smoothness in the overall system. I ran many applications while an animated background 'live wallpaper' was running, and did not notice any performance malfunction.
The touch-screen responds well, but interferes sometimes when using the multi-touch. It is mostly a software, rather than a hardware problem.