Nexus S review roundup

Nexus S – the latest Google handset – hits store shelves this week. So how does the Google Nexus S stack up?

Nexus S ships with Google's next-gen Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS.

Nexus S hit store shelves this week, effectively putting the latest Google phone right in the thick of the holiday buying scrum. As we noted recently, the Samsung-built handset is a full-featured machine, from the 4-inch Super AMOLED display, to the 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" OS. (Click here for a look at some of the pricing plans on the Google Nexus S.) So how does the Nexus S stack up?

Pretty well, it turns out. "It seems like every couple of weeks we're saying something along the lines of 'x is the best Android smartphone on the market right now,'" Joshua Topolsky of Engadget wrote in a glowing review of the Nexus S. "We'd like to tell you differently when it comes to the Nexus S, but the truth is, it really is the best Android device available right now." Topolsky reserved particular praise for the Gingerbread OS, and the top-notch voice service.

"The sound quality on the Nexus S is right up there with some of the best phones we've tested," Topolsky noted. "Speakerphone calls and music came through loud and clear over the external speaker, and we were downright wowed with how loud and clear the earpiece sounded. Even when we were having a conversation in a crowded room, the Nexus S pumped out audio that was crystalline to our ears."

Over at SlashGear, Vincent Nguyen says the design of the Nexus S is an improvement over the Nexus One, which was manufactured by HTC. "Out goes HTC’s over-engineered metal chassis and matte-finish casing, replaced by Samsung’s glossy black plastic," Nguyen writes. "It’s a design decision that has earned the Nexus S some criticism, but in the hand it doesn’t feel cheap... We prefer the lightweight Nexus S to [the HTC phone]."

As for the display on the Nexus S, Nguyen says it's "beautiful" – a "color-saturated panel with inky blacks and crisp edges."

"In daily use," he writes, "there’s little difference between it and the iPhone 4′s Retina Display, despite the Apple handset’s greater resolution. New with the Nexus S is the so-called Contour display technology, a single, curved fascia that leaves the handset with a slight chin. It reminds us of the curve of the Palm Pre, or indeed a revisiting of the original G1 design, finessed to suit Android’s own improvements."

Rachel Metz of the AP says "the most obvious update [on the Nexus S is] the on-screen keyboard. It is better than previous versions of Android at recommending words as you type, such as last names and other words that you've typed before, but hadn't been in the phone's original dictionary. The keyboard features more space between keys and a multi-touch capability that make typing easier and speedier than [on the last iteration of Android]."

Last word of this Nexus S review roundup goes to Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post. "What sets the Nexus S apart as a phone?" Pegoraro asks. "Speed: The loaner phone provided by Google's PR department zips along, even in such processor-intensive tasks as flying through a 3-D view of my surroundings in the Google Earth app. My own, nearly year-old Android phone can seem intolerably slow in comparison."

Used the Nexus S? We want to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments section – and keep it civil, folks.

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