Happy Nexus S day, gents and ladies. We high-tailed it over to our local Best Buy Mobile and picked one up to put it through its paces. 

The screen is curved, yes, but not enough to elicit wows from anybody. The overall feel is very Galaxy - which is to say lighter than you might expect but also, sadly, a little cheaper-feeling in the materials than we'd like. The Super Amoled screen is darn pretty and actually performs quite nicely in direct sunlight. Unlike the Nexus One, the capacitive buttons on the bottom are blissfully distant from the main screen and so mis-taps are unlikely to be an issue. What is an issue is that like all Samsung Galaxy phones, those buttons disappear when the screen is off and they're darned-tough to see in sunlight, so better get used to that new button order quickly.

Who are we kidding, the niggles pale in comparison to the speed, which comes partly from that 1GHz hummingbird processor but mostly from Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

In the box you'll find the standard fare: charger, USB cable, and a set of not-horrendous headphones. It's Google-branded, that box, though ours at least had a T-Mobile SIM in there, courtesy of Best Buy.

Obviously expect a full review of the device and a look at its performance, but in the meantime gather round for a quick photo gallery (update: and video!) of this week's "Best Android Phone Ever."


There are 61 comments

RC46 says:

Its a nice rig but only 16gb and no micro SD is a deal killer for me. If I was on Tmo I would go with the G2 over the NexusS any day.

I just hope that Google is not going force manufacturers to do away with removable storage for the next gen hardware.

dwd3885 says:

Not a big issue for me. I'd just like a phone that shows All storage as available for apps. I don't want to have to copy them over to the sd. There would just be enough space.

Google doesn't force manufacturers to do anything... they could care less... that's why we have B.S. like Touch Wiz and Blur...

xHunt3r says:

you know Google is all about the cloud... there are already options for storage of files, music, photos in the cloud that your device can connect to. I doubt any Google branded phone will ever has removable storage...

I agree, I was a Nexus One owner, and I loved it, and was waiting for its sequel, but the Nexus S is nothing even close to the Nexus One.

The only improvements I can see is: Front Camera, larger internal storage, and Gingerbread, THATS IT. But that doesn't justify the other shortcomings: No SD card slot (probably the biggest) & the plastic body.

sinanharb says:

looks great and the androidcentral wallpaper makes it look crazy cool.

miniZ says:

Look at Lloyd.. so cute.

kinster02 says:

The back looks like a big palm pre with the same cheap shiny plastic.

Averix says:

Yeah, I thought the same thing. As a former Pre owner, I can safely say that I hated that shiny fingerprint back panel. The touchstone back was way better. I don't know what the obsession is with glossy plastic designs...

gcims says:

I agree. That glossy black looks so good...on display and under good lighting in the studio and in print ads. But it shows every flaw and speck of dust when you start to use it, like you see in the pictures here. I still love the look and feel of my wifes Palm Pre+ with the stock back, but for daily use=99% of the time, it had the mat, rubberized back on it. And we skinned the entire front and sides with Stealth Guards.

big_time2 says:

It's even worse when you've carried it in your pocket for a couple of days, scratches all over it.

hmmm says:

Looks ok. I don't like the curved screen though.

cj100570 says:

iFixit did a tear-down and surprise, surprise, the SAMOLED screen itself isn't curved (page 2) http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Nexus-S-Teardown/4365/1

am i the only one that hates Lloyd's pose?

El Jefe says:


darkfox says:

Dito,looks lame and the head near the mouth looks awful. They could of gotten a better commission at deviant art.

rjf111 says:

Wouldn't say that I *hate* it -- just don't like it much.

Looks like a great phone but Dual core!

rallanand says:

There are some rumors over at Engadget that bestbuy changed their offer and all nexus s are locked to tmobile, even those bought without contract. Can you confirm if this is true??

swaze says:

Looks very cheap.....like plastic.....LG pay attention in a few weeks you will see how a real phone should look. HTC and Sprint again will show you how its done.

EVO Part Deaux is coming.....u have been warned.

coronaboy10 says:

Sammy manufactures this not LG.

Flip says:

I guess I'm with u on that, it looks nice but I won't be giving up my Evo for that, I think the Evo is still the s h i t, n i think that when the Evo2 comes out is gonna b a bom,

joba78 says:

Agreed...my EVO is still king. I do want the EVO-2 to be a beast! I admit this Nexus S is hot and if something a little beefier in the same form factor hits sprint, I will be all over it. Nexus S+, anyone?

emuneee says:

I'd be interested for you guys to take a specific look at GPS performance on the Nexus S. :)

swaze says:

Well its a samsung phone........just check their history with GPS.

ebarr727 says:

It looks like at some point they will add a charging 'touchstone' like a Palm. Notice the two poles next to the sim card that make contact with back cover!!! That's exactly how a Palm Pre Plus is set up for the touchstone. Just sayin' Any word?

mkheraj says:

I think those two poles are to make contact with the NFC device on the back of the battery cover, not for a touchstone cover, although that might be possible if they are thinking ahead. But we are talking about Samsung :(

Big_Harv says:

He specifically mentioned in the video that they were for the NFC.

spielnicht says:

Booo Google, I'm one step away from going back to an iPhone. Gingerbread is a big let down. It's been over-hyped for months and this is all we get? Greenish icons? NFS, are you serious? What happened to the completely new UI? Actually, instead of wasting time on the UI (it's fine as is for now), give us the features we've been waiting for. Video MMS? Better multimedia player? Better Gallery app that can handle more than 5 pics before crawling to death? Fixing the multitude of bugs? No?

I've had my Nexus One since day one and nothing has come out yet by any
manufacturer that made me want to trade up, surely the Nexus S isn't it either.

No one said it would Get a new UI

Duffin says:

Um...I have no trouble sending Video MMS items.

remipmc says:

no place for my 32G sd card, EPIC FAIL!!!!

BobbyPhoenix says:

Agree. So if I already have 30G of stuff on my card am I to copy it to computer, and then to phone? Then that only leave 2G left for EVERYTHING else. It should be 32G on board, AND a SD slot.

Mobius360 says:

I wonder why the four buttons on the bottom have been re-arranged from the other Galaxy S phones, at least from the Epic anyways. Just would be interesting to know why the engineers changed that up.

Batbriel says:

Not impressed at all, it looks fast and everything but just that,, I'm Happy with My DX :D

mgiusto says:

Glad I waited for the video, after reading about this phone I was really interested in picking one up, after seeing this vid of the phone in action I will hold off and wait until next year's batch of Tegra 2 phones. The phone in the vid is laggy in places and there is not much difference in features between this phone and my fairly new Vibrant so the need to upgrade is just not there for me yet. The early word on the Nexus S did make it difficult to stand pat with what I have now but this vid sealed it for me.

I think my next purchase just after the holidays will be a Galaxy S Tab then I will wait for my Vibrant to be a year old before I start looking to upgrade to my next Android phone. My first Android was the G1 then the Vibrant.

gocegi says:

What's with the 14 MFLOPS on Linpack.
I thought Ginger was going to be blazing fast !!!
I dun understand :(
G2 has 90 MFLOPS, and it's like half a year old :/

WickedStyx says:

Linpack is optimised for Snapdragon. Real world performance is much better.

WhoIsThis says:

Does anyone else feel that it seems slower than the Galaxy S Hummingbirds? I suspect that Gingerbread on it has not been properly optimized.

Either way, with no support for global GSM bands, no support for HSPA+ 3.5G (T-Mobile like all the other carriers is guilty of false advertising), and no SD card, it feels like a big letdown.

I paid $300 for an Samsung Epic with no contract from E-Bay that I use as a wi-fi device and I have no intention of buying this phone. Hopefully we'll see more phones like the LG Star. Maybe this time next year, the Nexus Three will be more interesting.

WickedStyx says:

Definitely seemed a bit laggy and unresponsive compared to a Galaxy S with the latest JPU rom. Particularly the browser.

Go Android! says:

I love my Evo. There is no phone I envy, especially this cheap plasticly Nexus S. It also seemed a little laggy to me.

Samsung phones feel like cheap plastic(see Galaxy S series, and Omnia Series). Also, this is not much different from the Galaxy S phones that were available several months ago. It also doesn’t have 4G, and no memory card slot. That’s a fail, imo.

I've read on Twitter that this is having the same GPS issues as the other Galaxy S phones. If true, that is a major bummer.

GooberVox says:

Im wondering since the Nexus S has that shiny plastic backing on it, when you use the NFC, how scratched do you think these phones are going to get rubbing the back on everything?

pDoG says:

excuse me in advance for this slight rant...

i dont see how so many people are hating. yes, while this phone isnt as great as everyone thought it was going to be, its still a high end phone. i think the major upset is that its not up to par with the original nexus. when the nexus came out, it was a game changer and i suppose this is what everyone was expecting with this. yes, google should of stayed with HTC on this one obviously, and just built more off of the nexus one. its just annoying to read all of these fanboys riding their own phones nuts because its THEIR phone. of course they arent going to hate on there phone, they paid alot of money here. just stop hating when your evo, or your DX, or DINC and whatever else you have is going to be slowly waiting for 2.3 to come to their phone when the NS is enjoying all the updates google and dish out. anyone would easily except a nexus s, they just dont want to say it.

remipmc says:

you can't possibly be ok with only 16G of on board memory with no SD slot? Sorry to burst your bubble but like i said before that qualifies this phone as an epic FAIL...regardless of what phone i have

gtg465x says:

Most Android users don't have 16GB even with an SD card. I believe the Droid X has the largest amount in a shipping phone with 8GB internal and a 16GB SD card included for 24GB total. Droid 2 and Incredible also have 8GB internal, but come with smaller or no SD cards.

Galaxy S phones are second with 16GB internal and no SD card included.

Pretty much every other high end phone (Nexus One, Evo, Desire HD, G2, etc.) comes with less than 2GB internal, and let's be honest, how many people actually buy SD cards larger than 16GB? Not many.

Yeah, it sucks that it's not expandable, but 16GB is more than most phones come with and probably enough for anyone who doesn't carry around their entire music and movie collection (in which case they could use a streaming service). Isn't Google supposed to roll out a streaming music client soon anyways?

swaze says:

Man you are off on so many different levels. First.....you make it seem as if the NS will be getting updates every week on end or something. I believe it was a month before Froyo was out on the first phone other than the n1....A month??? HAHAHA is that the best you can do??? GTFOH with that ish....Cyanogenmod will have gingerbread out before the first carrier even realizes how to distribute it. You are MAJOR FAIL!!!

And the last time i checked, its not hating just because others dont share your same opinion.

font1975 says:

You agree that the N1 had Froyo before other phones? That's going to be true with the Nexus S, too, BTW. His point was that updates, whenever they come, will be sent to the Nexus phones directly from Google. The Nexus phones, and like you say, "Cyanogenmod will have gingerbread out before the first carrier even realizes how to distribute it."

pDoG says:

im not saying that im okay with it. that is obviously the worse thing that they did with this phone. the SD card slot needed to be added and im not sure why, or what the reason is they didnt do that.

im simply saying that this phone is the same high end device that anyone has in their pocket to this day. its just annoying to listen to people brag about how good their phone is when in reality you are dealing with a numerous amount of bugs anyone else has.

i just feel like google hyped gingerbread way more than they should have, not the phone itself. if gingerbread was a little more advanced or had a little better features, people would be hating less on the little things so much. complaining about the plastic back? who gives a shit. put a case on it and deal with it.

pDoG says:

im not saying that im okay with it. that is obviously the worse thing that they did with this phone. the SD card slot needed to be added and im not sure why, or what the reason is they didnt do that.

im simply saying that this phone is the same high end device that anyone has in their pocket to this day. its just annoying to listen to people brag about how good their phone is when in reality you are dealing with a numerous amount of bugs anyone else has.

i just feel like google hyped gingerbread way more than they should have, not the phone itself. if gingerbread was a little more advanced or had a little better features, people would be hating less on the little things so much. complaining about the plastic back? who gives a shit. put a case on it and deal with it.

font1975 says:

I agree with pDoG, I just don't see why this phone is treated like a failure? It's a high end phone running near or at the top of current 1GHz phones. It's a great phone. It's missing the SD slot, which should be there, but it's not a FAIL. I too was hoping for dual core, but full production dual core phones seem like they're still a few months away. By that time the 2nd gen of dual cores will hitting the rumor mills. It never ends.

Google released the Nexus S to launch Gingerbread with; not to launch the next generation phone. The Nexus One was used to launch Eclair (WIN) and to change how we bought phones (FAIL). The fact it was a high end phone when there were none was a plus. Others saw what was possible and created similar phones.

The way things are today, Google just wanted a high end phone to launch Gingerbread, not a trend setter (jury's out on NFC). But yes, it should still at least have a dang SD slot!

pDoG says:

thanks for backing me up, sir!

pDoG says:

and for the dude a few posts up, i wasnt saying they will be pushing out updates every week, but whenever they DO come out, it will be going to the nexus devices first, while others will be waiting(including myself) for the newest update. the newest update has to be out before cyanogenmod can do anything with it. and a month? are you serious? there are numerous phones that arent running 2.2 as of right now, while gingerbread is already sitting in some peoples hands(i.e the NS?). and it is hating when someone is constantly bashing the phone for no reason other than the no SD card slot. i know i wish my g2 had gingerbread right now and a FFC, but you dont see my nitpicking the plastic back and whatever else one person can think of.

strongfist36 says:

I want to but into the Nexus S hype but it lacks a few important things like SUPPORTING TMOBILES 4G network. Thats the major killer. Plus, according to what i read the Nexus S is already showing hardware problems. You can check it out yourself at http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com/2010/12/16/nexus-s-already-seeing-problems/

That was me. It was an isolated incident, and I could give you a helluva a list of phones that people have had broken charging ports on. I've got 5 or 6 here in my desk drawer. You're reaching, and baiting people into clicking your link.

tl;dr -- nothing to see here folks.

font1975 says:

Yep, this guy is baiting. Seen the exact same post (typo included!) on at least 3 other websites.

Smokexz says:

Just got mine, very nice but I have so many complaints! Touch Wiz is a snore, the GPS doesn't work, and the RFS file system is slow! lol jk,

I got mine, and I gotta say... pretty damn good, I am putting my files in right now, but after I am done with that I might post a review or something on the forums.

pDoG says:

i also agree with you strongfist, im not sure why they went ahead and DIDNT add the correct network bands for HSPA+. again, since it has already been said, i think google just went for a phone to release gingerbread. while people say that gingerbread wasnt a huge release, but like froyo, there is alot of under the hood stuff and just just green icons..i suppose google just felt they could make a little money by selling these phones while releassing gingerbread.

im no wiz but it think the next nexus should have

a phone for every carier lol (take that stingy iphone)
4.3in screen that matches or is better than the iphone 4 (hey that screen is nice!!)
dual core
16-32GB on board mem with SD slot
3.0 honeycomb
aluminum unibody
2000mAh battery or something strong lol

anyone else wanna add to the list and email it to google with a few death threats? lol

Dark_Blu says:

I went looking for the Galaxy S at the Best Buy in Fayetteville, GA. I wanted the $199 model locked to T-Mobile but they only had the unlocked version for $589. The unlocked version served no purpose because my intent was to dump AT&T for T-Mobile. I was told by the sales rep that only a couple of Best Buy stores in the Atlanta area had the T-Mobile locked Nexus S for $199. Wasn't interested in wasting gas driving around trying to get this phone for the same price as the EVO 4G, so I went with Sprint and the EVO 4G. I wonder if this is the same situation in other cities across the USA. I'd have bought it if I could've gotten it locked to T-Mobile at $199.

No matter. I have a choice of cases and extended batteries for my EVO 4G. It's probably too early for their to be any accessories for the Nexus S anyway.