Nexus S 4G hands-on

The Nexus S -- Samsung's slick, sultry beauty in a little black dress shell -- made fanboys and developers alike swoon over its svelte, new imagining of the Nexus line. All was well with the world.

Then Sammy did the unthinkable. They added a 4G radio and brought it to Sprint.

The Nexus S 4G has been out for a few days now, and it's time to put her through her paces.

Pictures and video are after the break.

Nexus S 4G Specs | Nexus S 4G Forums | Nexus S 4G Accessories

Joshua Munoz
  • My friend wants to switch to Sprint and jump on the Android bandwagon. I'm trying desperately to convince him to buy this. He likes to play with development, so I told him this would be perfect for him.
  • only downside is no SD card expansion.
    i tried using the google app inventor & it was one of the requirements. maybe there's a work around. seems odd they'd not include the SD slotfor this phone when the dev phone should have all the features any subscriber phone would with an app the dev would create.
  • "Svelte"? C'mon it's not THAT good looking.
  • svelte
    adj \ˈsvelt, ˈsfelt\
    Definition of SVELTE
    a : slender, lithe b : having clean lines : sleek
    : urbane, suave
    — svelte·ly adverb
    — svelte·ness noun
    See svelte defined for English-language learners »
    See svelte defined for kids »
    Examples of SVELTE She has a svelte figure. Origin of SVELTE
    French, from Italian svelto, from past participle of svellere to pluck out, modification of Latin evellere, from e- + vellere to pluck — more at vulnerable
    First Known Use: circa 1817
  • A first look at a 4g phone with no 4g speed test?
  • was thinking the exact same thing!!
  • Duly noted, y'all.
  • PROS:
    It's a pure Google experience. The phone has NFC. Sprint Allows tethering (unsupported). Sprint and Google voice play nice (Verizon does NOT like Google Voice!) CONS:
    Sprint's 4G is about 10-15 times slower than Verizon LTE. Sprint contract prices are killer... kills the wallet. I'm hard pressed to go from $70/month to $90/month and not gain much. I wish there were cheaper options. The phone itself is pretty small. making it a good communication device, but I prefer larger phones with better screens to be able to do more (Samsung Galaxy S II for instance). But I will see... I currently have the Droid X and it has served me well.
  • You forgot Con: pentile matrix screen, no SD card slot, old single core cpu/gpu.
  • Did you just list Sprint's pricing as a CON? Huh? What phone and plan do you currently have? A prepaid MotoRAZR? I mean, you're not implying that you could TOUCH Sprint's pricing with a Verizon plan, are you?
  • Dude sprint is way cheaper than vow, and at&t
  • My wife and I both have EVO Shift's and our plan is $131.92 a month total out the door after taxes, fees and everything. Granted that is with a work discount but pretty much everyone can get a work discount, even a burger king employee can get 15% off. You work for Budweiser? 20% off. Anyway, kind of off topic. I think that's a pretty good deal for two unlimited everything smart phones. The only reason to get the $90 Sprint plan is if you for some reason need 900 anytime minutes instead of 450(750 if you get in on Sprint's deal right now) which most people do not since mobile to mobile on any network is unlimited. That just leaves landlines basically.
  • @RandomMarius Uh, I'm based in Dallas and on my EVO, seeing 10mb/s with 4G enabled is not uncommon. Sure, It avgs about 4-6mb/s but it depends on the time of day. We have all read the reviews on the Thunderbolt’s LTE speed, and while impressive, how many users are on the Network? I bet Big Red has not even sold 50,000 units! As more and more users start to log in the bandwidth will inevitably start to degrade.
    Also, if Verizon is charging $90, why would Sprint charge $50? Sprint has never claimed to be the least expensive or the most expensive. What Sprint is selling is value... And in the Sales world, so the saying goes "If value exceeds price by even just a $1, most will buy every time."
  • >"Sprint's 4G is about 10-15 times slower than Verizon LTE." WRONG. I just tested at 7Mb/s in RIC on Sprint. That is not much slower than LTE. >"Sprint contract prices are killer... kills the wallet." WRONG. Sprint's current and past prices are lower than Verizon. Always have been too.
  • Im taking my Nexus back to the store and exchanging it for my old EVO, this phone can not hold a signal, drops calls and lost internet signal, very disappointed love every about the phone but does not work.
  • I ran tests between the Nexus and my EVO and for about 90% of them the EVO won hands down. I originally picked up the Nexus for better screen viewing outdoors, but after comparing the two, they are both awful, but the EVO is a little better. Yellowish tint on the Nexus display even though colors are crisp and bright. Not much better battery life on the Nexus either, signal stength, call quality and Wifi are terrible, glossy plastic phone makes it really hard to hold even though it is shaped well. Curved screen makes touches not register near the top and bottom edges. The Nexus does have 1GB of internal memory which is great, I am almost out of internal memory on my EVO. I wouldn't recommend this phone for a Sprint user unless they just found the EVO to be "too big". If the EVO was not an option I would use the Nexus and put up with the shortcomings. It is still the second best phone on Sprint right now.
  • 3rd best if you ask me. I'll take my shift over the nexus any day for the same reasons you mentioned above. I can even overclock it to 1.8ghz if I really need to beat the Nexus in a benchmark for some reason.
  • How is the shift screen to view outdoors? Does the shift have more memory and storage than the EVO. I'm at 82% storage on my EVO.
  • Root it!
  • Not to hammer...but why talk about 4G and you don't run a legitamite speed test? Ironically most of the tech blogs are horrible to load up on phones due to their big asses (the sites I mean).
  • Let me know how long you can hold the phone before wimax disconnects. K thnx.
  • No clue on the Nexus S but I wifi tether my rooted EVO to my PS3 to play COD for hours at a time. Phone gets kinda hot but never loses its 4G connection. Also, speeds are almost double my DSL. Damn shame my phone is faster than my home. lol. Averaging about 8mb/s down, 1mb/s up. Yeah, I know... Upload sucks but the DSL is only about 4.5 down (on a 6mb/s plan at that) and 500k up.
  • For the life of me I can't understand what some are doing or loading on this phone. I have a Nexus S 4G (an Evo and an Epic as well), so far I have ZERO 3G or wifi issues, in fact, the latter is better on the Nexus than my Evo. I have no 4G available so I can not comment on this aspect. Regardless of the speedtest numbers, I can download and stream in 3G and wifi with no stuttering or delays, just as good as with my other two phones! My phone is totally stock and not rooted; I have no reboots, BT and GPS work great, there is not lag on swiping and my battery life, though not great by any stretch, is better than my other two phones. My touch screen is responsive enough, the Evo's being significantly more though. My three issues with this phone: 1. Loudspeaker volume for music, ringtones, notifications, alarms too soft - have missed some already. 2. Buttons are too dimly lit and difficult to see outdoors, but they are responsive (unlike the Epic's). 3. The screen is also dimly lit when on auto, requires manual adjustment to be visible outdoors. If you have a bad copy of the phone, exchange it! If you don't like the phone, return it and get some other you like better and stop whinning aready!
  • I I second the end of your comment. If folks can't get it the most logical thing they can think of is hate on it. Smh
  • I gotta sound off....I actually have a nexus s 4g and it slams my Evo hands down all these negative comments are ppl buttheart cuz they got no upgrade and no loot to get one, how about you actually use the phone and stop posting lies or crap you know nothing about.
  • There is only one thing I need to know from you Nexus 4G owners. Is the screen readable out doors, either with or without adjustments. If so, that will help me decide if the Nexus S will be my first upgrade.
  • Yes. Even with my polarized sunglasses on working on the roof at work last week, I had no difficulty reading the screen, even with the brightness set to auto. If I manually turned the brightness up, it was even easier to read. The only time viewing was at all difficult is if I had a reflection of the sky off the screen. To combat that, I simply tipped the phone a bit so the reflection was off my shirt and didn't have a problem. I suspect that's more a function of the reflective surface of the screen than the screen itself. I don't care HOW bright your screen is, it's not going to out-shine the sun!
  • Most of the bad press comes from nexus one owners. I understand a nexus s isn't a great upgrade for nexus one people , but those of us who didn't have an N1, it is a good phone. And I'm drunk so feel to destroy my punctuation and gramer!
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  • Why test how fast a webpage loads while downloading a heavy app? Doesn't make sense. I wanna see how fast a full webpage loads by itself.
  • I've had the phone for a little over a week now and I love it, no doubt. Especially coming from my old Hero, this thing is blazing fast, beautiful screen, and love the vanilla UI. However I do have issue with the speaker. My Hero was insanely loud and worked amazingly well on speaker phone. On the Nexus S 4G I have all of the notifications at max and it's still quiet. Hopefully this gets resolved. The pros out-weigh the cons in my opinion. I'm happy.
  • I love my new Nexus S 4G phone, except for the 4G radio! I have had numerous connection problems running in 4G, and the speeds are not really even close to 4G for me here in Columbus, Ohio. Over the week the BEST download test speed I have seen is only 1 MBs... I usually get 600-800 kps. The Sprint store tech told me last night that this is a well known problem since the rollout last week, and that I should just wait 2-3 weeks for them to send out a software fix. Until then, I was told to disable the 4G and run in 3G only. Lovely.