Samsung Nexus S

8.0
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Reviewed by cuckfupertino (Previously owned)

I owned the Nexus S for about four months. Before I owned it, I had an HTC Desire HD (Inspire 4g). I chose to "upgrade" to the Nexus because of the Inspire's atrocious battery life and lackluster screen. From a hardware perspective, the HTC was superior, but much less practical. The Nexus S was a great phone, and firmly cemented my opinion that Samsung is the best manufacturer of Android phones. I also owned a Captivate at one point, so the Nexus S was very familiar. I love putting custom ROMs on my phones, but generally find myself reverting to the most "vanilla" ROM available. I can't stand manufacturer/carrier ROMs. If you hate Sense/TouchWiz/Motoblur/etc., then the Nexus S is a great choice. First, it is the easiest to modify since it comes unlocked and is easily rooted. Second, if you don't want to modify the phone in anyway (i.e. custom ROMs), then the Nexus S comes with vanilla Android! Also, it was recently updated to ICS, which makes it arguably one of the best phones on the market from a software perspective. The hardware itself is certainly 'last generation,' with the 1ghz processor/5mp camera/4" SAMOLED screen, but the combo is still pretty effective. The size of the phone is great, and the "curve" is really cool and makes the phone stand out among all the black slates. I'd say from a design standpoint, it is on par with the iPhone 4, albeit made of cheaper materials. That issue really isn't a problem, unless you're constantly handling a friend's iPhone 4, in which case your Nexus S will feel quite plasticky. After the Nexus S I moved to a Galaxy S2, which is very much a better phone. However, I really miss the simplicity of the Nexus S, as well as its curved screen. I may switch to a Galaxy Nexus because of its physical similarity to the Nexus S. Drawbacks? SAMOLED is a bit outdated, and will seem very over-saturated when compared to the Retina or SAMOLED Plus. The phone feels a bit chunky compared to some of the thinner phones on the market now. Single-core 1ghz processor is "slow" by today's standards, and will not perform well/play many of the graphics-heavy 3d games out now. The camera is also garbage, but was comparable at the time this phone came out. If you're not worried about the camera you'll be fine. However, it really lags behind the current crop of 8mp+ beasts which can replace point-and-shoots. Highlights? Design. Samsung's best looking phones are without a doubt the Nexus phones. I wish its Galaxy line would take some clues from the simplicity/innovation of the Nexus phones.

The Breakdown

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  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 8
  • Display 7
  • Camera(s) 5
  • Reception / call quality 7
  • Performance 7
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 9
  • Ecosystem 8
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