Samsung Nexus S 4G

Verge Review

Google’s Utopian vision for mobile — at least on some purely theoretical level — is for equal access to unrestricted Android on unrestricted hardware, regardless of network. The realities of doing business in the American wireless market seem to have distorted that vision somewhere along the way, but every once in a while, they’ve managed to stay true: the Nexus One and Nexus S are both concrete examples of that, unlocked devices that are devoid of manufacturer- or carrier-specific...

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.44 inches
Weight 0.29 pounds
Form factor Slab
Screen size (diagonal) 4 inches
Carriers Sprint
Operating system Android
Launch OS version 2.3.4

Recent News

No recent news about Samsung Nexus S 4G.

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Tech Specs

Also Known As...

FCC ID A3LSPHD720

Hardware

Height 4.88 inches
Width 2.48 inches
Thickness 0.44 inches
Weight 0.29 pounds
Form factor Slab
Color Black
Loudspeaker Yes
Noise cancellation Software

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 4 inches
Technology Super AMOLED
Resolution (Y) 800 px
Resolution (X) 480 px
PPI 233
Touchscreen type Capacitive

Connectivity

Carriers Sprint
CDMA Yes
CDMA frequencies supported 1900, 800 / 850
WiMAX Yes
WiMAX frequencies supported 2500
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b
802.11n frequencies 2.4GHz
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
NFC support Yes
Tethering / mobile hotspot Yes

Processor

Manufacturer Samsung
Brand / family Hummingbird
Model Cortex A8
Clock speed 1 GHz

Memory

RAM size 512 MB

Storage

Internal size 16 GB
External No

Front Camera

Resolution 0.3 megapixels

Rear Camera

Resolution 5 megapixels
Flash LED
Focus type Autofocus
Video resolution 720p

Software

Operating system Android
Launch OS version 2.3.4
Notable apps Tags

Interface

Headphone jack 3.5mm
Other ports Micro USB

Sensors

Sensors Compass (Magnetometer), Proximity, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer

Battery

Capacity 1500 mAh
Removable Yes

Recent News

No recent news about Samsung Nexus S 4G.

Recent Discussions

No recent discussions about Samsung Nexus S 4G.

7.3

Average User Review

of 4 total reviews
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  • 10
  • Design 8
  • Display 8
  • Camera(s) 7
  • Reception / call quality 6
  • Performance 8
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 7
  • Ecosystem 8

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  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by caramelpolice (Currently owns)

    As I'm writing this, the Nexus S's time to shine is long gone. In a market with dual-core beasts like the HTC Rezound and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, this 4-inch, single-core relic seems more than a little dated. However, while it may not be the latest and greatest, the Nexus S 4G is absolutely a solid choice as a mid-range device, especially now that Android 4.0 has given it a new lease on life.

    With phones launching with large 720p screens, the Nexus S's 800x480 Super AMOLED can't compare in terms of screen quality. Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, the use of PenTile is quite noticeable. Fortunately, the phone still benefits from the perks of Super AMOLED tech, including perfect black levels and popping colors. Screen brightness in sunlight can be an issue; the brightness has to be turned to maximum for decent visibility.

    The phone's body is made of glossy black plastic, which makes for a light phone, but unfortunately causes it to feel a bit cheap. The front glass panel is curved, creating a striking look when the phone is laid flat. However, the phone does not make use of Gorilla Glass due to the curvature, making it somewhat prone to scratches. A screen protector is highly recommended.

    The camera is a five-megapixel shooter. Still pictures are of decent quality, but compared to modern cameras on the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II, they're slightly grainy and look poor in low lighting conditions. If you're not a heavy camera user you'll find them perfectly fine. Another shortcoming is that the device can only shoot 480p video, an odd quirk considering the original Galaxy S on which the Nexus is based is capable of 720p. As 480p video goes, however, the quality is quite solid.

    The biggest advantage of the Nexus S is its early access to the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. While the update has not yet officially been released for the Sprint variant, support for the device is already available in the AOSP. ICS runs quite well despite its year-old hardware, and is unquestionably a large step up from Gingerbread. While the Nexus S does not gain all of the Galaxy Nexus's features like Face Unlock and instant photo snapping, ICS makes even this dated phone perfectly viable as a primary device.

    While the Nexus S 4G isn't the latest and greatest, it performs well enough to do almost any task you ask of it with minimal lag, and is one of the only phones with official support for the latest version of Android. On top of that, at the low price of only a penny on contract at Amazon, it's an amazing deal. If you're looking for the best device money can buy, look elsewhere, but if you need a solid phone with 4G support and an affordable price, look no further.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 7
    • Display 7
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 7.0
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    Reviewed by lividcreature (Currently owns)

    I got the Nexus S 4G for two reasons: one, because I wanted to get out of Verizon - fast because of all of the problems I had with them, their billing department and how large my bills were for such awful service (customer service, that is) and two, because Verizon didn't offer a Nexus phone (which yes, they do now). But ultimately, the primary reason was because I wanted pure Android on a nice form factor.

    That all being said, The Nexus S 4G is a snappy phone with a beautiful display, great performance and decent battery life. It has all of the features you'd want in a smartphone and then some. It plays games, runs apps and has a relatively decent browsing experience all quite nicely. Phone calls are as clear as day and data - well, it's Sprint so you know what you're getting into there.

    The major drawbacks of the device, simply put is the reception. With EVERYTHING. Wifi, 3G, WiMax. All, just abysmal. I don't know if it's the WiMax radio that's inside that causes such poor reception, but even with the 'update' that Google rolled out not long after its debut that was to "fix" the reception problems, it just didn't. It's a very hard thing to overcome, mentally, that such a staple of a smartphone's functionality was so poorly integrated into such a fine piece of hardware. If the reception wasn't a factor, this phone would have gotten a 9 in my opinion.

    The bottom line is this: yes, the Galaxy Nexus is out, yes, I am overly jealous I didn't wait a few months and stuck it out with Verizon to get one over switching to big Yellow for this Nexus S. But, in all thing relatively speaking, the phone itself surpasses any other Android phone out there (aside from the GNex) as pure Google, pure function and fashion at the same time.

    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by discolightning (Currently owns)

    After owning the Nexus S 4G since June 2011, I can rest assured that I will not NEED another phone until my upgrade is due. That is, barring a major catastrophic accident, I am satisfied with the phone.

    I previously owned a Palm Pre on Sprint, and I was unable to make calls in the last weeks before I upgraded. The simplicity of the Nexus S is what attracted me. Rooting the phone was as simple as finding the correct forum on XDA, downloading a one-click-root, and connecting the phone. Since then, I have run a handful of custom ROMs on my phone and I'm currently previewing Ice Cream Sandwich via Peter Alfonso's new ROM. Even when I revert to the stock Gingerbread ROM, I am not disappointed. The phone is very capable although it doesn't sport a dual-core processor and has only 512MB of RAM. Everything just works. Whether you're a novice, enthusiast, or expert, you can appreciate when devices just work out of the box. It just goes to show that lightweight optimized software is priority number one.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 6.0
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    Reviewed by brianse (Currently owns)

    If I'm being honest about this phone, it's a great phone. Up to a point. The display still looks great, even though it's a pentile display, and the slight jaggedness is noticeable if you're coming from a nice LCD or non-pentile display. That said, once you're used to it, the brightness, clarity, and usability in sunlight is very nice.

    The camera is passable, and the low light performance of it is quite nice.

    But the real downfall of the phone, and the real reason why I only think the phone is worth a 6 is the reception. Calling the reception of the phone terrible would be being generous. The dropped calls, lost signal, and slow data speeds off the 4g network are flat out embarrassing. Everyone harps about dropped calls on iPhones on AT&T, but as a former iPhone user on AT&T, I can say it's literally night and day difference. I can't speak to someone for more than 20 minutes without dropping a call, and often times in a 30 minute conversation with someone the call will drop 3 or more times.

    Other phones on Sprint perform much better with calls in the exact same area. I'd stay away from this, because unless you are using wifi, and never make phone calls, this thing barely qualifies as a phone.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 7
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Reception / call quality 2
    • Performance 8
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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