Mobile Phones Guide

Samsung Nexus S review

Samsung Nexus S - Branded Gingerbread

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
9
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
9
Performance:
8.5
Value:
8.5
THE GOOD
Above average battery life
Smooth and fast interface
Easy handling
THE BAD
Lower stamina than Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy S
No remarkable hardware upgrades
Easily smudged due to glossy surface


Updated - Performance - Part II

The Gingerbread Man Show

Like all smartphones, the Nexus S is armed to impress with its variety of features. We take a more detailed approach towards it multimedia delivery to determine its capabilities as an all-rounded device. Though it has adopted an S-LCD panel instead of the Super AMOLED display used on the Google version and Samsung's earlier Galaxy S, we were still impressed by its richness and vivid colors. This is evident from the images that were displayed through the 4-inch display, making the viewing experience pleasant and easy on the eyes.

Video and audio playback from the Nexus S were a delight. We were able to view smooth video clips with decent frame rates even at awkward angles which would normally reduce the clarity of the screen. Its audio delivery did not have the kind of impact that matches its video performance, but that's not to say it is lacking in that aspect.

Equipped with a similar 5-megapixel camera as seen on the Galaxy S, we conducted our usual imaging tests to check on its resolution and color performance. Fortunately, we were greeted with impressive results that were also reported from the Galaxy S. On the resolution chart, both the horizontal and vertical LPH showed a reading of 1000, which is impressive considering its status as a mobile phone camera. Colors were well-balanced, with no oversaturation across the various hues, though it did look kind of subdued to our eyes.

Our final performance evaluation ends with the usual battery test, which pushes the Nexus S to its performance limit by looping a video at 240 x 320 pixels resolution with the screen brightness and volume at 100%. To simulate a heavy usage pattern, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection are active, while data is constantly streaming in via emails and Twitter feeds. The final results are compared against its predecessor, the Nexus One, with the Desire and Galaxy S tossed in due to their status as its counterparts.

Update: Due to the difference in screen technology between the Samsung Nexus S and Google Nexus S, we've updated our battery test to reflect the stamina of the Samsung Nexus S and its 4-inch S-LCD display.

Specifications/Device Samsung Nexus S Google Nexus S Samsung Galaxy S HTC Desire Google Nexus One
Processor
  • 1GHz
  • 1GHz
  • 1GHz
  • 1GHz
  • 1GHz
Display Size
  • 4.0-inches
  • 4.0-inches
  • 4.0-inches
  • 3.7-inches
  • 3.7-inches
Display Type
  • S-LCD
  • Super AMOLED
  • Super AMOLED
  • AMOLED / SLCD
  • AMOLED
Display Resolution
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
Dimensions
  • 124.74 x 63 x 11.5mm
  • 123.9 x 63 x 10.88mm
  • 122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9mm
  • 119 x 60 x 11.9mm
  • 119 x 59.8 x 11.5mm
Weight
  • 140g
  • 129g
  • 118g
  • 118g
  • 135g
Battery
  • 1500 mAh
  • 1500 mAh
  • 1500 mAh
  • 1400 mAh
  • 1400 mAh

Unfortunately, the decision to swap in an S-LCD display has a huge impact on the stamina of the Samsung Nexus S. Against its Super AMOLED cousins, the Samsung variant was at a distinct disadvantage, clocking in at only 351 minutes of continuous video playback. Notice how the portability index of the Samsung Nexus is also much lower? If you refer to the above comparison table, you might have notice that the Samsung Nexus S is slightly heavier at 140g, not to mention it's not as thin as either the Samsung Galaxy S, or for that matter, even the Google Nexus S. The latter isn't surprising, since the Google Nexus S has the Super AMOLED display to thank for its reduced profile. For those who've forgotten how a Super AMOLED display helps in these aspects, here's an excerpt from an old article:-

In more technical terms, the new 0.001mm-thick capacitive touch sensors are deposited between the panel's substrate and the bottom polarizer film. This translates to the elimination of the glass display, thus giving way to less reflective displays, brighter and clearer images and most importantly, lighter devices.

The earlier Google Nexus S reported greater results against the Galaxy S, and we've attributed that to a possibly better power management scheme on Android 2.3. This wasn't the case for the Samsung Nexus S, which presented lower than expected results against its siblings. In addition to the screen difference, various factors such as a different kernel and build, could also affect the battery performance of the Samsung Nexus S. While the Samsung Nexus S did not perform well in our intensive battery test, it got around the same one whole day mileage when usage was mixed in with standby, calls, messages, web browsing and multimedia playback.