Nexus S Review

Nexus s Last week I got a Nexus S to replace the Nexus One that I have been using for the past year. I love my Nexus One and was hesitant to replace it but the Nexus S looks like the exact same phone, just better, so I went for it.

As I was installing the basic apps (Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Kik, Tumblr, GetGlue, Yelp, Flickster, etc) on the phone last week, I tweeted that I love the new Twitter Android client on the Nexus S. I got a bunch of replies asking for a review of the Nexus S. So here it goes:

The physical in-hand experience is not much different but slightly better than the Nexus One. The phone is plastic instead of metal (which I like surprisingly), the screen is crisp and bright, the phone is very light, and feels great in the hand. The case is very slightly curved and this makes a small but noticeable improvement in the in-hand experience. 

The camera is terrific. The Android 2.3 build comes with new and improved camera software. I am still figuring out all the features but it can do a lot more. The Nexus S has a back and front camera. It’s fun to take pictures that include the photographer in them and the front camera makes that so much easier. I am on my way to a family vacation and I didn’t bring another camera so all my pictures will be taken with the Nexus S camera. I’m not the least bit concerned about that.

It is still a bit too early for me to talk about battery life. I always carry a spare battery for my Nexus One and once or twice a week I had to do a swap intraday. I don’t have a spare for the Nexus S with me on this trip so that will be a big test of its battery life. But so far in the few days I’ve been using it, I’ve not run out of battery so I am cautiously optimistic. 

The Nexus S is fast, significantly faster than the Nexus One. I feel the speed most in the browser, but I also feel it loading and running apps and generally moving around the phone. I am really enjoying using this phone and I think it has a lot to do with the speed.

I don’t notice any difference in voice utility or quality between the Nexus One and the Nexus S. I don’t use voice that much anyway, but when I do, it works fine. I am running the Nexus S on T-Mobile, which is the wireless carrier I’ve used for almost fifteen years, and the T-Mobile voice service is not Verizon quality. But I have lived with it and the Nexus S does just fine voice calling for me on T-Mobile.

The touch keypad is a significant improvement over the Nexus One. The four main buttons at the bottom of the phone are also a major improvement over the Nexus One. The haptic feedback works better on the Nexus S. These issues, keypad, buttons, and haptic feedback are probably my biggest beefs with the Nexus One and they really fixed them on the Nexus S.

The Android software keeps getting better and better. It is not as simple and easy to use as iOS. But once I figured out the quirks in the UI, I’ve come to like it very much. The Android app ecosystem has developed very nicely in the past year and most apps I want to use are now available on Android. Purchasing apps on the Android is not as simple as iOS, but I’ve got my credentials stored with Google and once you do that, it’s not a terrible experience.

All in all, the Nexus S is as close to an iPhone experience on Android as you can get. And the phone can be used on any GSM network you want. I just popped in my T-Mobile SIM card and I was off to the races. I also like that all I needed to do to get mail and calendar and contacts working was login with my gmail credentials. It all happens over the air. There is no need to sync an Android phone with a computer. It’s mobile to cloud and bypasses the PC altogether. That feels like how phones should work these days.

If you can deal with a touchscreen phone and are looking for an alternative to iPhone, then I think the Nexus S is an ideal phone for you. It sure is for me.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    The front camera is essential for video calls and it changes the paradigm of mobile video calling when your phone essentially gives you an instant video call experience. I suggest to download Tango and try it while on wi-fi. It is very popular in the middle-east, actually was developed in Israel I think.Do you have plans to try out the Samsung Galaxy Tab, or in general Android tablets. I’m hearing good things about that one in particular.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, when i get back from vacation, that is something i am dying to do

  2. Omar Elbaga

    I’m really considering moving from iPhone to Android.I still really like the intuitiveness and feel of the iPhone and IOS in general, but we shall see.Little brother keeps pushing Android on me and sending me all the keynotes.

    1. phoneownz

      iPhone interface is intuitive but constraining at the same time. You’ll much prefer the speed of getting things done with Android once you’ve given it a couple of days to learn it.

  3. Eric Leebow

    Thanks for the review, Fred! I think it’s great that it’s plastic instead of metal, and the dual camera will solve my problem with taking pictures of myself 🙂 I was thinking about getting this to replace my Nexus One, yet I’m on AT&T. The one or two features you did not mention were the NFC, and the 5 spot wifi capabilities. I’m wondering how these work with it. Currently I use a Verizon 5 spot wifi, and think it would be great to replace this with a mobile phone. I wasn’t so excited about switching to T-Mobile right away, as I heard the coverage is not as strong as Verizon. What’s your take on the coverage?

    1. Bob Egan

      I’ve got phones on all the U.S. networks.T-mo is fine – and now very fast where people are – highways, cities.I also happen to think that “gsm” voice fidelity is much better than cdma on vzw or sprint.

      1. Eric Leebow

        Interesting, VZW likes make consumers think they have a much superior coverage. It would be interesting to hear feedback on how the Nexus S acts as a tethered Internet connection.

        1. Bob Egan

          I’ve been useing the Nexus S as a hot spot on and off for 4 days. When its in 3g (4g?) coverage at 2mb/s its awesome, at 1mb/s its ok. Seems like the network latency is lower than evo networks but haven’t had a chance to really dig under the numbers.I have not been on VZW’s new LTE network, but its EVO network is far less impressive than Sprints w/o even being on the WiMax side.

          1. Eric Leebow

            Right now I’ve got the vzw 5-spot and they allocate 10 mb a month, which I’ve totally gone over. I’m wondering if this service can fulfill more than that. Ideally, a wireless connection anywhere is what I’m looking into, and it seems like vzw is the only provider of 10 mb monthly at this time.

          2. Akshay

            I’ve been using my G2 as a hotspot everytime I’m traveling, in airports (to avoid the Boingo overhead), or if for some reason I need the larger screen of my laptop in any other situation.If I’m in an HSPA+ coverage area, it is indistinguishable from wifi until you try video streaming. I still got Netflix to work, but the buffering time was definitely longer than I’d usually like. To be more specific, at home, streaming netflix begins almost immediately post the “acquiring license” screen. When connected via phone it takes a few seconds to buffer (anecdotally < 10 seconds) before the video starts playing. It didn’t stop to buffer again after that.Note, this isn’t the Nexus S, but the G2. The Nexus S from what I can see in the specs doesn’t support HSPA+.See comparison of the phones here :…Although the specs for the MyTouch and the G2 are incomplete, so also see

    2. fredwilson

      t-mobile’s coverage is not as good as verizoni have not had a chance to use the NFC or the 5 spot

      1. Eric Leebow

        There could be a great Foursquare application with the NFC, or even Twitter application. In the future, we’ll be seeing Foursquare or Twitter branded stickers and you will simply be able to place your phone up to it, and you’ll be able to check into the restaurant or venue this way, or get more information on it sent to your phone. The 5 spot seems to be a great technology as well, yet I’m wondering if it is multi tasked, so that you can talk and use it at the same time.

  4. Bob Egan

    Good post. the Nexus S should rattle Apple. Android is finally getting it right.

    1. Paul Jozefak

      Bob, rattle it may yet it’s going to take one more generation to displace. If I were Apple I’d be worried though. At the same time, I’m really excited to see what comes when iPhone 5 is launched.

      1. Bob Egan

        I think you are right. At least another generation.Apple has at least threat vectors emerging;1. Its dependency on a wired connection, especially at new phone provision.2. Maintaining developer loyalty3. Carrier business modelsIssue 1, isn’t a problem for Google / Android, they’re even making good cross platform progress (aka BB, Msft). Issue 3 is quickly going to become a “remove nozzle, select grade” decision by consumers w or w/o subsidies. Issue 2 is remains a wild card in my mind.

        1. fredwilson

          issue 2 (based on responses to my post a few weeks ago) is mostly related to getting paid for appsi think that’s going to go away as mobile advertising begins to produce more cash for developers (like angry birds has shown on android)

          1. Bob Egan

            Fred, maybe. They were good points. Right up to the point where it made me feel like that is turning all the lights green at the consumer/enterprise intersection.

    2. Druce

      ha! Steve Jobs is not at all worried about Android. That’s why he never brings it up.

  5. kenberger

    The Samsung Galaxy S series really rocks too, and each U.S. carrier offers one. The screens are probably the sharpest non-iphones out there. I’m holding Sprint’s version (Epic 4G), which infuriatingly still has only Android 2.1!! But it still gives a superb Android experience.The Samsung Tab however, is a total game changer for me. Since it fits in my pocket– and in the custom-built holder I got on Etsy– I seldom leave home without it. Battery life is much better than a phone.

    1. Akshay

      Would love to hear more about how you use the Tab. I’ve been wondering about the use case(s) for that device. Especially for folks who also have Android/other smart phones. When do you choose to use the Tab vs the phone? also, why?

      1. kenberger

        use case couldn’t be more clear to me: it’s the closest thing to a laptop that i can actually carry on me most of the time. Even though Android isn’t yet optimized for tablet, and this Tab is therefore really just a big android phone, the bigger size allows one to use their main apps (browser and email) with pleasure, for hours.I find that I hardly need the Market apps, I just go directly to the websites, as I do on a desktop. Even on the 4.3″ Android phones or an iphone, that’s not much fun. I pretty much carry the Tab just about everywhere except if I’m headed to a crowded concert, maybe.Biggest downsides of the Tab, compared to that Epic 4G, is that there’s no phone built in, and the 3G speeds don’t come close to the amazing 4G today. But I just use a SIP dialer and carry a headset, for the former problem.

    2. William Mougayar

      Isn’t it ironic that all US carriers offer the Samsung Tab, but not the case by any stretch for the iPhone or Nexus/Android. That dependency between handset, carriers and long term contracts is so archaic.

    3. CJ

      Here you go: http://forum.xda-developers… First post in the forum tells you how to root it, after that pick a ROM and go for it. ROMS based on DK28 are the latest Froyo leaks for our phone. Enjoy.

  6. reece

    I find it really interesting that you say it’s “as close to an iPhone experience on Android as you can get,” particularly as you’ve said before that you don’t like the iPhone. Care to clarify?While I generally still marvel at my iPhone, I am sometimes bored of the iOS after 3 years… Almost seems like the magic wears off, and the game of learning a new OS is missed.Tempted to go Nexus S, but expendable ca$h money isn’t flowing freely for this bootstrapper… yet. 😉

    1. Eric Leebow

      My advice would be to wait a few months, something will be more appealing than the Nexus S (or even an upgraded version). That’s what happened when the Droid Incredible came out slightly after the Nexus One. From my positive experience with the Nexus One, I am tempted to get the Nexus S as well once it’s released for Verizon or AT&T, yet I know there will be something else. Although, the Nexus S seems like a great one, 2011 should be a great year for mobile devices!

      1. reece

        Yeah, but that’s the eternal struggle with the immediate obsolescence oftechnology, isn’t it?Plan to wait for the latest and greatest and you’ll be waiting forever!That being said, I bought my Macbook Pro in Dec 2006 and she’s still goingstrong [knocking on wood, just in case].

        1. ShanaC

          That may be a function of where we are now with computing -It’s a lot easier to build in power into a phone than a computer (computers seem to be hitting a point where they need more RAM, and processing, while important, seems to be leveling off for most people’s needs)

      2. OrganizedFellow

        As Eric said, “My advice would be to wait a few months”.Dual cores are right around the corner.As is Honeycomb.Did Samsung feel threatened by the rooting community, and their dislike of the Galaxy line, that they needed to recapture their hacking hearts? I feel that Google and Samsung rushed this device out to beat others to the holidays + I read that Samsung had the exclusive deal to launch with Gingerbread.I’m very shocked that the Nexus S came out with a 1GHz processor, even if it is faster than others. The Nexus One (which I own and will NOT part with for at least 4-6 more months) came with the industries first 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Samsung should have at least brought their dual-core to the Nexus name. Nexus is synonymous with the more elite, the desirable, the hacker crowd, only because of the fail of the Google Phone store. Hopefully, this device can maintain the appeal and sexiness that IS NEXUS.hhmm, perhaps HTC will rescue us with a resurrecting Nexus Two?

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          My bet is that they didn’t include a faster processor because of power consumption. Battery life has been one of the biggest complains regarding Android, so it makes a lot of sense to keep it at 1GHz if that way you can built a phone that last a day. I think that one of the reasons why iPhone has been so successful it’s because Apple never go into specification wars. They just build something that works and people like. If with 1GHz you can run all apps, why go any other way?

        2. Sebastian Wain

          I am also waiting for a dual core mobile phone, but I really like the Galaxy S, so I am not sure if I’ll wait too much.And I would wish a little more features: – OTG (USB On-The-Go) to attach other stuff. – MicroSDAnyway, in my opinion this is the top mobile phone now.

      3. Fernando Gutierrez

        Maybe there wil be an Android phone with better specifications soon, but I doubt it will be a Nexus because Google seems to be very cautious with that brand. And I prefer a Nexus with pure Android than another one with a faster processor but carrier dependency for SO.

    2. fredwilson

      i think the iPhone user experience is fantastic. i don’t like what it represents though. i don’t like the fact that you can’t run it on whatever network you want. i don’t like that apple controls what apps are available. i don’t like that developers have to wait weeks sometime to get an app approved. i don’t like that you can’t pop out a battery and put a new one in. i don’t like that you can’t get one with a keyboard. i’ll stop here, but you get the idea

      1. Bob Egan

        Keep in mind, that Apple is playing in Apples’ market. Google is playing in Nokia’s. There is little incentive, in the short term, for Apple to change if handset & itunes volumes/revs continue to grow and margins stay so high. Assuming of course, they they know how to stay ahead of the inflection point. Unlike Nokia. Unlike RIM.

        1. Eric Leebow

          Yeah, I’m surprised Google has not offered to buy Nokia. I think that’s something we might see, as they certainly aren’t buying Apple.

          1. Bob Egan

            I’m not sure that deal could be closed.

          2. Eric Leebow

            It would be an interesting one if were closed. The problem is not for mobile users as much as it is for developers. A mobile app has to be developed for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Nokia in order to completely satisfy all mobile users.

      2. reece

        “Freedom!!!” – BraveheartFair enough, and all reasons that make me wonder if I should jump ship, too.On Monday, December 20, 2010, Disqus

  7. Akshay

    For those of you in need of a phone with keyboard on Android, I have the T-Mobile G2, and it is fantastic.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s how the gotham gal rolls and she’s quite happy with the G2

  8. Steve Hallock

    Wish they made the Nexus phones for Verizon. I have a Droid Incredible and Droid 2 Global. Out of curiosity, why stick with T-Mobile?

    1. fredwilson

      mostly loyalty. they seem to be the least evil of the carriers too

    2. Ernest Ramos

      Probably because T-Mobile runs in a band that is common to a lot of countries world-wide.

      1. fredwilson

        That’s one of many reasons I use T-Mobile

  9. Kivanc Anar

    What is Quadrant benchmark of it? I have MyTouch 4G, it is 1800 benchmark points.

    1. Akshay

      There seems to be some disagreement on that point. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on it to run it myself, but in the mean time see these post :…There are claims in the wild of 1800+ (see first post), but I’m not sure what they were doing in order to hit those marks.This might show up twice – my apologies, I was trying to reply to Kivanc Anar.

  10. Akshay

    Removed. I meant to leave this comment as a reply to Kivanc. My Apologies. It won’t let me delete it, so editing it away.

  11. Me

    Your comment on iPhone was totally gratuitous and nonsensical. if you like Android that much why do you feel compelled to bring up the iPhone?

    1. fredwilson

      just because it is the premier mobile device on the market

  12. Kivanc Anar

    @akshay I just ran the test again; although my cell is full of widgets and bg processes; I’ve got 1861Here you are;


    Yes, I agree that Apple’s digital hub strategy is a bit outdated. Go straight to the cloud. Poor iTunes… I think that iTunes is too much of a perceived money maker for Apple to just abandon it. That would take some hits on their pride a bit. It might just be their achilles heel.

    1. fredwilson

      i’m with youitunes is yet another example that apple doesn’t truly get the web

      1. Eric Leebow

        I always wonder why people still use itunes, especially when there are things like Pandora, Thumbplay, and a very long list of alternative ways to distribute music on the Web. Is there any real benefit from buying itunes over using the other services?

        1. CJ

          Well you have this nice shiny new iPhone and want some music on it, what are you gonna do?

          1. Eric Leebow

            Thumbplay, Pandora, or any music app works fine!

          2. CJ

            Yeah, but iTunes gives you access to the iTunes Store, lets you sync your own music, etc. It’s sucks but it has features that people want/need that Pandora at least doesn’t have. I haven’t heard of Thumbplay before.

          3. Eric Leebow

            Give Thumbplay Music a try. Thumbplay Music was released in January 2010, and there are plenty of others, yet I think it provides a great service. It does everything iTunes does, the only difference is that it’s a subscription service, which allows you to save your music. If you put your music service on hold, Thumbplay will even save it when you return. It’s the difference between renting and buying music, downloading vs. cloud computing, yet who needs to buy music anymore when it’s virtual. Who needs to download music, Thumbplay will be on your TV in 2011 with Thumbplay Music TV. You can also easily sync all of your iTunes with Thumbplay Music if you want an easy transition. There are plenty of other services out there as well (which I’m not going to list them all here), which you might want to look into that provide subscription music services.

          4. Mike Mitchell

            I’m in the minority and I see what you are saying but I like music enough that only having a streaming copy doesn’t cut it. Thumbplay looks interesting but I don’t even pay for mp3s as is, why would I pay for streaming? I buy physical records that come with a free digital download codes. I liked lala when it was around. Upload your personal collection to the cloud and access anywhere everywhere. Did anyone make an imitation service? A cloud iTunes/winamp/whatever is what I want. Again, I know this is a minority/old world viewpoint but i think it’s reasonable for a true music lover. I don’t like pandora because I need control. there is too much good music out there that I don’t even have time to listen to!

          5. Eric Leebow

            There are certainly services out there that will fit your need, yet I think records are not for everyone.

          6. Mike Mitchell

            Any obvious examples come to mind? I would Love the ability to upload mp3s to the cloud, which my personal music player is synced to. like say I have 100 gigs in the cloud and then I could choose 10 gigs to be on my phone locally. I’ve been wishing dropbox would add a music player interface to their service but this could be a result of apple’s restrictions. bottom line is I’m saying in terms of listening to a personal music collection iPhone blows all other players out of the water. and I would like to switch to android but can’t for that reason…

          7. Eric Leebow

            Thumbplay, Spotify, and the list goes on… There’s even a player that will convert records to MP3s.

          8. fredwilson

            I have more than a terabyte of mp3s (all purchased, most in CD form) butrarely listen to themI stream music everywhere now via dozens of free and paid services many ofwhich I’ve had for over a decade nowListening to file based music is a thing of the past for me and my familyand many others now too

  14. taylorwc

    Fred–just curious…what do you like about haptic feedback? That’s one of those features that’s always on my ‘first to disable’ list. Drives me crazy.

    1. fredwilson

      i just love getting the physical feedback that i’ve made the connection

  15. Druce

    have been tempted… some stuff mentioned in reviews is lack of a microSD slot, HSPA+.Which iPhone doesn’t have either. But iPhone does have higher resolution screen. Somehow the iPhone UI always seems smoother than Android.…Google says they have SIP built-in to Gingerbread –… . They don’t say much but make it sound like you can dial out on your SIP VOIP line. Since they don’t mention it, presumably you can’t receive calls and have it act like a two-line converged mobile/SIP phone which would be kind of cool. (presumably someone could make an app to do that). Since T-mobile UMA lets you make WiFi calls with your cell number, it’s not clear what the advantage of making outgoing SIP calls would be, although it would bring WiFi calling to other carriers.

    1. G.

      SIP is both inbound and outbound. Works pretty well, though why they don’t have a native SIP connection to google voice is beyond me.

      1. Druce

        thanks! seems like a great feature, Google could push that more.

    2. fredwilson

      i noticed that sip is built in. i haven’t had time to play with it

      1. Druce

        I like the Nexus S but it doesn’t seem quite future-proof for a year or two. I would love a SIP update, might go that route. Would be pretty awesome if it converged seamlessly with a mobile like this.

  16. ErikSchwartz

    I had dinner with a friend who has a Nexus S last night and I got to play with it for a bit. I wish it were on VZW. It’s a nice handset.

    1. Eric Leebow

      Same here…why not VZW or other service providers? It will come out for others, just give it some time, and I’m sure some other handsets will come out as well.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Moto and VZW are pretty tight. I could see a clause in their agreement where moto offers additional exclusivity for the right to block certain handsets.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          VZW is not GSM, which is the stardard everywhere else (except in Japan, I think). That is a big issue because you need to build a version of the phone just for them.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            China telecom is also CDMA

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            Thanks, I didn’t know about them.. I guess they’re too small to notice 🙂

  17. Petr Faitl

    I still don’t understand the beef with google app purchasing. You setup google checkout once and then you just click Buy. It doesn’t even bother you with a silly password entry screen like Apple does.Can you clarify?

    1. phoneownz

      Yup, it’s much easier in fact than iPhone since you don’t have to use iTunes at all.

    2. fredwilson

      it’s slower

  18. Frederic Boulanger

    Excellent, thanks for the write up. Im also a big fan of nexus one. I can’t wait to get my hands to try one out, Haven’t done my homework, don’t know when it’s going to make its way to Canada. I’m especially interested in the battery life, pls keep us posted. I also alway carry two batteries with nexus one, not a pain but not the bb battery life either!

  19. Stephen

    Fred, I am pleased you like the new Nexus phone, I am a Nexus One fan, having owned Blackberrys, iPhones, Nokia handsets I am very much sold on Android. Apple make good computers and I will still advocate them over a PC anytime, but with regards to mobile phones I truly believe the Android platform is better. Not sure when we will get the new Nexus here in the UK but one thing that puts me off is the plastic, is this really noticeable?I don’t think any phone is an iPhone killer, it is more Apple killing themselves and the Android a collective.Thanks for an interesting blog as always.

  20. xackr

    Wow, a review I agree with completely. I picked one up too and I think I was “shocked” when I picked the unit up without a battery. I think that is spawning the “cheap” comments in other reviews. After using it a few days with a battery in it and getting used to the lighter weight, it feels as solid as any other phone or handheld I’ve owned.I have gotten totally spoiled by the voice command. You can press and hold the magnifying glass at the bottom of the phone and it goes straight to voice command. You can say “send text Fred Wilson that was a great review” and it will DO IT. I’ve found it to be almost 100% accurate on shorter sentences in low noise environments.The other thing I like is setting it to always call with my Google Voice number. This means when I get over the hump of changing my number, all my friends will be calling me at my Google voice number – which rings on my mobile, at my home, and on my laptop when I have Gmail up (which is most of the time). I love being able to answer hands free on my laptop.I think Android and iOS are two quite different things. I find the Nexus S to be a really nice business class phone for people who can do their work comfortably in the Google cloud and other cloud-based environments. I think it will be a success as the early adopters who use it, share their experience with others and offset the snapshot review crowd who thrives on drama.

    1. fredwilson

      i may need to move to google voice. i’ve been waiting for google to allow porting of cell numbers. they’ve privately offered to do it for me. but i don’t like getting something that others don’t.

      1. Bob Egan

        In the meantime, just click the GV app switch to take all your vmail. I did. works fine. easy call back, archive readability getting better too. Number port, the nirvana – for skype too.go. on. vacation. 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          my vmail goes to phonetag for high quality human transcriptions

      2. Dave W Baldwin

        Wise move since it is better to experience what the overall market experiences.

      3. CJ

        I admire that but I don’t think anyone would fault you for it. There are quite a few people already ported into Google Voice, I think the entire TechCrunch team that wanted it has it, Arrington included. I’d look at it as being invited to participate in a private beta rather than getting something others can’t.

  21. Avi Deitcher

    I have had an iPhone 3G for several years, was looking for a replacement. I seriously considered Nexus S, but ended up with an iPhone 4 for one reason, and one only: frequencies.For 3G (not GSM), the US uses 850/1900 MHz (AT&T) or 1700 MHZ (T-Mobile), while most of the rest of the world (Europe, Israel) uses 900/2100 MHz. I need a phone that is truly global. Nexus S works everywhere outside the US, and T-Mobile only in the US, as well as some minor carriers in Canada, weak compared to AT&T’s coverage (even if they are not great, either), as well as Rogers, Bell Canada, etc. The only phone I found that has broad US coverage and broad Europe and Israel coverage is the iPhone 4.Are you OK with the limited US coverage on 1700 MHz? I know you don’t like the iPhone and its restrictions – I am not thrilled with them either – but this was a make-or-break from my perspective.

    1. Bhun

      The Nexus S has tri-band 900/1700/2100 MHz UMTS, which should work everywhere in Europe.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Yes, but only T-Mobile and some minor carriers in Canada who operate on 1700AWS. Coverage is weak.Of course, it really goes back to the US using 850/1900 or 1700 for 3G, while *everyone* else uses 900/2100. I am not normally a fan of government-enforced standardization, but since the government was the one who allocated the spectrum in the first place, they could have done a better job. The Europeans managed to get it together here.It doesn’t get any better with 4G. Clear uses WiMax while others will use LTE, but even LTE has multiple bands.I do not know how hard/expensive it is for the phone manufacturers to have multiple bands on the phones. I assume there is a cost factor, or the Nexus S, e.g. wouyld have been quint-band: 850/900/1700/1900/2100 to cover everything.

  22. Jeremy Nicoll

    Hey, how about you post some pictures so that we can see image quality of the cameras?

    1. Amin

      I posted a comparison of my HTC Incredible and Nexus S pictures here: Incredible captures a higher resolution image, but the Nexus S has better overall image quality IMO: less artifacts, nicer color, less noise, sharper corners. It also has a wider angle lens. I prefer it overall.

  23. flocial

    I would love to get one of these just to check out the state of Android. The freedom is appealing even though the ease of use might not be there. I’m sure a lot of it will be like when I use Ubuntu coming from OS X, the little refinements that Apple does such a wonderful job with.However, I’m pretty sure the cutting edge will be with Android without a doubt. If you have an innovative idea, this is the platform to experiment with because there’s less of an obstacle getting your product to consumers, not to mention the unpredictable approval process. There are so many simple things that Apple makes so hard that Android doesn’t like: the ability to drag and drop pictures, video, music into the phone; no requirement for PCs or software (like iTunes); to name a couple.Unfortunately, for all that it’s terribly difficult to get one of these outside the US without going through some complicated arrangements. Hope to get one someday soon though.

  24. ryan singer

    Last year you got one and it got me interested enough to buy one. Thinking to do it again, but waiting till June.

  25. Mike Mitchell

    “It’s mobile to cloud and bypasses the PC altogether. That feels like how phones should work these days.”I couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the major things that pisses me off about the iPhone. I’m a big personal music library guy and what I’m wondering is if you can get data (mp3s in my case) from the cloud, perhaps via dropbox, and download them to the phone? Sounds simple but would be a Major game changer for me.

    1. Marcosardi

      Did you try Mobile Me? You get email, calendar and contact after providing your credentials, and you can share files.

      1. CJ

        For $100/yr…should be free IMHO.

        1. Mike Mitchell

          yeah, in all honesty, Mobile Me is kind of a joke..

  26. Amin

    I enjoyed your review, and I’m enjoying my Nexus S. I agree that “the Nexus S is as close to an iPhone experience on Android as you can get”, by which I mean that the Nexus S does a better job than other Android phones at approaching iPhone on the latter’s strengths. The iPhone still has a smoother, more polished UI, but the gap has closed a little bit. It will be interesting to see how other current Android phones compare to the Nexus S when they get Gingerbread.There are a number of distinct strengths of Android, one of the most important of of which you mentioned at the end. “There is no need to sync an Android phone with a computer.” This is a big deal to me. I love the fact that I can wipe my phone clean, flash a different ROM, or switch to a different phone altogether, and then restore all my apps directly OTA from the Market without another computer in sight. Love that all my podcasts are sitting there updated for me each morning without my needing to plug my phone into something to get them. An iPhone needs a Mac/PC. All an Android phone needs is a charge.Other key features of Android I’d miss with the iPhone are text reflow, turn-by-turn navigation, the notification system, and widgets. There’s also the whole open source community. I rooted my Nexus S yesterday morning, today wrote a guide for other Mac users to do the same (, and already folks are working on some nice improvements for our system, eg http://forum.xda-developers….

  27. mrjain

    “…I didn’t bring another camera so all my pictures will be taken with the Nexus S camera…”That is the trend and I’m sure companies like Canon will have to re-think their consumer targeted camera strategy. As they say, the best camera is the one with you.

  28. daryn

    The Nexus S sounds like a good step forward for android devices.I’m an android fan in principal, but still an iphone fan (and owner) in practice. Definitely long on android’s future, just doesn’t seem quite there for all of my wants.That said, my iphone is dying, so I might give it a whirl. Anyone here have a spare android device I can borrow?


      the biggest difference…. no multi-touch. Apple put the stop on anybody else doing multi-touch gestures. So pinch to zoom… nope. Makes working some apps like maps much more clumsy IMO. Other than that, Android FTW

      1. bla

        what are you talking about? android has multi touch and stuff like pitch to zoom since 1.6 or 2.0…but yes, apple lawyers are trying to sue everyone with two or more fingers in their hands (and that’s why you should never give your money to apple. they are the new microsoft/SCO/etc). but android still has multitouch.


          Yeah, definitely could be. Its been at least 6 mos to a year since I tried out an Android. Did Apple license the patent to them or something? I thought that was the reason they took it out.

    2. fredwilson

      i have two nexus ones. i can wipe one and send it to you.

  29. ShanaC

    Fred, have you seen the Chromebook/Chrome OS in person yet – how do you think these projects will eventually merge? Also have you gotten past the no keyboard to do your writing yet (do you think it’s doable)

    1. fredwilson

      i have not seen it yet

  30. James

    You didn’t mention that the Nexus S is missing two big things: a memory expansion slot and a 4G radio. I know you can’t wait for perfection but I’m wondering how NS buyers will feel when the Galaxy S’s get Gingerbread and so wind up with a better phone.

    1. fredwilson

      the 4G thing is a bit of an issue for me. i may feel a twinge of jealousy when there are 4g androids out there.the memory expansion slot is not a big deal for me. 16gb is enough for my phone.

  31. Nitin Chordia

    Does the phone work on 3G AT&T??? Also would the phone work in other countries like India on the 3 g network???

    1. Eric Leebow

      Not yet, at least I had a talk with AT&T and they claim to not support it. I’m pretty sure they will in the future, or something comparable.

  32. OurielOhayon

    Fred, you probably mean Flixster and not Flickster ?

    1. fredwilson


  33. lushfun

    Would be good if they competed more on battery life and energy efficiency within said phones.

  34. Andy Lee Graham

    I would appreciate if you added the Smartphone situational variable of Global Travel to your bundle of benefits needs. Can you use this phone to travel seamlessly from country to country or do you need?Andy Graham of in Ghana, West Africa

  35. George A.

    Nice review.Get one of the swipe- based keyboards like SlideIT or swype, it totally changed my typing proficiency.

    1. CJ

      I have a love/hate relationship with Swype. On one hand it’s totally effortless to type a word at a time, on the other hand it makes me think in terms of a word at a time rather than a complete sentence of thought. So I find myself thinking like: Hi-I-want-you-to-know-that-I-brought-the-tree-down-from-the-attic rather than: Hi, I want you to know I brought the tree down from the attic.

  36. Mark Essel

    Appreciate the review. I’ve been satisfied with my iPhone 4 without a wireless plan since summer. I haven’t ponied up for a personal data node yet, but I’m confident that separating my hand held computer from a phone plan is the best move.My biggest beef with Android was the weak keyboard options on the Droid X which I had a for a few weeks over the summer before the camera crapped out. Since 95% of my blog posts are made by mobile phone the iPhone keyboard UI was a major selling point.JavaScript is not as fast I would prefer. Wish we could install chromium, chrome, or Firefox on iOS.

    1. CJ

      Ironically, keyboard is why I went Android. I got the Epic and love the keyboard options, both physical and virtual.

      1. Mark Essel

        I can totally understand that as a driving reason. The interface defines the value of the device, moreso than any other combination of features.

  37. marfi

    Excellent review, if it was not for the price, surely I would have been getting one too!

  38. J. Pablo Fernández

    You can take a single picture with both cameras at the same time? That looks very interesting. If it’s not possible yet, it should be trivial to code. I can picture myself having dinner with someone, holding the phone in front of me, and capture the moment without having to move around the table. And we can look at each other while doing so. I think that’s something new to photography and it’s exciting.

  39. Akshay Bakshi

    I would recommend waiting for something like the LG B or Optimus 2x. Thats the sort of specs 2011 phones should have.

  40. Mike Mitchell

    I’m more talking about being able to mess with the internal file structure which apple is Not cool with. Like doing a cloud sync with files. The Android model almost takes care of this with Google Apps but there doesn’t yet seem to be a personal music/video solution (that I know of). Mobile Me isn’t compelling at all to me especially when you get free and better with Google Apps. I guess I’m still a little bitter about Apple’s Lala acquisition..

  41. Bbhurji

    While I continue to be big fan of open source innovative products, I still like to use “tried n tested” products in my day to day life activities. From driving a vehicle to running an app downloaded from Apple app store. It delivers, it works, it does not crash. Most iPhone users download 10 apps, which work in harmony. Can you imagine 10 apps working in harmony on Android?

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. I’ve got about forty on my android and I’ve never had an issueYou should try android. Its awesome on so many levels

  42. BrianD

    Do you use a screen protecting film ?

    1. fredwilson


  43. Siddharth Bourne

    Here is an unbiased review of Nexus S and iPhone 4 that I liked…

  44. Siliconedynamics

    Thanks for impressions. I like that the phone is light and made by plastic. Nice to hear expiriences since I’m considering Nexus S, too.