Pros The tech is well documented, so I'll add two things: Android is a state of mind (freedom). Feels good. Also, if you're like me and spend time going abroad then an unlocked phone like the Nexus S is ideal. No more cat and mouse with Apple.
Cons Do I miss the iPhone? So far, not much. The Android bloomberg app has a few less customization features (e.g., inability to reorder your news selections). Curved screen looks cool but but is a marketing gimmick. NFC chip is useless right now.
Summary Google just released their first update for the Nexus S, which suggests they're going to be actively supporting it. That's a big reason I went with this Android phone versus waiting for one of the dual-core Android phones coming out next year. This is the official Google phone and Nexus S owners will be first in line to receive all updates, including Honeycomb due in Q2.
Also, dual core offers big battery gains but it's unclear how much of a performance gain you're going to get. The Nexus S is quick, so I don't feel like I need more speed. Also, I doubt Google would release a phone that would bog down with Honeycomb coming so soon.
Battery life looks solid so far. With the screen cranked all the way up I'm still making it through the day.
Overall, I'm stoked. Stoked to have a phone as solid as the Nexus S which integrates all my google accounts. And stoked to be free from the locked down, controlling clutches of Apple.
Pros Good processor performance, almost a full gigabyte of space for Android apps, and a compact package for the size of the screen, but most of the phone's good features come from Android 2.3, not from the hardware. Get Android updates immediately (big)
Cons No LED alerts - so you can't tell if you have messages waiting or what types they are. No trackball or D-pad, so it's hard to scroll through forms when the keyboard is up. No memory slot will be a big deal for many. No 4G data rates.
Summary Being first in line for Android updates is the main reason to buy this phone. If you don't care about this, or if you're willing to root your phone, give it a pass. I would guess that Google and phone manufacturers will put out a steady stream of unlocked, 'pure Google' phones over the next 6 months (looks like LG has one with a dual-core processor), so I'm waiting to upgrade from my Nexus One.
20 minutes of 'testing' at a BestBuy store today confirmed most of what you can read in CNet's and other reviews. Feels good in the hand. Runs pretty fast. Android 2.3 has some nice tweaks, etc.
The stuff I haven't seen discussed is this:
* Nexus S has a front-facing camera, but no bundled app to use it with. You can download Fring, but Fring's not so cute, and it's certainly no FaceTime. Sure, G Talk will support this soon, but as you leave the store all the phone does is let you take a low-res picture of yourself.
* For all the talk of supporting Internet calling, Google's Contacts app has no entry for SIP numbers, and the phone's setting show Internet calling as being only supported over WiFi. What? They must be joking.
* Not having LED notifications is a big deal. Cyanogen (modified Android) lets people set different colors for voicemail, texts, Facebook messages, etc., so a glance at your sleeping phone tells you whether you should wake it or not. Having used this feature for a while it would be hard to give it up.
* A 4 inch screen does make reading easier, but screen resolution is unchanged from the Nexus One. Since we're on the cusp of having lots of choices with higher resolution, why buy Nexus S?
I went to BestBuy today hoping to restrain myself from a mediocre upgrade from Nexus One. Seeing the phone in person made me realize Nexus S is in many ways a step backwards. Thank you, Samsung, for sparing my wallet today, but somehow I still wish Nexus S had been good enough to overcome my restraint.
Pros Pros: Beautiful screen, artsy design, excellent performance, future proof for NFC, good battery life, easy to root.
Cons Cons: No HSPA+, no SD card slot, no 720p, no LED notifications, many programs not up-to-date with Gingerbread, no native video chat yet, plastic body is a liability.
Summary After a good experience with my Nexus One, I decided to purchase the Nexus S. To start, I have to say that this is one slim phone. Except for the reverse chin, the phone is less than half an inch thick. The overall appearance of the Nexus S is that of a faceless black slate. The extremely responsive capacitive buttons beneath the screen are not visible without the screen being on. There are only two hardware buttons, a volume rocker and a power button. The back has only one noticeable feature which is a chrome bezel around the camera lens, harkening back to the Nexus One. Needless to say, Google has intended this phone to be more art than industrial.
Like all Galaxy S phones, the Nexus S has the 4" Super AMOLED screen. This is one of the best looking screens on the market today. Its closest competitor is the IPS Retina display on the iPhone 4.
Sadly, the phone is made with slick, glossy, lightweight plastic. After only a couple days of owning it, I already have a minor scuff mark on the rear. I've ordered a silicone case for it. Sure it reduces the overall sex appeal of the Nexus S, but I'd prefer to keep my phone scratch free. The only other thing of external note was the curved glass screen. I've heard that it is for ergonomics and to reduce glare from sunlight. Personally, I can't say whether either of these are true.
Performance wise, the phone is pretty much better than first generation Snapdragon processors and roughly equal to second generation versions. The big claim to fame however, is the PowerVR SGX540 GPU powering the phone. Every game, benchmark, and user interface element is made smooth and fast by it.
The phone comes with much of what you would expect out of a modern smartphone. It has Wifi (b/g/n), Bluetooth, A-GPS, Accelerometer, and 5.0 MP rear camera. The unique features are the near-field communication (NFC) chip, gyroscope, and front facing camera. Clearly Google has intended this phone to set the bar for future Android phones. It doesn't lead the pack like the Nexus One did, but it does set the standard.
There are some drawbacks to the hardware. The Nexus S lacks an SD card slot. Some will find this a deal breaker, but I never used up my 16 GB card on my Nexus One so I wasn't bothered by it. The plus to it though is the 16 GB iNAND chip inside the Nexus S has ridiculous read/write speeds near 20 MB to 32 MB per second. The Nexus S also lacks 720p recording due to a hardware limitation. Personally, I didn't see this as an issue as it can do 480p which is sufficient for videos on the fly. Finally, the Nexus S only has 7.2 Mbps data speed and not HSPA+ or 4G speeds. Depending on your location, this will or will not make a difference. Either way, I achieved 2 to 4 Mbps speeds with the Nexus S and I have no issues loading up webpages quickly.
Much can be said about the Nexus S and its version of Android. The phone runs the latest version of Android (2.3.3 as of now), code named Gingerbread. Mechanically, Gingerbread isn't really superior to Froyo. It does have better battery life thanks to an enhanced presence in killing unneeded apps, plus the JIT engine has been improved. No, most of what make Gingerbread unique is the UI overhaul. Google has traded out much of the silver-grey appearance for black and green. Icons have been changed along with a few other aesthetic changes. The two most prominent are the "force field barrier" when one hits the end of a menu and the CRT-like screen off animation. Both are wonderful, but largely Gingerbread is incremental rather than exponential like Froyo was.
The real weak spots in Gingerbread are really not related to the OS itself, but the apps. Many apps don't yet take advantage of Gingerbread's newer drivers and guts. My favorite launcher, Launcher Pro, runs choppy at times compared to the smooth appearance that it had with my Nexus One running Froyo. Until the developers catch up to the newest version of Android, it will continue to seem incomplete.
In terms of battery life, after rooting and installing a custom kernel and OS, my battery life is probably anywhere from 16-20 hours of light use. This is not nearly as good as the 24-32 hours I could achieve with my Nexus One, but decent enough to make it through a day without issue.
Data speeds tend to remain constant in my area at 2 Mbps to 4 Mbps. Signal strength is weaker with this phone compared to my Nexus One. I found myself losing signal in areas that my former phone wouldn't. Voice quality has been excellent. Callers sound distinct and clear and have had no issues with hearing me.
The Nexus S once again shows the cutting edge of Android. It isn't the most powerful out there as new dual cores overtake it, but it does have the newest version of Android and a huge developer community behind it. The phone probably isn't for a novice however. It is better suited to an advanced user that either wants to root or develop for Android. If you can overlook the flaws, it is a great phone.
Pros Unadulterated Android--and Gingerbread, at that. Beautiful display. Larger size makes on-screen keyboard much more usable by fat-fingered me. Wi-fi tethering.
Cons No HSPA+. Lack of replaceable SD card is a small nit. Android copy/paste is poor--guess I'll root the phone and buy Copy-Paste It. Prefer the finish of the backside of the HTC phones (i.e., Nexus 1). No Gorilla Glass.
Summary I love this phone. It's fast. It's raw Android. I have a few con's listed above, but the only one that is of any significance is the lack of HSPA+ support. Still, I get 4-Mb/s on 3G and 15-Mb/s on wi-fi. Am looking forward to someone making use of the forward facing camera--that will be fun. Wi-fi tethering is super--especially when my iPad-owning friends lament the lack of a wi-fi network somewhere (all being too cheap, as am I, to pay yet even more money for yet another Internet connection). As for the copy-paste con above, that is a clear demonstration of why I prefer this to anything Apple, even though Apple has a good copy-paste function on the iPhone: I have the option to easily root this phone and install an app that handles the chore nicely. With Apple, and even with some carrier Android phones, rooting the phone is not an option. Freedom is pure, raw, unadulterated Android.
Pros Pure Android 2.3.1 Gingerbread OS! But wait! There's more! Contour display is novel and attractive. The ARM 8 based Hummingbird SOC is a darling with dedicated GPU. Translation: games and video in 2D/3D will look amazing on this device's SUPERAMOLED!
Cons The major carriers are touting their 4g networks right now. With this device you will be left out in the cold. If you want a 4g experience now, stop reading this and look elsewhere. Contour display is novel but gimmicky.
Summary Simply put, this is the premium Android experience right now. You simply will not find one better. Google maps in 3D w compass enabled should set the standard for mobile maps period. A lot of criticism surrounding the build quality of this Samsung unit. Don't be fooled. Samsung is a premium mobile phone manufacturer. Well ahead of HTC and rivaled only by the iphone with the advent of this, the pure Gingerbread OS equipped Nexus S.