CNET First Look
Samsung Nexus SThe Samsung Nexus S gets points for its slick design and straight Google experience, but we were hoping for more features.
-Hi, I'm Kent German. I'm a Senior Editor here at CNET.com. Today, we'll take a first look at the Samsung Nexus S. Now, this is one of the most anticipated Android phones of the autumn season. That's because it's the follow-up to the Nexus One. This phone offers largely the same concept. It does have a different sales model. You can buy it at Best Buy, so you can actually go in to the store. It's also sold for T-Mobile, and it's sold without a T-Mobile contract. But like the previous phone, both phones are unlocked, so that's a great thing. But there is a catch and, of course, there is always a catch. It is compatible only with T-Mobile's 3G network, at least here in the United States. You can use it on AT&T's voice network, so you can make a call and send text messages. But you can't use it on AT&T's 3G. Another thing you need to be aware of: It doesn't work with T-Mobile's HSPA Plus Network. So, they say it's 4G. It's not really 4G. But it's not compatible with that really high-speed network, and that's really disappointing considering just an anticipated device. It has almost everything else you'd want. So, we don't really understand why they didn't do that. Just describing the design, you can see it is a simple candy bar phone. It looks a lot like some of the Samsung Galaxy S devices. So, it's very thin. It's pretty light. It has a super AMOLED display. So, it has about 16 million colors, a great pixel resolution. Everything looks really good. I'll compare it here with the Nexus One to show you they're somewhat similar as far as the candy bar shape goes. But, certainly the Nexus S is a little slicker. It just has a little more of a futuristic feel. Suddenly, the Nexus One feels a little weightier. A couple of things to note about the Nexus S design: It does have a contour display. And what's that supposed to be is the display is supposed to be curved. It actually is, just very slight. You have to look at it very closely. I'm not sure I see that at all. I mean, I don't notice the difference when I hold it against my head, and I think if you really wanted to match it, you'd have a pretty small head. It has a front-facing VGA camera in addition to the camera on the back, and there's also a flash in the back; also has an NFC chip. Now, that's a technology that isn't used much here in the United States yet, but it would allow you to actually use your phone as a wallet and buy certain things and deduct money from a mobile account. Not all the merchants have really caught on to that technology. So, we'll see that development, but it does have the capability. Also, you'll be able to do VoIP calling, and it is the first Android phone with Gingerbread, which is the latest version of the Android operating system. Now, Gingerbread brings a few things. I'll show a couple of them to you. It does bring a different keyboard. So, the virtual keyboard, it doesn't look that much different. And also, the cut-and-paste is a little easier to do. Now, with Gingerbread, you can actually select only the word that you're touching if you have a block of text. So, if you just wanna select one thing, that you can do. Also, Gingerbread gives you new little arrows that allow you to move the block of text which you'd like to copy back and forth these here. It's just a little better than having to move the line with your finger as you did before. Now, you get a little arrow. So, it's nice. I really like it. Gingerbread also makes the wallpapers a little different, and it offers a few other features. But, that cut-and-copy-paste is one of the biggest and one you'll probably notice right away. One of the important thing to point out with the Nexus S is it does not have a micro SD card slot. Now, it does have 16 gigs of internal memory. So, that's a lot of space. Of course, even if you wanna use more than 16 gigs and there's probably some of you out there, you won't have that option. So that's disappointing. One other thing that's missing is an HDMI out slot. So, we're hoping that this phone had a little more features than it does. Compared with the Nexus One, as I said, a lot of the features are similar. It does add some new things. Of course, Gingerbread's a huge one. But, at the end of the day, the phone isn't that much of an advancement over its predecessor. So, that's a bit disappointing. But it does offer that unfiltered access right to Google applications you'd expect. So, if you're a real hardcore Android phone, probably a decent phone for you. As I said, you can get it unlocked. You can get it for $529 and that's without any kind of contract. Or you can get it at $199 with a T-mobile 2-year contract, but that phone is also unlocked as well. So, it's a good thing. I'm Kent German and this is the Samsung Nexus S.