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Nexus S 4G: Gingerbread phone gets a 4G boost

Ginny Mies and Mark Sullivan , PCWorld | May 31, 2011
Google and Samsung's joint collaboration is enhanced with Sprint's 4G data speeds, but the Nexus S still has a few hardware oversights.

Like the GSM Nexus S, the Sprint version is free of carrier-added apps and bloatware—which is always nice.


Google Talk integration

Google Voice integration is limited. It simply allows Nexus S 4G users to use their existing cell number as their Google Voice number. Google Voice comes preloaded on the phone, but the preloaded version offers no additional functions or features than the app that any Android user can download from the Android Market.

Traditionally, when you sign up for Google Voice, you are assigned a “Google Voice number” that can be associated with any of your phones—your cell phone, your office phone, your home phone, whatever. When someone calls your Google Voice number, the call rings on any or all of those phones.

Normally, when Google Voice users decide they want to use their existing cell phone number as their Google Voice number, they much pay a $20 porting fee and then establish a new account with a new number for their cell phone. But Sprint Nexus S 4G owners—in fact owners of any Sprint phone—can use their existing cell number as their Google Voice number. No number porting-their Sprint number and their Google Voice number are the same.



The Nexus S has a 5-megapixel camera with a flash and the same resolution as the rest of the Galaxy S pack. As we’ve mentioned in other Galaxy reviews, the camera quality is good, but not superb. The Nexus One also had a good, but not mind-blowing camera. Colors in my indoor shots looked a bit faded, and generally, photos were slightly grainy. One feature Samsung and Google overlooked is a dedicated shutter key on the phone’s spine. It is a small detail, but it really makes a difference when snapping photos.

The camera’s user interface has a nice variety of settings that you can tweak to your liking. It has autofocus, macro and infinity modes, four resolutions to choose from, nine scene settings, three color modes, three quality modes, and exposure metering.

Like the Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint, the Nexus S sports a front-facing VGA camera for making video calls or taking self-portraits. As mentioned above,Gingerbread’s camera interface adds support for multiple cameras.

You can shoot video as high as 720-by-480-pixels at 30 frames per second. A video we shot outdoors looked pretty good, if a bit jittery when a fast-moving object went by.


Wireless speeds

The throughput speed performance of the phone was consistent with the speeds we’ve measured using other Sprint 4G (WiMAX) phones this year-not terribly slow but not as fast as 4G should be.


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