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Nexus S 4G
What's hot: Latest Android OS, excellent display, pure Android.
What's not: 4G eats battery, reception is mediocre.
Reviewed May 11, 2011 by Lisa Gade, Editor
The Google Nexus S by Samsung isn't a new kid on the block. The original Nexus S with T-Mobile 3G bands came out in December 2010. Unlike the original Nexus, it didn't boast better specs than any other Android phone on the market at release, so it didn't make quite the splash as did the original. One sorely missing feature, 4G, took the GSM Nexus S down a notch, and Sprint has remedied this with their Nexus S 4G.
In all other respects, the Sprint version is identical to the Nexus S we reviewed in December, so we'll simply go with a quick run-down here and a video review. The Nexus S 4G joins Sprint's already strong lineup of Android smartphones, but what sets it apart is the pure Google experience. Since this is a Google "designed" and branded phone (though made by Samsung, just as the first Nexus was made by HTC), it runs pure Android OS 2.3.4 Gingerbread. The Nexus S phones are currently the only Android phones running this latest and greatest OS that adds support for NFC (near field communications) and video chat via Gtalk. Since this is pure Android, there are no Sprint apps like Sprint TV or Navigator, but you do get a wide selection of Google apps, in fact more than you'd see on most Android phones.
The Nexus S 4G has 3G EV-DO Rev. A and 4G WiMAX as well as WiFi 802.11b/g/n. It runs on a 1GHz Hummingbird single core CPU with 16 gigs of flash storage but no microSD card slot. The phone has Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, NFC, a GPS that works with Google Maps and Navigation as well as third party navigation apps, a VGA front video chat camera and rear 5 megapixel camera with autofocus lens and 480p video recording. Since it's a Samsung phone, the Nexus S 4G has their excellent 4" Super AMOLED display running at 800 x 480 resolution. In mid-2011, those are respectable but not superphone specs. However, the Nexus S 4G is a fast, stable and attractive phone that outperforms several other phones in its class thanks to its clean OS. It managed a very good 1748 score on the Quadrant benchmark. It's also easily hackable and rootable for you tinkerers and developers.