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Can Google's Nexus S beat iPhone 4?

Last updated on: February 7, 2011 18:36 IST

Can Google's Nexus S beat iPhone 4?

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Get Ahead reader Sanaullah Khan reviews Google's latest smartphone the Nexus S in response to our reader invite (below).

Sanaullah completed his bachelors in Technology in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Hyderabad and Masters of Science in Digital Communication Networks from London.

Google recently announced their latest phone the Nexus S built in collaboration with Samsung. This is the second phone to be released by Google after Nexus One which was built by HTC and was released in January last year.

With the release of Nexus S, Google hopes to achieve much greater success than it did with the Nexus One. And to achieve that Google made sure that their latest handset is loaded with both amazing features and the latest technology.

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Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Google Nexus S
Photographs: Google.com
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Hardware and design

The Nexus S is an elegantly designed and cool looking phone. Its case is made of glossy plastic which makes the phone more prone to smudges but makes it look appealing nonetheless. The Nexus S has a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor with a dedicated GPU and comes with 16GB of on-board memory, which unfortunately is not expandable.

It includes a 5-megapixel camera with flash as well as a front-facing camera for video calls. It also features a curved glass called 'contour display' which is the first of its kind in the world, this Google claims would make it easier to type and keeps the phone in line with the shape of the face.

The phone sports a rather large 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 800 x 480 and supports 16.7 million colours which makes watching videos and browsing websites a pleasure. Especially the live wallpapers look spectacular on the brilliant display.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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At the bottom there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microUSB port, which can be used both for charging and transferring data to and from the computer.

At the back there is a speaker, a 5-megapixel camera and flash. The volume rocker button is on the left side and the power button on the right side of the phone. A dedicated camera button is noticeably missing.

On the inside it is packed with FM radio, accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, haptic feedback, digital compass, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), GPS and Bluetooth 2.1 (with A2DP). The phone is a beauty on the outside and a beast on the inside, which makes the Nexus S an excellent smartphone.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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Software

The Nexus S is the first smartphone to feature the latest Android OS version 2.3 also known as Gingerbread.

The User Interface of Android 2.3 has seen a much-needed improvement over earlier versions with a more refined and polished look, the phone performs smoothly and is more responsive. Its keyboard is now redesigned with more space between keys and it definitely makes typing better.

Copying and pasting are much easier in 2.3 than it was on 2.2.

The Gingerbread update makes Android more power efficient, faster and graphically pleasing to the eyes.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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The software provides a Battery Menu which displays how much power is being consumed by the phone and how much time is left before the phone needs recharging and a Manage Applications menu displays which applications are running and how much power and memory each application is using, so that the applications which are not needed can be closed to save battery life.

The new Downloads application gives easy access to any content that is downloaded from the browser, email or any other app, this feature is quite helpful as it allows easy access to all the downloaded content at one place. The Application Menu is smooth and provides 3D-like experience where the icons roll in and out from the top and bottom.

One amazing animation worth mentioning is when the screen is locked the display is turned off like a television switching off; it doesn't make much of a difference but surely does look cool.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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Near Field Communication (NFC)

An interesting new feature in the Nexus S is support for NFC (Near Field Communication), which allows the phone to read information from NFC chips which can be embedded in posters or stickers. This technology will also make it possible to make payments directly from the phone.

In an ideal case if the phone were placed on the sensor in the store it would automatically take the payment from the user's bank account.

And NFC is not just about 'touch and pay' as Google's CEO Eric Schmidt likes to refer to it; the phone could potentially be used as hotel keys, tickets, retrieving information about a place, storing ID cards, driving licence and exchanging information with other smartphones. The possibilities are endless.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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It's a cool new feature but its success would largely depend on how widely it is implemented. Nokia has revealed that it plans to implement NFC in most of its upcoming phones and there are rumours that the next iPhone would have NFC capabilities.

Once this technology becomes more pervasive it would ultimately do away with the need to carry any debit or credit cards and in the future would eventually make the wallet obsolete, although that future is quite faraway. Nonetheless it's an exciting technology to be on the lookout for.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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Can Google's Nexus S beat iPhone 4?

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Camera

More was expected in the camera department from a phone by Google as the phone features a 5-megapixel camera with flash contrary to an 8-megapixel camera found in most high-end smartphones, but it makes up for the lack of the 8-megapixel camera with features provided in the camera app.

The camera app hosts a variety of settings like taking pictures in different resolutions, geo-tagging, auto-focus, infinity and macro modes, exposure metering, nine scene settings and three colour modes which can be tweaked according to the user.

Recording videos in 720 x 480 pixels at 30 fps resolution the quality is reasonably good but not having 720p HD recording is a big let down and not what was expected from the latest device by Google.

It has also got a front VGA camera for video calling and taking self-portrait's. Overall the camera app is simple and straightforward and can take decent photos and videos, but it still lags behind most other high-end smartphones.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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Google Apps

As Android is Google's mobile operating system we can expect a host of Google apps.

The usual ones are Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, Google Latitude, YouTube, Google Search, Google Earth, Google Talk and the browser. Many more can be downloaded from a huge selection of more than 1,30,000 apps available on the Android Market.

The web browser has not undergone any significant changes but the browsing experience on the bright contour display is great and scrolling is smooth. Additionally it has got pinch to zoom, multiple windows, bookmarks and the ability to find text on a page.

Google believes in empowering the web and has made its browser really powerful to take full advantage of the web including handling of flash websites.

The call quality on the Nexus S is excellent and is further enhanced by the noise cancellation software integrated in Android.

Google has always been an innovator in voice recognition technology and it uses this technology in its Android OS for text input in searches, text messages, email and to set alarms.

The music player remains the same as it was in Android 2.2 with the usual options like album art, playlists, shuffle and airplane mode.

All the apps are beautifully integrated into the platform and provide a satisfying Google experience.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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Conclusion

The Nexus S runs a bare version of Android 2.3 and is for users who wish to use Gingerbread without the interface usually imposed on top by different manufacturers like HTC, Sony, Samsung, LG, etc thus giving users a pure Google experience.

All in all the Nexus S is a formidable competitor in the smartphone market especially against the iPhone 4.

It has the latest technology and amazing features, which will keep it the cutting edge phone for quite a while, at least until July 2011 when the Apple's iPhone 5 is rumoured to be launched.

Check out: The all new Gadgets and Gaming page

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.



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