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  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    HTC then Samsung, I wonder who will be next to make a Nexus phone...Motorola, maybe? I think they went with Samsung this round because they have the most capable processor right now. Reply
  • blueF - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Well the benchmarks show that the current iteration of the snapdragon are on par if not better than hummingbird. I think they chose Samsung for a few reasons, with the most important being they are the OEM of the best amoled screens available. Honestly I would have preferred another HTC nexus due to the superior phone shell. The galaxy phones and their stupid right side lock button is close to a deal breaker for me. Also the head phone jack on the bottom is beyond stupid. Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    This was me during this article:
    "Nexus S... yes, yes.. good stuff. Whoah! Look at that myTouch!"

    Can't wait to see that myTouch review, thanks for putting those figures up there.
    Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Hmmm where'd the page load times for popular websites vs. other leading phones go?

    That and battery life are the most relevant benchmarks as to whether or not I buy a phone.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Yeah, the 1 definitely was constructed better. Reply
  • OscarGoldman - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    "the head phone jack on the bottom is beyond stupid. "

    Nope, not when the thing lacks an audio line out (which IS stupid). With the jack on the bottom, they can at least make a dock to drop the phone into in your car. That's a lot better than having to plug in a wire that's dangling across your dashboard, every time you want to listen to music.

    Reviews need to call these phone manufacturers out for failing to provide an audio line out on the bottom of every phone. Even with the headphone jack on the bottom, you still have to screw around with two volume controls; the one on the phone, and the car radio. And you're running everything through the crappy headphone amp on the phone.
    Reply
  • tiredad - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I'm a little confused by so many reviews being against the jack placement; usually giving the lame reason that it's not what everybody else does. You think Apple thinks that way?

    I look at my phone to select a track etc. and then i put it in my pocket upside down so the placement is perfect. Not that this is much of a serious matter.

    BTW since this is my first post i have to thank this site for providing the most consistent, unbiased and professional reviews i've found to date. When i read a review i want the facts and opinions separated and i don't want any pro one company or another and that's what you give... so cheers guys.
    Reply
  • daveloft - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I prefer the connectors at top so I can throw my phone in the cup holder and not have to put it in upside down. Reply
  • steven75 - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Lack of line-out is one of those things that would be hard to give up if I decided to move from iOS to another mobile OS.

    I use my iPhone for audio in the car at least twice daily and having line-out audio and charge capability through a single cable is simply awesome.

    My stock radio even allows adjusting the level of the aux-in (separate from the volume) so that it matches the volume of all the other sources.

    Unfortunately Bluetooth is still a sub-par solution because although you don't need any cables, sound is still inferior quality and you kill your battery on anything but a very short trip.
    Reply
  • daveloft - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Those benchmarks you refer to are probably Quadrant and the reason why a Snapdragon device like the G2 performs better than the Galaxy S was because it had 2.2 while the Galaxy S had 2.1.

    Also Quadrant scores are heavily influenced by file system speed. The file system on the G2 is much better than the Galaxy S. This why you see so many Galaxy S users applying lag fixes which change the file system. When Galaxy S devices use the lag fix to swap the file system for something like EXT4, their Quadrant scores jump by as much as 50%. Throw in 2.2 or 2.3 and you get the highest scoring device available.
    Reply
  • metafor - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    That's a bit misleading. There are a few versions of the "lagfix" around and not all of them simply change the filesystem. A bunch actually turn on memory caching, which essentially uses DRAM to cache disk IO.

    This is what causes the gigantic jump in Quadrant scores you see. In reality, while the fileIO portion of quadrant does artificially lower the Galaxy S's end-score, it's nowhere near by the amount many who apply the patch sees.
    Reply
  • daveloft - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I'm running 2.2 which boosted my score from 800 - 1100.

    I also use a lagfix to change my file system to EXT4 which boosted my score from 1100 - 1600.

    It's by no means misleading. I know there's lots of other lagfixes and optimizations and custom kernels. It doesn't take away from my point that Quadrant is heavily influenced by file system and as a result of running a different file system on my Galaxy S I a significantly boost in my score.
    Reply
  • daveloft - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    The people touting their 2000 plus scores on their Galaxy S are the ones likely doing what you said. But again that comes back to my point that modifying your phone for better IO performance will make your Quadrant score significantly better and any device with really fast storage will benefit from a high Quadrant score. This will lead people to say that the Snapdagron chip is better. Reply
  • metafor - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    A lot of people make a lot of claims without isolating the chip. I remember the "A4 vs Snapdragon" and all the wild conjecture that went into that.

    As for the original comment, I think at least the 45nm Snapdragons are comparable, almost indistinguishable from the current gen Hummingbirds. With the exception of perhaps the FP/SIMD performance -- which no programs today use anyway.

    One thing I would like to see is someone try to test these chips for power usage in isolation. A Hall-style current monitor and an integrating voltage monitor should be sufficient to know just how much power these chips use. Of course that means taking the device apart and still have it operating.
    Reply
  • zorxd - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Works just fine here with android 2.2. WPA2+PEAP+MSchapv2 Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    So I think the story with the Nexus One was that it was working in 2.2, but disappeared in 2.2.1. I know that for some months now I've been unable to authenticate with that same network with the Nexus One.

    Some of the other devices have better WPA supplicants too I guess.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    If you phone is laying on a book, the camera lens is about 3 mm away from the page and the viewing angle is about 3 of those letters. Not to mention there is no light getting under there. So how can the screen be showing all those characters? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Oh so when I took that photo, I was worried someone would be misled, apologies, didn't mean to confuse. I just took a photo a few inches from the page, then set it as the wallpaper, then snapped the picture.

    What's being shown isn't camera input. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • sabrewulf - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    "Things like scrollback and sending cursor commands in connectbot (arguably Android’s best SSH application) simply require having some directional controls - there’s no virtual keyboard with arrow keys. "

    Using the Swype keyboard, if you swype from the swype button to the sym button and release, you are given a virtual keyboard with arrow keys, pgup/dn, home/end, and a few other functions.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Oh wow, I totally missed that in Swype. Awesome tip!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Manabu - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    For who write in japanese, the Simeji keyboard loads by default in a mode with arrows, buttons for cut & paste, etc. Reply
  • evan919 - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    You guys write some of the best mobile reviews on the web.

    About the GPS performance. GPS w/ WiFi location works well on my Galaxy S Captivate. However, relying on standalone GPS is where the problems come. Is there a way you can just use standalone GPS on the Nexus S and report back on GPS performance using Google Navigation?
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Awesome to hear, glad you enjoy them!

    So I just turned WiFI-augmented location services off, reset the phone (powercycled), and then fired up GPS test in my office. It took under 10 seconds to get full 3D GPS fix and seems completely fine SNR-wise. Looks good to me.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • HMTK - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    And how good does this thing sync with Exchange? I'm getting a new smartphone and if 2.3 is a lot better than 2.2, I'll wait. Reply
  • blueF - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Great review Brian. I always wait for the anandtech reviews before making a decision on buying a phone. Also I was wondering if the Nexus S has a gorilla glass screen. I have so far been unable to find any reliable info on that. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    So I've been trying to find out whether the Nexus S has gorilla glass myself, but haven't found anything definite. I'll update if I do find out, however ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • tjcioffe - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    swype's keyboard has arrow keys. swipe from the swype symbol to the SYM key right next to it. Reply
  • vshah - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    have you considered running battery life tests without task killers running? if android is constantly restarting processes only to have them killed by the task killer, it could be skewing results. if you ran the numbers without the task killer, i'd like to see those. is that standard practice for all android battery life tests?

    Thanks for the review...i'm still not sure whether or not I should upgrade from my N1
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    So system panel doesn't constantly kill tasks like other task killers. I kill everything before I start the test, allow things to launch again, and then unplug them from the power and the test begins.

    We've been pretty consistent doing this for all of our Android battery life tests. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    That's good to know, I thought this was a new scanner feature of the phone. Thanks for clarifying. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    I asked this in the previous LG Optimus 7 review and didn't get an answer. I was wondering if your benchmarks for the iPhone and iPad have been updated to use iOS 4.2.1? iOS 4.2.1 introduces Safari 5 compared to Safari 4 in the previous iOS 4.1 so I was interested in seeing what performance benefits there are. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Oh interesting, I haven't updated them but will do so soon. I don't know if they'll go into this review, but definitely in the myTouch 4G and LG Optimus One pieces that are coming shortly. Thanks for pointing that out.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    There we go, I've updated the web synthetics graphs (Brmark and Sunspider 0.9) with numbers from iOS 4.2.1. Looks like Brmark saw a nice jump, but Sunspider did virtually nothing.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    I'd be all over a Nexus if they made one with CDMA and either WiMax or LTE. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the quick response.

    Just a question on the charts. They mention the older iOS version as 4.2 while the newer one is iOS 4.2.1. Were the older results actually iOS 4.2 since I don't believe that was publicly released. They went directly from iOS 4.1 to iOS 4.2.1.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Oops you're right. I got confused thinking - hmm, what's last the version of iOS I was running - since I played around with the beta for a while. Fixed now ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • evan919 - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Awesome, thanks! Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    He took the video with an iphone. Kinda ironic ;) Reply
  • samven786 - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    I was wondering did your nexus s had any random shutdowns? This is known issue on the captivate and the vibrant. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Thus far no, it's been speedy consistently. I've been using it (somewhat brutally) nonstop since mid-Friday. I haven't seen it grind to a halt yet.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Alexstarfire - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    I've never heard of that despite owning a Captivate and spending quite a bit of time over in the Captivate forums on the XDA site. Reply
  • samven786 - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Alexstarfire how long have you owned a captivate?

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=7...
    Reply
  • Segnaro - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Only time my phone randomly shut down was when I was using a 3rd party kernel. Reply
  • Murst - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    The samsung focus on the chart comparing the phones.... it also has a super amoled... Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Fixed! Thanks!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • GTO_GUY05 - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Just curious as to why the Droid X included in the benchmarks is still running Andorid 2.1? Is there anyway to get some updated benchmarks with the Droid X running 2.2? Reply
  • SoulShadow - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    Great article but this part is bothering me..

    I use Swype on my Droid 1 and it has directional keys on a secondary keyboard, swyping from the the Swype key to the Sym key will bring up a directional pad with delete, backspace, backspace whole word and a bunch of other features, just thought i'd add that in :)
    Reply
  • Yomi - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I'm likely to finally join the smartphone crowd with a Nexus S, so I've been following the news. This is by FAR the best review. Well done.

    On the topic of the phone, sure the Nexus S isn't cutting edge hardware, but for someone who owns a dumb phone it doesn't look like a bad choice at all. No HSPA+ where I live and unlikely to come soon. Already with T-Mobile, but haven't been on a contract for years. Going to go no contract with this I think.
    Reply
  • sabrewulf - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Glad to help. I found it useful for the exact same reason you mentioned (connectbot) Reply
  • Starcub - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    The spec sheets say that the Nexus S has an FM radio but no RDS support for it. Were you able to test it? Is FM radio support still missing in Gingerbread, if so, would it be possible to download a third party app for it w/o having to hack the kernel or ROM?

    I don't know how AMOLED screens work, but in the world of LCD's blacks are not any less power hungry than whites. Moreover the animations would require processing power, so they're shooting themselves in the foot with those, especially with that wallpaper where the animation appears to serve no useful function.
    Reply
  • metafor - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    AMOLED's emit light from each subpixel (diode). When it's displaying black, it simply doesn't emit any light. This results in true black; which is why you see their black level at 0.

    This comes with some limitations, of course, compared to LCD displays. One particular drawback is lack of great bright levels as well as readability in sunlight.

    They also take more power when all the individual subpixels are lit up.
    Reply
  • Chloiber - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Alltough I really don't like most of the smartphones from Samsung (just too much cheap plastic), I really liked the review (and the video).

    I'm really looking forward to Gingerbread - finally smooth Animations. You can already have those, but only with a good custom ROM. Gingerbread + custom ROM will rock the house! :-)
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I really hope that the phone number (1-408-505-xxxx) on page 6 is not a real phone number... Reply
  • tpurves - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Interesting to see how little difference the 21MBits/s hspa+ made in your tests.

    On Canadian HSPA+ 21 networks I've seen speed tests as much as 13 Megabits/sec down and 1.2-1.6 up. That's fast! and nearly twice your measured speeds. Bear in mind those speeds where achieved with a USB 3G adapter not a handset.

    http://wirelessnorth.ca/2010/05/24/rogers-21-6mbs-...
    Reply
  • spaceboy33 - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Any idea when the mytouch 4g review will be posted? Currently trying to decide between these two phones and another review as detailed as this one would be a big help. Reply
  • Ullteppet - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    First off, you guys deliver the hands down most thorough articles and reviews the internet has ever seen - and we're ever grateful for your unbiased, hard effort, keep it up!

    I didn't fully get the video recording though. First page table says it has 720p, but the camera pages states it lacks 720p. Is the table wrong or does it only reflect the potential of the camera, since the limitation seems to be in gingerbread?
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Oops, you're indeed correct. The Nexus S lacks 720P video recording, at least out of the box with stock 2.3. I'm sure it'll be added in by the XDA-Devs within a few days at max.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • sicofante - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I know you're an American site and that Americans don't care that much about the biggest phone maker in the world (Nokia). However, since this is published in the worldwide web I believe your comparisons would be more useful to your worldwide audience if you included the newest phones from Nokia, such as the N8 or C7. Reply
  • ojisama - Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - link

    I've also been refreshing the main page to see a review of N8 before Christmas, but apparently getting the review out in the time span between the release of the phone in October and Christmas was impossible. (Well, technically the article could still come out before xmas, but now it's too late to get the phone...)

    Well, apparently there will be an update for the phone soon, so hopefully this will be installed and tested before the article is released...
    Reply
  • rcocchiararo - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Swype has arrow keys

    Swyping forom "swype button" to "sym button" takes you to that keyboard.
    Reply
  • Zingam - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    I agree I have a nokia and the phone jack is on the top side. I have wished many times that it is on the bottom Reply
  • cece74 - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    I also miss the trackball on my Galaxy S.

    But I now use Swiftkey , a pretty good keyboard, and it also have arrow keys (press "123" then symbols : {&= key) to see it.
    Reply
  • JimmiG - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Basically a Galaxy S (which was basically a Nexus One with a better screen and faster GPU), with a few extra features, unlike the Nexus One which was pretty revolutionary for its time.

    Of course, the Nexus One isn't even a year old, which isn't such a long time.. but sometimes it feels like the N1 was released in another decade considering how fast things have moved. I hope the Nexus 3 or whatever at least as a dual-core out-of-order CPU and other improvements.
    Reply
  • blueF - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Well I purchased my Nexus S, and am very pleased with the phone. Scrolling is not as smooth as I was lead to believe, but still glad I purchased one. Reply
  • bobshute - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Brian, are you sure on the 3G radio.
    The T-mobile Samsung Vibrant radio, although not advertised, is at least Quad band
    It has the 1900 radio on by default for 3G on AT&T.
    You can also turn on the 850 band in the service menu although it's not confirmed to work in 850 mhz only areas of AT&T coverage.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, December 17, 2010 - link

    >Don't you usually have your phone in your pocket upside down anyway?

    Not if it's in the shirt pocket. Or jacket inner pocket. Or on a belt holster.

    I'm a lot more likely to use a headphone with the phone in these places rather than in my pants pockets, where walking, sitting or standing up is more liable to crush/damage the headphone jack.
    Reply
  • Inuit - Saturday, December 18, 2010 - link

    A new on-screen keyboard for Android from Keypurr has directional keys, and it is in the main screen (no need to flip to another screen). I am using Keypurr on my Galaxy S - and love it!

    In addition, it has large keys (almost twice as large as the standard keyboard) and very clever and up-to-date dictionary. I can type on it as fast as hardware keyboard, or type one handed. It also comes in black or white skins, has function keys, and more. I think Keypurr has some good short videos on their site: www.keypurr.com
    Reply
  • keypurrtech - Sunday, December 19, 2010 - link

    Keypurr is a new Android keyboard that uses a full QWERTY layout with keys that are are almost twice the size of other onscreen QWERTY keyboards. It also has a dictionary that includes abbreviations, acronyms, and words borrowed from other languages. Best of all for Nexus S users (and anyone who's phone doesn't have a trackpad) it includes customizable function keys that can be used as directional controls.

    Keypurr allows users to type with greater speed, confidence, and ease, than any Android keyboard! Check out our website: www.keypurr.com or our youtube channel: www.youtube.com/keypurrtech to learn more.
    Reply
  • teohhanhui - Monday, December 20, 2010 - link

    "... people want carriers to provide first-party support for devices, and people want to play with devices in stores before making the jump ..."

    I wouldn't consider a carrier as the first party when it comes to providing support for phones (there is no doubt that they are the first party when it comes to network issues). As it stands, carriers are only worsening the experience by slapping on unwanted customizations and hindering roll-outs of OS updates.

    What is stopping you from "playing with devices" in a retail store (either by manufacturer/OS vendor/authorized reseller)?

    IMO the real reason for the prevalence of "carrier subsidies" seems to be consumers preferring to pay by installment, or simply unaware of the fact that they end up paying more in the end.
    Reply
  • ravenfq - Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - link

    I'm always disappointed to find that no reviewers mention the fact that Android doesn't support WiFi proxy 'out of the box' - any suggested solutions to this lack of functionality require that the user 'root' their device, which is not necessarily acceptable to everyone (for all sorts of reasons).

    This lack of functionality precludes student usage on campus, and crucially (in my opinion) any corporate in-house 'managed' usage, where any WiFI authentication is a pre-requisite.

    As a CIO, I'm forced to eliminate Android-based devices from consideration as a corporate standard, and constrain my options to Apple, Microsoft and (hopefully) any upcoming HP WebOS-based devices.

    This is deeply disappointing to me personally, as I applaud any attempt to separate the OS from the hardware, liberating hardware manufacturers to compete and innovate, and thus giving us, the end users, ever expanding and increasing capabilities in a portable device. I had high hopes for the relatively open Android environment in this regard.

    I would also refer you to this (somewhat emotive) link that outlines the issue in more detail:

    http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=...

    Thank you, Anandtech, for what is otherwise superb technical journalism.
    Reply
  • blueboy_10 - Thursday, December 23, 2010 - link

    Now put this on a Verizon phone and we'll see some good competition. The Fascinate is good don't get me wrong, but I'm waiting for the dual-core (2012) and even triple-core (late 2013/2014) phones. The reality gap of seeing what's on your laptop/computer to what you see on your phone is closing fast! - BLUEBOY Reply
  • TareX - Sunday, December 26, 2010 - link

    The fact Google went for current-gen hardware for the Nexus S, means that they will also do the same for next year's Nexus (T?), arming it with a dual-core processor which will have already been available on phones for a year (LG Star, Olympus....etc). It's very unfortunate. Reply
  • smileman - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    agreed.

    also, the design of the Nexus S also suits this placement. i'd rather have the Nexus S' substantial booty at the top of my pocket vs. the bottom.
    Reply

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