The flagship handset for Google Android 2.3 'Gingerbread', Google’s Nexus S is largely similar to the Samsung Galaxy S on which it’s based. Its 16GB memory can’t be expanded, however. 

A subtly curved screen allows the speaker to lean in towards your ear, aiding call clarity. We didn’t notice a difference in volume, but the Google Nexus S handset doesn’t feel as brick-like as some of the others in our most recent smartphone group test. The curved screen makes for a slightly odd setup when viewing video on the 480x800-pixel screen, however. 

The Google Nexus S's super-bright AmoLED screen all but screams its presence. We’d prefer the handset to be made of something more substantial than plastic, but the upside is the Nexus weighs a scant 129g.

Another feature that marks out the Nexus S and Gingerbread OS is its support for near-field communications (NFC). In its infancy in Europe, it’s an established technology in the Far East and Google expects it to become a de facto contactless payment method.

The Google Nexus S is a lot of fun to use, with interactive wallpapers and the slick scrolling and navigation you’d expect from a smartphone powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird single-core processor. 

Four neat hardware buttons at the bottom of the display take you to the Home screen and allow you to search or bring up settings, but you’ll find yourself enamoured of the 3D scrolling effect of the main display and happily trawling through its endless menus. 

Used with the iPlayer app, the Google Nexus S’ bright screen and Flash support make a compelling case for watching video on a smartphone. 

We had the odd issue when using the onscreen keyboard to compose email messages - the screen was marginally miscalibrated - but, in general, we found this an intuitive device to use. Copy and paste and above average battery life of more than two days in standby (provided that you remember to turn off the most power-hungry apps) mark out the Nexus S as a superior device.

We found scrolling around Google Maps and using the web browser, complete with multi-pane support, a rewarding experience. That huge, crisp display and ability to reflow text and to zoom in a little or a lot are real selling points. The 5Mp camera is also above par. 

Next page: Our original review of the Google Nexus S, from December 2010 >>

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