Previously in The Diary of an Android Virgin – Pure, Unadulterated Google caress of the Nexus S.
As pointed out in the previous parts of our review, we have discovered that the Google Nexus S is well endowed both in its looks as well as under the hood. The presence of Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread powering its user interface is also something that makes the Google Nexus S an over all attractive choice in the ever expanding smartphone market. But how does it perform as a communications device?
The dialer menu can be accessed from the home screen. Clicking the phone icon will lead you straight to the dialer. You can either pick a number to call from your Contacts list or dial the number straight from the keypad.
My main gripe here is that there is no auto-complete function for numbers dialed from the keypad, i.e. the phone wouldn’t suggest numbers from your Contact list based on the initial numbers you keyed into the keypad. It’s as if the keypad and the Contacts list are separate and unrelated. I hope Google addresses this in future Android upgrades.
The sound quality on the Google Nexus S is very good. The clarity and volume of calls made using this phone were superb. Even speakerphone calls came through loud and clear over the external speaker.
We also successfully paired the phone with a Sony Ericsson bluetooth headset and the call quality was excellent as well.
The Google Nexus S has support for HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA at 5.6Mbps, but not the much-faster HSPA+ network. This is a source of disappointment, especially for users who are keen to test it out on HSPA+ enabled networks like Maxis.
The Google Nexus S has 802.11 n/b/g support, and its Wi-Fi range is what we’re used to seeing in other smartphones. But what sets it apart from the others is the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature. This feature lets your device behave like a Wi-Fi hotspot to which other compatible devices can connect to use the internet. Comes in pretty handy if you have an unlimited plan on your Nexus S and want to use the same to browse on your laptop, iPad or other such devices.
The browser included in the Google Nexus S is the standard webkit-based browser that ships with stock Android OS. But what we like about this browser is its sheer speed. Heck, to say that it is fast is a gross understatement. It is so fast that you’re likely going to be limited by your connection speed. If you’re on a fast Wi-Fi connection, you should be able to unlock the full potential of the browser.
The browser is fully HTML-compatible. Webpages look just like would on your desktop browser. Large pages will load in fullscreen view but double-tap on any part of the screen and it will zoom in on the part of the webpage you choose. Pinch-zooming, just like that on the Iphone, is also available.
The best part of course is full support for Adobe Flash, unlike the iPhone.
The Google Nexus S includes a built-in feature for Voice over IP/Session Initiation Protocol (VOIP/SIP) calling. All that needs to be done is to add your Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) account to activate internet phone and you’d be able to make VOIP calls directly from your Contacts list or phone dialer. Adios, Skype!
Near Field Communication (NFC)
NFC is a technology that allows a device to share and access data over short ranges – but at a speed that makes it very useful. Basically, it works like this: bring the Google Nexus S near a smart tag, the smartphone induces some current, and the tag sends back some data. If the phone is on and you swipe it over a smart tag, the device will read it – you don’t need to launch an application or download something like barcode scanner.
It is reported that Mastercard and Citigroup is working with Google for NFC Payments. Exciting times ahead!