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My Nexus S review of android experience

Posted Jul 06 2011 9:29pm
My first experience with android was rooting a Hero, since then I enjoyed a year with a rooted EVO, but after several boot-looping experiences which I was unable to correct, the phone had become unusable, and I was forced to choose a new phone a little more premature than I would have liked. I had my heart set on the specs of the Galaxy S II but after enjoying two HTC phones and how easily they were rooted I also leaned toward the EVO 3D. I will admit here, that I was a “flash-aholic” when it came to trying out new ROMs and kernels, and would probably continue to have been so if it weren’t for the boot-loop and force closing problem I was having.

I decided to go ahead and get a Sprint Nexus S 4G instead of waiting another ten days for the EVO 3D, knowing that if I didn’t have a good experience with the Nexus, I could return it within the 30 day trial period. The Sprint rep. was very helpful and honest with his assistance, he showed me that the Nexus even in the store was not picking up as good a signal as the EVO 4G, and I expressed concern about receiving signal at my residence, as frequently I had to step outside in the back yard to have a phone conversation using the EVO.

Initial setup of the Nexus was surprisingly easy, but just as suspected the signal at home was weak, though not any worse than the EVO. A call to Sprint tech support the next day helped when they offered to send me an Airave unit, which I received in only one week and found a dramatic improvement for not only my phone but my wife’s EVO as well. Thank you Sprint!

My next adventure was whether or not to root this phone, as I held off until I decided I was going to keep it. It was a little bit of a challenge for me to set up adb capabilities on my computer but worth the research. So I was now set up to make the root possible, however, reading up on the Nexus didn’t convince me that rooting was to my best advantage at this time, so I have held off. The signal problem had been resolved, my battery life has been great, my phone is extremely fast, and tethering works right out of the box, most importantly is everything works well without bugs or any other problems. This doesn’t mean I won’t root when I see a clear advantage in the future, and fortunately rooting the Nexus is as easy as it can get.

Instead I have used ADW EX customizations to optimize this phone for my best android experience, and it is this point convincing me to keep it. The Nexus S has none of the Sprint bloat-ware profligation, and none of the manufacturer skin-ware. Using ADW EX and android widgets, I was able to customize my Nexus to suit my needs perfectly. The best part of the experience is that I got to choose how my phone worked, and my phone now operates exactly how I want it to, I might also mention that Launcher Pro would work very well also. Ah, the beauty of android.

Later the next week I went into a local RadioShack to have hands-on time with the EVO 3D to make certain I had made the best choice. I did that Sense 3 twirl thing and the rep mentioned the limitations of Nexus screen scrolling, I showed him that my phone also had infinity scrolling. He was surprised and didn’t go any further.

Sure the latest summer phones have better specs, more powerful hardware, and unique features (3D), but for me at least, they don’t really make for a better android experience than a Nexus. Here is a list of widgets I have included on my screens.

Agenda widget keeps an excellent display of my appointments.

Springpad for notes and general organization uses.

Google+ widget, as well as android system widget for general phone info.

I use Jorte calendar to fill up one entire screen.

The control widget for quick access to phone controls.

The Starbuck coffee widget cause I gotta admit, I like my coffee.

Skype video calls work excellently and I use it frequently since most phone users still don’t have Google Talk video. I have combined Facebook with Twitter using Tweetdeck, and this app I keep in an easily accessible hidden dock which contains many of my frequently used apps, one of the best features of ADW EX and used by many ROMs such as Cyanogen.

The overall flow and performance of the phone is flawless, handling multi-functioning easily, Bluetooth works very well, wi-fi at home and at my local Starbucks is good, pictures are adequate and the general feel of the phone is sleek without giving up that much on size coming from an EVO slab phone user. The idea that updates get pushed out to Nexus phones before anyone else will keep me a happy user for some time to come as the Nexus is a developer’s phone hence new applications often come to this phone first, the recent case of Skype video calling is a great example.

What do I miss most, or wished improved? I must admit I do miss that EVO kickstand, which was a nice feature though I can’t help but think it would mess with the sleekness of the Nexus. The missing sd card hasn’t been an issue for me, but I suppose it could be for others. There are times I still miss the LED notification light, though that is minor thing. I have read others complain of the back being slick and a fingerprint magnet, but I stuck an Egrip strip with a cool image to help in handling the phone better and reduce the space for smudges.

Are there better phones out there this summer? Sure, if you go by hardware specs, so if photo quality is important to you with a better camera and more features such as 3D, or if you just can’t live without that LED notification light, the Nexus may not be for you. A dual core phone is slightly faster, but hardly noticeable and does 1 second or less really make that much difference? Do they make better use of the android system though? In my opinion this is where the Nexus excels and for me that is the true strength of this phone and why I suggest giving it a serious consideration.

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