Saturday, July 09, 2011

Google Nexus S

So back in May I ordered a new mobile phone.  As much as I liked my old iPhone 3G, it was getting to be a little long in the tooth.  It worked, but was a bit on the goofy side when I tried to do certain things.  Plus, there was a bit of screw you AT&T for trying to buy T-Mobile in my choice.  I ended up with the Nexus S.  While I personally am new to the Android world, my other half has been in the Android world for almost 2 years.  She has the G1.  Now that I’ve had the phone for a couple of months, I wanted to document some of my experiences.

First and foremost, one of the best features of the phone is the built in Wi-Fi hotspot.  Now, to be fair, the newer iPhones do have it built in as well, but since I’m on T-Mobile, the additional feature costs me nothing extra.  And it’s legit.  No jail breaking, no side loading, nothing.  Just a built in feature of the phone.  In fact, I’m at a coffee shop here in DC right now watching over my child process (also known as Alex) and I didn’t even bother getting a code for the Wi-Fi here.  Instead, I’ve conducted some basic business over the portable hotspot on my Nexus S.

And while it’s handy, one thing I’ve found rather astonishing was the fact that during a recent trip to Philadelphia, my Nexus S was better for internet connectivity than the major name hotel I was staying at.  I was even able to watch Netflix streaming on my iPad over the personal hotspot while I couldn’t over the hotel provided Wi-Fi.  Now, there was also a wired connection and I wonder if that would have worked better, but since my iPad lacks an ethernet jack …

Other surprising things for me included:

  • Speed: even though the Nexus S is only on 3G and not T-Mobile’s HSDPA+/4G, using the phone itself is quite snappy.  And compared to the EDGE connectivity I was getting on my old iPhone, this guy’s a downright speed demon
  • Usability: if you listen to the Apple faithful, the Android phones are a pale comparison of the iPhone.  I guess in some ways they are correct.  The iOS devices are definitely slick and I do still enjoy my iPad (though it’s become a bit flaky lately).  Now, that being said, I do like my Nexus S.  It works and generally works well.  Once over the hump, I do think it works as well for me as the iPhone did.  There are more rough edges, but it’s not the night and day difference some think.
  • Auto Updating: it may be a simple thing, but knowing that my phone will just be constantly up to date is a great thing.  There’s no hooking it up to the computer to run updates, it just does it.  And even better is if you allow it, all your applications will automatically update themselves too.  Maybe that’s less of an issue for me, but for others (like my other half), having it keep itself up to date is a great thing.
  • Music: the music stack is not as nice as the iOS versions for sure.  However, I like the choices I have.  If I don’t like the Google-provided apps, I can always install something else.  In fact, one of the best things I have is access to both the Amazon MP3 music store and Cloud Music Service, but also the Google Music service.  They are a single source for storing my music and then syncing to my phone.  It saves me from having to decide exactly which music I want to download and have.
  • Apps: now, any Android phone can share the same apps as my phone, however there are a few exceptions.  One big surprise for me was that any restricted applications, such as Netflix, always target the Google phones first.  That means that when Netflix shipped their streaming app for Android, it supported two phones: the Nexus One and the Nexus S.  I sort of assumed that since the phone wasn’t that popular, I would get those last.  I guess that targeting the pure Google phones is a better idea than I thought.

There are definitely some things I miss and some of the applications aren’t as good on the Android as on iOS, but overall, I’m quite happy with my choice.

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