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printed April 19, 2014
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Review: Samsung Nexus S

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Menus Calls / Contacts Messaging Social Networking  

 

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The dialer looks a bit different from previous Android versions, but the changes are only skin deep. Otherwise, the calling and contacts experience on the Nexus S is exactly like previous Android phones. Here is one area where Google is being lapped by its manufacturer partners. Options during calls are useful but simple. There is no auto-respond option to ignore a call and send an SMS message, like you’ll find on even basic Android phones like the LG Optimus family. There’s no built-in call recording feature. You don’t get recent status updates or message conversations when a contact calls, like you do on HTC Sense phones. It’s all very basic.

The contact list is also nice, but lacking in any advanced features. Unlike most other Android phones, the Nexus S doesn’t integrate social networking into the contacts any deeper than synchronizing basic information and avatars. You don’t get status updates, calling and messaging history or photo albums, like you do on other Androids.

Even calling shortcuts are a bit too simple for my taste. You can plant direct dial or messaging shortcuts on the homescreen panels, but these can be confusing. The shortcut for calling someone’s mobile number and sending them a text message look very similar: the person’s picture with a big “M” on the icon. Only a tiny, hidden indicator in the corner lets you know which is which. There are no easy calling shortcut widgets, you’ll have to dig those up yourself from the Android Market, and manufacturers like HTC and Motorola do a much better job with their own proprietary widgets, unavailable except on those phones.

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