As an owner of a HTC EVO 4G since it was first released last year, it is with a bit of sadness to report it has been replaced. Yesterday I said goodbye to the EVO and picked up a brand new Nexus S from Sprint.
See CNET Review: Samsung Nexus S 4G
I go through a lot of smartphones as part of my coverage of them on ZDNet, and I must admit the EVO was still as good as phones just getting released, especially since the recent update to Gingerbread rolled out by Sprint and HTC.
So why did I dump the EVO, and why buy the Nexus S? That's a fair question and not at easy one to answer that will make a lot of sense to regular folk. In a nutshell, I test a lot of phones, software and peripherals for phones through my work. This covers products that are released in the marketplace, and others that are prototypes with a way to go prior to launch. The latter category is the most fun for me as I like to play with new tech that isn't readily available yet.
The problem with testing prototypes is they often are being developed using a restricted set of phone models to keep things manageable for the developers. A popular phone for such tests is the Nexus S, as it is the current Google flagship phone. It is an ideal candidate for such development work as it is distributed with an unmodified set of Android software. There is no customization from the handset manufacturer nor the carrier, it is raw Android.
This work is the sole reason for my trading in the EVO for the Nexus S, although it didn't hurt that I find the Nexus S to be a nice smartphone. It doesn't sport the latest and greatest hardware components, there is no dual-core processor onboard, but it does run the latest version of Android for smartphones. This is an acceptable tradeoff for me, and frankly I am finding the Nexus S hardware to be quite good. The performance of the Nexus S rivals that of any phone I have tested to date which includes several with whiz-bang processors. I am finding no lag whatsoever while using the Nexus S, and that includes times I have lots of processes running in the background. The UI is downright snappy, and that's a good thing.
The Nexus S with its stock Android build fits in with my recent theme of getting back to basics on my phone. Having spent far too much time fiddling with customizing my phones in the past, it is refreshing to just use the darn thing as it ships. There are plenty of standard Android widgets for the home screen to tweak it a little without wasting time in the process.
I should point out that Sprint made the decision to switch an easy one. They offered me a full ugrade for the Nexus S, which made the subsidized price $199.99. This was still a bit too rich for my blood considering I was happy with the EVO 4G, but their recycling program for upgraded phones swayed me. They gave me an instant $150 for turning in my EVO, which was applied to the purchase of the Nexus S. The net price of $50 for the Nexus S clinched the deal for Sprint.
I will be giving some thoughts on using the Nexus S after I spend some quality time with it, but in the meantime check out Matt Miller's first impressions. He covers the hardware and software included on the Nexus S in detail, and shares what he thinks of the phone.