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Now that Gingerbread can accept gyroscopic input, Samsung was all too happy to include not just a gyro sensor, but an accelerometer and digital compass too. The unit automatically (and quickly) rotates the screen based on the orientation of the Nexus S in any position except upside down.
The Nexus S is equipped with two cameras (one of which collects five megapixels and includes a macro setting; the front-facing camera grabs 640 x 480), and its redesigned camera app is more intuitive than prior versions, is aided by an LED flash and includes multiple gallery modes. Also supported are AAS and AMR-wideband decoding, as well as SIP and VoIP protocols. Video capture maxes out at 480p (30fps), but 720p playback is supported. The browser supports Adobe Flash 10.1 for accessing Web content.
Despite Gigerbread's new reverb and equalization enhancements to its audio capabilities, the music player app itself is largely unchanged. There's still no equalizer, and the interface is not particularly intuitive or easy to use. However, Samsung includes an excellent headset, with rubber earplug-style ear buds that block outside noise. The answer/hang-up button doubles as a pause switch when listening to music; it does not skip to the next song when double-pressed as we've seen on other models. For music, the headphones deliver great sound with plenty of bass.
The bottom edge of the phone is home to a microUSB port and 3.5 mm headset jack. Whenever the Nexus S is connected to a computer, the green Android appears with the opportunity to turn on USB storage. This exposes the Nexus S's 16 GB of user memory to the PC or Mac for file transfer via drag-and-drop. On other Android phones we've tested, we had to removed the device's SD card, manually transfer files from a machine equipped with an SD card reader and then reinsert the card into the phone. Obviously, the USB storage function saves an enormous amount of time.
Next: Testing Battery Life