Just hold off for a month. It'll be worth it.
The Nexus S is an important device in the evolution of Android. Reviewers compare it favourably to the iPhone, and general consensus seems to be that it is the best Android phone yet launched. And, on December 16, the Nexus S will go on sale in all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores.
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Online sales kick off at 8 AM Eastern time. All Best Buys have changed their holiday hours to be open at 8 AM as well. All in-store models will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. No more than 2 phones per customer sold. The stores will have demo models on hand for curious customers (and sneaky journalists) to fiddle with.
The Nexus S will be sold unlocked, sans contract for $529. It will also be sold for $199 with a T-Mobile 2-year voice and data plan. Add-a-line activations may buy a Nexus S for $249.99. No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of money. You want to be sure that money is spent right, on a product you won't regret buying. While the Nexus S is a fine phone, I don't recommend buying one now if you aren't already locked into a T-Mobile contract.
See, a CDMA version of the Nexus S is expected in February. It will work on Verizon's wildly superior network, possibly even on their LTE network. Either way, you're looking at far better data speeds than T-Mobile can brag.
Early 2011 is also when we will see the first dual-core superphones launch. The LG Star and Motorola Olympus will both have 1 GHz dual-core processors. We're likely to see both on faster-than-3G networks, too.
The performance leap from single-core to dual-core is enormous, making 1080p display, 3D video and next-gen gaming truly possible on a mobile platform. And all that stands between you and this brave new world is one or two months of holding on to your old phone. Trust me, that 1 GHz Hummingbird is going to seem pokey as hell by 2H 2011.
If you're seriously considering a Nexus S, you've probably made the decision to stay away from iOS. But you should still know that the Verizon iPhone is expected to launch right after Christmas. It's rumored to be an LTEphone. If you're in an area covered by Verizon's 4G service, it deserves at least a thought.
Bottom Line: You know what kind of customer you are. Is power your thing? If so, you do not want a Nexus S. It will be last-gen tech in a couple of months. And you'll be stuck with it for 2-years while everyone around you moves up to dual-core. Are you just looking for an easy-to-use, fast handset that doesn't come locked to AT&T? Wait for the Verizon iPhone.
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But if you just want a solid, reliable stock Android handset with some luxury features and you don't really care how many cores it has? Line up outside your local Best Buy at 8 AM, December 16th. Bring mittens.