On Monday, Google unveiled its new phone, the Nexus S — its second attempt to make a dent in the crowded smartphone market. The Nexus S runs on Android's new 2.3 operating system, known as Gingerbread, and features a 1 gigahertz processor, a 5 megapixel camera, and a "sleek new contoured display designed to curve alongside its owner's face." Google — which tried (and failed) to sell its first model, the Nexus One, directly — is switching courses this time: As of Dec. 16, the new phone will be sold via retailers like Best Buy, with a $199 price tag and a two-year T-Mobile contract. The search giant promises the phone will deliver a "pure Google" experience, but is the Nexus S a winner? (See the Nexus S up close)

The new OS delivers: The phone's battery life and processor speed are impressive, but "the main event" is the Gingerbread operating system, say Michael Arrington and Jason Kincaid in TechCrunch. Gingerbread is not a revolutionary upgrade, but "it's improved in a lot of small ways," from better text predictions to a slicker-looking notification bar. Those improvements, combined with the phone's seamless Google integration, mean that "if you're an Android user you will want this phone more than any other."
"TechCrunch review: Google Nexus S"

The Samsung touch helps: The phone was actually built by Samsung, and "it combines the Korean manufacturer's slick hardware and gorgeous screen with Android's seemingly endless features," says Flora Graham in CNET UK. It also "could be the best Android gaming phone ever." Gingerbread probably "won't be a life-changing update for the average user," but the phone, interface, and speed make "Android better than ever."
"Google Nexus S by Samsung"

Watch out, Apple: This is a "leap forward" for Android's challenge to the iPhone 4, says Matt Warman in The Telegraph. "Android has offered more features" than the iPhone for some time,"but has not rivalled Apple's peerless feeling of effortlessness." Google has taken pains to make this phone "easier to use" with features like voice commands. And the curvy screen shows that Google and Samsung "are placing a new emphasis on design" to match its biggest competitor.
"First review: Google Nexus S"