In August 2011, I got tired of my Palm Pre's speaker not working and the great number of apps available on Android and I decided to get an Android. I liked the Nexus S because it did not include the restrictions that other carriers included. I also wanted to be able to hack it, but up to January 2012, I have not hacked it.
The phone does much more than the Palm Pre did - with more apps and better hardware. However, I know the Pre had flaws. I thought a top of the line Android phone would not run into similar problems. The phone is not as snappy as I would like. I might have installed too many apps, but I try to limit the number of running apps. I have higher expectations, and the phone is not living up to them.
The stock email app does not do search for Exchange in boxes. Let me say that again. A phone made by the world's largest search company does not do email search. I don't understand why Google can not implement this. It is listed as a bug in Google's tracking system. I use the Enhanced Email app instead to make up for this feature.
The Android UI is a complete and utter mess. And I have a stock Android phone without handset manufactures mucking it up. The back button either goes back a screen or exits out the app. Many actions are undiscoverable, except when you try pushing and holding, or hitting the option key. It is pretty hard to switch between other open apps, or even to open the launcher is a two-step process.
Google has supposedly fixed this in Honeycomb, but that is tablet only. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) was announced in October. As of January 22, it is still not available on my Sprint Nexus S. And when it comes, many apps will be incompatible.
Battery life in the basic battery was awful. I could go from 9am to about 6pm. This is completely unacceptable in my life. I need to be able to go till 2am without plugging in. I am also unwilling to micromanage my battery (turning off wireless, etc). I bought an extended battery which works well enough to go till 2am.
My Nexus S has NFC. However, I have never actually used it. This is mostly because I had to replace the standard NFC battery cover with a special cover for my extended battery.
I use the Executive Assistant app immediately after the lock screen. I really like this to be able to preview my email without having to always open the email app.
However, my favorite app is the Pulldown App Drawer. Android would be completely unusable without it.
So overall I'd give it 3 stars out of 5. But the iPhone is not much better. It has a much better battery life, but the UI is much more limited. Switching between apps is hard - you can't do something like Pulldown App Drawer. It's gotten much better with iOS 5 - they finally have decent notifications. There are no other competitors.