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My Nexus One: A Review

Jan 10 2010, 3:39pm CST | by

My Nexus One: A Review
 
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I ordered my Nexus One on Wednesday. I don't have much to say about Google's ordering process. It was simple and painless. Upon receiving my bill, I was surprised to see that my phone was being overnight-ed for free. Thanks for that, Google.

Now then, onto the review.

Design:

Hands down, this is one of the best looking phones on the market. I'd put it right up there with the iPhone. The sleep/wake and on/off button is stuck up on the top of the device, which I actually like quite a lot. It's built in such a way that it's pretty much impossible to accidentally set off in your pocket.

On bottom of the monitor are four touch buttons with haptic feedback. Some people have complained that these buttons register touches poorly. I haven't noticed any issues myself. Almost every time I tap one, it registers. I've had a couple of failures, but no more than that. The trackball is pretty much superfluous, though.

Screen:

I am in love with this screen. Every image is crisp and crystal clear, the colors are impossibly bright and vivid. OLED screens are the best damned thing since sliced bread. Until the iPhone gets one (hopefully this year) this is an area the Nexus One has unquestionable superiority in.

Browsing:

The browsing experience on my Nexus One is much improved over my G1. Android's browser is fairly uninteresting, but it gets the job done and it works as quickly as it can with T-Mobile's network. I'm able to keep multiple windows open on the Nexus One (with other apps running in the background) and not notice any slowdown in my browsing.

Some Nexus One owners are experiencing periodic 3G difficulties, and I regret to say that I am among them. Whether this is a hardware or software issue is inconsequential. It's infuriating to the user and Google should have spotted this issue before their phone launched. This issue is compounded by Google's terrible customer support.

Attention you open-source hippies; you need to rein yourselves back a bit and spend a few minutes thinking about your brand. I understand that you all want to make something crazy awesome and advanced, push it out, and then leap forward to the next big thing. But you still owe a duty to your customers to make sure this crap doesn't happen.

Multi-tasking:

Fantastic. I've gone running several times with a GPS jogging-tracker running along with my music player. Periodically I'd stop to check my email or send a text message or something, acts which (on my G1) would normally lag terribly due to the processor strain. I noticed no such strain on the Nexus One; it took everything I could throw at it and kept on trucking.

Live Backgrounds:

Totally pointless, and also one of my favorite things about this phone. My background right now is a pretty blue pond that ripples when I poke it.

You don't want to know how much time (and battery life) I've wasted with the screen turned up to its full, glorious brightness, poking the water.

As A Phone:

Voice quality for the user is good, not great. However, the Nexus One's new noise-cancelling technology is fantastic and works startlingly well. I think this will be standard on every cell phone sold in a few years.

Speech-To-Text:

This is the first time that Speech-to-Text has been a truly viable option for widespread use on a phone. I use it constantly. When I don't want to type out a text message or IM, I just speak into the microphone. Searching is easier than ever now; with two clicks, I can have a voice-search window open and recording.

The accuracy of their conversion program is incredible. I'd estimate it at 90% or so. As long as I spoke fairly clearly, it had very little trouble understanding me. More complex, lengthy sentences caused some issues, but that isn't what this is for. Think of speech-to-text as a more grammatically pleasant alternative to texting short-hand.

Camera:

Decent, not great. Auto-focus is much improved over the Droid, image quality is as good as you can expect out of a smartphone. The LED flash is nice.

Final Thoughts:

The Nexus One is a stylish, zippy phone with a fantastic user experience and a ton of cool features. It isn't an iPhone killer though, and it has its rough edges. I noticed a few cases of random, seemingly cause-less lag and, as per usual, the App Market let me down. About a third of the apps I tried to download just didn't work for some reason.

If you are trying to decide between an iPhone 3GS or a Nexus One, I'd choose the Nexus One. It has a prettier screen, faster processor, more RAM, and a better camera (but worse camera user interface). However, if you are honestly on the fence about the iPhone vs. Android divide, you owe it to yourself to hold off on a purchase until Summer. The iPhone 3GS isn't the phone to measure the Nexus One against, the new iPhone 4G is.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
Robert can be contacted directly at robert@i4u.com.

 

 

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