It’s been the talk of the internet for weeks on end, and the day is almost here…or so every phone geek wishes. Google just invited a group of reporters to an “Android Press Gathering” on January 5th, and the word on the street is that they’ll be unveiling what I would like to call “The Messiah”. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The official street name is The Nexus One.
Rumors started running wild as soon as Google decided to hand out the sexy phone to their employees. As soon as the news hit the blogs, Google tried to get in front of the rumors by stating that they were simply testing new mobile technologies.
“We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a phone that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this phone with Google employees across the globe,” Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management wrote on Dec. 12. Really Mario?
I was one of thousands and possibly millions of individuals searching the web to find what this phone looked like, and then we all ran into it’s first unofficial picture. At a glance, I wasn’t really that satisfied. It looked simple….plain…..bland. What made me excited though, was the rumors of it’s speed and new firmware.
I spent weeks on end drooling over the anticipation of getting my grubby little finger tips on the phone, and my day came early. Oh yes, I was a good boy this year and Santa were nice enough to drop a late X-Mas gift under my malnourished tree.
Ladies and Gentleman, say hello to the Nexus One.
Full Gallery of the Review
The Nexus One is a very slick and beautiful phone that almost makes other devices look out dated. Rather than going the direction of the Motorola Droid with it’s hard edged corners, it took on the characteristics of the iPhone head-on by creating a more curvy device. Where the iPhone flattens out on the top and bottom, the Nexus One takes on subtle curves that make the phone feel less boxy. The face of the phone even curves down slightly at the very bottom. There are four buttons and a trackball at the bottom of the phone which are very similar to the Droid, you know the regular features: Back, Menu, Home, and Search. Below is HTC’s all so familiar tracking ball. Rather than adjusting the earpiece down a bit, you’ll see that they decided to place it almost at the very top of the phone. Another very noticeable feature is the amount of space the screen takes up. It’s HUGE! A whopping 3.7” to be exact.
Physical Dimensions Vs iPhone and Motorola Droid
So we all can agree that the phone looks sexy as hell, but how can I explain the way it feels in your hands in three words or less? How about, “Pretty f*cking incredible”. As soon as you pick it up, the first thing you’ll notice is how slim it feels. Although it’s only slightly thinner then the iPhone (11.5mm vs. 12.3mm), it truly feels like it’s half the size. It’s amazing to know that it’s really not, but it may have a lot to do with the coating of the phone. The back and sides of the phone are coated in Teflon, and feels almost rubbery. It’s very difficult to explain, but whatever it is they nailed it. It’s hard, but almost feels soft to the touch.
Additional buttons on the external portion of the phone is the volume rocker on the top left side of the phone, and a power button on the top of the phone above the volume rocker.
The display screen on this phone is simply incredible. There has yet to be any device out on the market to date that looks as crisp and clear as the Nexus One. The difference is like taking a look at a 30” television and trying to compare it with a brand new 46” Sony LCD. The Nexus One boasts a 3.7” (diagonal) widescreen, WVGA AMOLED screen, delivering at 720x480. Picture quality is very impressive.
Responsiveness to touch on the screen is definitely on par with the iPhone. There are no delays when touching apps and moving from screen to screen. Users have the ability to navigate left and right for a total of 5 screens. Thanks to the updated firmware, Android 2.1, the phone flies. While most phones will tend to lag a bit when opening, closing, and moving from page to page with touch and gestures, this phone moves with ease.
The sad part here is that there is no multi-touch on this device. So forget about pinching to zoom in and out, however if you MUST insist on using these gestures you can download an application called Dolphin. This app is a browser that allows you to do anything on an iPiPhonehone, within your browser on your Nexus One. It actually works very well.
Home Screen Background Images
One of the most blogged features on the Nexus One is the background images. When pictures first appear online, everyone noticed that the background image of the phone seemed to be animating. Well it does….they do….all 10 of them do, and they are called Live Wallpapers.
You can chose from the following:
Galaxy, Grass, Magic Smoke, Many, Nexus, Plar clock, Spectrum, VU meter, Water, Waveform,
Click here to view them all.
My favorite happens to be Grass. Depending on what time of day it is, the sky will change colors. If it’s in the afternoon, you’ll see a bright clue sky. If it’s when the sun is setting, you’ll see an orange sky. Right before you go to bed, the sky will be dark. Not only does the sky change on the time of the day, but you’ll see the grass blowing in the wind. Each time you navigate through screens it’s as if you’re brushing your apps through the grass.
You’ll also notice the Force Close window below. When I tried to load 2 of the wallpapers, that’s unfortunately what I came up with tonight. It worked before, but doesn’t seem to want to load right now.
There are 2 options on the home screen. One option is on the lower left side of the display, and is used to unlock the phone. If you place your finger on it and swipe to the right, it will unlock everything. Prior to unlocking the phone the second option is on the lower right side. This option will mute or un-mute the phone. If you place your finger on it and swipe to the left, you can change that setting.
As stated earlier in this post, you have the ability to scroll right and left through the home screen pages by simply swiping the screen left or right. Google also added the oh so familiar HTC trackball, that allows you to scroll left and right as well. Both are very precise, but the trackball makes it quite easy to play a lot of the games available in Market.
The trackball has a nice feature similar to other HTC devices in the market, that can be set to flash for all of your notifications. It’s definitely a great reminder to see when the phone is laying down.
Connectors and Sensors
Like most devices on the market today the headphone jack is 3.5mm. When testing with several headphones, the sound quality is on par with the iPhone. It’s safe to say that the sound quality here is average.
The battery, sim card, and SD card are all in the same location, behind the phone beneath the back cover.
If you’re making a boat load of calls and frequently find yourself in noisy areas, you’ll be happy to know that there is an on-board noise canceling feature. I originally thought that they were the gold contacts at the bottom of the phone near the microphone, but folks are saying that’s likely for the dock that’s soon to come. At this point I’ve run a few test calls with friends while roaming in busy areas and they said the sound is pretty good. I can’t truly confirm as I wasn’t on the other side of that call.
The gold contacts is actually for Nexus One Accessories such as the docking stations.
An additional feature that was a smart move was the proximity sensor. Like the iPhone, when you place the phone to your ear it will automatically dim everything so you can’t press buttons. When you take the phone away from your ear, again the screen will quickly brighten.
The sound quality of the speaker phone is pretty good. It’s a lot louder then the iPhone, but the sound isn’t totally crisp. It’s likely that they may have tried to cut costs here, and opted for a loud speaker rather then a good quality sound. It beats holding my iphone up to my ear in the car, while it’s on speakerphone. Kind of defeats the purpose of a speaker right?
The speaker is located on the back of the phone, which actually creates a slight problem. If you’re like me and you like to place your phone in your pocket it’s likely you may miss your call. When fabric is placed on top of the speaker it muffles out the sound quite a bit. When laying out on a hard surface it’s fine, because you’ll notice the camera protrudes out of the back a bit, which gives a little breathing room for the speaker.
The camera on board the Nexus One has 5 megapixels, with mechanical autofocus and LED flash. Physically, the camera protrudes a bit out of the back of the phone. You’ll notice it’s actually not the camera, but just the back cover of the phone that does this. As posted earlier in the Speaker section, this is done to give the speaker breathing room when placed on a hard surface.
As soon as camera mode is prompted, the phone goes in to landscape mode, offering the ability to snap a shot, switch from camera to video camera, or view previously taken photos. On the left side of the screen you’ll notice there is a bar that gives you additional options. If you drag it out (or simply press the menu button and select settings), you’ll see setting for Flash mode, White balance, Color effect, Store location, and Picture size. The camera feature gives you control over the pictures you take with these options. If I was to compare the camera quality with the iPhone I prefer the iphone because of it uses of natural colors while the Nexus One doesn’t. The Nexus One causes you to have to play around with the settings more to get the perfect picture.
Unfortunately, we can’t give the Nexus One a perfect review when it comes to this area. Photos and video are just average, and very similar to all of the rest of HTC’s devices in the market as well as the Motorola Droid. iPhone definitely kicks but in this area.
The photo below is a picture taken in low light with the Nexus One
Android 2.1, Snapdragon & Processor
It’s safe to say that the paring of android 2.1, snapdragon, and it’s processor (QUALCOMM QSD 8250, 1GHz), it’s a sure shot! The phones speed is simply amazing. Navigating through the phone, installing applications, and surfing the web is blazingly fast.
My Nexus One is running with an ATT sim card. This means that unfortunately I’m forced to only run on the edge network rather then 3G. However it still runs very fast.
If I had to write about one application, it would be Home Car. Everyone has been going crazy about GPS systems these days, and who needs to go out and buy a Garmin GPS or iPhone app when you have Car Home? Car Home is a default application that comes with the Nexus One. When you open up the application have have 5 different options; Voice Search, Navigation, View Map, Contacts, and Search. The exciting part about this application is the Navigation button. When you select that button, it will take you in to Google Maps and ask for your location and end point address. When you place it in, you get your full set of directions as you would in your cars navigation system. I’ve used it a couple times and it works great!
The downfall of the Nexus One is that google still has yet to hit the Market with really good gaming applications. Hands down the iPhone is the clear winner, but developers are definitely starting to show promise with some of their latest apps. We all knew before that the android devices really couldn’t handle some of the games, but with the processing speed and snapdragon on the Nexus One, I’m sure we’ll all be pleasantly surprised in the near future.
Voice to Text
An addition that I completely fell in love with over the past few days, is the voice to text option. Any place on the phone where you can type, you can now talk. Emails, text message, and even text input boxes on sites while browsing. It’s all made possible by a small button that shows up where your comma would naturally reside on the keyboard. After clicking on it, a box appears and let’s you know when to speak.
If I had to rate this feature out of 10, it would get an 8. It’s not GREAT, but it works well. It’s definitely a safe bet that this will get a lot of users for those kids out there that are sending thousands of texts a minute. Why type it when you can speak it!
Like any phone that’s pulling all kinds of data, I have yet to see one that can last a long period of time. I’ve pushed it for about 12 hours while out in the wild, using everything on the phone. By the time I got home, it went completely dead. I would say that it’s even with the iPhone. Both aren’t really great, but I’m definitely ok with taking a wire to work to let it charge for 30 minutes or so.
Benchmark Test Vs. Motorola Droid
If I had to walk in to a store today with endless funds to purchase a phone, I would have to go with the Nexus One. The main reasons I chose this phone is simply because of it’s hires display, speed, and it’s extremely attractive UI. On a 3G network, there is no reason to stray to any other device. Yes the iPhone shoots pictures and video a bit better, but if I REALLY want to shoot crisp photos I’ll do that with my real digital camera. At this point iPhone has the better gaming applications, but again the android Market is growing at a rapid pace. We’re likely to soon see some amazing stuff when developers get their hands on the Nexus One. I’m more concerned with the fact that I can actually MAKE phone calls from the Nexus One, and the fact that it makes browsing the web a truly unique and visually stimulating experience.
Currently, my main phone that I’m using is my Nexus One, and my iPhone is now my iPod. Hats off to Google and HTC on an amazing device!
Guest post by: 3rd-Geer
Nexus One FULL Spec:
Camera, photos, videos:
Cellular & wireless:
External buttons & controls:
Connectors and sensors:
Power and battery:
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