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Review of T-Mobile's Google Android powered smartphone


Review by Michael Oryl on Thursday October 16, 2008.

t-mobile g1 · t-mobile · android reviews · smartphone reviews · t-mobile news · android news · smartphone news · michael oryl

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The famed Google phone is now a reality, having taken form in the shape of T-Mobile's G1, a device developed by HTC and often referred to as the HTC Dream. People have been dreaming of this phone for quite a long time, it seems. Since the open source(INFO) Android platform was announced a year ago, the industry landscape has changed quite a bit. Even Nokia, having bought the remainder of Symbian from its co-owners, is planning to make its OS and user interface freely available to manufacturers.

Up until now, though, Android(INFO) has mostly been a lot of talk. We're here to fix that today. How does the G1 stand up to other smartphones and media centric devices? It has the slick looking UI and a responsive touchscreen display that people crave so much today, but it also features things like an autofocus camera and an honest to goodness hardware QWERTY keyboard. That's a lot to look forward to, but as a 1.0 version device on a brand new OS, there are bound to be things that just don't work as we would hope.

Physical Aspects

From a design aspect, the T-Mobile G1 is fairly simple and plain looking. It has very clean lines, and features no real design flourishes other than the simple bend at its base, where the main cluster of buttons and the trackball are located. That bend in the otherwise bar shaped phone is a bit of an oddity. It appears to offer no real ergonomic or aesthetic benefit, but seems to get in the way of users with smaller hands when it comes time to slide open the G1's 3.2" capacitive touchscreen(INFO) display to get down to business with the G1's QWERTY keyboard.

While certainly pocketable, the G1 is not exactly a small phone. At 117mm x 55mm x 15mm (4.6" x 2.2" x 0.6") in size and weighing 159g (5.6oz), it is a substantial device. It feels solidly built, and the display's sprung slider mechanism moves it around with a reassuring thunk as it nestles into place.

The miniUSB port on the bottom of the phone has a nicely designed cover, and the microSDHC card slot is tucked away in the body of the phone's bent chin, where it can be opened when the display is slid out. The camera shutter button is a two stage affair, letting the camera gain focus lock with a half press and take an actual photo with a full press. The camera, which resides on the back of the device, looks nice, but tends to get mucked up with fingerprints too easily.

The keyboard is also a point of contention. It is spacious enough, but the keys don't offer enough travel, are not domed enough, and probably would have been best made out of a softer, grippier material. The keyboard works, but it is far from being the best on the market today.

The design of the G1 will not be a clear cut winner for most people. It is a bit too plain looking, has a keyboard that is only acceptable, and requires a miniUSB to 3.5mm headset adapter (not included) to be used with regular stereo headphones. The trackball, however, is quite nice, and the display is large, bright, and very responsive. HTC didn't knock one out of the park with the G1's design, but they certainly did enough to get the job done.

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brian hop @ 3:46:55AM EDT on Tuesday June 2, 2009

I don't know why anyone would knock this phone...I would rather lose my right arm than loose this phone..unbelievable user interface,the apps rock.from nav4all,(which is a totally free navagation app,the tom-tom is over hundred bux)to starmap which enables you to really see what you are looking at when you look at the stars.everything and I mean everything rocks about this phone.so what if I can't delete multiple items at once that's just longer I get to play with it...I LOVE THIS PHONE..

Jermey Mcfrazier @ 9:37:03PM EDT on Monday August 3, 2009

Yea i was just wondering between the new sidekick lx and the G1 hich one is a better choice im reall into phones and i have friends tht tell me one is better than the other more the sidekick lx because of the fact tht the camera is a 3.2 mp and you can watch videos on youtube which you can do the same on the g1 but i also heard tht the g1 doesnt have flash??
im just really confused on to which one i should get..

snelks @ 11:48:31AM EDT on Tuesday August 11, 2009

I read this review and the my touch review and decided to buy the G-1 they are quite similar but the dual keyboards on the G-1 made it a no brainer to chose it.

sunny @ 6:51:53PM EDT on Friday April 23, 2010

i am looking for a t-mobile g1 touch screen only

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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