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Review of Google's Nexus One Android-powered touchscreen smartphone


Review by Michael Oryl on Thursday January 21, 2010.

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The Google Nexus One is the first real "Google Phone." It is being sold directly by Google, it is branded a Google device (in spite of being built by HTC), and you won't find it listed on a carrier's site. The first version of the Nexus One was designed to work with T-Mobile's GSM and 3G networks, and can be purchased with T-Mobile service, but can also work at GSM EDGE speeds on AT&T. Versions built for Verizon's network in the U.S. and Vodafone's network elsewhere are set to become available in the Spring.

The phone features some cutting edge hardware, like a large AMOLED(INFO) display and a 1GHz CPU, but will that and its new Android 2.1 operating system be enough to earn recognition as a "super smartphone" by consumers?

Physical Aspects

When it comes to the hardware design of the Google Nexus One, Google and partner HTC nearly knocked it out of the park. The device, which measures 120mm x 60mm x 11.5mm (4.7in x 2.4in x .5in) in size, is made up of nice textures and smooth, softly curved lines. The soft touch paint on its back cover only improves the feel of the 136.2g (4.8oz) device as it lays flat in your hand.

Controls on the Nexus One are pretty minimal. There is a lightable trackball that resides below a gorgeous, bright and colorful 3.7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel AMOLED touchscreen display. Both the trackball and the capacitive touchscreen(INFO) perform very well. The touch sensitive controls for back, menu, home, and search that sit between them, however, are only sufficient and account for the only real misstep in the Nexus One's design. Hardware keys would have been greatly preferred, even if it might have detracted a bit from the Nexus One's aesthetic appeal.

There are no controls on the right edge of the phone, not even a camera shutter button, but the top of the left edge and left of the top edge are home to very low profile controls for volume and power, respectively. They look good, and work well enough. A 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the top of the phone as well, and a micro-USB power/data connector can be found on the bottom of the phone, along with contacts that appear to be intended for a cradle of some sort.

The 5 megapixel camera, with its LED flash, sit on the back cover of the Nexus One, which can be slid off easily enough to gain access to the SIM card and microSDHC(INFO) memory card slots, both of which require the removal of the battery in order to be swapped out.

Overall, the Nexus One's hardware should appeal to people that like the touchscreen slab form factor. It is a fine example of the type. Those that seek more hardware-centric text input methods will have to hold out for the rumored "enterprise" focused device that Google has alluded to in the past.

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jp @ 11:35:01PM EST on Thursday January 21, 2010

I don't know where you got the info about the calendar, but it does sync with Google. Calendars. Multiple accounts simultaneously even.

Michael Oryl @ 8:15:09AM EST on Friday January 22, 2010

No, it doesn't sync multiple accounts with the calendar. I have two Gmail accounts configured on the device, and if you go into settings for the second one in the Accounts section of the phone you will see options for synching Gmail and Contacts - not calendar. In order to get access to that calendar you would have to share it with the primary account just as you would anybody else's private or public calendar on Google calendar. It can't be done from the phone itself.

jerry @ 9:12:37AM EST on Saturday January 23, 2010

Do you know of any plans to upgrade the mytouch3g to a 2.0 android OS?

Don @ 1:35:54AM EST on Monday January 25, 2010

sweet. I like this phone. I got it unlocked here http://www.unlockcellphonecode.com and am now using it on at&t g3.
so far so good. i like it better than my nokia n97

athreya @ 5:55:01AM EST on Monday January 25, 2010

Terrific review Michael. Some questions for you:

1. How good is the voice to text input for say 10 line emails?

2. Does it have a choice of accents to pick from?

3. Can you try skype or google talk for voice usage and tell us how good it is?

4. Is there any hack for enabling voice to text commands via a BT headset?

KyleX @ 10:27:41PM EST on Sunday January 31, 2010

For me the phone just does to much and cost to much. I just need to make calls and send some text. For those people i have to send my shout out for straight talk since i started with them couple months ago ive loved it. Unlimited talk and text for 45 a month and good service on the verizon network, smart and simple.

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logan @ 5:22:29PM EDT on Wednesday June 30, 2010

i'm pretty dang impressed by this phone so far. i had to get mine unlocked and seems like all the other great htc phones are going cdma right now i wanted the evo pretty bad. anyways this phone is fast, practical, internet is easy to use and i love all the apps. got one for me and the wife at gsmallover.com and were happy. looking forward to the rest of the htc phones this year.

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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