Hardware Review: Nexus One

Published on Jan 10, 2010 Randomstrings Review « Prev Next »

So I had stated previously that I was tired of my original iPhone and that would be getting the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 when it came out some time later this year.   That was before I heard/read about Google’s offering; the Nexus One.

I weighed all the numbers and researched all the sites and came to the conclusion that the only thing the X10 had over the Nexus One was the price tag.   From what one site was guessing the SE offering was going to be pretty pricey.  Plus, SE has done a lot to customize their interface but I think they are over doing it a tad.  It looks cool, sure but every video I watched showed the interface to be laggy and/or buggy.  And while I’m sure it was still very early in their development cycle it still put me off.

The Nexus One had all the features I wanted in a modern package, using a new modern OS with all the amenities at what I figure is a reasonable price.  Plus, it’s built by Google who employ developers and engineers who are just as geeky as I am, so I was pretty sure it would be good.  I wasn’t disappointed.

I can honestly say this is the best device I have ever had.   I love it.   I ordered the phone the day it was released, and had it in my hands 2 days later thanks to Google’s free over night FedEx shipping, complete with my custom engraving on the back..   Engraving meant that I wouldn’t be able to return it if I didn’t like it, so that was a bit of a concern while I was ordering it but if I knew then what I know now it would have been an easy choice.   At the time I was thinking that getting one without a way to return it was risky..

The price was good.  I decided to get the $179 version instead of buying the unlocked one.  I may regret that later as typically I always get unlocked.. but the more I looked at it there was no point to getting it unlocked as it only really supported the 3G frequencies of one network.  So.. $179 it was..   Not a bad price at all when you consider isuppli estimates the phone cost google roughly $174.15 to make it in the first place.

Honestly, in all this I think Google’s biggest mistake is not having some place where people can put their hands on a device.   I’m told customer support is pretty lacking too unfortunately..  I’m pretty sure that google simple wasn’t prepared for the demand..  But really they need to go ahead and get this device into the hands of stores.. Let people pick it up!   Most likely you’ve gotten all the early adopters you’re going to get, now is the time to shuffle it out to the stores so the masses can get a hold of it.

I think if the hold outs just got the device in their hands they’d see that the device itself is rock solid.  I love how everything just works.  Little things that were an issue with the iphone (granted it’s a gen one iphone) this phone doesn’t have.   Everything just works.

Streaming Music from a site of my choosing ( http://di.fm highly recommended ) ?  Yeah that works..  Streaming music that requires an authentication?  Yeah that works..  Straight to your A2DP stereo bluetooth headset?  yeah that works..  Put the phone down and leave it for 2 hours while you’re doing something else.. come back and just poke play on your headset to resume?  Yeah.. that works too..   Been listening to some vocal trance the whole time I wrote this, and I’ve been wandering around the house a bit too..

None of that worked on my iphone.   And the bluetooth antenna rocks btw.. my iphone to headset pairing was weak and kinda crappy.. Not here – the pairing is good and I have yet to have static or noise creep in unlike on the iphone.

Just more examples of how good the hardware is.  I think google really was trying to build the cadillac of phones.    When ordering, I was concerned about the make of the product – I was worried it would be flimsy or weak in some ways but its not at all.  The hardware feels solid though it does suffer the same “greasy screen” issues that all modern phones suffer.  I will say this for the iphone, it felt solid.  This phone feels the same way.  It’s a teeny-tiny bit larger than the iphone so it doesn’t fit in the belt case I like.. damn it.. heh but the weight is about the same.

The new OLED screen is amazing.  Sitting next to my iPhone at with the N1 at half brightness, its much brighter than the iphone.  In fact it makes the iphones screen look dull by comparison.

I think android 2.1 works great, I have yet to run into any problems..  I have read that some people have found bugs but I haven’t seen any..  Maybe I don’t know what to look for.. I dunno.

The call quality is good and more importantly the audio levels are high enough I can hear in a noisy room.  One of my main complaints with my iphone was that if there was ANY ambient noise I simply couldn’t hear someone on the phone, and the speaker phone was a joke.  The speaker phone on the Nexus still isn’t as loud as I would like, but its far better than the iphone.    My Nokia Communicator had a GREAT speakerphone.. clearly phone makers need to contact the nokia folks and find out how its done..

Like I keep saying.. it just works.. yay!

Issues as I see them so far;

Googles grand plan is to change the face of the cell phone industry by offering a device that can doesn’t limit you to a carrier.  Amen Brother.   But then they tether it to T-Mobile?  I can’t help but think that this was a mistake.   In my opinion the number 1 killer of the iPhone was AT&T.  Here in the Austin area the network is so saturated that it doesn’t work.  AT&T simply wasn’t ready to handle the influx of customers that the iPhone generated.  T-Mobile (formerly VoiceStream) will suffer the same problem if the Nexus is even remotely as popular as the iphone was when it hit the market.

I know they are releasing other versions of the phone to other carriers, but how does that change what we have today?  You’re still locked to a network.   More over, even if you purchased the unlocked version of the phone you’re still tied to one network due to 3G frequencies ..etc..  For example;  Right now this phone won’t work with AT&T’s 3G network. Period.

We shall see..

It’s still a new offering and I was a day one adopter so I don’t know if this is a fair criticism on my part, but there are ZERO accessories for this sucker.  I know give it a month.. but still.  I want a stand.. some carrying case options.. some screen protection options..etc..

What the hell is the point of the track ball?   I’m worried about the track ball popping out or in some way breaking.. It’s the only part of the phone that concerns me because it kinda sticks out.    And it really seems to serve no purpose..   Again it’s something that folks can use so we will likely see games that use it soon.

I just had another complaint pop into and out of my head before I could write it down and now I can’t remember what it was.. damn it..

It’s not perfect.. but it’s a wonderful device.

I hate the question “Is it the iphone killer”.. that’s just a retarded question.. It’s a damn good device, hows that?  I think for googles first try, its awesome and worth every penny.