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Nexus One

On January 7, 2010 I received my new Nexus One phone. I've had an Android G1 for about 9 months. For the most part I was satisfied with the G1. But with the Nexus I gained:
(a) bigger 3.7"/higher rez screen;
(b) 1ghz CPU = more consistent "snappy" response - especially with Android 2.2 Froyo;
(c) faster 5mp camera with flash;
(d) dual mic - excellent speakerphone;
(e) thinner - smaller pocket bulge

ARS Technica Review

Review by
iPhone users

A benchmark vs. iPhone3GS

Regarding spare batteries: Do not
settle for less
than 1600 mah.

This Nexus One is fitting the bill. Note: In the following review you will notice me using the iPhone for comparison at times. I'm not an Apple fan or hater. This article is not meant to piss off iPhone owners. These are just my opinions and I'm often using the iPhone for comparison because IMHO the iPhone (until Nexus One) was the best smart phone.

I was dubious about giving up the physical keyboard of my G1 but after two days, I'm loving the virtual keyboard. It wasn't a huge leap, though, because I often used the virtual keyboard on my G1. The screen on the Nexus One is so big (3.7") that the stock virtual keyboard is easy to use fast with few typos. I noticed a few other downloadable keyboards on the market but I'm pretty happy with the stock one. NEW: Get "Smart Keyboard Pro". It has many benefits, including "custom auto text" where you can create rules like, "Any time I type 'cuz' change it to 'because'."

3.7" 800x480 active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) screen. AMOLED screens consume less power than LCD so perhaps that explains why the Nexus One, running at 400mhz faster than the iPhone and having a similar sized battery, has similar amount of use per charge. This screen is inferior to LCD when in direct sunlight.

Wow again. I am pleasantly surprised. I'm blown away. Of course, being used to the G1's crappy and slow camera I have to admit it wouldn't take much to impress me. But finally, to have a cell phone where the camera performs fast as I need and takes good night pictures! Yep, it has a flash; a flash that seems very powerful to me compared to past LED flashes I have seen. And wow I did a test to see how fast it would take multiple flash-using photos and it seemed about 1.5 seconds between photos! Heck, my G1 took about 2-3 seconds between photos without even having a flash!

The OS at the time of this review is Android 2.1.
I was mostly happy with my 1.6-based and rooted ("rooted" means hacked or "jailbroken") G1 with custom Cyanogen Mod ROM and with CPU overclocking app telling it to run at its max of 528mhz. Except the hardware of the G1, IMHO, even running at 528mhz, is slightly underpowered. Well... this 1ghz Snapdragon processor does the trick! The Nexus One also has double the RAM of the G1 and that helps quite a bit, too. Even with an animated background running and multiple apps simultaneously running... oh and three auto-updating widgets (Facebook, Weather, and PureCalendar)... everything runs fast and snappy. Speaking of snappy...

VERY noticeable speed difference! I was skeptical that the browser would show much difference because I assumed the browser speed was more dependent on the Internet connection than processor speed. I was wrong. Big time wrong. This thing loads web pages as fast as my quad core "extreme" 2.66ghz 8gb RAM desktop system on Roadrunner! Well... when I'm using WiFi. But even when using 3G it has so far shown to be fast as hell. I'm still a little bit surprised because geez how much processor do you need to load and parse HTML scripts? Anything past a couple hundred Mhz seems like overkill. Yeah, I know javascript can slow things down. Oh well, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The free, stock Google Maps has a turn by turn navigation that works as well as any Tom Tom or Telenav or any of the others I've seen or played with. I never thought I would need or use something like this but it has proven to be very useful.

Here is a feature I'm still not sure will be used my by me but I'm doing it more and more often. Every text field in every app on this phone, you can choose to talk instead of type! I've found it to be very accurate, and noticeably improving over time. Looks like Google's speech recognition software is learning.

VERY useful to be able to remove your battery! The first thing I did when I bought my G1 is buy 2 extra batteries. Then when an extended life battery was available I bought it, too. I'll be doing the same for this phone as soon as I find an aftermarket retailer who sells batteries for this phone. So far the included 1400mAh battery lasts a satisfying length of time. Having extra batteries for my G1 proved useful on many occasions, including:
- picnic situation where I'm using my phone as the music source (attached to portable speakers, of course)
- camping situations
- leaving home for the day to do errands and phone is half charged when walking out the door and I'm on my scooter which has no cig lighter charger receptacle.

Friday eve I downloaded a free app called "Bump". A friend with an iPhone did same. We held our phones out toward each other's phones and shook them. Both our phones came up with a msg on screen saying something like, "So and so wants to share contact info. Click here to approve." I was so pleasantly surprised that this app worked cross platform! I hope this app continues to become more popular!

Regarding multi-touch: UPDATE 2/3/2010: Multi-touch is now built into the browser, gallery, and maps

IMHO until this phone came out, Android OS version + hardware just didn't add up to an enjoyable, easy, and attractive enough experience compared to the iPhone. Now it does. I have a feeling, though, that if you are used to your iPhone and you try to switch, there will be frustration due to things just being different. But if you:
- Want multitasking - to be able to have music playing in the background while you email or text or browse and notifications (messages of any kind) do not interrupt what you are doing;
- Want an gorgeous 3.7" AMOLED 800x480 screen;
- Like having more flexibility/control over settings and such (without even having to hack your phone);
- Want built-in Google maps/turn-by-turn navigation;
- Want built-in Google voice-to-text and text-to-voice translation;
- Want a better speakerphone; and
- Want a removable battery
... then this might be the phone for you.

I'm a happy boy. I have to admit I've become pretty addicted to my phone and this device fits the bill.

Scott Swain

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