Well I’m not the first person to buy a Nexus One in America, but I’m one of the last to do so. As a responsible consumer it is my duty to share my experiences with you readers. I’ve had the phone for a little more than a week and thus think I know how I will be using it for the most part. Before I start I would like to mention that the biggest problem I have with the phone is my phone number. This has nothing to do with Google/HTC, but rather T-mobile, so this little issue won’t be making it into the review.
At first I thought about just having this review be another pros/cons list. But when I started there were many things that fell into both categories. So I realized it would be easier, and a little more organized if I just commented on each aspect one at a time.
OPERATING SYSTEM: This is a big plus. The Nexus One is the only phone currently on the market running a legitimate version of Android 2.2. Although the phone ships with version 2.1 it starts to download the update soon after activation. There is a noticeable speed difference between the two versions. Also the ability to use the phone as a wireless hot-spot is wonderful (in my case it doesn’t cost me any extra for this feature). The added flash support doesn’t hurt either. For more information about the update just look on any tech website/blog, or even do a quick search for ‘Android 2.2’.
USER INTERFACE: The screen is usually quick to react to all of touch commands. When this isn’t the case, it is almost always do to an application freezing, something the phone can’t take all the blame for (I’m looking at you app developer). The phone comes with 5 screens for you to place icons, for me this is a bit much since I only really use 4. For those of you that are used to using the HTC Sense UI that comes with 7 screens (or so I have read) this might feel like a downgrade. Another thing that matters is screen brightness. You are able to choose between 3 screen brightness levels. Obviously the brighter the screen the more strain you will be putting on the battery. I find that the dimmest level is more than good enough when you are inside and the second level (out of 3) is fine when you are in obstructed sunlight. I don’t know how well the screen manages when you are in direct sunlight but my guess is that even on the brightest setting you will still need to cup your hands over the phone if you want to see more than just large icons (you know…things like text).
KEYBOARD: You should know that I would have preferred the Nexus One to have had a physical keyboard as an option instead of only the on-screen keyboard that is provided. Since there isn’t much I can do about this (though I think there might be ways to connect to an external keyboard, probably through bluetooth is my guess) I have gotten used to the set up. If you ever need to type something that is longer than 2 words I suggest that you use the keyboard in landscape mode. Otherwise your thumbs will accidentally hit wrong keys and increase the number of typos. The only problem with typing in the landscape mode is that the keyboard takes up most of the screen. Thus if you need to enter text into more than one area you will have to close the keyboard after each entry. When using the portrait version you don’t have this problem, but as mentioned before you are more typo prone.
SOFT KEYS and TRACKBALL: I refer to the four keys located right above the track ball as the soft keys. The trackball is quite useful when the area you need to click is too small for you to accurately do so by touch. I would prefer that instead of a physical ball it was laser operated, similar to the Droid Incredible. However, both versions do have their downfalls. If something goes wrong with the laster/hardware or you damage the physical trackball then you are just SOL in both cases. As for the soft keys they work well most of the time. The only time I have a problem is when the phone is parallel to the ground. When this happens you have to press a button repeatedly for it to perform is designated action. Sometimes even that isn’t enough if you aren’t pushing the button in the right place (near the top close to the screen edge). Some other reviews claim that the back button is confusing, but I find it rather intuitive; it will always take you to the previously viewed screen, so this isn’t a problem unless you have horrible short term memory.
BATTERY: Depending on use I can get anywhere between half a day and two days from a full battery. Removing the batter is rather simple…once you are able to remove the back of the phone, which isn’t quite as simple.
OVERALL: I’ll keep this short, 4/5. The reason for a 4 and not anything higher is because of the keyboard, screen in the sun, and the fact that there are more “advanced” phones out there. Though the Nexus One is “old”, it is by no means irrelevant. It is still the phone that the Google developers use to do testing (I’m sure it’s not the only phone but it is certainly one they make sure their product works on. Which is part of the reason this is the only phone running Android 2.2).