Review: In love with the Nexus One

11 01 2010

Today marks my fourth day as an owner of Google’s new Nexus One phone. I think I’m in love.

How I decided to buy the Nexus One

My Various Phones: Samsung Gravity 2, Fake iPhone, and the winner: Google's Nexus One

I’ve longed for an iPhone for two years, but dreaded switching to AT&T. I’ve heard such bad reports about the phone service, and everyone I actually talk to on the phone (my family) is on T-Mobile (so we talk to each other for free). Since the summer, I’ve owned a first-generation iPhone that I bought from a friend. I pulled out the sim card and I’ve been using it as an iPod Touch basically. All of the web-based apps work in WiFi. But when you need directions and can’t find a wireless signal, it can be pretty frustrating. For the past few months, I’ve also had a slider phone with a QWERTY keyboard and Internet capabilities. I can use it to check email and browse the web, but it’s so slow and the interface is so basic that it just could never compare to my fake iPhone.

So after I saw the announcements about Google’s new phone last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and reading reviews until I finally bought it. As a T-Mobile subscriber who desperately wanted an iPhone-like device, the Nexus One was the right choice for me.

I’m still discovering new features, watching the video tutorials and searching through the online user manual when I’m not sure how something works. But so far, I’m impressed.

The Pros

The speed. The processor is fast. Apps open quickly; searches happen quickly.

The design. It’s light and sleek. There are some fancy features, like the live wallpaper. My live wallpaper is currently a pond. When I touch the screen, the water ripples. Necessary? No. Cool? Yes.

The camera. I’m an avid photographer. Over the past five years, I’ve posted more than 7,500 photos to my Flickr Pro account. Think of how many photos I’ll take now that I’ll always have a 5-megapixel camera (with an LED flash) at my fingertips. Not to mention all the HD videos I can now instantly send to YouTube or stream live.

The cloud. My life is stored in Google’s cloud. That life includes 4,800 MB of Gmail, 165 Google docs and a very detailed Google calendar. And now that cloud is readily available on my phone. Other than transferring music onto the phone, you never have to hook it up to your computer. Everything syncs in the cloud. In fact, I’ve noticed that the Nexus One gets my email faster than my computer.

The trackball and buttons. I’m surprised I like the trackball. At first, it seemed lame and Blackberry-esque. But I’ve discovered that it comes in handy. The touch screen works beautifully, but it helps to have another option for scrolling and selecting small buttons. I also like that the trackball lights up to notify you of new emails, IMs, calls, etc. I’m also surprised that I like the back, menu, home and search buttons. Others have complained that they’re hard to press. It took me about a day to get used to it, but now I really appreciate these buttons. Under the default setting, the buttons vibrate slightly when you activate them. This kind of user feedback helps shorten the learning curve for this phone.

Happy with my new Nexus One

The keyboard. A couple months ago, I played with every smartphone in the T-Mobile store. These sad excuses for touch screeens irritated me. But the Nexus One’s touch screen and keyboard definitely rivals the iPhone’s. Sure, I make mistakes when typing on it, but they’re the same mistakes I used to make on my QWERTY keyboard.

Voice input. And if you’re tired of typing, you can use voice input for any text box, which is a great feature. But as other reviewers have noted, it’s not always 100% accurate. I texted my boyfriend to say I bought pork and zucchini at the grocery store. The phone understood that as “port and bikini.” Not quite…

Google Maps and Streetview. I love being able to pull up the Streetview of my destination while on the go.

Simultanous apps. Unlike the iPhone, the Android operating system can run several third-party apps simultaneously. This functionality is much more conducive to my multi-tasking habits. And even though the iTunes Store has about 80,000 more apps than the Android Market, so far I’ve found almost every app I wanted.

The Cons

No iTunes. The music player is user-friendly and works just fine. But I wish you could use an iTunes-like program to transfer music onto the phone. The only option right now is to drag files to the drive. Since I only have 4GB of space right now, it’s not a huge deal. But I might get a 16GB micro SD card. In that case, I’ll need a better method for organizing the music on the phone. On a plus note, it’s easy to create a playlist on the phone itself.

The space. I have 23GB of music in iTunes, so 4GB is teeny. If anyone sees good deals for a 16GB or 32GB micro SD card, let me know.

In Conclusion

I finally have a phone that matches my busy, constantly connected, Twitter-addicted life — and I didn’t have to switch mobile carriers to get it. I’m even looking forward to my next bus ride. Life’s mundane activities aren’t so bad when you’re listening to Pandora while keeping up with friends on Facebook.

I’ll continue writing about my love affair with the Nexus One. Stay tuned for updates on the battery life, 3G service and other features.

(And if anyone is in the market for a Samsung Gravity 2, please let me know. I’m selling my old phone.)

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One response

12 01 2010
seattlekungfoolery

I purchased my 3gs iphone when it came out and have been very happy
with everything. This is my first non-blackberry pda and as everyone
says, they are worlds apart. However, if I had known that less than 6
months later Google would be releasing a smart phone with an awesome
camera, I would have waited. I too am an avid photographer, and enjoy
getting snapshots on my phone and taking short videos. This is not
possible in low light situations (where I frequently find myself
wanting to get snapshots of friends). It’s great to hear that
Google’s phone has a 5 mp camera with flash that works well, because
my next smart phone will definitely include flash.

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