T-Mobile G1 Review
There’s nothing really groundbreaking with the Android UI, and that’s in part what makes it so good. We feel confident most users can pick it up and go, comfortable navigating between screens and apps. The best way to describe it is a mix between the iPhone and BlackBerry OS, yet you’d never think it is a rip-off of either. The homescreen displays a large analog clock, as well as a few icons such as contacts and My Faves. Icons can be moved around, added and removed from the homescreen, and the screen can actually be slid to the left or right to reveal more space. Left is empty and we’d imagine most users will use it as a launcher area. Right has a Google search bar, as well as more real estate for program shortcuts.
Of course, all of this is customizable. The clock and search bar are widgets that can also be moved, added and removed. A picture frame is also available now, and we’d expect more widgets to soon appear. Individual contacts, bookmarks, playlists, Gmail labels and folders can also be added to the home screen, though we couldn’t easily figure out how to rename the folders (open it, then hold your finger on the title bar for a second or two.)
From the bottom of any page the user can drag open the full menu, in which each program has its own icon. We like the interface, and feel that it addresses the clutter issue the iPhone has while still allowing quick and intuitive access for any user. For the neat freaks you can have zero icons and widgets, and for those who want everything up front you can fill three screens with whatever you want.
Similar to RIM’s BlackBerry key, the Menu button brings up context menus that vary depending on location. Menus are much less convoluted than RIM devices, consistent with Android’s ease of use mantra.
Similar to the Samsung Instinct, notifications are displayed with an icon in the status bar and the user can drag the area down for more detail. Where the Instinct simply has a star to notify the user of missed notifications, Android has different icons to specify what kind of event was missed (email, text, etc.)
One major gripe we have is lack of an onscreen keyboard at the moment. There are times when we want to keep the phone in portrait mode and just tap out a quick message without having to open it, but we expect this will come soon enough. If Google never closes this hole (which we’re sure they will) no doubt the developers will step in and do the job.
The touchscreen is integrated well into the OS, though it is important to note that Android will run on non-touch devices as well. Just for fun we navigated using only the trackball and buttons and think Google really has a great OS on their hands not just for feature devices, but for mid-range and low-end phones alike, and we fully expect to see it emerge on even non-cellular devices. While it has some maturing to do, the structure is solid and very well thought out.
Hopefully you trust Google; if so things are great. If not, well then there’s not much sense in using Android. When setting up our device we signed into our Google account (required) and within a few minutes all of our contacts were synchronized to our phone. There is no desktop sync program, but as long as it works we prefer the cloud managing our information. Honestly, we get lazy and don’t plug our phones in as often as we should so auto-sync just makes life easier. Importing contacts to Gmail is easy from both Outlook and Address Book, so there is no real reason to have a desktop client. That said, we’re sure someone will develop one in the future.
The phonebook layout is great, and again very similar to Samsung’s Instinct. There are four tabs at the top; you are taken to Contacts (everyone) by default but Favorites (speed dials), Call log and Dialer are just a press away. Unlike Windows Mobile, Android lists contacts alphabetically by first name. When on either the homescreen or contacts list the user can begin typing and the phone will match to the contact list by both first and last name. Entries can be filtered by groups (which are set up in Gmail) and you can even choose to only sync certain groups instead of your entire list.
There is a plethora of information that can be stored with each contact. There are several phone number, email and postal address labels, and if there isn’t one to fit your needs you can create a custom one. Not only can you save an IM name, but you can associate it with the appropriate service (options are AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, Skype, QQ, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber) which allows you to send an IM directly from the contact, assuming Android supports the service.contact. You can add company information (including position) and if none of this is enough you can make a note for them. What you cannot do, however, is add birthday and anniversary information. We hope to see this in the future.
Have a crazy ex, creepy guy you met at a bar who won’t leave you alone or just someone you don’t want to talk to? Android gives you the option to send a contact’s calls straight to voicemail. It’s a curious and somewhat cynical feature for sure, but at the same time pretty cool and just another sign that Google has its finger on the pulse of the modern user.
The in-call management is fantastic as well. The user can either put a call on mute or on hold, and can activate the speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset. Swap Call easily manages three-way calling, and there is a Merge Call option for simple conference call management. When on a conference call you can even put certain callers on hold while still talking to other ones.
Voice dialing is handled by Nuance, which bought VoiceSignal last year. The software is excellent as always.
Again, you’re going to be trusting Google here. Upon signing in our Google Calendar was synchronized, and additions via the phone upload back to the web. The process is as painless as it is seamless.
The calendar itself is full featured but pretty standard for a smartphone. The user can view in Agenda, Day, Week or Month view and adding appointments is as you’d expect. There are options for all day appointments as well as recurring events. Presence and privacy options are available, and descriptions can be added for more detail. It would appear that you have the option to sync with multiple calendars (presumably Google Calendars) but after telling it we wanted to add a calendar the phone did nothing. Android has been criticized for only allowing sync with one Google account, but if you could add multiple calendars it would certainly help the situation.
There is a basic calculator with some advanced functionality, but there are no notes, tasks or voice recorder. We’ve said this a lot already, and will be saying it again, but these functions will no doubt be added down the road either by Google or third party developers.
This has gots to be the ugliest 3g phone for 2008
I think the word "ugly" is becoming redundant for the G1 already. I think anyone with eyes can see its not that attractive but the phone is a joy to actually "use". I want my women sexy i want my phone functional. Great review guys
whaT? I don't see the relationship between sexy women and a functional.
He means he prefers things to be practical. And yes, I also mean the women.
I mean I love sexy women and I love functional phones. I dont need my phone to be "sexy" as long as it does what it is supposed to do. I for one dont find the phone ugly but it wont win any beauty contests either.
In regards to the video player, you can make it play in landscape mode. The video player takes advantage of the accelerometer, if you rotate the phone it will rotate to landscape view.
8. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Thank you! Not quite sure how we missed that, but we've updated the review accordingly!
4. Armo (unregistered)
the arch-like slider is meant to keep the phone more sturdy.....and it worked. but i would never had said this but after reading this review u should rename ur website to iPhoneArena.com or HateG1Arena.com this phone is clearly a great phone. the cam isnt as bad as u made it to be. "Android is still immature". oh please! get over urself. android would get the stupid iPhone OS and still have room for Symbian you retard. i get u taking a FEW points off under corporate but 7!! r u kidding me!!! this deserves at least a 7 or 8. and saying "Until Android’s security is proven we have a feeling most will stay away" is the stupidest thing i have ever heard! thats why theres about half a million sales already if not more. this deserves a minimum of an overall 9.5 rating and definitely is an award winner. i cant believe i wasted my time reading this.
did you not read the entire first part of the review where they bashed apple? jesus, you people are retarded...
6. Armo (unregistered)
u call that bashing? wat they said was that the iPhone was extroadinary but was close sourced unless hacked. and that the G1 was the opposite. why dont u try interpreting wat u read next time.
okay, we're sorry that the whole world doesn't like the G1 as much as you guys do. I apologize on everyone's behalf for not worshipping the phone and giving it a 10/10. Can you find it in your hearts to forgive us?
21. Armo (unregistered)
i dont love the G1. in fact i dont plan on ever owning one. but its a great phone. and to ur comment, u say that the whole world doesnt like the G1. thats fair. but, the whole world, especially phonearena, loves the iphone, which is a piece of crap. that was fair too.
26. Rytr23 (Posts: 5; Member since: 13 Nov 2008)
It is rev1 of an OS you moron.. of course it's not "mature". Are there thousands of apps for it you tool? A history of any sort? Stop with the stupid juice.. How is it a 7 or 8 when this phone CANNOT EVEN SYNC WITH EXCHANGE you f*@kwit? Is there a notes sync? VPN built in? Can my company put a policy on the device and wipe it if it gets lost or stolen? NO? THEN IT"S NOT READY FOR BUSINESS! I can;t believe I'm feeding an obvious troll... Anywho.. It seems pretty obvious you have very little idea about ...anything.
This phone is cheap looking and Android need at least 1 more year in development to be ready for prime time. I would definitely get an Android phone next year, but definitely not the G1.
This phone is not very photogenic. I promise if you actually get a chance to use one you will see that its not cheap looking at all. The phone has a nice weight to it and the sliding mechanism is very sturdy. The touchscreen responsiveness is in the same category as the iphone, no other phone comes close
10. kai (unregistered)
want to see how Android store catch up app store. the stong thing about the iphone is the app store!
11. crd22 (Posts: 77; Member since: 15 Apr 2008)
Personally, I think the G1 actually looks pretty cool (in black). It's pretty good phone too, but.... There's a few things they need to work out: the raised button area is sorta annoying when typing, no video recording (!!!!), absolutely zero camera settings, no onscreen keyboard (least of the problems though), the browser isn't that good (my opinion)-is there gonna be Opera Mobile?, and more widgets for the home pages. Overall, this is a very good phone.
13. Galen20K (unregistered)
I own this phone and I am Absolutely Pleased with it on all levels including its Retro-Future style Design. Its just Amazing and Compliments Android Very Well. - D
I don't think that is going to be the future of the mobile phone design in this century
12. Galen20K (unregistered)
I've read Several Times that the T-Mobile G1 in fact has a "GLASS" screen that was said to have been Confirmed by HTC itself. In your Review you had mentioned that it lacked that which it doesn't.
I guess the glass feels like plastic then.
ive felt it too, and it sure feels like plastic. theres definitely some drag to it
No Actually it doesnt feel Plasticy at all sorry
yea there's no drag at all I have no idea what those other two people were thinking, I'm guessing they don't actually own the phone and haven't spent nearly Enough time with it. Please know what you're talking about before you post, regardless if its Anonymous or not.
20. person (unregistered)
the iphone 3g can be hacked. ive done it
27. Rytr23 (Posts: 5; Member since: 13 Nov 2008)
Great Review. If T-mobile had a larger footprint I might consider picking one up.. Oh and if there was some other way to sync accounts.. I'm not quite ready to put all my faith in Google for storing my info..
28. NDPTAL85 (unregistered)
Uh how did Apple forget to make the iPhone consumer friendly? And 'alienated a lot of would-be buyers in the process'? You mean the extremely small percentage of buyers who are geeky enough to even know what Linux is right? All those hundreds and hundreds of people right? The iPhone just passed the RAZR as the #1 most sold phone in the US. Somehow I think Apple got it right. Lets see if the G1... or any Android phone can match those sales numbers.
29. kool kidz (unregistered)
the G1 is a great phone and is 1337 pwnage and owns ur faces off and you all wish you had one.
30. WCK 4 LiFe (unregistered)
i agree with kool kidz, the iphone is nub compared to the G1. the G1 is so beastly that if it could piss then its pee would cure cancer.
31. ChArLiE iS NoOb @ GeArS (unregistered)
32. BITCHEN PANCAKES (unregistered)
hey NDPTAL85 your the dumbest bitch ever i hope you die in a car accident. the G1 is 50 Better than the iPhone and the iPhone is for noooooooooooooooooobss
33. andrew_espana (Posts: 10; Member since: 13 Mar 2009)
there being no voice recorder sucks, i love messing with that
34. elsienovak (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)
Hi, i purchased G1 from eBay but it doenst work with O2 network provider. What can I do? Please help me! Thank you very much. Elsie
35. Farrizx (Posts: 5; Member since: 20 Dec 2008)
with the cupcake update there is video player, camcorder or stereo Bluetooth now, so please do change :)
36. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)
and look how far Android has come now!!!