Google Nexus One Review

Multimedia:

The biggest change here is a 3D overhaul of the Gallery thanks to the developers over at Cooliris.  Much like the live wallpapers and slick animations, this amounts to little more than eye candy, but we still appreciate it very much.  It now sorts files by both date and location, which is a nice functional upgrade indeed.  Videos looked absolutely amazing on the AMOLED display, but it was not able to play any  of our H.264 test files.  H.263 videos were problem free (we tested up to 720x304@1524kbps) and looked fantastic, and our test photos seemed to leap off the display.  Unfortunately there is no support for the DivX and Xvid formats.  Viewing on a normal display and then viewing with the Nexus One is as night and day as watching Terminator 1 followed by Avatar.


Camera settings are relatively barebones, and almost identical to the DROID except that the Nexus One lacks the Scene Mode option.  Camera performance was typical for an HTC device, which is to say good, but not great.  Indoor images had noticeable graining and some distortion, more noticeable in the background than foreground.  Outdoor images were better for detail, but still lacked sharpness.  The single LED flash is somewhat harsh, although we cannot say that is unexpected.  Video recording is quite respectable with a 720x480 max resolution and 20fps recording rate, although this can go higher in the right conditions.  It is no Nokia N95, but the videos are just fine for personal use.  The overall performance could be better, but then again the Nexus One is not touted as a high-end camera phone.

HTC Nexus One sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution



Unfortunately we did not get any major announcements on the music front, such as a partnership with Spotify.  The player remains basically the same, which is to say it gets the job done just fine even if it isn’t the prettiest thing out there.  One of the few things that is holding Android back from being great is a great music experience.  This is at the core of the iPhone experience, and until Google can figure out a way to strike at that core effectively users will still be hesitant to switch.



Connectivity and Data:

The first Google Nexus One that got launched is a quad-band GSM device with tri-band UMTS support for 2100/1700/900MHz, bands meaning 3G for T-Mobile USA customers and Europe. Just recently customers got treated to a new version with support for the 2100/1900/850MHz 3G  bands, which added support for AT&T's 3G network. It is expected that Verizon and Sprint will  also get their Nexus One variants. For those without 3G you can always fall back on Wi-Fi.  Originally official specs said the “n” protocol was supported, but this has been updated and users are left with just b/g.  To further confuse the matter an ifixit teardown not only reveals an “n” chip, but also an FM radio.

As we stated earlier the browser is very fast.  Pages loaded faster over Wi-Fi than they do on the DROID, and perhaps thanks to T-Mobile’s recent 7.2Mbit/s network upgrade they loaded faster over the cellular 3G connection as well which we were quite impressed with.  We sorely miss multitouch however.  We know that it is supported natively in Android at this point, and HTC was not afraid to implement it with the Hero, so there is no good reason for it to be left off of a flagship device.  At this point it’s no longer an inconvenience; it’s hampering the Android experience.



Software:

The HTC Nexus One comes preloaded with everything you’d expect an Android device to have.  The notable newcomer is Google Voice, which no longer needs to be downloaded from the marketplace.  We used it exclusively for voice calls, voicemail and messaging.  It’s a very solid concept that offers some nice features, but the messaging is a bit frustrating since they come from a different number.  The Market is growing rapidly, at last count it was over 16k apps. Unfortunately, users still can't install apps to the memory card rather than to the phone’s internal memory.

The 1GHz processor is complimented by 512MB of both Flash and RAM, and the Nexus One ships with a 4GB microSD card installed.  This is expandable to 32GB, which is plenty of room for music and movies and rivals the iPhone’s capacity.  It would be nice to have a significant amount of onboard memory complimented by microSD expansion, but we’re being picky here.

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34 Comments

1. barmalei

Posts: 20; Member since: Dec 08, 2009

Certainly a very decent smartphone, but I can't get past the uninspiring design of both exterieor and the UI (I totally agree with this conclusion: "The enhanced UI is nice, but we still want Sense"). When I am paying 530 dollars plus tax for a phone that I am planning to be using daily for the next 3 years, I want something more aesthetically pleasing like HD2 or Xperia X10 - even though it takes both forever to reach U.S. markets, and they will also be more expensive than N1. I also prefer to have some physical buttons on the phone (programmable if possible), and the trackball sort of looks useless. In any case, the more competition - the better.

2. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

How is it that you guys have never once mentioned the fact that Android phones do not truly go full screen in the web browser, since that status bar is always there?

3. Legacystar

Posts: 131; Member since: Dec 31, 2009

i'd rather keep the notification panel that way im not inturrupted while web browsing

4. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

The Dolphin browser on android has that option

5. rishibawa

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 13, 2010

agreed, love the notification bar, I'll sacrifice a few pixels of browsing for that

8. uk786

Posts: 47; Member since: Dec 30, 2009

I've got an Android phone [HTC HERO] and the browser definitely goes full screen!

6. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

Nexus 1 sucks!!! DROOOOOID

18. Galen20K

Posts: 582; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

nope, you suck

21. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Haha. The Droid is done already. If I was to go Android, the Nexus One would be the one.

7. runner4life928

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 27, 2009

This reviewer is def in Columbus, OH haha

9. DNA

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 13, 2010

Why doens't phonearea know this? The only reason multitouch isn't enabled, is because Apple has a software patent on it. In Europe software patents aren't allowed, so companies can use it. Blame it on Apple...

13. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

thats not true, look at the hero and the pre/pixi. it may very well be true that google doesnt want to get into it with apple, but there are two htc devices currently available in the us (pre and eris) with a third one coming (hd2) that have multitouch.

15. Hlorri

Posts: 40; Member since: May 07, 2008

Apple has U.S. Patents on specific interactions (e.g. pinch to zoom etc), not on multi-touch technology itself. That predates Apple's interest. Even though software patents are not (yet) honored in the E.U., companies that manufacture cell phones for the US market must honor US patents. Conversely, it is also true that U.S. companies doing business in other places (e.g. Europe) must honor patents in markets they are present. This often leads to cross-licensing agreements between several patent holders, or alternatively, court battles.

22. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

But what about other phones that have multitouch like the Palm Pre and G1 (I believe). How come they don't have to pay any attention to the patent?

31. supermarioshirt

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 20, 2010

that's not it at all... they just came out with a software update supporting multitouch and it works just fine.

10. Sufcc

Posts: 33; Member since: Jul 28, 2008

Yep, what DNA said. Multitouch works fine in third party apps, like Dolphin Browser and Picsay Photo editor.

11. rigo

Posts: 8; Member since: Jan 13, 2010

totally agree, HTC can do a lot better than this, of course google is paying for what they want (options) just got it a week ago and my hero (chin) still beats the N1 when it comes to fun, also quality of calls and even power buttom, my phone sometimes it goes on while in my pocket when I have just turned it off, no bueno...I mean how expensive is to have some cool animations, apps security, and original design.. notice how most android phones have several options that are all the same, not sure if this has something to do with the OS but come on these phones are not cheap, google could not even afford to have a different clock widget than the o.g. android phone, give me a break Xperia x10 that's a step up, hopefully it will have some privacy settings in general, and hopefully it will be withing the Tmobile USA frequency for 3g. sorry guys get emotional about phones looking alike in models, just like the cars, after 5 years they only change head lights and tail lights haaaaaaaaa haaa

12. Galen20K

Posts: 582; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

you're way off, your hero is WEAK. Nexus One BLows it out of the water in EVERY respect.

14. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

ive got both. the nexus one is way faster and the screen is amazing, but ill be keeping my hero at the end of the day.

16. BeBoo

Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 13, 2009

What is everyone's obsession with SenseUI? Just because it's made by HTC doesn't mean it _needs_ SenseUI. Not to mention, this is a Google Experience phone, like the Droid...

24. Hytch

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 02, 2009

Being completely impartial to the various camps here (i.e. I just don't care), I really do think the UI looks a bit 'meh' and clunky, compared to Sense. It's reminiscent of the Symbian OS, and doesn't seem as visually rich or streamlined as a phone with a 1GHz CPU in could have. Thoughts?

17. dandv

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 23, 2009

WTF "top heavy" and "slips out of our hands"!? I've had the Nexus Once since the day after it was launched, and never have I felt that it slipped or jumped anywhere.

26. darthray

Posts: 72; Member since: Nov 04, 2009

because the spokesman has fat hands with sausage fingers.

19. Galen20K

Posts: 582; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

I love how jealous people have to hate lol TOo funny!

20. gomets15217

Posts: 38; Member since: Jul 13, 2008

ok, just throwing this out there: voice recognition that works THAT well is obviously extremely awesome. however, if you are going to talk to your phone to text, MAKE THE PHONE CALL.

23. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

True

25. vmatikov

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 28, 2009

i'm kind of considering replacing my iPhone with the Nexus One. and i'm a die-hard iPhone user... so that's really saying something. lol.

27. darthray

Posts: 72; Member since: Nov 04, 2009

I cant wait to get this on verizon! my first smartphone.. ready to get rid of my lg dare. Love it but ready for a new adventure.

28. bigfoots

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 21, 2010

I got this phone but it was locked to tmobile. after searching forever I finally found a thread in the forum saying you could get unlock codes for it herehttp://www.unlockcellphonecode.com/product_info.php/code-unlocking-mobile-cell-phone-p-72 got my code and am now using an att 3g sim card! thank you. I love this phone!

30. diz1211

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 14, 2010

Hey there!! I also have att! I see you got the NEXUS....am I hearing you right that you whent to the web page and are able to use the phone now on the att 3g system?? Please respond to my e-mail cdm1161@yahoo.com if you can share this with me. Thanks coz this is the phone I want but not if it is stuck on 2g for att. Thanks in advance

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Nexus One US
  • Display 3.7" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Battery 1400 mAh(7.00h 3G talk time)

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