I was planning to get the iphone, yes I really was. Since I have the ipod Touch, the idea o f getting 2 similar gadget didn’t appeal too much to me. Therefore my plan was to wait til the next iteration of the iphone to come along and then I will make the switch. The other main reason I was hanging on to my Nokia N95 was the Turn-by-turn GPS on it which I have become totally reliant on and I couldn’t part with it.
When the Motorola Droid appear, I was tempted, but I had a sweet deal with T-mobile which gave me unlimited Data and 500 minutes for $65 therefore I let it pass. Then rumor of a Google produced phone came along and I was all ears. On one fine day of Jan 12th, Google finally made the announcement of the Nexus One. I bought it out right the next day and it took less than 24 hours to reach me, this was a good sign. I remember leaving work during lunch time to go pick it up, there it was waiting for me in a FedEx box.
The unboxing was fairly controlled, I restrain my excitement and open it, turned it on (after inserting my sim). The sweet sweet startup display was pure pleasure. The setup was smooth and quick, all you need is your gmail account and some other info and you’re all set.
This phone is a thing of beauty, the smooth sleek curves and compact size feels very comfortable in the palm. Thanks to the teflon coating, it doesn’t slip in the hand and offers a nice grip to it. The length is abit longer than the iphone but not much. The weight is just right (only 5grams lighter than the iphone) and it’s quite thin. The front is of a simple design with just the touch screen and a track-ball navigator button.
The screen is simply stunning, I never owned a AMOLED screen but this display rocks!! The image is tight and sharp, there is no bleeding around the text and graphics. The Android menu system takes awhile to get a hang of but after playing with it for some time, it’s a very thought through system.
On the home page, there are 5 front pages where you can place any apps, shortcuts or widgets. This is great if you like to customise your home screen. For example, I have dedicated my first page to display info/news/weather, and other home screen to social apps like gmail, facebook, twitter, podcast etc.
I love how Android takes all your social media and integrate them to your contacts info like emails, profile pics and contact info. The only problem I had was that all of my phone contacts were not stored on my sim but on my Nokia phone so transferring them to the nexus one was abit of a problem. The way I got around it without manually re-entering the contacts one by one was doing the following. 1) I exported all my phone contacts on my nokia phone to a csv file via Nokia PC suite which is a phone manager program. 2) Import this csv file into my gmail contacts. 3) On the Nexus One, the contact app will syn all gmail contacts into the handset. Done!!
The Android marketplace is also very user-friendly and contains many of the apps I already used on my ipod Touch. It is just a matter of finding them and installing it. Luckily, most of the apps I use are free and I haven’t have to pay for any apps yet. Not sure how well Google Checkout works.
The thing I like about the Nexus One is how integrated everything is from email to sms to twitter feeds, rss, facebook status updates. Whenever one of these updates occurs, it shows up as a notification on the top bar of the screen followed by a tone and flashing light on the trackball. You can configure all these setting to do nothing or everything like vibrate.
The touch screen is also very responsive and smooth, scrolling with the fingers is very enjoyable and similar to the ipod touch/iphone. The four button soft key on the botton row takes abit to get used to as the trigger point is not directly over the symbol but above it. This sometimes causes accidental presses during typing but don’t happen often. The virtual keyboard is consistant and mostly accurate. As with the Touch, I have learn to trust the keypress and simply assume what I’m typing would result in the correct word. The auto-correct does an amazing job of correcting this and so far, I don’t make many mistakes while typing.
Something I was worried about was getting the phone scratched up, I usually keep the phone in the cute pouch it comes with but a little digging on the web showed up that the screen and back are scratch resistant, just check out this crazy guy keying the crap out of his nexus one with no physical damage (Youtube Link here). This was before I ordered my screen protector, well, better safe than sorry I guess.
I finally got round to trying out the voice navigation on the Nexus One after picking up a cigarette charger for $3.99 at Fry’s Electronic. As the Nexus One uses standard micro-usb as the charging adaptor, most micro-usb chargers for other mobile phones will also charge the Nexus One (just make sure the voltage and amps are right). If you’re used to getting directions from google maps, then using the navigation is no different. You simply search for your destination and then hit the menu soft-key then navigate.
The voice assistant will start to tell you which direction to go and thanks to the build in text-to-speech engine, street names will also be spoken in conjunction to directions. The only concern I have is since there are no maps stored on the phone itself, you will need either a wifi signal or mobile data to load the maps. This would not be a problem if you’re travelling in a city area but once you are in the country where it’s possible to have NO 2G/3G coverage whatsoever, there will be nothing to look at. I am not sure what will happen in this scenario but I would assume there will be no map to look at and no spoken street names either.
One thing about the voice assistant, it sounds like a robot, a very bad one at that. It’s very sterile and have no character, not like the proper GPS units where the voice assistant speaks quite well and have accents. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what she’s saying (at least I could tell it’s a her). Also, the speakerphone on the Nexus is not the best, actually quite pathetic really. It’s way too soft even at maximum settings and sounds very tinny. This is very noticeable while listening to music or podcast and sometimes gets abit unbearable. I would recommend plugging in external speakers or headphones for listening to music.
I’m glad that google have put some thoughts into some of the standard apps with the phone like the clock app. While it displays the time, date and weather, it also has a dimmer and shortcuts to some of the media apps like music and photos. Touch on the weather and it will bring up the weather/news app. Also, while the phone is charging, the phone will go into screen saver mode displaying the time/date. If it is unplugged, the screen will turn off.
Overall I am very happy with the Nexus One and would highly recommend it. I rely and use my phone alot and I am glad that I bought this as the user experience is simply wonderful. So, if you are considering a smartphone, go get yourself one now.