Tuesday, March 30, 2010

first impressions of the nexus one.

First of all, I'm still currently on contract with AT&T as I try to procure a free T-Mobile SIM Card, so, even though I bought the unlocked version (or rather, precisely because I did so), I'm operating this N1 on the AT&T network, even though it's the T-Mobile build. What this means is that I'm running off AT&T's Edge network, instead of TM's 3G. I was running my first gen iPhone on AT&T's Edge anyway, so it's not like a step back for me, but that's definitely something that I assume will change when I put in for a T-Mobile account. (And yes, I've heard that T-Mobile's 3G service isn't the best, but it's got to be better than in and out Edge where I'd frequently miss calls and text messages, right?)

So, with that out of the way, let's talk about an insane way to spend a lot of money: I bought a Nexus One. To be honest, the first couple days that I had it, I was almost sure that I'd be returning it within my 14 day window. I'm still well within that window, and it's still a possibility, but the longer it's been around, the happier I've been with it. For example, while I was disappointed that it didn't come with a native note-taking application, that gave me the perfect opportunity to try out Evernote, which virtually everyone recommended. It's great so far.

The phone itself is as fast as billed, with smooth scrolls from page to page and pretty seamless application-integration. I'm sad that ESPN doesn't have a ScoreCenter app yet, but I'm sure they will. I'm bummed that Twitterrific isn't there, but I've been playing with Twidroid. The native adoption of Google Calendars is a wonderful thing, but my old argument still holds up against these fools. The ability to truly customize, while billed, just isn't really there: I'd love to be able to set any MP3 that I'd like as the notification for a variety of things (such as differentiating between email and text messages) but so far haven't found a way to do it. The ability to semi-customize seems like it's there, but on the one notification that I've attempted to create through Ringdroid it produced a garbled sound that appeared to speed up the WAV (was this the mistake?) to approximately 1/4 of a second, with all text condensed. It sounded unpleasant. The soft-touch buttons are, in fact, sometimes troublesome, as has been widely reported.

However, my biggest complaint about the phone is something that I wanted even more of from my iPhone: when I would get a text on the iPhone, it would show me who it's from and, almost always the whole message. My complaint was that I wanted to see my emails as well. This is helpful in saving battery life as well as maintaining productivity, because it allows me to just glance quickly at the phone, as opposed to clicking in for every little thing. With the N1, I have no choice but to click in whenever I hear that generic sound because, unless I hit the power button (the only one to bring up the unlock screen, which is nice, but totally an irritation that it's on the other side as the iPhone - my muscle memory is all screwed up!) ridiculously fast, I don't see any kind of indication who the message is from, what it's about, etc. The beloved notification window (shutter?) displays only minuscule lines of text and they're gone before I can see anything. Then, there are only icons up there, indicating to me that I've received a text, an email, or that something's going on in the calendar. (Of course, there are others, but these are the most frequent.) I valued that I could touch the iPhone, glance down and see what had happened without having to go into all of it: missed calls, text messages were right there front and center, with names attached! All I get here and tiny icons with no indication if they're tweets (totally ignorable in all circumstances) or a text message from someone with an update that I'd crave. This is troubling to me.

I'm minimally disappointed in the dock and its refusal to use the external speakers to play music. (Not everyone has a Bluetooth stereo set-up.) I'm (obviously) disappointed in the music player, even given this supposed integration which migrated exactly none of my playlists, even though that's what it's supposed to do.

Overall, I'm much happier as time goes on. I hope to get some time spent on forums asking these questions seeing if there are easy answers that I haven't stumbled upon yet, or if I should start to think about rooting this phone the same way I jailbroke my iPhone.

Here's to a fruitful week and a half more playing with this beast.

Edited to Add: I forgot to add two more points. Firstly, I appreciate the fact that the native calendar app shows me what's coming up next on my schedule. This is super helpful when I'm looking at my phone last thing at night and I have a meeting in the morning. Great. Secondly, on the negative side, the battery has been discussed a bit elsewhere, but it's definitely an issue. If 3G is going to take more battery juice that Edge is currently using, I'm going to have trouble getting through less than a day's worth of moderate usage. I know they sell extra batteries and it's a plus that I can switch the batteries myself, but that shouldn't be necessary - do a better job.

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