Wednesday, April 14, 2010

looking longer and harder at the nexus one.

It's been more than two weeks since I picked up my Nexus from the UPS Store, and almost two full weeks since I put a T-Mobile SIM into the monster and made it play on the 4th (3rd?) network. Here's a few of the things that I've noticed in that time.

First, the N1 really is a good phone. It's solid. The touchscreen is great, videos look great, the controls are responsive, etc. That being said, I believe few people read reviews for the good, and there are some serious downsides to the phone. The stock keyboard that Android devices launch with is pretty bad. The space bar is way too small, and the letters (and symbols) are much too close together. The back, menu, home, and search buttons can be accidentally pushed while you're typing. (This, however, can usually be rectified by hitting the back button, which is an advantage over other phones - unless it's the back button you mispressed originally.)

Secondly, either 3G isn't nearly as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be, or T-Mobile's network really does suck. I've had some of the reported issues of 3G dropping in and out and defaulting to the Edge network, but that's not the issue. Even when I had consistent 3G signal, streaming video was choppy and disjointed at best, and didn't even work 2 of the 4 times I tried. If streaming video isn't the point of 3G, then I see no point at all. If it's only for faster browsing, I'm not impressed. Either way, it seems way overblown to me.

Thirdly, the news about the Android Market is great because some things just aren't there yet. Twidroid still hasn't proven itself to me as a sufficient replacement for Twitterrific. It's capable, just not on the same level. NBA Game Time Lite is nice, insofar as it's free, but ESPN still hasn't staked a claim in the Android Market? This is almost unbelievable to me!

In an important note, the battery issue is a real one. Real real. I'm not doing anything intense with my phone (yet) and I still have almost nothing left by the end of a 14 hour day. This simply isn't acceptable from a phone that people rate as important as sex. Either the batteries have to be improved or the OS does. Or both, I suppose.

Last, there are some unnatural things about the phone that I can't help but mention: when I click an apostrophe, the keyboard should default back to the letters. We should be able to customize individual SMS notifications. (I tried Missed Call, but didn't find it satisfactory.) The lack of a silencing button is a semi-significant issue. The native music app has been written about plenty of times, but it's still (perhaps) the biggest issue. And then, lastly, there's the splintering of the Android platform itself. This has been rumored to be reaching the point where it's going to be stopped but it's bad that it even got to this stage.

Overall, a solid phone. Nowhere near the revolution that I wanted it to be, coming from Google, but, as with other things, that was probably a problem of expectations, not on their part.

1 comment:

kidon said...

1. T-mo 3G: Nothing can be done about it

2. Best Twitter app is Seesmic.

3. Best SMS Text Messaging app is Handcent SMS.

4. Set screen to shut off in 15 secs. Download Screebl from market to auto detect when you are holding the phone. Trust me, it's very good, it never shuts off when you are holding it in a "reading" position, but it always auto-shuts off when you are not looking at it.

5. Best user profiles app for managing ringtones/brightness/wifi, etc: Quick Profiles

6. Download WaveSecure to enable remote wipe, remote phone tracking, backing up of SMS, call log, etc.

7. Best instant messenger is Nimbuzz.

I'm on Twitter if you need to know more.

Best of luck with the N1.