Google Nexus One Review - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-28, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Google Nexus One Review

Quick review for anyone who's interested:

Overall, the phone is fantastic. Fast in every way and the screen and interface is very impressive. Browsing is great as is the tight integration with Google services like Gmail, Picassa Web, Talk, and Voice. Even the Google Goggles works pretty well.

Some good apps available in the marketplace. My personal favorite is Handcent SMS which allows you to customize SMS notifications from different contacts. So overall the notifications options are more flexible than the iPhone.

After using this for a couple of days, the iPhone interface just seems so plain, simplistic, and boring - and so 2007 (I wonder why!). The Android 2.1 feels like the iPhone OS redux - very very nice.

Have found some issues though. First of all the touch screen is not as accurate as the iPhone. And sometimes it gets itself really messed up. A quick toggle of the power button seems to resolve that. Hopefully a future SW release will provide a permanent fix.

Call quality is not great. Some people have reported that it's the clearest that they've ever heard in a phone. Not sure if my issues are my personal sensitivity to it, my carrier (Bell), the service in my area, or the phone itself. Anyway I'll probably just get used to that.

Finally, battery life is anything but impressive. I'm sure I'll soon have to keep it on a USB cable when I'm at my desk just to give it that extra juice needed to get through a busy day.

So if any of those "3" issues are deal breakers for you then you might want to stay away.

However, if you want what is most certainly the slickest phone since the iPhone then this is it. Overcomes a lot of the iPhone issues: replaceable battery, replaceable micro-SD memory, external LEDs, more notification options, background tasks/apps, etc. And the screen is crisper and UI much more impressive.

Or if you're just not an Apple/iPhone person then this is the closest thing you're going to find to it. I'm not an Apple or iPhone hater - I just don't want one. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's not like enough of my paycheque hasn't gone to Cuppertino already: my house is loaded with Apple products - will probably have an iPad by this time next month. My wife would rather give up me than her iPhone. My daughter's probably in the same boat.

Also let's not forget that this thing is completely unlocked which will be handy when traveling. And I had no problems activating it on Bell.

I've never liked the term "iPhone killer" and this certainly isn't that. But I do think this is a legitimate "iPhone competitor" - the first at this level. And I think that's what we need. I really hope Android matures further and gains enough market share to become the Pepsi to the iPhone Coke.

Overall I'd recommend the N1. And if you'd rather get a subsidized phone the Motorola Milestone is also probably a great choice (especially when Telus upgrades it to Android 2.1)
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-28, 08:09 PM
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I'm considering upgrading to a Nexus One, so thanks for the review.

A question for you on the battery life. Do you have WiFi turned on during the day even if you are not in a WiFi zone? The reason I ask is that I am running an Android 2.1 ROM on my HTC Magic and with Wifi on it seems to kill the battery life. I think 2.1 changed the way it manages polling for WiFi in a way that eats battery.

Android rocks!
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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-28, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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No I haven't been using Wifi. I've read that the battery actually improves a bit after about a week. I'll see if that happens for me. Also I ordered the extra battery since it was only $25 for an OEM one with the order. And the dock too which is actually very nice - it charges based on contacts, not the micro-usb and goes into a special clock mode when in the dock.

Overall it's a really nice phone. And in my opinion the closest thing we've ever seen to the iPhone. Although there are some issues (which I've stated).

What I forgot to mention is the build and ergonomics which are great. It feels so much better and looks more elegant than the iphone. The back is sort of rubberized.
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-28, 09:17 PM
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Thanks for the review...

This one is on my short list for my next phone..

Im thinking when its time ill be after the HTC EVO 4G... Sence UI is a must i feel.

the future of smart phones a exciting... thankfully im a full on google user

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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-28, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I think you can install the sense UI on a custom ROM and the N1 is supposed to be easy to root but you probably already know more about that than I do.

Even though I'm a technology person, I have enough to keep me busy without rooting this phone and hence I don't intend to. My personal evaluation will be strictly based on Google provided ROMs and software updates. I feel like I shouldn't haven't to hack a device to get the best user experience possible - the manufactures should be ensuring that what they give us is best that their devices can possibly offer.

That being said though, I'm often tempted to jailbreak our iPhone just so I can unlock it. I'd like to be able to go on vacation and just pop in a US SIM card. I think it's terrible that the cell phone companies tie us to them two ways: contractually and technologically (through the lock). The contract should suffice - as long as I'm still paying them the monthly fees, I should be able to do whatever I want with the device. Still I doubt I ever will jailbreak and unlock the iPhone.

The fact that the N1 is completely unlocked is one of those features that I really like.
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-29, 08:22 AM
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Sounds like a phone I may have to try at some point. I really like my windows mobile device but do not like where that platform is headed.

Thanks for the review.
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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-29, 09:19 PM
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Cranking down the backlight seems to have a HUGE effect on the battery life for me.

Overall I'm finding the N1 feels much more web-integrated than the iPhone, though in fairness I've never owned an iPhone. This phone is meant to have a data plan. If you don't have one you need to be somewhere with WiFi most of the time.

The more you use your Google account the more you'll get out of this device. As a full on Google user I get a lot of value from this. My Gmail emails are delivered directly to the phone (through data/WiFi of course) and give alerts like text messages, and I have full control in a way that standard email clients on other phones simply don't provide (i.e. archiving rather than deleting).

When I first logged in the phone automatically downloaded my preset Google contacts including any information I had already added to them (like phone numbers or addresses). When I first logged into facebook it offered to sync my contacts and supplemented my Google contacts with things like birthdays and display pictures and put a direct link to facebook profiles in their contact info.

When I select a contact (depending on the info I have for them) I can send them a text, call them, email them, view their facebook profile, or map to their address. When I map to them I can use the internal GPS to get directions to their address. Likewise when I Google search a business I can get directions from my current location with a single click.

I haven't even begun to understand all that I can do with Buzz, and Google has said they are working on a Google Docs app (no timeline yet though). The Google voice integration looks slick, and I really, really hope it comes to Canada soon. I'm not sure how much of this is available on other Android phones, (I would imagine most of it) but I wholeheartedly endorse the N1.

I do have a couple of minor gripes however. Firstly the text messaging system could certainly be better, I'll probably try Handcent soon. Secondly I can't find any way to disable roaming. You can disable roaming data use, but the N1 will sometimes switch to the Rogers Edge network and then stay there even when I go back into a Wind Home Zone. I'd like to lock out Wind Away but it doesn't look like I can in Android.

I'll also comment on Wind's service. I've found their coverage in downtown Toronto to be very good, even inside buildings. Notably I have strong signals inside the lower levels of Union Station and the Air Canada Centre. In Scarborough coverage is much more spotty. While coverage on my campus (UofT Scarborough) is actually better than I got on Bell/Virgin's CDMA network I don't get signal anywhere in my house, which is a major inconvenience, and when I'm driving I've dropped signal regularly. Wind has a tool to report dropped calls and poor signal which I've been using regularly, so it will be interesting to see how long before that's remedied. Of course Google Voice support would make coverage in my house irrelevant since that would work over my WiFi...

The Wind reps have been polite and helpful, though obviously inexperienced. The first store I brought my N1 to had never activated an unlocked phone and didn't know how to set up the data. Still, they all seemed like pretty sharp people so I attribute this to inexperience rather than incompetence. I think they'll get much better quickly.

My only other issue has been porting my number from Virgin to Wind. The process has failed twice and the Wind reps I've talked to don't seem to know why. Still, they listen when I talk and endeavour to actually answer my questions honestly. The issue has also been progressively elevated and I have yet to be asked to do the same thing twice, something that drove me nuts about Bell/Virgin. Overall, though there have been hiccups if you expect those hiccups going in I think you'll be pleased. They are not yet Bell/Telus/Rogers, which is both good and bad.

Still, if Mobilicity impresses I wouldn't rule out porting.
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 09:31 AM
 
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Appreciate the reviews. Like NorthofCalgary, I'm deeply into Apple but I also support open systems and the idea behind Android. I'll be shopping for two smart phones in the last quarter of this year and will be comparing the 4th generation iPhone to the N1 and whatever else emerges for Android in the next 6 months. I don't resent the money I spend on MobileMe for complete and flawless synchronization (mail, calendar, contacts, notes) of my laptop, iPod Touch and, soon, iPad but the trauma of converting to Google's world where everything is no-charge would be a one-time event.

TorontoColin - your comments on the N1 and Wind are among the most reasoned I have read. It's hard to find objective information on Wind and will likely be the same when Mobilicity launches. I hope both will have stabilized by this fall so I can compare the merits of sticking with an incumbent vs going to an AWS carrier (Telus is not showing its long time clients a lot of love lately).

Regarding the N1; i have read elsewhere that it is nearly impossible to read the screen outdoors, especially in bright light. Also that the touchscreen is very susceptible to error if another part of your hand brushes against it as your finger(s) move around the screen [more so than with an iPhone]. Any comments?
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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 10:09 AM
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i find my HTC diamond next to impossible to read outside on a sunny day as well. I have not seen an iphone in the same light but for sure its annoying, i wonder if its related to the screen or the screen protector?

The battery drain could also be from some of the settings. Since most of the time the phone is accessing data online things like weather,twitter,crackbook and email can be set to update less frequently. I really think though that with these more powerfull phones they need to up the battery capacity... although the 1300mah pack in my diamond should be more then enough.. it eats it up in a day.

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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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I can't say I use my phones outside very often so the sunlight issue isn't much of a concern.

My wife has an iPhone 3GS, I'm coming from a WM HTC, and with work I get a BB (8330 I think) so I've got lots to compare it to and hence all of my comparisons to the 3GS.

With regards to the Google Voice integration that TorontoCollin mentioned, I do have a GV account (which is a fantastic service - sure hope if fully comes to Canada SOON). At first I didn't even realize it but all of my outbound calls were automatically being routed through GV! Then I found the option to let you choose between all, none, LD only, or to ask you every time - sweet!!

TorontoCollin: switch to Handcent SMS and disable notifications from the default tool.

It will be interesting to see how this thing lasts and where Android goes even over the next year. Certainly the screen accuracy is no where near that of the iPhone. However the iPhone interface just seems so old, simplistic, and dated to me now after using this fresh new Android 2.1. However I've heard of big changes for the iPhone in both HW and the OS 4.0 coming this summer so we'll see if Apple freshens it up.
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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 02:03 PM
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The screen is viewable outdoors but you have to crank the brightness, which is easier said than done when you can't already see it.

My only issues with the touchscreen have been when one of my other fingers accidentally was touching it. I'm waiting on an eBay protective case which I expect will solve that. I'd put most errors down to people using them without cases, since cases are still difficult to find.
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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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There's a variety of cases available from ebay stores. I got a nice leather belt clip one delivered yesterday for $4.25. And I've a rubberized one on the way for $2.75

Most come from HK, but I've never had a quality control or shipping problem with any of the cases I've ordered from overseas and I'm not spending more than five bucks.
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 05:38 PM
 
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Others have commented that the ringer volume is low. Have you missed calls in a noisy environment, ie. the food court in the mall?

Any problem in setting the data/APN settings, or does the device auto-configure when you put the SIM in?
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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-03-30, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Ringer seems loud enough for me. Haven't had it at the mall but usually it's on my belt case so I "feel" it vibrate. Honestly though I haven't spent that much time using it as an actual phone. Mostly on the apps, email, and txts.

No I had to put in the Bell APN settings manually but it was trivial to do. Except I had to reboot for the change to come into effect and me the computer guy didn't think of that!
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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 2010-04-06, 02:37 PM
 
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I had to put the Windmoble APN settings manually as well. However, I just made sure to hit Save and didn't need to reboot.
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