Excellent Google Smart Phone, Good General Smart Phone December 30, 2008
Reviewer: Riyad Kalla
Summary [7.5 out of 10]
The T-Mobile G1 is an excellent "first-mover" Android-based phone from T-Mobile and is truly a "Google Phone". If you are already have most of your life on Google through one of their many handy and free services (Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Talk, Picasaweb, etc.) the G1 is going to be a dream device for you. If you don't make use of the Gmail services or have most of your life scattered across many different services, the G1 will be an OK phone for you, but we'd suggest also looking at a BlackBerry or iPhone as well as there are some things those phones do better than the G1.
* Call-quality (both receiving and sending) is very nice. People I spoke too (in an A/B comparison between iPhone) said that the iPhone sounded just like a typical crappy cell phone and the G1 sounded like I was on my office phone. I also felt the volume of the G1 was louder when talking to people making it a bit easier for me to hear them.
* Google services integration is awesome. It's completely seamless, syncs over-the-air regardless of the data connection you have, seems to sync frequently so your contacts, calendar, email and IM are all always synced up. Also the synchronization is bi-directional, you don't have a "Read only" copy on the G1... you can change anything you want and see it synced right back to Google.
* Having a keyboard is very handy. The non-super-techy types that I lent the phone to for a few hours all commented that the physical keyboard felt and "made more sense" than a virtual on-screen keyboard to them like the iPhone or BlackBerry Storm.
* The trackball is much handier to have for selection than I anticipated. Also it's position on the phone is perfect for both landscape and portrait use. I was surprised (in landscape mode) how my thumb naturally fell right ontop of the trackball, making it much easier to navigate the screen without lifting my hand off the keyboard to press something.
* Micro-SD support - including the new 16GB cards that were released recently.
* Voice dialing - How does the iPhone still not have this. I also found the accuracy excellent, pretty much on par with what my BlackBerry had. I also noticed when you have multiple numbers for a single person, even though the voice-dialing result screen shows you all their numbers, it always puts the one you wanted as the first item, so it's easy to execute. Unfortunately if you like to drive with your phone in your pocket and call people, this might be an extra step some folks don't want.
* Back Button - Similar to the BlackBerry OS, the "Back" button always does what you think it should. If you read an email, and jump into a browser to check a link and click a YouTube link to watch a video... the "Back" button will move you backward through those contexts back to the original email as you keep hitting it. This has always driven me nuts on the iPhone - you have to go back to the home screen first, then back into whatever it was that you were doing.
* EDGE data performance seemed snappy on the phone. While browsing is certainly still just as slow as you would expect, the Chrome-based browser performed well and the background-sending/receiving of data in every other app gave an excellent user experience. Coming from a 1st Gen iPhone on an EDGE network, I was used to much longer lag related to data operations (like Maps or Email) so it did seem a hair more performant - or maybe just designed in a more streamlined flow, it's hard to say.
* Mobile YouTube was easy to use and looked great on the little screen. Playback started quickly and the interface was easy to use - I find the iPhone interface a bit too constrained.
* Basic UI for the Android apps on the G1 were very intuitive; I didn't find myself pointing out UI oddities left and right as I tend to do, everything just did what I expected it to and menu items were right where I thought they would be.
* Universal notification bar across the top of the screen became a huge "must have" for me. Going back to the iPhone is going to be painful after this (and dealing with multiple overlapping dialog boxes). Any time anything happens on the phone that you have notifications setup for (IM, Email, SMS, etc.) a notification icon is added to the bar that you can drag-down with your finger any time to view the contents of. It makes multi-tasking possible where as the iPhone is a single-context device.
* Operating system updates are downloaded over-the-air and you are prompted to install them seamlessly at your discretion. This is both over EDGE as well as 3G.
* Build quality was more solid than I expected. I expected the whole phone to be that "plastic cell phone feel", but the top sliding piece that has the screen in it is actually a solid feeling piece of metal with the glass-esque screen connected to a plastic body.
* The Android UI is a lot more polished and "sexy" looking than I thought it would be. It's not quite like the iPhone, but sexier than BlackBerry OS on the Curve or Pearl (I haven't spent enough time with the Storm or Bold to compare, but at first glance I'd say it's a bit nicer).
* We found most all of the Android applications and system design to be intuitive and flow nicely.
* It is nice to have a "Menu" button again. I got used to it on my BlackBerry as a source of secondary operations that you may want in any application, and missed it on my iPhone -- sometimes feeling like functionality was trimmed to far in the name of a "simple interface".
* The slide-out mechanism for the G1's screen is much sturdier than I thought it would be. I don't forsee this breaking down over time as it has a smooth operation to it and held firmly in place with two guiding pieces. It's also got a good amount of spring-tension to make the operation feel stiff/firm and not flimsy or chinsey.
* Replaceable battery - slide the back cover off and you are all set. You can replace the battery yourself. None of this Apple-crap where you send your device in for "service" to get the battery replaced.
* Form factor is large enough to consider this a "large" phone. The iPhone was a big phone, but skinny enough you didn't really notice it. The G1 is about 30-40% thicker feeling than the iPhone, so in your pocket, you absolutely notice it. I'd say if you are used to wearing tight jeans, trying to shove this down in a pocket and dig it out is going to be more of a pain then something more streamlined like an iPhone.
* Backlighting of all the keys (keyboard and main face buttons) is dim, uneven and times out quickly so it's easy to loose your orientation when ready before hitting another key. This is really annoying in normal-room-lighting, because the backlighting will always kick in (no sensor) causing the white lettering on the keys to almost become the same color as the key itself, so you suddenly cannot read the keys until the backlighting turns off or you hold the keyboard at an angle so you can read it. This an odd (and annoying) side effect of "all-the-time" backlighting that I had never experienced before on another device.
* Main face-buttons are all the same size, feel and are flush with the face so you cannot navigate them in the dark. You usually have to do something like hit "Menu" or roll the control ball to get the "back lighting" to wake up, then press the button you want.
* Screen display quality is slightly less fidelity than the iPhone (very minor). It's hard to tell, but none of us were "struck" by the beauty of the screen clarity, resolution or brightness unlike (for example) some of the recent BlackBerry Storm reviews that actually called out how nice the screen was. If the iPhone is just fine for you, and you don't need a noticeably improved screen, then this won't matter at all. Just pointing out that there isn't any improvement here.
* The touch-screen performance felt about 15% less accurate than the iPhone. Meaning you had to press a bit harder something or press it a few times before it "clicked", quick clicks with the finger or some slides didn't register right at first. This didn't happen often and for the most part the touch screen was just fine, no usability impact -- it's just that we did notice a hair of a difference in what would be interpreted as "accuracy" of the touch screen.
o ADDENDUM: As one of the viewers on our G1 video review pointed out, the less screen sensitivity was likely due to the protective film we left over the screen. A lot of folks still use screen protectors, so this point could still be important for them, but we wanted to make that clarification. With the screen protector off, the touch screen performance would be expected to be on par with the iPhone.
* From time to time we noticed the OS lag after a button push by up to 6 secs before responding. We've seen this on the iPhone as well (and BlackBerry), but on the G1 the pauses seemed more pronounced.
* No standard headphone jack. There is only the Mini-USB connection at the bottom of the phone or the choice of a Bluetooth headset - Unfortunately because of the poor battery life, we don't think a Bluetooth headset for the purpose of audio is a good choice here.
* The connection mechanism for the entire back plate of the phone (that pulls off like opening a clam) isn't as secure as you might like it. If you dropped this phone I could certainly see the back plate popping off and the battery falling out. A more purposeful latch would have been nice.
* Battery life is bad without WiFi and pure crap with it turned on. Overall, about 1/3 the life of my 1st Gen iPhone and on the verge of what I would consider "Something you should really consider if battery life is important". You are going to be plugging this in every night on easy use and if you are a mobile warrior type (few hours of calling a day, lots of map lookups, email, sms, IM'ing, etc.) you are going to need to have this plugged in during the day as well so as not to have it run out on you in the field. This bothered us.
Conclusion [7.5 out of 10]
The T-Mobile G1 doesn't seem to have flaws necessarily, more like shortcomings. Depending on the type of user you are, the G1 can be a dream-come-true device (Google-Services-dependent) or a disappointment (Media/Application-heavy user coming from iPhone); it just depends on what you need.
The T-Mobile G1 is a great first-attempt at a phone, but it's still just that: a 1st attempt.
The device itself and Android operating system felt and operated well, but you couldn't help but notice shortcomings in certain places (as noted above in the Bad/Ugly lists) that would all probably be fixed by more time in the oven. We fully expect to see a T-Mobile G2 (or whatever you want to call it) with a seriously refined Android experience and tweaked hardware provide an awesome smart-phone experience -- just right now with the G1, your happiness with it will depend entirely on how you want to use it.
Great Phone December 24, 2008
Reviewer: Maddy (San Diego, CA) -
Having had this phone since the launch in September 2008, I have to say that I am hooked to Android. I have been with T-Mobile for a while now and they've been one of the best providers for me. The customer service is amazing. I have owned the T-Mobile MDA and an unlocked first generation iPhone on T-Mobile network, and G1 is the best of those 3 phones IMO.
Now about the G1: I had been looking forward to the first Android phone ever since OHA was announced in late 2007, and the G1 has met (if not exceeded) every single thing I had come to expect from Google and Open Source community. Android, as the phone operating system, is rock solid with great features and extremely easy to use. Android Market (equivalent of the Apple App Store on the iPhone) is already full of great applications to cater to many tasks that you might want to add to your phone. Games such as PACMAN, Divide and Conquer, Hold'em and applications such as AK Notepad, Compass, Sky Map, ShopSavvy, TuneWiki, iMeem, Video Player are some of my favorites. There is also a service named Voxofon Call Router which lets you make long distance international calls by dialing the number directly and it does the rest. Their rates are very competitive and quality is one of the best I've seen.
And of course, default included applications such as Maps, Browser, GMail, IM and Calendar are awesome and I use them all the time. I had debated about getting the data plan, because I have not had one for a while now, but Android makes it totally worth it. The G1 has almost become my inseparable companion wherever I go. And the most important aspect of a PDA phone, the phone, itself is great. Call quality is the clearest I've seen until now, speakerphone is pretty loud as well, contact management and auto-sync with GMail contacts is great.
The hardware is very solid too. The phone itself feels very well built in the hand and the back has a "matte" like finish, which enhances the grip on the phone. Sliding mechanism is unique and works very well. A real physical keyboard is awesome, esp for people who IM/Text a lot.
And as everything in the world, nothing is perfect. Few cons I've noticed until now: -
1. Not very satisfactory battery life. If you do not use any data services and use the phone just for calls, battery lasts about 36 hours, but with any sort of data usage on the phone (which is the whole point of a PDA phone), the battery would barely last you through the day. Keeping one charger each at home and office comes in handy. GPS drains the battery pretty quickly too.
2. T-Mobile 3G network is not available at many places still.
3. Not very pretty! I guess that lies in the eyes of the beholder (or beer holder?).
Excellent Android Software, Great Phone with infinite capabilities! December 15, 2008
Reviewer: prospetiva "slopez1972" (Los Angeles, CA) -
Like another reviewer, I too evolved from the Tmobile Dash and although I like the simplicity of having the Dash sync with my Outlook Adress Book, this to me seem too small a gripe to not praise such an absolutely well thought off idea that is a phone and so much more!
Wanting to avail of our upgrade option, I got the blackberry 8320 for my wife (as she tends to use her cell phone at home alot and wifi calling feature was perfect for her) and since I've been waiting for that all around internet phone, I got this one and it certainly did not dissapoint. To make my review a little more direct to the point, I've listed down the PROS with the corresponding CONS...
INTERNET Phone at it's best! I can surf, read emails, chat do online banking as if I was on a tiny laptop! I love how I can actually see what movies are showing and where as well as see actual showtimes!
Google MAPS is awesome! You can pinpoint your location or it would show you a range of where you are and you can find whatever stuff you need around you like shops, restaurants, a place of business, etc. without having to call 411 ever again!
KEYBOARD is very helpful especially when a virtual keyboard may be too small for your fingers. I rarely hit the wrong letters and I didn't find the build to be flimsy, but one has to be a little careful when opening it up as it litterally springs into action and this sudden jerk may cause the phone to slip out of your hands! We need autorotate though (see cons)
DIALING: I find dialing easy enough especially since it logs in/out/missed calls. All I have to do is press the green button and I can scroll through my call log without having to have to go to my contacts, and when you do, your contacts is just a tab away! There is an Icon that you press to access voice command. I have since copied this onto the desktop for easy access... A long press on the bluetooth re-dials the last number dialed. but... see CONS
ADDRESS BOOK is great once set-up! and comes with a ton of information options for a single contact.. No one can hide from you once they're in you contact list!
CALL QUALITY: I find the call quality to be absolutely brilliant and loud and I have never experienced anyone mis understanding what I was saying from my end so I guess that's good. Quality is great on the speakerphone as well as my jabra jx10.
APPLICATION MARKET: A few great apps available for download FREE! I will have to agree that the apps out there are a little "out there". This shouldn't make you think that there are no great ones! I've downloaded almost 20 useful apps which I find very helpful for my taste. Be mindful that the community is very young and the potential for wonderful apps are endless given the open source nature of android!
MESSAGING: Is tied together which makes it so simple to see history on a conversation. Email application is great too. I am now able to get, reply and delete emails on both my gmail and my yahoo account which I've set-up on the G1!
CAMERA: 3mp quality is a great feature and shoots fine but (see cons)
MULTIMEDIA: Music player is ok.. speakers are good enough to listen on. Stereo earphones does the job but a good set of earphones will rock your world! I use the lenntek sonix (see my other review on that one) I heard complaints on the earphone dongle and lack of direct output earphone jack but I actually find the dongle very helpful as I am able to use my good earphones when making or recieving calls as the mic itself is installed on the dongle!
INTERNET needs Flash Player which is currently underway. I've read that the Flash player should be available early next year.
Google MAPS somehow can't accurately pintpoint where I was even with the GPS on. I Have yet to try it when I'm actually out on the streets it maybe because I was indoors when I was trying to use the GPS option.
KEYBOARD bad: because of having to slide up the keyboard, you can never fit the G1 into a sleeve type jacket permanently. Tmobile stores do offer those hard plastic clip-ons that does the job of scratchproofing your phone though. A lot of people also find "having to open to type" an annoyance, but I read somewhere that a virtual keyboard is actually on it's way as well as an autorotate; automatic screen rotate when you rotate your phone from landscape to portrait onrientation.
DIALING: Bluetooth one press doesn't automatically go to Voice Dialer. You have to access the phone's voice dialer option to say a command like "CALL HOME"... the Voice dialer has a hard time understanding what you're saying especially when dealing with non-american sounding names, just immagine how confused your phone will be after you say "call Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD"...
ADDRESS BOOK: You'll have to export and copy your outlook adress book and import it in your google site and like one of the reviewers had mentioned, you will lose the mailing address information! what I do is cut and paste any outlook address info I have on my PC onto my online adress book while I'm on the Computer and let the phone sync from my google address book that way.
CALL QUALITY: No cons just yet... Great everything device that actually functions as a phone!
APPLICATION MARKET: A few odd-balls out there but who cares? They're not forcing you to download anything you don't like? So I really can't judge the phone for that.
MESSAGING and EMAIL: Like I said is great but the emails will need to be upgraded to link with microsoft servers to make corporate users happy. I think this is in the works too.
CAMERA: 3mp quality is fine but lack of a built-in flash makes the camera feature useless in low light conditions as focusing suffers in low light too! A video recorder would have been a nice added feature (video capture is great on my wife's blackberry 8320)
MULTIMEDIA: Music player is plain and simple and I think the Iphone wins on that one! Lacks a Video Player but there's a bunch of players out there on the market waiting to be downloaded for free... But this should have been something that came with the phone! Earphone dongle can be troublesome for some! My main concern though is I can never listen to music while charging the phone! Why does HTC push on having the charger share the same port with the headset/usb cable!
I am quite happy with this purchase and even though this is the 1st generation, I like the GUI and the simpllicity of navigating around the menus and functions. I have never read the manual nor did the need for me to look something up ever arised! I am almost certain that others will follow suit! and if a better phone with the android ever comes out, which I'm sure it will, I will simply have to upgrade to that after a year or so! but right now I'm enjoying the G1 and this phone right here is the FUTURE!
Camera Flash, Tmobile wifi/hotspot Calling, A good Video Pre Installed Player, Video Recorder, Virtual Keyboard, Dedicated Headphone Jack.
Simply Amazing December 23, 2008
Reviewer: R. K. Sharma
Have had this phone for three days now and think it is awesome.
-The touch screen is very responsive
-The full qwerty keyboard works very well
-The camera works very well
-The market place for apps has tons of useful apps for free (For example the barcode app which allows you to scan a product in a store and check online to compare prices right then and there)
-The customizable home screen is very cool so you can organize your apps how you want
-The phone feels good in my hand and the track ball is very handy
The Android software altogether is very solid and fun in my opinion and I highly recommend this phone as I have enjoyed it alot.
Honeymoon is over, and I want a divorce. February 19, 2009
Reviewer: Christopher Wanko "-C" (Nutley, NJ USA) -
I'll admit, in the initial rush of excitement, I rated this highly. I was enamored by the GPS, the strong tie to Google applications, and the potential of the platform.
Well, the honeymoon is over, and this phone is officially a bust, a block of unrealized potential and frustration borne of an inability to manage simple tasks like dialing and managing calls.
The list of features is impressive, but it falls down in a variety of ways, all of which amount to a two-star rating. To wit:
-it has voice search, which works... poorly, as poorly as it handles voice dialing;
-the SDK is open and source for the OS is public, and this has led to... numerous fart apps, rehashes of the example code from the SDK, and some really awful programming;
-it has multitasking, which is terrific except is slows down task switching, and leaves apps resident that do not make sense (Klaxon? Slider Puzzle?);
-it can handle 16Gb micro SD cards... and then forces you to install all apps to the device and not the card;
-it is based on Debian Linux... and forces you to write apps only for its Android model of Java;
-it has a GPS and Google Maps... but turn-by-turn is restricted due to licensing and no small amount of collusion with TeleNav, who's offering turn-by-turn for $10 a month. Funny, shouldn't it be free after ten months then, since a standalone GPS would get you exactly that for a one-time payment...?
-it has the code for multi-touch, but doesn't implement because of a little more collusion, this time with Apple;
-it has a camera, which doesn't handle video and its shutterlag is measured is seconds. And oh, by the way, the pictures are terrible...
I could go on, offer a litany of reasons and little items, but the fact is the potential is remarkably unrealized from what many consider a source of innovation. Taken from this perspective, it's easy to see that all Google did was cut down a Linux distro and come up with a proprietary variant of Java. I can't do it, but it's been done before, ad nauseum, at every academic institution offering a CompSci degree. There no excuse for such delay in major updates, and the collusion with competitors makes this a half-measure device.
As a PDA, it's slow and has less app support that a WinMo or Nokia S60 device. As a phone, it's nearly impossible to "just dial" and the capacitive screen is a pain for big fingers. In fact, call me an advocate for capacitive screen bans worldwide and give me back my stylus/ pinky nail/ pen cap. On the whole, this phone is just a whole lotta smoke and one very unreflective mirror...
It's not about the gear, its about the Android December 16, 2008
Reviewer: Daniel Robbins
I've heard many refer to this phone as the iPhone killer; in turn, I've heard many iPhone die-hards harshly criticize this phone. In truth, neither is accurate. The G1 is not the iPhone killer; Android is. Android is the operating system that runs the G1, and others to come.
Truth be told, this may not be the phone for everyone. If you want everything an iPhone can do, then by all means, go spend the money and get an iPhone; if you want something that acts like a Blackberry, then buy a Blackberry; if you want a camera, go buy a frickin' camera. Especially if you want everything right out of the box. But if you like seeing the innovation behind developers coming up with stuff, then definitely, the G1 is for you.
In many ways, I like that right now it doesn't "have" certain things (actually, it "has" just about everything, it just hasn't "learned" how to use them); I like it because it is fascinating to see people come up with the stuff that the G1 is lacking right out of the box. And that is the beauty of open source. Keep in mind this has only been out barely two months. Give developers a few more and you'll be amazed at what they come up with.
The phone itself has a great, sturdy feel; the display is beautiful and well-designed; and the qwerty keyboard is tiny but you get used to it. And just about every day there something new on the Android Market that lets you do something new.
So, go in knowing what your expectations are. If you want a phone that does everything an iPhone does right now, buy an iPhone. If you want the first-gen hardware of an exciting, extremely flexible phone that will eventually far exceed everything else, then hurry and get the G1.
G stands for Great January 24, 2009
Reviewer: Mike (CA) -
The phone is simply great. I have an iPhone as well and I prefer this phone. The iPhone is a little better looking but this phone is more functional and I found the interface much more intuitive to use. The pattern password is much easier for one-handed operation when answering calls on the go. The full keyboard is so much easier to use and you don't loose half the screen. The track ball is great for clicking those small links that some pages have that are too small or to close to some other link and is also handy for quickly scrolling around around a web page. The removable micro-SD card is a big feature over the iPhone as you can upgrade the memory easily and it also allows you share data between devices the without connecting to a computer.
The design issues I have had with the phone are the protective pouch that comes with it. If you hold it around the seams the phone can slip out so, when removing from a coat or jacket pocket, the phone can drop on the floor and I find it difficult open the cover over the micro-SD slot without using the corner of a credit card. But these are far outweighed by the good features which makes this the best phone you can buy IMHO.
I've found the T-Mobile service is better than Sprint or AT&T in the bay area of northern CA and the network connection speed is good (there always seems to be an open WiFi host spot available). As you'd expect the integration with G-mail and G-calender is excellent. The compass integration with Google's street view (point the screen in the direction you are looking and compare what you see) always gets a "wow!" and is actually quite useful as well. Another nice touch is when using the "my location" feature with the map tool it automatically scrolls the map when you move near the edge. The one thing that is done better on the iPhone is integration with Microsoft exchange servers (but with the free software development tools I might just write my own app). Speaking of which, if you want to write apps for it, it's a dream. Google have provided a fantastic set of tools, via an Eclipse plug-in with a phone emulator, for software development and they are free.
I also liked that I didn't have to provide my credit card number to download a free app from the android market place.
Favorite free apps: Compare Anywhere, Compass, Bubble, Punch-O-Meter, Trap!, MisMisMatch, Lexic, Quote Pro.
A definite buy.
Excellent Phone, Poor Battery Performance February 23, 2009
The device is much better looking in person than in photos. It looked awkward to me before I actually handled one, but I absolutely love everything about the physical appearance in person: the "chin" at the bottom is much more subtle, the back is a nice rubberized finish which makes it easy to hold, and the device is small enough to fit comfortably in my pocket (jeans included). Overall the phone just feels very well-built.
The keyboard is outstanding. I never considered the idea of getting a touchscreen-only device, and the G1 keyboard is excellent example of why. It looks like the keys are too small/flat, but the spacing makes it easy to type. I am more accurate on this keyboard than I was on my Motorola Q9c. The only issue is that the right side "chin" requires that you wrap you hand a little in order to get to the far right keys, I have large hands so its not a big problem for me, but if your fingers are shorter I could see it being awkward.
The phone also includes a trackball as another navigation option. I have found myself using it a lot for one-handed web surfing, as it is more accurate than your finger on the screen. It was an excellent and thoughtful addition to the phone.
There is no headphone jack, only a mini USB connector. My phone came with an adapter for the USB connector that allows you to use in any standard headphones, and also has a microphone for hands-free use. This ended up being better for me, because I can use my higher-end headphones for music and calls without switching plugs or carrying a seperate mp3 player.
The call quality is great with the earpiece, speakerphone, or included headphones. I have never had any complaints about the quality of my voice; I have even hooked the phone up to my car stereo for another hands free option, and again I have had no complaints about quality.
I am in a 2G only area, and having moved from 3G is slightly painful, but surfing is still acceptably fast, and the network has been extremely reliable. The T-Mobile unlimited G1 plan is very reasonable compared with the data plans from other carriers (I shopped around a lot before I settled with T-Mobile).
Once you get used to navigating the menus and get a feel for how the phone works, I can guarantee you are two taps away from anything you want to do. It's a very well laid out operating system.
The only real downfall for this device is the battery. It's a given that with advanced devices, you are going to have to trade between features and battery life. However, this is a phone that is dependent on data for most of its advanced features and a higher capacity/2nd battery should have been included with the phone. With no GPS enabled on a 2G only network, I can go from 7AM - 10PM on a single charge but I have to charge the phone nightly. I probably listen to music for 1-2 hours, and do some surfing, light texting, and maybe 20-30 minutes of calling? I think most people would consider me a light user, so I would honestly have expected to charge the phone every other day.
WiFi will KILL the battery as well. When I'm home and I leave Wifi on I get about half the performance as above.
Despite the battery I woldn't trade this phone for anything. I love the synchronization with Google services, it has made my life much easier.
Not the prettiest brick of a phone, but a cool alternative to the baaPhone March 25, 2009
Reviewer: A. Saunders (Virginia, USA) -
I moved from a 10 month old blackberry curve 8320 to this, and paid handsomely for it. I am now at the end of my 2 week return period and I'm going to keep this (although I don't know WHAT to do with the blackberry...)
Let's get these out of the way:
-TERRIBLE battery life. I mean terrible. I have to disable damned near everything (3G, GPS, wifi, bluetooth, dim the screen) just to make it 8-10 hours. Unless you work a government work day, you'll need to carry a charger with you. And the charger for it is not foldable... although, they sell a nice car/AC charger for, like,, [...] bucks...
-No UMA (!) Big problem, especially since my previous phone had this. Means I can no use a phone in my basement computer office. Worse, I've had to sign on to ... Skype.. and there very affordable but questionable quality services, just to have a phone on the rare occasions that I'm... you know... at my (by which I mean: bank's house)
-Ungodly bad battery life.
-Not a super pretty case. Big, unshapely, weirdly shaped. decalgirl.com can go a long way in making it more interesting looking though. Although the decal you pick one night you may have to embarrassingly defend as "not girlish". Get some skulls or something on it...
-No camera flash. High resolution camera, but all your photos will be super blurry (but contain many, many, pixels). Again, previous phone had this.
--Yay, look how many bits of blurry pictures we gave you!
-Apple's (bastards, dicks, WHORES) patents required the removal of many features that the hardware supported (and that any dude could of thought up anyway, without so many BLASTED lawyers around, trying to stab them in the neck so as to steal their wallets and socks) but cannot be included for 'legal' reasons. This includes multi-touch and automatic screen re-orientation based upon accelerometer readings. UPDATE: screen re-orientation has been re-allowed based on the duh-wtf precedent.
-You *must* swallow the Google kool-aid to even begin to use this. Seriously, you can't even turn on the phone the first time without having a gmail account. That will be a problem for some. For me, that's fine. Please Google... take my kidneys, I'm sure it's for the greater good...
-Terrible on-phone calendar software. And I mean:... TERR-I-BLE!
-Does not come with todo list software. Cause, you know, it's REALLY complex...
-Weird connector (doesn't use standard mini usb), must have dongle to use headset or headphones. UPDATE: It DOES use the standard USB connector, they're just playing like they're making "Killing Shapes" or something...
-No stereo bluetooth, not that I've ever needed that.
Wow, lots of cons, eh? Why am I keeping it then, especially when previous phone is as good or better in many areas?
-Android OS. I believe (hope...pray...UPDATE... pray, pray, wish, dream, accept) this is the future of smart phone OSes. Relatively open (you still need an unlocked phone to run custom versions of OS), and there is a lot of development activity going on. (UPDATE:... heh, heh.. ha... <sigh>)
-Lots of good free apps and games. The ones that aren't free are cheap and easy to buy. You can even easily uninstall and get instant refunds for paid software you don't like.
-Tight integration with Google apps. This is a con for some. For example, the contacts on your phone? They are the same as your gmail contacts. I don't mean they are a copy of your gmail contacts, I mean they ARE your gmail contacts. A change made either on the phone or web app reflects on the other, they are constantly syncing.
-Browser is great. It's a 'real' browser. Unlike the Blackberry, pages load fast on 3G, 2G, wifi, or... er.. "edge". I guess that's 2G. Great font anti-aliasing and zooming makes it all the easier to use. Seriously, the fact that I can play on the Dragon Go server is impressive.
-Screen is gorgeous. Can be very bright, but you'll be so paranoid about your battery you'll end up keeping it dim all the time. Good resolution.
-Very nicely integrated Google maps.
-Touch screen works very well, for the most part. I have trouble getting things on the edge to register sometimes, but overall it's very easy, even fun, to use.
-I love hardware keyboards. I wish this one had better raised keys, but I appreciate that the numbers are different keys than the letters, common punctuation like commas and at symbols are accessible without alt keys. Backlit, and easy to type fast on once you get used to it.
-The swivel screen/keyboard mechanism adds a lot of bulk, but it's a solid feeling mechanism. Like click open a switchblade or something. Easy to open and close with one hand.
-Trackball is nice to have to supplement the touch screen.
-Easy and cheap to expand memory via micro sd cards (even comes with 1gb card)... SUCK IT APPLE. In the FACE! Er... the [...]! Er... the [...].. FACE! Yeah, the [...] FACE!
-You won't lose it in the giant pile of identical iPhones at work. Seriously. ("I have an iPhone! Oh yeah, well I have a [...]! I guess that makes me a more uniques flower than you!)
-Don't have to use AT&T!
-Don't have to use AT&T!
-Don't have to use AT&T!
If you are going to have to pay near full price anyway (like I did), try getting an unlocked "developer" phone instead. You can also do this if you don't have/want T-Mobile.
As a Professional Phone Reviewer - this Phone Rocks! November 30, 2008
Reviewer: Anne P. Mitchell (Boulder, Colorado) -
This phone absolutely rocks, and I can't imagine what the other reviewer was using, or expecting - in more than 5 years this is the first phone to make me actually switch - something that *none* of the iPhone, Verizon Glyde or Verizon Voyager (the leading touch screen competitors) could do.
The Google G1 phone completes what the iPhone lacks - it's what the iPhone *should* be, but isn't. The G1 has a qwerty keyboard in addition to the touch screen, has voice dialing, and copy and paste - none of which the iPhone has (shockingly, when, for example, copy and paste are such fundamental functions).
And, unlike the Verizon contenders, the email function is awesome, *and* - and very important for me - applications actually continue to run in the background if you need them to - and you can effortlessly switch between applications (the Verizon phones exit you out of email, instant messengers, and other applications when you try to switch).
In fact, for a version 1 device, I'm incredibly impressed with just how good it is. As I said, it's the only phone in 5 years which has been able to get me to permanently switch devices.
A Wonderful Product December 23, 2008
Reviewer: Justin P. Bartels "J Bama" (Miami, FL) -
At first I was sketical of this phone, I had an Unlocked Iphone 2g (Shhh, don't tell). I swore off ATT/Cingular years ago when they messed up my bill by about 960.00. So, for those of you who do not want to go down the road of 3G with ATT this phone is the perfect, and after I've been using it for 2 weeks, I actually find it to be a better alternative.
Just got back from a bus trip, all my friends have the 3g iphone. We were all watching movies, low and behold it's perfectly functional as a media device. Postivie, All the aps on the G1 are free, it didn't come with a video player, oh darn...., but on 3g I got a high quality video player in about 2 seconds, so I was able to take my .mpegs that I had on my iphone and transfer them to this device, the resolution looks great and so I can watch videos and since they are on the sd card it works well.
The removable SD card is great, I have all my music that I want on several cards, I got the 8GB Class 6 Cards, you want class 6 cause they are super super fast.
The GPS works great, no turn by turn, but my garmin does that for me, it helps me find places when I'm walking in downtown denver, In Denver I'm happy with the data plan. THe phone has wifi, but with 3g at my house I really have no need to turn it on. Big postives - there are plans in the works for Adobe Flash on this device, which we all know that Mr. Job's will not allow on the apple. Also, I feel confident slingbox support will be coming soon. THe big positive is that good competition allows for better competing products, so maybe the iphone 3g will get a little looser as well and open allow more frequencies.
ATT users - Tmobile does not use the same frequencies as ATT so the problem with the I phone 3g on t-mobile becomes the problem of the G1 on ATT
After 2-3 weeks of use, the open source platform is the reason this phone will be better (IMHO). The keyboard is awesome, the sound quality on the phone is terrific, remember, this is an actual cell phone and not an ipod that is a cell phone. You can import your own ringers, a nice program called ringdroid will let you pick which part of a ringer you want.
I could go on and on about this device, I really enjoy it. There are drawbacks of course. If your and outlook/office person, it uses Gmail, but that was solved in about a minute when I exported all my contacts to gmail. I like the fact that my calander is stored in 2 places and I don't have to sync with my computer to update my info, its all stored online.
Microsoft exchange support is not available at the moment, however I'm sure that will be remedied in the near future.
In synopsis, I really find the 2 devices about the same, however for me since open source developement leads to much more, and this device has a more powerful processor you will always be having more fun.
Note - I used to have battery issues before the update, I would like a larger battery and onboard storage is a bit low for my tastes, however the programs are fairly small, again Open source could fix this problem easily.
#modem tethering - it is possible, there are some nifty ways online
Pretty cool - solid phone December 22, 2008
Reviewer: Thomas Rayner (Seattle, WA) -
I have had this phone for a couple of days now and I find it to be quite usable and fun. I was worried that it would be a rough first attempt on the Android platform and was pleasantly surprised. The phone transitions from one application to another with relative quickness. I love the combination of touch screen with the slide out keyboard if I am typing an email or something. I think a lot of folks have been concerned about not having a "direct" outlook email solution - I have it hooked into my work email via web outlook and it is performing quite well. I was concerned about battery life - thanks to one of the open developers, there is an application you can download that helps manage the device's states and I find it is working quite well. Browsing the web on this phone is a great experience, although the touch functionality on the web is not perfect - I find myself using the rollerball from time to time because it is much more exact. I guess the best part about that is that they had the foresight to include a rollerball in the 1st place. Overall, I am very satisfied with this phone and would recommend it to anyone.
Great Software, OK Hardware January 19, 2009
Reviewer: N. Chamoun (Atlanta , GA) -
I've had the G1 since release day. I have enjoyed the software very much, there are many useful things such as the notification bar that notifies you on any time you get a new text, voice mail, missed call, well you get the point. The included applications are very good, they are useful and well made. The market lacks substantially to Apple's app store, but it is free and it gives anybody the opportunity to develop for the phone, some apps are good and some are horrendous, but the good thing is they are all free. The hardware is fine. It is a little bulky but not too much. Having the full keyboard is amazing, it is well spaced out, and even thought many people complain about the bent chin at the bottom of the phone and how it gets in the way of typing but you get used to it after a while. The phone is not very sturdy though, it creaks. The touchscreen part of the phone is not very well adjusted to the bottom of the phone, it creaks when you press the sides very hard. The trackball at the bottom is amazing, it is so helpful when you are trying to press a small link on the touchscreen. The camera is pretty good but takes forever for auto focus. There is an update coming soon that will fix many bugs and add a touchsreen keyboard, and payed apps will soon come to the market which will allow for more innovative apps to come. Overall, i like it but if you are very picky, you should wait for the G2.
I like it December 26, 2008
Reviewer: Matthew B. Jacobson "mb_jacobson" (Seattle) -
I bought this phone because I wanted to develop for it. I believe that this phone is a superior platform for development for the following reasons:
1. It's open source down to the OS level
2. It uses a Linux / Java stack as it's base, two elements which have a very large familiarity base already. Contrast with the iPhone which uses Apple's proprietary objective-C as its language. I specifically chose android as a platform because while learning Android, I was also developing Java skills that are widely applicable, versus learning objective-C which is only good for Apple products.
3. It is an OS / framework stack which is applicable to many devices. This will lure more development over time.
4. The framework is very well architected. It has a learning curve but as developers get more experience with it you will see its superiority emerge more clearly in the interworkings of applications.
A platform that is better for development leads to better and more innovative applications, and a better user experience.
Inetgiant review on G1 December 31, 2008
Reviewer: Inetgiant (Unites States) -
After two month of using my first Android phone, i decided to share some of my impressions about new G1 phone from T-Mobile. I will start by saying that phone is made of very cheap material. Battery life on this phone for people like myself is terrible. I check emails and reply to them on regular basis, better say every half hour. I read blogs and my RSS feeds on Google Reader constantly. Battery will last me about 2 hours, tops. And people...i must tell ya', it is very annoying. These are two major issues i have with the phone. It's cheap quality and battery life.
Slightly flawed design, but Android is amazing January 30, 2009
Reviewer: J. Vazquez (Virginia) -
There has been a lot of hype leading up to the release of the T-Mobile G1 (or Googlephone to the masses). There is nothing revolutionary about the hardware, as touch screens and slide out keypads have been around for the past few years. The real gem here is the new OS created by Google, Android. Based off of Linux, Android is an open source operating system that offers a great ease of use, with many tools to make your phone smarter and more efficient.
The hardware is nothing special, but it works fine for the task. There is a 3.2 inch glass capacitive screen that looks great (this means like the iPhone you must use your finger and not a stylus/fingernail). It is very accurate and bright, though prone to screen smudges. Under the screen are a few physical buttons. You have your call, end call/sleep button, back, home, and a favorite of mine, a clickable trackball. Even with an accurate screen, the trackball is great for small links in web pages.
If you put the phone sideways you can push the screen out revealing a full QWERTY keyboard. For anyone who has used a virtual keyboard on their touchscreen, this is a great feature. I can text/email much faster when I can feel the buttons. The only down side is the keys are not raised enough, or offer enough feedback when they are pressed. This isn't the best keyboard out there, but it works. Also, the "chin" of the phone places your right hand in a weird position, but it's nothing that bad.
The real star is the OS, Android. The entire phone is very customizable, and easy to use. On the bottom the screen there is a tab that when you slide it up reveals all your programs. You can select from this screen or press and hold the application until the phone buzzes, and then prompts you to drop it on the home page. There are three home pages, which are easy to get to by flicking at the screen. Notifications of any type are shown at the top of the screen in a small bar. Dragging the bar down shows all new info or settings.
Google decided long ago that this would be an open source phone, meaning that anyone could create applications for it. Clicking on the Market brings up a huge amount of free software for your phone to use. There are weather and news apps, several wiki apps, and in fact hundreds of different games and resources. These are all free (for now), and let you customize your phone a great deal as you can add and delete programs that aid you. The Market itself is easy to use, and has programs organized by date and popularity, and with comments and ratings.
The G1 uses a great deal of Google software, and therefor requires a lot of integrations to Google. You must create a gmail account, as the phone will sync to that email. This is fine as I had a gmail account, but could be an issue to others. The phone can sync your mail, calender, and contacts constantly, so as long as you don't mind Google software (which is great IMHO), you should be fine.
Other included apps include a browser (which I replaced easily from the Market), a YouTube application, Google maps, and host of other useful tools. Anything not included can be downloaded, which gives this phone a great deal of usability. I have all three screens filled with useful and cool gadgets.
Because this is a Googlephone, getting online is very easy. Either start the browser up, or open the keyboard and hit the search button. It brings you to a google search, and opens up your default browser. I found the page download speeds to be great. Using 3G or WiFi, I found pages loaded quickly, and the browsing experience was generally good. The G1 can locate WiFi spots automatically and will alert you to open networks. I found this to be the fastest internet, as free WiFi is readily available.
For some reason the default browser doesn't rotate the screen when you are in portrait mode with the screen closed. If you open the keyboard the image rotates, but this means you must open the G1 entirely. Replacing the online browser worked for me as programs like "Steel" use the accelerometer the G1 has, but rarely uses. Rumors of a virtual keyboard update could fix this problem.
One downside I noticed is the battery. Believe the hype when people say this thing drains the batter faster than all other smartphones. If I start with a 100% charge, and have WiFi, GPS, and data syncing on, the G1 might make it a day with light use. I have driven to work and found the battery at 90% with no usage at all. Applications like "Battery Manager" are a great help. You can toggle all setting, and adjust screen brightness. Still, I charge this phone way more than I should.
The camera on the G1 is awful. While you are taking 3.2 MP images, they are often blurry, and the color is average. The problem is a very slow auto focus. If you hold the camera button half way down, it might take a full 2-3 seconds for the focus to kick in which is enough time to lose your subject. There are a few camera programs in the Market, but I will have to update if any one works great.
**While I could go on for hours, here is a summary**
- The hardware works for what it is. This isn't sexy like an iPhone as the G1 is larger and heavier. I like it though, as I find the larger size more appealing for my average size hands. Smaller isn't always better.
- Having physical keys is a good thing. It makes sending text and emails much easier. While the keyboard here isn't amazing, it does a decent job. The addition of a trackball is great too. Web pages with small links are very easy to navigate.
- The Android OS is amazing and will get better with time. Most people who play with my phone are fascinated with all the things it can do. I get a lot of "ohhhhs" even when I use the visual unlock system.
- This phone offers a huge amount of connectivity to the internet and is best suited for the type of person looking for quick answers to life's questions. That being said, this isn't a Blackberry alternative as the G1 is a little more play and a little less work.
- The internet experience is fast and fun. Having used a LG Dare, the G1 is many times better at browsing web pages. You can even use different browsers from the Market.
- The battery is a dud. From what I have read online you can have T-Mobile send you another battery for free if you complain, but it is the same size, so in the end you have two small batteries.
- The camera is really bad. You won't be using your G1 to take vacation photos. Get a good Canon point and click and never use the included one here.
- No headphone jack. The bottom of the G1 can accept a micro USB cable only. There are supplied headphones (not very good), but using your own requires an adapter, which is not supplied.
Overall a great smartphone. It may not be for the super business types, but for average consumers looking to be more connected this is one amazing phone.
Returned My G1 January 27, 2009
Reviewer: R. D. Byrne (Tampa, FL USA) -
Although I was very excited to receive and begin using my new G1 I found that there were several drawbacks. The most noticable was the keyboard. The keys are simply too close. I make considerable use of my phone's keyboard for email, document creation/notes, and texting. I suppose that I've been spoiled by my Tmobile Sidekicks (I owned SK 1's, II's, III's, and the Sidekick LX. I found that the keyboard on the G1 was not nearly as useable. Yes, one can type if you have small fingers but with the G1 and other keyboard phones, you are usually "typing on the go" with your thumbs.
I did really like the video and the wi-fi connections make the G1 really fly. However, due to the limited G3 connections Tmobile offers, I ended up on Edge speed connections when away from my wi-fi. This slower speed simply could not give the smooth uninterrupted connectivity the G1 is capable of running.
I would have kept the G1 if the keyboard was more functional and the G3 network was more available. The G1 certainly delivered on graphics, and media though.
I ended up returning the G1 to Tmobile and returned to my faithful Sidekick. :\
Best phone I've used in awhile - but not perfect August 27, 2009
Reviewer: Mark Davis (Bellevue, WA) -
Over the past two years, I've owned many smartphones - T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile Dash, Blackberry Curve, Blackberry Tour, Nokia N95, HTC Touch Pro, HTC Touch Pro II, and Palm Pre. Of this extensive list, the G1 is my favorite, although it certainly has its issues too.
Android is growing into a great mobile platform. Having purchased the G1 on release day, I certainly went through the growing pains - but when v1.5 (cupcake) was released, a lot of missing features were added, bringing the G1 up to par. Android has a very intuitive system, I love the multiple home screens w/ widgits, and long-pressing to get more options. The multitasking is a nice touch, but I wish it were a little easier to switch between/kill running applications. The Google integration is, as expected, fantastic. gmail, google talk, google calendar all integrate flawlessly with the G1's system. Amazon's MP3 app is way better than iTunes or Rhapsody, included with some other phones. The lack of Exchange support is disappointing, although there is a 3rd party app in the Market that does the job (not perfectly, but better than some other phones' native Exchange support). Since the myTouch has the beginnings of Exchange, hopefully the G1 will get this in the next update.
The Android Market (Google's answer to the App Store) is fantastic. While there are heaps of useless apps, there are a ton of very good apps as well. Just have to find the right ones, they'll greatly increase the fun and functionality of using your phone. Also, if you're feeling adventerous, there are plenty of custom ROMs out there to upgrade your G1 with even more funtionality (think multitouch, native exchange, overclocking, apps on the sd card instead of phone memory, tethering, and more).
The hardware (HTC Dream) has plusses and minuses. The screen is beautiful, although capacitive touch screens are starting to lag behind competitors in terms of resolution (check out the Touch Pro II's 800x480 resolution 3.6" screen - wow!!). I love the keyboard. You might have noticed, the list above includes quite a few phones with full QWERTY keyboards - in my opinion, the G1 is by far the best. Its a dream to type on. The phone itself is a bit bulky, I'd like it if it were a little thinner, but its part for the course for horizontal sliders. Battery life is so-so. All smartphones have poor battery life, compared to its competitors, the G1 is about middle of the pack. Generally will last a full day, unless I'm using it especially heavily. The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack is very annoying (come on, HTC! This is standard everywhere else!). The processor is fast enough, but the phone is lacking in RAM, so be careful if you do too much multitasking.
No phone is perfect, no matter what people want to tell you. The G1 is certainly not without its problems, but from my fairly extensive experience, its the best overall package of hardware, operating system, and software on the market. Be forewarned - T-Mobile does not have the best 3G coverage yet. I live downtown in a major city, so I don't have problems with this, but edge is sloooow if you don't have 3G. Luckily, the phone has WIFI for those customers.
Android 1.5 update fixed GPS, made me love this phone June 10, 2009
Reviewer: Steve M. Potter (Atlanta, GA USA) -
I was on the waiting list the day they announced the G1. I am a gadget lover and a Google lover. Combining the two sounded like heaven. But I have not been very happy with my phone...Until the recent "Cupcake" update of the Android OS to v.1.5. I did the update manually, though most who are more patient will have it done to their phone by T-mobile over the air (OTA) while they sleep. My biggest complaint was how long it took the GPS to figure out where I am, even with cell tower hints. Usually about 15 minutes, with a very clear view of the sky, if I have not used it in the area yet. Landing in a new town is exactly when you need GPS the most, and standing in a dodgy area after you got off the subway waiting in the rain 15 min while the phone figures out where you are is not good. The update seems to have dramatically improved the GPS. It now takes less than a minute, and does not require such a clear view of the sky. Now the turn-by-turn service TeleNav beats my Magellan satnav in usefulness, well worth the $10/month. And RideTrac (and a number of similar apps) is great for mapping my jogs, hikes, bike rides, etc. Google Locations now allows folks to see where I am (if I let them). So now I officially love my phone.
The software has some rough edges, but daily there are new apps fixing these, mostly free or very cheap. One important app (for me, a scientist) is Repligo Reader, which allows me to read pdfs of scientific papers on my phone. Lack of a PDF reader was a major oversight by the Android team, IMHO. Fixed.
The battery life is pretty poor, sometimes lasting less than a day, especially if I use all the phone's great features. So I carry a USB cable everywhere and there is usually a computer within reach to charge from.
The camera is really excellent after the update, with even great macro capability, and now it takes videos. The most useful app for it is ShopSavvy, a barcode reader I use for comparison shopping while in a gadget store.
The gravity sensor is now being used by more apps to rotate the screen automatically, and there is now a soft keyboard like the iPhone's, in case you are in too much of a hurry to open the real keyboard. Though for fast searches, using Google's voice search is awesome. Just remember to put pauses between each word.
The phone's excellent browser and integration with Google apps like gmail and maps has put the world of information at my fingertips. I have had smartphones since 2002, and this is by far the best and most useful.
Good Smart Phone February 23, 2009
Reviewer: NMITGuy (NM) -
Despite it being a 1st generation product for Google's Android operating system, this phone is solid overall, functional (especially for a Gmail freak like myself) and fun. There are many apps available in the Android Market, both free and paid. Most of the apps are rated as well. My co-workers are pretty dazzled by it. Touch screen is responsive and clear. The physical keyboard is awesome. For the more adventurous, you can purchase a developer's version, a "jail broken" version or jail break a retail version which will allow you to get into parts of the OS the retail version won't let you. This allows you more control over the OS for modification purposes.
This phone is not without its flaws though. Most notably, the battery life is pretty bad, even after downloading and applying a power conserving application which I have set to turn off the GPS, greatly reduce the screen brightness and decrease the screen time-out among other things. Those of you purchasing this phone without intending on getting a data plan, beware! You will need to call T-Mobile's G1 support team and request that they temporarily activate the data plan so you can provision the phone on Google's servers. Lack of multi-touch kind of sucks and apparently there is a modified version of the software with a rudimentary multi-touch capability. Also, for a phone who's operating system is open source, unless you have a jail broken model or jail break the phone yourself, you do not have root access to the OS. Although this is probably a safety feature to keep non-technical users from messing up their phone by accident. The camera is not the greatest either, although I never really use the camera on phones, it would be nice to be able to zoom and adjust properties of the camera. I noticed after upgrading to RC 33 version of the software, the main menu is initially sluggish when displaying the icons after exiting the Web browser. Lack of a suitable PDF viewer and Flash is a drawback, supposedly developers are working on a solution to this.
Overall this is a good phone, feels solidly build and I'm enjoying using it. My hope is that future software updates will unlock some features that it is lacking.