16 Things I Like about the Google Nexus One (and 8 I don’t)

70 Comments

I’m still getting acquainted with the unsubsidized Google Nexus One (s goog) I bought last week, but I’ve spent enough time with it to share my likes and dislikes. Since there’s only a 14-day return period and plenty of return fees — especially if you went the subsidized path — I figure some prospective purchasers might benefit from these thoughts. In no particular order, here’s what I’m really enjoying about this phone, and what I’m disappointed in. Bear in mind that not everything in my list is specific to the Nexus One and I expect other current Android handsets to gain some of these features through software upgrades in the future. But these features are a part of the current Nexus One experience, so I’m including them in my list.

1. The device starts up fairly quickly. In about 33 seconds or so from a cold start, you’re up and running. The near-two minute boot time of my Pre (s palm) has turned me off.

2. The same holds true for turning off the device. It completely powers down — not into sleep mode, but actually off — in under six seconds.

3. I like how the phone doesn’t have to be on for charging. My iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre are “on” when charging. That annoys me at night as the phones — mainly the Pre — are glowing while I’m trying to sleep. Or they might ring or pop up a notification during the night. A silly little thing, yes, but I still like how it’s handled on the Nexus One. There is a very small LED indicator to tell you the device is charging or fully charged.

4. Blinking notifications are great. With my iPhone (s aapl), I was constantly waking it and unlocking it to see if I had any emails. No need for that now. I just glance at the scroll ball to see if it’s blinking. I have it set up for various notifications — email, direct messages and replies on Twitter, etc….

5. Although it’s taking me time to get used to, multitasking is awesome. I’m pre-conditioned by 2.5 years of iPhone use to hit the Home button before moving to another program, but I’m slowly learning to hold the button and choose an already running app. Oddly, I used to flick cards to close apps on the Pre all the time for the very same reason. Anyway, when I remember that previously used apps are still running, I can move around quite quickly.

6. Gmail is heavenly, especially with multiple accounts. (Seriously — have you ever described an email client as heavenly? It has to be that good for me to call something as mundane as email “heavenly!”) For a Gmail user, there’s little doubt in my mind that Android should be near the top when choosing a mobile platform. The native client is far more robust and easier to use than on any other device I’ve touched in the past few years. And Android 2.1 adds support for multiple Gmail accounts within the one mail application. I have both my personal and my work mail going side-by-side in the one app. It’s not a unified Inbox, mind you, but it’s a quick menu tap to switch accounts. Plus there’s starring, labels, a button for Older mail and so much more. New email also arrives on my phone faster than on the web too  Sorry to gush over this one, but again: if you use and like Gmail on the web, odds are pretty good that you’ll like it on this device. Ditto for the Google Calendar app.

7. Voice to text might not be as heavenly as the Gmail experience, but it’s pretty darn close. The feature is usable with nearly every text field on the device. I can speak emails or text messages — even tweets — and the phone will process the speech into text. And it’s pretty darn accurate too. Even in very noisy environments, I’ve had fantastic results thanks to the secondary microphone used to cancel out background noise.

8. I love the level of integration Google adds with some third party apps. For example, when you take a picture, you can share it via Picasa, Gmail, text message, Facebook or over Bluetooth. But you can also Tweet the picture right from the camera app. And the phone is smart enough to realize which Twitter app you have installed. When I first got the device, I installed TwiDroid and it magically appeared in my sharing list for pics. I thought that was pretty cool, but I later removed TwiDroid to install Seesmic. Lo and behold, Seesmic now appears automatically in my sharing options. That’s intelligent — not rocket science — but intelligent.

9. Speaking of image sharing reminds me of the camera. The 720 x 480 videos aren’t bad at all, nor are the still images from the 5 megapixel camera sensor. I didn’t think I’d use the digital zoom because they’re typically not all that great, but I’ve gained usable results in the rare instances I’ve used it. The camera is quite good, the interface is intuitive and the new Gallery app is well polished.

10. The overall speed of the device is very snappy. After hearing more about the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform at CES, I expect you’ll see many devices using it, just as the Nexus One does. And you’ll be happy with the performance when compared to the ARM processors of yesteryear. Everything on this handset seems to fly, although it starts to bog down a little when bunches of apps are running. One of the first things I did was to install a task killer, which I use a few times throughout the day. I haven’t used a faster feeling phone. The HTC HD2 uses this same CPU, so I can see why folks are buzzing about how well Windows Mobile runs on it. My expectations of Snapdragon are the reason I haven’t moved to an Android device in the past few months, and those expectations have been met  — and in some cases, exceeded — by the Nexus One.

11. Google Maps is stellar. The app is actually really good on other Android devices as well, and the navigation isn’t unique to the Nexus One. But when paired with this fast running hardware, the performance of Maps makes it feel like the entire globe is within the device, not on a server somewhere. There’s very little lag when panning, zooming or rending. In some cases, there is no lag. The GPS location fix is almost instantaneous as well. All of that combines for a great Maps experience.

12. Google Voice integration isn’t specific to the Nexus One at all, but it’s well done and completely integrated to the contacts and phone apps. It’s working so well that I’m going to look into canceling the unlimited text messaging portion of my monthly plan. From what I’ve heard, that can be done to save $10 a month. There’s simply no need for such a plan or function if you’ve embraced Google Voice.

13. Speaking of contacts, I like the integration with Facebook, which is similar to Synergy on the Palm Pre. And at any point, I simply tap and hold on a contact to get a touch menu of how I want to interact with that person: phone, text message, mail, Facebook or Google Talk, for example. And the phone is smart enough to only show me the available options. If I don’t have someone’s IM handle, it won’t show me Google Talk as an option.

14. Although voice-to-text related, I love how I can tap and hold the search touch button at any time to search by voice. It doesn’t matter what app I’m in — the function is always there.

15. The overall feel of the device has one of those “just right” attributes. It’s thin but easy to hold. It’s not slippery. And it feels well built. It’s hard to describe but if you’re worried about a shoddy, plasticky device, you needn’t worry about it with the Nexus One.

16. The onscreen keyboard is better than I expected once I made a minor adjustment — see item #3 in the “not so hot” list below. I’ve tried the options to add noise for key clicks and also for haptic feedback, but once I got used to the keyboard, I turned both off. What really makes input great is the predictive text functionality. Within two to three keypresses, I can often find the word I want to type in the predictive text area. And in many cases, the proper word is already highlighted in red, so I simply tap the space bar to choose it and I’m on my way to the next word. I find this better and faster than the iPhone, mainly because I have to type more letters on the iPhone in most cases.

What’s not so hot:

1. It’s far too easy to turn the phone on accidentally. I noticed this when leaving Las Vegas on my plane from CES. I had just turned on the Airplane Mode and then shut the phone down. I placed it in my pocket and a few seconds later, I felt the vibration made when the phone begins to power up. HTC and Google should adjust the power-on function so that you have to hold the button for a good second or two. As it is now, a brief, inadvertent tap will fire up the device.

2. Radio reception isn’t what I had hoped. I realize that there may be a widespread issue as Nexus One owners are reporting a signal bouncing from EDGE to 3G and back. I saw that behavior while at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. I expect that issue to be fixed through a software update, but that’s not the problem. I’m not getting any 3G signal at my home. I checked the coverage maps and I should be getting one, although I am about a half-mile inside the cut-off, per the map. Here’s the thing though: with the same SIM card and exact same location, the Nokia N900 I’m evaluating pulls in 3G loud and clear. A speed test on that device netted me a 2.1 Mbps download. The Nexus One right after that? Not even 200 Kbps, thanks to the lowly EDGE signal. I’m not sure if the Nokia radio is that much better or the Nexus One is simply not as good, but at the end of the day, I really don’t care what the reason is. The result is more important and I’m not thrilled with it. I really don’t need 3G coverage in my house since I gravitate towards a faster Wi-Fi signal anyway, but this radio sensitivity — or lack thereof — has to be pointed out.

3. The touch experience in general is great, but less so with the four touch buttons at the bottom of the display. I’ve found that the touch sensors only respond when touching the top half of these buttons. It’s as if the sensors aren’t quite big enough. At first, this was a major hassle. Once I figured out what was going on, I adjusted accordingly and I’m fine now. But for the first two days, I really struggled. In fact, I’ve noticed that I do better with the touch keyboard by tapping the top half of those keys as well. Maybe it’s just me, but when I shift my touch input up about 1/8″ on either the keyboard or the four touch buttons, I can fly.

4. The screen is easily filled with smudges. There’s no oleophobic coating like Apple’s iPhone 3GS on this device. Seriously, you’ll be cleaning the screen every hour or two if you use this heavily. On the plus side, I have a perfect replica cheek-print on my device if anyone from the CSI set wants one. Maybe my print can make a cameo appearance in an upcoming episode?

5. Related to the screen smudge is challenge of using the usually beautiful OLED display in full sunlight. Even with the brightness up all the way, it’s difficult. AMOLED is great indoors and easier on battery life, but if you’re outside a bunch, I’d suggest caution.

6. I’m going to need a second battery. That’s becoming a common theme on many handsets as we start to use them more heavily as pocketable computers instead of occasional smartphone use. I’m also a believer in having two batteries for all of my devices, so going in to this purchase I figured to double down on power. But folks should realize that using this device often during the day will run the battery down in eight hours or less.

7. Many sites don’t render correctly in the browser in portrait mode. This is an odd and unexpected problem, but one I noticed right away. When I look at various two-column sites, the text column is squeezed in half. Yet when I rotate the device and move to landscape, the text flows across the column normally and is easy to read. It happens on our own site but many others that I’ve read as well, so I don’t think it’s anything specific to our CSS or anything. I hope this is addressed quickly with a firmware update — assuming it’s an Android issue, of course. Here’s an example:

8. The lack of multi-touch in native apps is disappointing, but expected. Since non-U.S. versions of Android devices offer multi-touch — and patent laws are different in those geographical areas — I can only assume that Google is avoiding a legal issue with Apple on this. Regardless of the reason, the end customer suffers. I really miss multi-touch in the browser because the native zooming functions are inferior to multi-touch. I may install the Dolphin browser which offers two-finger functionality.

I could probably go on and on with both lists, but after a week of ownership, I think I’ve hit the main points. Overall, I’m finding much more to like than dislike with the handset. $529 is the most I’ve ever paid for a phone, but I’m not having any second thoughts about the purchase. Aside from being very happy with the unit and having it meet most of my needs quite well, I figure that an unlocked device of this type has good resale value. I don’t anticipate replacing it with another Android unit in the near future, but if I do, I think I’ll recoup much of my investment. And I’ll have done so with what’s arguably the best current Android phone for me.

Related GigaOM Pro Research:

Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One

70 Comments

Jason

I agree with others, this is a very useful review based on real use.

doctor-don

In the process of making calls to phones that ask for numerical input, I have found that holding the phone next to my ear-cheek can inadvertently enter numbers. Now I hold the phone away from my ear so that it does not input any unintended numbers.

On some calls, the first ring is preceded by a brief unpleasant noise. Phone calls sound no different than they did over a wired phone of a few years ago.

Get sum

know your phone. You can charge your pre while it is off. Plug in the charger then turn it off.

Kevin C. Tofel

As I said many times above, I use the Touchstone to charge the Pre. I don’t plug in a charger to the phone. When the Pre is on the Touchstone, it’s on and I’ve never been able to turn it off. In fact, if you shut down the Pre entirely and place it on the Touchstone, the phone boots and powers on.

dhw

Who reads the website in the “overview” zoomed out mode anyways?

Once you double tap to zoom in, the page is formatted perfectly.

Jake

Apart from the fact that it looks rubbish it will also lead to more scrolling if you want to quickly skim down through a long site such as Engadget.

dhw

#7 isn’t a bug. This is done on purpose. This allows zooming in and out to be faster.

the browser assumes that you will be reading the page in “zoomed in” mode, so when u zoom out, it renders the page in the zoomed in format.

Paul

And the screen’s ability to pick up smudges will betray your unlock pattern. It’s kind of funny – there’s a perpetual Z-shaped smudge on my screen, so noone with any brains would require more than 2 tries to get in. Google folks are smart – they must be laughing darkly about this one.

Paul

The on/off button is a problem. Not because it is too easy to turn the phone on, but because, without a long press required to turn it on you can’t test its on/off state without turning it on. Press quickly – if it’s on it will light up; if it’s off it will turn on. Annoyyyying.

Ricky Cadden

I have the HTC Eris and I’ve noticed the same thing about the touch-sensitive buttons – you have to more-or-less ‘swipe’ from bottom to top to really get a response, otherwise it’s missed completely.

Oliver

I guess you don’t need 3G at home (using WiFi?), but bad #2 (network coverage) would be a major concern for me, considering how annoying AT&T’s coverage and 3G availability is. Do you get 3G as you roam around your neck of the woods?

Kevin C. Tofel

Correct. Wi-Fi at home is perfectly fine for me on nearly any device I have. As soon as I head to any populated area nearby, the 3G coverage kicks in pretty quickly, so I’m not overly concerned.

Scoopster

Very thoughtful commentary here, Kevin. Hat tip to you once again for providing valuable usage-based insight and for comparing the N1 to multiple other devices. I really appreciated this and wanted to say Thanks and keep up the great work!

Tomascco

Dude, take your Pre off of the Touchstone and plug it in. I have my Pre plugged in on my bedside table, and it’s nice and dark.

Alternatively, remember the black cloth that came with the phone? Yeah, it’s more than just wiping the screen – just drape it over the Pre on the Touchstone.

Seriously.

spavis

in regards to bad#3, i feel like they expect you to hold the phone a certain way. when it’s sitting on the table i notice i’m absolutely pushing on the top half of the buttons, but when i’m holding it in my had and thumb-tapping the keyboard and 4 buttons they feel really solid and are squarely responsive. not sure if it’s over-optimized for a certain orientation or what, but yeah, it’s noticeably off when flat-typing. not being an iPhone (or other smartphone) user i can’t speak to the type input on that, but i find it to register everything very well when i’m holding it in a natural position (somewhat of an angle) in my hand.

DaveM

Two points.

I have the Droid, but the email should be the same. You state “it’s a quick menu tap to switch accounts” this is one of my complaints.

I had an MS Win Phone before and moving between email accounts was simply pressing the D button. On the Droid, I have to select Menu, “Select Accounts”, and then pick the account (half the time I accidentally pick the account I was already in by mistake). So it requires 3 steps and thought. Too much.

The second issue is I don’t understand your comment about dropping texts because of Google Voice. Google Voice doesn’t charge for SMS, but if they arrive on your phone Tmobile will.

Kevin C. Tofel

Agreed that a unified Inbox would be better and I hope they look into addressing that. But it’s better than it used to be. Until recently, the Gmail app could only do one account AFAIK. I remember having to set up my second account in the other Email app, which meant two apps for two Inboxes. Now it’s one app per many Gmail accounts.

As far as the second point, Google Voice “text messages” are simply data over the web connection, just like email, websites, tweets, etc… so any texts sent to my Google Voice number aren’t handled like T-Mobile texts and therefore don’t count against a limit. T-Mobile essentially never knows about them from a billing perspective because they’re not providing them in the traditional method. As a result, I don’t see the need to carry the text messaging plan from T-Mobile.

Mike Dagher

Perhaps you may want to add that AT&T’s 850mhz 3G frequency is NOT supported by the Nexus One. That is the only reason I decided to go with the iPhone 3GS versus the Nexus One. Full integration with Google Voice? I keep dreaming that the iPhone 3GS would have such integration, but perhaps someday Apple will allow a GVoice app.

Funny, AT&T sent me an email advertising Voicemail to Text for $9.99, rather laughable; prevent a free Google Voice app, steal the idea, then sell it.

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/basics/choosing-features-services/voicemail-to-text.jsp

Haha!

Nikolai

With respect to multitouch patents, Apple’s patent does not cover the idea of multitouch gestures. It covers their implementation of how one interprets such gestures. One patents a particular mousetrap, not the idea of a mousetrap. If you don’t understand the distinction then you don’t understand how patents work.

Furthermore, Apple did not invent the idea of pinch to zoom (for example), they were not the first to implement it, they probably don’t own the first patent on it, and even if they had all these things something so general would be unenforcable.

I don’t know why Google doesn’t use MT, but loads of other people in the US do (notably Apple’s archnemesis, Microsoft). It is highly doubtful that it is a general legal problem.

I also doubt that it’s a technical problem. HTC was able to do it on the HD2, Microsoft was able to do it in Win7, Surface, and on the Zune, Palm did it on the Pre. There are lots of smaller firms, too. Google is certainly capable of it.

To speculate, it might be a contractual problem. Apple and Google used to be in bed together, so who knows what deals they made. But of course we simply don’t know.

Chris

If you need a second battery for a Nexus One, where would you buy one? Or a screen protector, case, or any other type of accessory?

Casper Bang

Accessories are not out yet it seems. However, it would be a waste to get a screen protector; just like the Droid the Nexus One has gorilla glass [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ope6uViLcEY].

Darwin

“I can only assume that Google is avoiding a legal issue with Apple on this.”

I guess you could assume that if you were completely unaware of the fact that many devices use multi-touch and Apple does not have a patent on it. Odd that you don’t know that but keep saying you assume it is for legal reasons despite being told it is not.

how about the little teenie tiny fact that you can only install a few hundred mb worth of apps? Not an issue? It would be for most or at least mentioned as it is a showstopper for many, especially those coming from an iPhone.

Voice quality is not good.

Camera not very good.

it is slow quite often.

The fact that the number 1 app for Android is a task killer is not a good thing.

Screen is unusable outdoors. Not a challenge, unusable.

Are you trying to not piss off Google by not mentioning these really obvious issues?

Poor multi-media syncing and playback.

Soft buttons that work when they feel like it.

Poor screen tracking.

Kevin C. Tofel

The patent reason is one I’ve heard and read about, but of course, I could be wrong. Since non-U.S. versions of the same phones do support multi-touch and the patent isn’t enforceable outside the U.S., it’s a logical conclusion. Doesn’t mean that it’s correct of course, but instead of sniping, why not offer your own opinion of why it’s so?

In the course of a week, I haven’t installed many apps, so the limited space isn’t an issue that I’ve experienced. It was an issue on my Palm Pre but since I didn’t run into there, I didn’t harp on it then either. The expectation is that it’s going to be addressed shortly as well.

Voice quality not good? Are you using the Nuxes Two or the Nexus One? The secondary mic cancels out noise very well and folks I’ve spoken with say it’s crystal clear. ;)

I was going to continue with some of your other dislikes (which although blunt, do have some validity), but now that I think about it, it’s really not worth the time or effort. It became clear after re-reading the list and your approach that you consider your opinion to be fact. And the slight about not pissing Google off was totally out of line. I bought the phone for $529 of my own money through Google. If anything, they should be looking to not piss me off as a customer. ;)

Chris

Somebody sounds upset with their purchase of the Nexus. lol

Some of your issues are subjective(it is slow quite often) and some are valid. But Kevin is a fairly objective and probably did not run into all of the issues you have.

One of your points intrigued me: Voice quality is not good.
The nexus one has a Audience A1026 voice processor that can isolate caller voice from undesirable surrounding noise.

Also, **Heres apples patent on multitouch: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339661,00.asp

Not sure why the pre can have it and android cant.

HSK

“Also, **Heres apples patent on multitouch: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339661,00.asp

Not sure why the pre can have it and android cant.”

Because Palm probably could counter sue Apple over patents also – so Palm does the ol middle finger on that one. However, Google is still treading lightly and wants to remain “friends” for a while. They’ll just try to crush Apple with Android volumne! ;-)

DanC

“I guess you could assume that if you were completely unaware of the fact that…”

Kevin- I applaud you for being kind/patient enough to simply use the word “blunt” to describe this. Bravo! I am continually trying to understand why folks with good insights and comments feel it is okay to make them in such “blunt” (I would use some other ahem terms to describe it) manner…

That aside…

I appreciate the balanced pro and cons you share here. After my debacle with trying to get one while still at CES I just got notification than mine shipped. I am eager to sopend some time with the device.

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Great to meet you at CES and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Nexus One once it arrives! :)

Gabe

On balance would you recommend N900 or Nexus One? I’m predisposed to Nokia (currently on N95 8GB, which is great), but a little put off by the size of the N900. I don’t use Gmail much and don’t especially plan to.

Thanks!

Kevin C. Tofel

Gabe, I think it totally depends on your needs and your experience with smartphones. After using both devices, I think your average mainstream consumer would be happier with the Android experience and apps. A power user that likes to tinker and has more of a computing background (especially with Linux) would appreciate the N900. I know that might sound like a non-answer to some, but it’s a starting point for discussion and everyone’s needs / backgrounds are different.

The N900 actually has the same footprint as the Nexus One, although it’s obviously thicker. About twice as thick. However, if you value a hardware keyboard, it has a great one, which is partially contributing to the thickness. And it’s quite a multi-tasker too, however the choice of apps is far fewer right now.

Since you have a Nokia N95 and say that it’s “great,” I think the N900 is worth the look for you. Had you not said that, I probably would have suggested checking Android first.

Gib Wallis

Another thoughtful review.

I got my Nexus One two days ago and I’m loving it.

My battery life is pretty bad, though. I fully charged it on Day 1 before turning it on (I usually never wait) and after three hours of heavy use it was almost dead.

The USB charger seems much slower than USB chargers for BlackBerry’s so far.

I watched videos and read reviews, so I installed the Dolphin browser right away. Originally just so that when I show off the phone to iPhone owning friends that they can pinch to zoom and not get stuck on that. But I like seeing the tabs since I use tabbed browsing on my Mac.

I haven’t found it easy to turn on the phone accidentally — just the opposite! The default power down/sleep/dark screen mode seems to have very fast and the screen doesn’t seem to light up for notifications, so if an email comes in when it’s sitting on the table, it seems to take a little effort to wake up the screen and unlock. It’s never turned itself on in my pocket.

Casper Bang

Nice review, pretty much in agreement! I’d add a few more things though:

+ Plays full 720p (the HD2, iPhone does not)
+ Great build quality (like original iPhone, but anti-slip rather than polished alu)
+ Gorilla glass like the Droid (unlike the iPhone)
+ Battery and storage can be exchanged easily

– Home screen doesn’t rotate
– A few apps don’t yet work on it (i.e. Labyrinth)

Also keep in mind, the N1 will get an additional 150MB RAM available with next kernel and the ability to install apps on microSD. Hopefully Google will flick Apple the finger regarding multi-touch.

Darwin

Nobody knows when you can install apps on SD and Google isn’t saying. Google is having issues allowing apps to run in a sandbox without setting aside memory for apps only. Yes for a Linux based OS released in 2010 yet Google can’t seem to manage it.

Once again Apple has nothing to do with Google inability to implement usable multi-touch. Their euro phones have it but it is dog slow and has about half the functionality of the iPhones multi-touch. Which is most likely why it is not implemented yet on Android phones in the U.S.

Casper Bang

Sure it has everything to do with it! I am a European, the reason why we have multi-touch on the Milestone is because here we don’t allow software patents. Since you have that in the US, and Google is afraid to take the battle with Apple, you don’t get multi-touch in Google’s apps. It is not dog slow, that’s just a ridiculous thing to say and smells of FUD.

James Kendrick

HTC has put multitouch on some of its Android phones too. They are the only company so far who has taken it on themselves to use it on Android.

In an interview yesterday, Motorola CEO said that its Android phones going forward would have multitouch. Note that Motorola’s Android phones have had multitouch outside the US, none in the US. There’s definitely something US-related afoot.

bigbradbad

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant in #3 about the pre having to be on when charging, but I just got a Pre and when I plug it in at night I just hit the power button, the screen stays off and it still charges. Granted it will light up when there’s a notification, but just turn it upside down and turn down the notifications volume, not a problem at all.

Kevin C. Tofel

What you’ve described is putting the device in a sleep state, not powered down, which is different. After all, if it was powered down, how would the notification light be able to turn on? ;)

But it is just a very minor issue, all things considered. I have to remember to turn off the ringer with the Pre and because I use the Touchstone, the screen is actually never off. It shows the time, so that’s what I meant by a glow at night. I’m guessing you don’t use the Touchstone since you said you turn the phone upside down.

GadgetMerc

I use an App called BuzzOff on my G1 quite a bit. Its a time or location based notification selector. For instances, when i go into a movie theater i set it to turn my phone notifcations off until i leave the theater. As soon as I leave the theater it turns the volume to loud and vibrate on. It does it in a few touches. Often I will turn it back on manually when the movie is over, but its nice for the times i forget.

HSK

@GadgetMerc – that is one app/feature I miss from my WM days on the iPhone now. WM will auto-set the phone to vibrate based on meetings on your calendar. Notification options – and a better Inbox view – are all I really miss with the current iPhone.

GadgetMerc

Another great review Kevin. I would like to recommend you try using Handcent as your SMS client. Check it out on the market and let me know what you think of it. Its the very first thing I install when I reinstall the OS.

Amorphous

@ Chris Smith: WebOS’s true multitasking is a deal maker for me. Android is a nice OS. It has more apps, supports widgets, and integration with Google services is obviously much better, among other slick functions. I think when it comes down to it though, at least for some, myself included, webOS devices offer the most natural and user friendly UI of any OS.

Yev

Probably one of the best and most honest reviews I’ve read of the Nexus One.

HSK

Good write up KC – you always seem to be able to do well with such “reviews” w/o seeming biased to any one platform. IMO, one of the really cool aspects of Android – and this device (well, other than it is NOT an iPhone on ATT for many adoptees) – is the Google apps integration. As you stated, GMail is “heavenly” and GV integration is nice too. For me, I am don’t really have a need for those services (at least not yet), so Android is just another “new” OS. I am really happy with my 3GS and am looking forward to the next version, but I might pick up an Android device when ATT gets’em to play with for a bit or as a second phone.

Chris Smith

Multi-tasking on any Android phone doesn’t really feel like multi-tasking to me yet. It feels like the equivalent of multi-tasking on a Windows Mobile phone.

The only phone that comes close to multi-tasking greatness would be the Palm Pre, with it’s clever notifications and card system. This really feels natural to me as a user, and I have found that after using the Pre for some months and going to an Android device that I tend to try and “swipe” applications off the screen. It just seems natural.

I love my Droid though and love Android as a whole.

Chris

I second this. I find the Hero lacking in true multi-tasking. I’m not a fan of Application Killers. I hope google creates its own mulitasker/appkiller, this is androids big weakness at the moment.

Jake

Yes, Palm certainly seem to have perfected application switching on a small screen. I’m not sure why competitors aren’t rushing to include similar functionality rather than less useful things like multi-touch.

Chris Smith

Probably has something to do with intellectual property. I am sure that the webOS Card system is patented like crazy.

Aaron

#7 is not an issue at all. It’s a setting.

Go into the settings of the browser and uncheck “Auto-fit pages”

What you’re seeing in the first picture is the browser formatting the text column to fit the exact width of your screen when you touble tap to zoom in to it.

Kevin C. Tofel

Actually, it’s an issue *and* a setting. ;)

When I first noticed this issue, I poked around in the settings and saw exactly what you described. I unchecked “Auto-fit pages” and you’re correct that fixed the issue. But it introduced another similar issue. With the setting off, a double tap zoom doesn’t give me the text reflow, which causes a massive amount of scrolling left and right. It’s like the exact opposite problem I was trying to solve, so I’m still calling this an issue for now. I’m sure it’s fixable via software and since the zooming works “correctly” with Auto-fit on, I’m leaving it on. That way I only have to zoom and scroll vertically, not zoom and scroll both vertically and horizontally.

dhw

I don’t consider this a bug. Its a feature and I hope google doesn’t “fix” it.

Vedas

I have a HTC MyTouch and it has the same problem with certain sites, when the device is in vertical orientation.

James Kendrick

Actually, I just went back and looked at my video of the Droid. It also displayed the same column effect, so I’ll bet it’s an issue with Android 2.x. All Android phones with 1.x have worked fine.

dev

Correct, it happens on the droid as well. This is a design element of the android browser in 2.x. The double tap to zoom pulls into a fixed size, unlike on the iphone where it zooms to the width of the html element you tap. So by default it sizes all text to fit the width that will read properly when you zoom in.

I don’t find it a big deal, you just have to understand why. Also, if you need a particular page to display right temporarily, zoom in with the controls on screen rather than double tap and the browser will reset the width to normal.

Jake

I agree with James. The Opera browser on my HD2 is able to display a webpage properly and then reflow text when you zoom in to ensure that it fits the screen perfectly. It seems to me that this is a better way of dealing with zooming than to “pre-zoom” the text when zoomed out.

Internet Explorer behaves the way the Android browser behaves and it leadds to a poorer quality browsing experience.

JDC

The Dolphin Browser changes the feel of Android devices greatly. As a DROID user, I found the Dolphin browser much better than the built-in app. The ability to select small buttons, the responsiveness and yes the multitouch capability of the Dolphin browser make the device much better. The other app that made a huge difference was Touchdown, which made the Exchange connection super with its general mailbox for all new exchange mail. No longer would I have to go find new mail in a folder or subfolder.

turn.self.off

one note about multitasking. If i remember the talks about android from before the G1 launched, what android do is storing where you left of in some app, so that when you return, it may start the app again, rather then have it running (unless you used it recently), but it will still bring you back to where you left it.

i think it keeps about 5 apps running, where the oldest will be dropped if a 6th is started.

Darwin

Regardless of how many apps run it is quite easy for apps to hog processor and memory until killed by an add on task manager. Not to mention the effect on battery life.

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