The Nexus One Review Mix

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Screen/Physical Design

Endgadget:  The body of the handset is comprised of what appears to the eye as two interlocking pieces, a main, dark gray housing (coated in a soft-touch treatment) which is intersected and wrapped by a lighter gray, smooth, almost metallic band. The overall effect is fluid, though we're not crazy about the choice of coloring — we would have liked to see something a little more consistent as opposed to the two-tone, particularly when the choice of hues is this drab and familiar. Still, the shape and size of the phone is absolutely fantastic; even though the surface of the device houses a 3.7-inch display, the handset generally feels trimmer and more svelte than an iPhone, Hero, and certainly the Droid.  Despite the minor niggles, HTC and Google have put together pretty damn good looking and feeling phone; it's not without faults, but they're pretty few and far between.

Techcrunch: The most obvious hardware feature of the phone is the 480 x 800 OLED capacitive touch screen. Combined with the Snapdragon chipset the phone is a real workhorse. But Google has also included other more-than-nice touches.

Gizmodo: The AMOLED screen is gorgeous, and all the colors pop to the point that it makes both the iPhone 3GS and the Droid look washed out. It's really, really good. And it has a generous 480×800 resolution‚Äîslightly shorter than the Droid's, but still very ample for a phone, when compared to the iPhone's 320×480.

The Nexus One is probably HTC's best looking phone to date. The body is made up of two different materials: a metallic bezel that surrounds the front and side of the phone, which curves around to a custom-engraveable strip on the back. The battery cover and bottom of the phone are both covered in a rubbery plastic material that's solid and grippy, yet soft and pleasant. It's also thinner and lighter and curvier than the iPhone 3GS, and is much less sharp and masculine than the Droid.

PC Magazine: The OLED screen on the Nexus One is spectacular‚Äîblacks looked inky black. Next to an iPhone and Motorola Droid, the colors on the Nexus One were vivid.  I didn't find the body of the Nexus One to be as spectacular as its display, but it's just my taste. It's thin and sleek like an iPhone, but has a plastic feel whereas every part of the iPhone feels like a sheath of glass.

Wired: Physically, the Nexus One is as pleasing as any phone in the market. The HTC-manufactured device (built to Google's specs) is like an iPhone with curvy corners, cast in a classy burnished gray with a black frame around a brilliant 3.7-inch 800 x 400-pixel OLED (!) screen. There are four hard-wired touch controls on the bottom of that frame, including one that instantly brings up a search box

C-Net: Though sleek and attractive, the Nexus One's candy bar, touch-screen-only design doesn't break new design ground. With its trackball and prominent display, it looks a bit like both the HTC Hero and the HTC Droid Eris. At 4.56 inches by 2.36 inches by 0.47 inch, it's about the same size as the Droid Eris, the Hero, and the iPhone, but it weighs just 4.58 ounces The two-toned gray color scheme is standard smartphone, but the handset has a comfortable and very solid feel in the hand.

Classic Buzz: As we said in the intro — and our previous hands-on write up — the Nexus One is nothing if not handsome. From its ultra-thin body to sleek, curved edges, the phone is absolutely lustworthy. While it’s unmistakably HTC, there are plenty of design cues that feel authentically Google as well — and it’s that balance which makes the phone such an intriguing piece of hardware.

Wall Street Journal: It has a larger screen than Apple's phone, and is a bit thinner, narrower and lighter—if a tad longer.

Boy Genius Report: When you think of an AMOLED screen you probably think bright, beautiful colors, crisp, sharp detailing, and you also probably think, “that might not be the best screen to use at the beach.” And, if you thought that last part, you’d be right. The screen on the Nexus One, while gorgeous, is not usable in direct sunlight and it’s rather depressing. Getting over the sunlight issue, the screen isn’t as rich as the Motorola DROID’s display, unfortunately. We didn’t miss the actual resolution in terms of having more room, but the DROID’s display doesn’t show pixelation like the Nexus One does, and just honestly seems like a better product. Now, before you get too worked up, the Nexus One display is in and of itself great, but if you’d like to know the best of the best, it would have to be the DROID’s display.


Endgadget:  The phone is fast, assuredly, but not so much of a leap up from the Droid that we felt it kept pace with the boost we were expecting.

Techcrunch: This phone is also powered by the Snapdragon 1 GHz core processor, which is more than able to handle the Nexus One’s 3D graphics, multiple applications running in the background and heavy browser use simultaneously. Unlike previous Android phones, there is no slowdown or lag when you push the phone’s performance, and less of a need to kill applications to keep the device humming.

: One of Google's core values is that when things run things faster people use them more and like them more. True to its principles, Google has loaded the Nexus One with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. I haven't done the metrics, but the thermometer meters that indicate how fast something loads on the Nexus definitely zip by faster than on other phones. The speed provides a halo effect that really heightens the pleasures of using the Nexus One.

Boy Genius Report: We’ve got a big, bright 3.7? AMOLED capacitive 800×480 display, a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512MB of RAM, world-wide 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash among other things, into a tight and slim 11.5mm package.

The capacitive display, while excellent, doesn‚Äôt have the same response as its largest competitor in the touch screen arena. It‚Äôs not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but we feel like the 5% or so difference  becomes noticeable with everyday usage.


Endgadget: An Android phone is really better off with a keyboard, and we were longing to get back to the Droid a number of times while using this device.

Gizmodo: We're still not big fans of typing on Android's virtual keyboard. Sure, the keys are actually responsive now, thanks to the muscle of the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, but somehow Google's word prediction still lags behind the iPhone's, and gives you strange options for when you're typing really fast on the phone. It's less of a blast-and-forget than Apple's virtual keyboards. And, coming from the iPhone, the keys here are spaced a bit too close together and a bit too tight, but if you actually prefer the iPhone's style, you can download "Better Keyboard" from the Android Marketplace.

Wall Street Journal: I also found the four buttons etched into the phone's bottom panel sticky and hard to press.


Endgadget: Instead of the drab, flat iterations of Android past, the new version is extremely attractive and user friendly, giving you far more options than before (like a nice pan and scan slideshow) and making browsing photos a much more enjoyable experience.

Techcrunch: The phone’s camera really shines. It has a large footprint on the back of the device, larger than on most phones. It’s a 5 megapixel camera with a flash, but that description doesn’t do it justice. The macro and low light features are top notch for a mobile phone.

Gizmodo: The camera app loads up a lot faster than on the Droid, and shoots a lot faster than the Droid's camera—but the image quality is similarly mediocre. Compared to HTC's earlier Windows Mobile phones, whose cameras were passably bad, the Nexus One's 5-megapixel camera is quite good, even if it doesn't have the iPhone's touch-to-focus.

 The 5-megapixel camera, with zoom and flash and editing features, takes good pictures and clear video, and can location-stamp them with GPS.

Classic Buzz: One place where the Nexus One seems to be improving things is in the camera department. Not only has Google bumped up the speed of the camera app (which we’re still not that stoked about in general), but the 5 megapixel lens and flash took sharp, detailed images with none of the HTC-related issues we’ve seen on other models.

Boy Genius Report: The camera is decent, if not semi-enjoyable to use due to the speedy processor and fast photo snaps. It’s worlds better than the Motorola DROID’s camera, in both hardware and software partly in thanks to HTC (even though they aren’t known for their excellent cameras) and partly in thanks to some refinement with Android 2.1’s camera application. Unfortunately since this is a Google Experience (read: not raped by manufacturers), some of HTC’s awesome tweaks like tap to focus aren’t present. It’s such an invaluable feature for a touch screen device with a camera, and it’s a shame it’s not in here. In general, echoing our thoughts from the DROID review, though, Android’s default camera application is mediocre at best, slightly frustrating, and mildly confusing.

Operating System/Software

Endgadget: Well the real story is that Android 2.1 is in no way dramatically different than the iteration of the OS which is currently running on the Motorola Droid (2.0.1). In fact, there is so little that's different in the software here, we were actually surprised. Of the notable changes, many are cosmetic — if there are major underlying differences between this OS and the one on the Droid, we can't see what they are. Still, there ARE changes, so here's a peek at just what Google has cooked up for the new phone.

Gizmodo: The Nexus One runs on Android 2.1, which will make its way to many other phones, like the Droid, fairly soon. This means that all these great features will be available on some older phones—HTC and Moto for sure—so you may not have to buy all new hardware to take advantage of these capabilities. And take advantage you will.

PC Magazine: The Android experience is just flat-out fast. Not to say my Motorola Droid is slow; applications consistently load and close extremely fast and applications fly. But what is not consistent are the flashy graphics transitions that take place when I close applications. Sometimes an application will dissolve into the homescreen; sometimes it will just flash to the homescreen. The dissolving transitions on the Nexus One were consistently smooth, though I don't know if it's because it has a faster processor or because it has the newer software build, Android 2.1 versus the Motorola Droid Android 2.0.1.

Wired: The Nexus One offers one of the more coherent implementations of the Android interface, which can sometimes be a bit rough around the edges. It's easy to switch between the five screens that hold app icons and widgets, and you can get a thumbnail view of any of the screens by touching a dot on the home screen. Widgets are hit and miss: The Facebook widget just highlights single updates. But the constantly updating news and weather widget was always worth a look, as evidenced by the update onscreen as I write this: "Sheen's mother-in-law has misgivings."

C-Net: As an Android phone, the Nexus One has everything you'd expect from the OS. The contacts menu is limited by the available memory, but each entry can store multiple fields for phone numbers, street addresses, work information, e-mails, URLs, instant-messaging handles, nicknames, and notes. Contacts are automatically synced from your Gmail account, and you can also sync Facebook and Microsoft Exchange contacts. We did both and the process took just seconds.

Classic Buzz: Now, the big story with the Nexus One (besides how it’s being sold — we’ll get to that in a minute) has been the rumored alterations or updates Google has made with Android 2.1. There’s been talk that this is somehow the “real Android,”
a suggestion that other, earlier versions weren’t true to Google’s mold. There’s been talk that the Nexus One is worth the hype, and will blow people away when they see what this version of Android can do. Mostly, there’s been a lot of talk. So, what’s really the story here?

Boy Genius Report: And while in our testing Android 2.1 worked reasonably well, we just can’t get over the fact that in addition to software inconsistencies which we’ll touch on below, there are still small slow downs and hiccups even with this 1GHz processor.


PC Magazine: A few new additions in Android 2.1 include a quick view of all your homescreens, a weather and Google news app and a revamp of the screen where all of the applications are laid out.

C-Net: Like other Android phones, the Nexus One forces you to store apps on the internal memory.  The media player remains average, and it's missing some wanted features like multi-touch support, dual-mode capability for GSM and CDMA networks, and hands-free Bluetooth dialing. Currently, Outlook calendar syncing is not available.

The enhanced voice capabilities worked flawlessly, and the phone delivers solid performance.

Classic Buzz
: The phone also has 512MB of both RAM and ROM, but those hoping for new application storage options will find themselves out of luck yet again — you’re still limited to that small partition for app use.

Wall Street Journal: The iPhone still retains some strong advantages. It boasts well over 100,000 third-party apps—around 125,000 by some unofficial estimates—versus around 18,000 for the Android platform. And it has vastly more memory for storing apps, so you can keep many more of them on your phone at any one time. On the Nexus One, only 190 megabytes of its total 4.5 gigabytes of memory is allowed for storing apps. On the $199 iPhone, nearly all of the 16 gigabytes of memory can be used for apps.

The Nexus One, and other Android devices, still pale beside the iPhone for playing music, video and games.


Endgadget: The Nexus fared as well as our iPhone did when traveling, but — surprise, surprise — neither of these could touch Verizon.

Wired: I used my Nexus with T-Mobile, which had good 3G coverage in New York City and zero network coverage of any sort in my place in western Massachusetts. I was able to make phone calls, though, by swapping my SIM card with the one from my AT&T iPhone.

Wall Street Journal: One carrier is ready to support the Nexus One on day one: the U.S. arm of T-Mobile, a longstanding Google partner. The new Google Phone, built by HTC of Taiwan, will cost $529 unlocked direct from Google, at It will cost $179 from T-Mobile online with a two-year contract that will set you back $79.99 a month.

Also, because it will be available on the large, well-regarded Verizon 3G network, the Nexus One could tempt American iPhone users, tired of problems with AT&T, to switch.

Boy Genius Report: If T-Mobile actually had coverage… Joking aside, the Nexus One, as a phone, is the best phone we’ve ever used. It sounds so, so great and is really refreshing to be able to have an excellent and smooth voice exchange with another party. In addition to the call sounding great on our end, the call also sounds absolutely perfect for the other person as well. Why, you ask? Because HTC has ingeniously integrated dual microphones for superior noise-cancellation. It’s been done before in other applications, in some form or another — Motorola has long had CrystalTalk — but it’s the best implementation on a phone that we’ve ever used. Literally, you could be on the busiest street in New York City with babies crying, cabs honking, wind blowing, and there’s a decent enough chance that the person you’re speaking to on the other end wouldn’t even notice. And oh yeah, it will be supported by Verizon Wireless this “Spring” so you can pair that with “America’s Most Reliable Network.”


Endgadget: In terms of earpiece quality and volume, it's certainly on par with its contemporaries, providing a loud, reasonably clean talking experience, though it doesn't touch the Droid in terms of call clarity and evenness.

Gizmodo; The speaker on the back of the phone, used for speakerphone and for speakers when playing music, is fine. Not fantastic, just fine.

Battery Life

Endgadget: We did see a dip when taking long calls, which indicates that this might not be a charge-free device day to day if you've got some serious gossip to dish.

Techcrunch: On the downside: all this hardware bling is an energy hog. The screen will self adjust brightness and Google is smart about turning down the processor when it’s not being used. But I’ve found battery life to be woefully brief, even by iPhone standards. Officially the phone has up to 7 hours talk time, 250 hours standby, 5 hours of 3G Internet use, 7 hours of video playback and 20 hours of audio playback. Unofficially, I was able to kill the fully charged battery with 1.5 hours of continuous gameplay (Robo Defense) on the full-brightness screen. Be prepared to keep this phone near a charger at all times. You can easily view what’s using the battery, though (the screen is 71% of my current usage), and then adjust the hardware or software usage to maximize battery life.

Gizmodo: Battery life lasts around a day with normal use, which includes calling, browsing, Google Mapping, push Gmailing and clothed sexting. That's on par with other smartphones now, and won't see much change until we get a dramatic boost in battery technology.

Wired: At one point, I peeked at the phone's power meter and found that screen was eating up half the energy. This is a real problem: When I failed to recharge the Nexus during the night, it would inevitably be dead the next morning. The battery's official ratings are impressive ‚Äî seven hours 3G talk time, seven hours video. Indeed, talking or using media didn't run things down too quickly, but the promised and paltry five hours of 3G internet use ‚Äî along with the drain from the screen ‚Äî is an issue for a device that urges you to use the internet all the time.  You can replace the removable battery on the fly, but Google clearly intends for customers to make use of the power management widget that dims the screen.

Classic Buzz: Thus far we haven’t had any major shockers when it came to power drain, and that AMOLED screen seems to go easy on things even when cranked up to a pretty stark setting. That said, we did see a dip when taking long calls, which indicates that this might not be a charge-free device day to day if you’ve got some serious gossip to dish. We’re going to be running some more tests this week to see how the phone performs over a lengthier stretch of time, and we’ll let you guys know how it fares.

Wall Street Journal: The Nexus One claims seven hours of talk time versus five hours for the iPhone, most of its battery-life claims for other functions are weaker than Apple's.

Boy Genius Report: The Nexus One ships with a 1400mAh battery, and while you’d think that 1GHz CPU would run through that battery like a Kenyan track star, the battery actually holds up quite well. Power users are probably going to have to have a charging station visit at some point during a long day, but for regular phone, browser, email, and multimedia usage, the Nexus One actually almost lasted an entire day.

Final Word

< strong>Endgadget: The Nexus One is at its core just another Android smartphone. It's a particularly good one, don't get us wrong — certainly up there with the best of its breed — but it's not in any way the Earth-shattering, paradigm-skewing device the media and community cheerleaders have built it up to be.

Techcrunch: Unlike previous Android phones, and I’ve used most of them, the Nexus One has no obvious flaws or compromises. The phone is the state of the art in mobile, and I will use it happily.

Gizmodo: Google's Nexus One is the best Android phone available right now, and we're seeing as high or higher interest in this than the Droid, which had Verizon's million-dollar marketing campaign behind it.

Wired: WIRED You can buy a Nexus One unlocked. Spiffy design. Bright screen. Runs Usain Bolt fast. The voice recognition works in virtually any text field.

TIRED Awkward syncing with computers. Lacks multitouch gestures. Considering its central placement, the trackball is rather underwhelming.

C-Net: It doesn't have all the features we'd like, but the Nexus One greatly enhances the Google Android family with a fast processor, good call quality, and improved voice control features. What's more, we love that all versions of the phone will be unlocked.

Wall Street Journal: With its fresh phone and bold business model, Google is taking Android to a new level, and that should ramp up the competition in the super-smart-phone space.

Boy Genius Report: The Nexus One is the best Android phone to date, and if you love your Android devices, this is the phone that beats them all. There are always going to be new handsets around the corner — HTC isn’t slowing down, Motorola is pushing forward, and countless other manufacturers are pumping out handsets — but right now, this is it. Now, if you ask us if the Nexus One is the phone for you, we’re not sure. If you’re stepping up from another basic smartphone or regular phone, there is little doubt you’ll be drawn in by the beautiful screen, the oh-so-easy Gmail and Google service integration, and a solidly built handset with amazing phone capabilities. However, if you’re coming from a BlackBerry or iPhone, we’re not sure you’ll be able to ride it out as Android still feels undercooked to us, and while the “openness” definitely shines through, we feel it might be shining a little too bright.

Check Out the Reviews Themselves!: Nexus One Revew

C-Net Nexus One Review

Classic Buzz Nexus One Review

The Wall Street Journal Nexus One Review

Boy Genius Report Nexus One Review

PC Magazine Nexus One Review

Gizmodo Nexus One Review

Techcrunch Nexus One Review

Endgadget Nexus One Review

For Motorola DROID Review Mix check here.

Take a look at some of iSmashPhone's coverage of the Google Nexus One release.

Nexus One, Day One: iPhone Comparison (Initial Impressions)

Nexus One, Day Two: iPhone Comparison – It's All About Battery Management

Nexus One, Day Three And Four: iPhone Comparison – Picture/Video Management, Android User Interface

Nexus Vs. iPhone Comparison (Day 5): Battle of the Typing – Typing Speed And Accuracy

Nexus One, Day 6: Nexus One and Speech Recognition from Google

Nexus One, Day 7 & 8: Nexus One And Google Voice Integration

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