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Nexus One Running Android 2.2 Review

After my last review of Android 2.2 running on my G1 courtesy of Cyanogen I thought it only fitting, and the opportunity presented itself for me to review a Nexus one running 2.2! This is an official 2.2 release so I will be able to get more of a feel for the real deal Vs. a cooked ROM.

Physicals
The physicals of this phone are stunning. HTC did a fabulous job. It’s a solid peice of metal. It feels solid, and well built. The design is sleek and elegant. Almost dare I say iPhonish. But not the new iPhone 4 brick, the old one that had some style and panache. HTC decided to forgo real physical buttons on the front of the phone and went with touch buttons. This was a mistake. I personally don’t like them. I find they require a different pressure to push than the screen itself (harder) so I find myself pushing them two and three times to get it right. I suppose I will get use to it. The Track ball on this phone is large, lit and easy to use. I like the design but it sticks up so significantly that it is constantly being pushed either in some sort of holster or in your pocket. The microSD card slot is inside the battery cover. The design is such that you can partially remove the card from the slot with the battery in, but not all the way. And then you can’t push it back in easily. So all in all it’s a battery remove to change the microSD card. A very bad design that dates back a long time. HTC have put a power button that locks and unlocks the phone. Again very iPhonish. Nice design and it works well. The only thing I find is my hand is small and I have difficulty holding the phone with one hand and turning on the device. The button is also on the opposite side as compared to the iPhone so it took some getting use to for me. The camera lens on the back of the phone is quite raised. I can only imagine how scratched this is going to get over time. Overall I really like the physicals of the device.

Processor
One of the stars in this device is the processor. The 1G Snapdragon. It is an amazing processor with tons of horsepower to ensure everything on the phone is smooth and elegant. When the Nexus one first came out it was one of the fastest processors on the market in a smartphone. It gives the phone and smooth and responsive feel that is a joy. It spoils you. Dare I say it again … kinda iPhonish. I am kinda shocked there is no way to control the processor speed for managing battery life. I’m not sure if the hardware and software are doing this itself, but it would be nice to be able to say I need high battery life today unclock it to a max of …

Memory
This phone was designed for Android 2! So this means that there is enough memory on the device so programmer hacks like Apps2SD are not needed. This is a welcome improvement. I have struggled with memory issues on my G1 and I believe these account for a lot of the speed issues of Android 2.2 on my G1.

Screen
The screen on this device is bright and vivid. Not as good as some of the newer devices and it can be quite hard to see in the direct sunlight. I like it. A friend has a Samsung Vibrant S and the name is really quite appropriate. It really is vibrant and much more picture like than the Nexus one. Manufacturers are really making progress on displays fast. All of course at the expense of battery life.

Onscreen keyboard
I really like physical keyboards. I’ve been struggling to find a replacement for my G1 that will do everything I want with a physical keyboard. The on screen keyboard on this device is reasonably good. Word predict works ok. I would put it just below that of an iPhone. I did find that as the phone gets busier for example playing music etc the on screen keyboard get far less responsive and I make a whole lot more mistakes. This is something I never found on the iPhone. All in all I dislike onscreen keyboards (even the iPhones). There are times it takes me two and three attempts to get the word right. It can get frustrating. On the positive side the landscape keyboard works everywhere unlike the iPhone where it is dependent on the ap supporting it. This is a mistake Apple made, they should have mandated support for portrait and landscape keyboards.

Web browser
This is the best mobile browser in the business, now with flash support available in the marketplace. It has surpassed the iPhone and pans, and zooms as well as the iPhones. An incredible feat! All this comes at a price. It can drain your battery fast. Same as on the iPhone. I ran some tests head to head with an iPhone 4 and the phones were neck and neck. Some slight differences to how Apple display things Vs how Android does.

Bluetooth
Worked flawlessly including streaming connection to my car stereo, and heart rate monitor. Not much to say it works! Since the iPhone 4 OS upgrade and continuing on the iPhone 4.1 I can not get my iPhone 3GS to stream to my car stereo.

Wired headset
The wired headset believe it or not does not have a volume control on it. When I am out and about I find a need to adjust the volume to different situations. Riding my bike for example. To have to remove the device from my pocket to do this is unbelievable. I did a quick search on the net and could not find one either. A pretty big oversight. At the very least one that had a simple resistor volume control would be most appreciated. iPhone headsets work fine and play and pause work.

Profiles
Ok, I still don’t get it, smart phones need to get smart. Add profiles. And the more things you can tie to the profile the better. Android 2.2 has only Silent and Normal. And it only controls the volume. DUMB … And a nice auto scheduler for profiles should be included. Even blackberrys have it! Come on … PLEASE!

Tethering
Tethering on the device is amazing you can do it wired to USB, over bluetooth or you can setup your own wireless hotspot and share your internet over WIFI. Incredible. Try and do that on an iPhone.

Accessories
When google released this phone they also released a desktop dock, spare battery and a fabulously designed Car dock. While I did not get a chance to play with the car dock it is well designed. The Nexus one nicely slips into the car dock, taps off power and audio, and even starts up a program specifically designed for use in the car with big buttons to access what you need!

Battery life
And now to the big crux of this device. The battery life is AWEFUL. One of the worst I have ever seen. You really need to focus on keeping an eye on where every drop of power is going. Personally the best solution would be to have a program that would allow you to control the parameters of the device based on what your doing and dial back anywhere you can to save power. Getting 12-15 hours even with light use is unacceptable. You pretty much have to carry a spare battery or be prepared for being disconnected. My luck is anytime my phone is dead is when someone will importantly need to get a hold of me. And generally I pay the price for that. So I always try and insure I never run out of battery. On this device that is a real challenge. Battery life is so bad I had to ask a few colleagues that have them if they have the same experience and they have similar.

So here are the primary battery consumers. Focus on these and minimize anytime you can to get better battery life (done in order of importance). By the way from the screen: settings, about, Battery status you can see who has been consuming power and what effect reducing a setting will have. Also shows if maybe some program is chewing up a lot of battery power.
– display … keep the brightness as low as you can. It makes a HUGE difference on this device
– 3G data … use 3G only when you need it. WIFI consumes less power than 3G. If your just doing email drop it back to 2G every chance you get.
– sync … if your calendar and contacts don’t change that often consider turning off constant syncing of them and only manually sync them when needed
– web browser … as mentioned above it loves battery 🙂
– widgets … they look cool but chew battery and memory. Be a minimalist.
– turn off bluetooth when not in use

You can also use a program like Advanced task manager free to keep an eye on programs that for some reason start up and don’t shut down the way they should using up memory and consuming power needlessly.

Summary
The Nexus one on Android 2.2 is now in my opinion the best mobile device ever supplanting the iPhone as my previous favorite. Couple this now fabulous operating system with numerous hardware vendors innovating on product design and you have a winning combination.

Here are the items that make it better in comparison to the iPhone in my opinion:
– no itunes. In fact if you are using Google for contacts/calendar/email as I am there is no need to use any sync programs whatsoever!
– web browser WITH Flash support!
– open software interface and market palce (well mostly)
– removable media support
– removable battery
– amazing program base. Everything I want is available and lots are free!

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September 27, 2010 - Posted by | Android, Electronic gadget reviews

3 Comments »

  1. […] bought myself a new toy hot on the heals of loving the Nexus one, a Telus Desire. I did my research and confirmed that the 3G frequencies this phone uses 850/1900 […]

    Pingback by HTC Desire A8182 from Telus « John Galea's Blog | October 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. car stereos that are made by Kenwooda are the best and very durable*:;

    Comment by Sleep Better : | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] wonderful device and became my favortie mobile device displacing the iPhone after reigning supreme! Read my review. But HTC are not one to stand still so they set about to improve on an already fabulous […]

    Pingback by HTC Desire A8182 Review running Android 2.1 from Telus « John Galea's Blog | October 28, 2010 | Reply


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