Wed, 26 Nov 2008 T-Mobile G1 review
Google lines up to take its first shot at the smartphone market, Macworld says hello to Android
- Manufacturer: HTC
- Distributor: T-Mobile
- Pros: Faster web browser than iPhone; seamless integration with Google calendar, Gmail and contacts, Android Market has free applications and no restrictions; GPS and 3G built in; full QWERTY keyboard with backlit keys
- Cons: Syncing contacts and calendars can be tricky (especially if you don't use Google's online apps); both syncing and playing music and movies is awkward; no on-screen keyboard and you quickly tire of flipping out the keys to enter text; no multi-touch functionality; apps are generally of a lower standard than on the iPhone
- Min specs: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; HSDPA/WCDMA: 2100MHz, up to 7.2Mb/s down-link (HSDPA) and 2Mb/s up-link (HSUPA) speeds; Qualcomm MSM7201A, 528MHz processor; Google Android operating system; 256MB ROM; 192MB RAM; 3.2in TFT-LCD plastic touch-sensitive screen with 320x480 (HVGA) resolution; trackball with Enter button; slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard; GPS navigation capability with built-in GPS receiver and map software; Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate; Wi-Fi 802.11b/g; 11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one; 3.2Mp camera with fixed focus; built-in mic and speaker; ringtone formats: AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, WMA, WMV, 40 polyphonic and standard MIDI format; rechargeable lithium-ion battery, 1150mAh; 2GB microSD memory card included (SD 2.0 compatible); 117x55x17mm; 158g with battery
- Price: Free handset, £30 per month (18 month contract)
- Star rating:
In many ways it's a shame that the T-Mobile G1 has been lined up as a potential "iPhone killer", because that's a hard tag to live up to. And we'll get straight to the point and say: "no, it isn't".
No "ifs", no "buts", this is not the iPhone killer. It's not even close to Apple's amazing iPhone 3G. Having said that, we are still enamoured with the first mobile phone to sport Google's Android operating system, and genuinely enjoyed testing this phone.
When Google first announced Android we were all expecting an actual Google phone, and we admit to being slightly disappointed to discover that Google was merely producing an operating system for other companies to use. It turns out that our disappointment was merited. In the G1 there is an overwhelming sense of mismatch between hardware/software from disparate companies, and this is an area where Apple capitalises with both its world-beating smartphone and its Mac computers.
Looking over the T-Mobile G1, you quickly become aware that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen: T-Mobile is the UK network provider, who will sell you the phone (‘give' you, after signing up for an 18-month contract); the T-Mobile G1 handset is from Taiwan-based handset manufacturer HTC; and the touchy-feely interface is of course from the US search-engine behemoth Google.
Before we dive into the finer features of Android, we'd like to turn first to the HTC G1 handset. Here we have a rather clunky looking slab with upbent talking end, at 17mm-thick (rather stouter than is de rigeur these days). If the extra girth had gone into fitting a battery that enables standby for more than two days, we wouldn't mind so much, but we did find its longevity – before taking on long calls or browsing the web – was around 48 hours. At least it meets the iPhone head-on in this respect.
The T-Mobile G1's build quality, whilst not bad, is far from luxurious. "Agricultural" may be a better word. Holding it closed as a normal phone, you still feel the screen wobble slightly on its scissor hinge, and when it’s fully open, the screen does not sit true to the rest of the phone, but at a slight angle that cheapens the overall effect.
The T-Mobile handset, made by HTC, shows good buld quality but lacks the flair of other HTC phones
NEXT: Sizing up the T-Mobile G1 hardware
Sat, 06 Dec 2008Reviewed by: mattmook
Duration of ownership: 1 months
Strengths: Some nice ideas in the browser such as the zoomed out scrolling view.
Weaknesses: Clunky interface to match a chunky phone. Google promised so much but failed to deliver. Google store is no patch for Apple's App Store.
Overall Evaluation: The bastardized child of an iPhone and a BlackBerry. It pales in comparison to both Apple and RIMs offerings. Handset feels cheap with an awkward shape. You feel almost too embarrassed to get it out in public. Some nice touches in the software but poorly polished, feeling half finished. The Google phone OS needs to mature. No iPhone killer yet.