T-Mobile G1 review

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.

HTC T-Mobile G1

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


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