Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day One with the Nexus One

Not that it should come as any surprise to those who know me, but I did buy an unlocked Nexus One
 earlier this week.  For those living under a shell, or simply not as geeky as me, the Nexus One is a new smartphone running the Android operating system that was designed by Google and HTC.  The phone was built buy HTC, but it is sold by Google direct.  This is Google's first foray into the direct sales market for Android phones (or anything else for that matter), and appears to be an attempt to slowly shake up the way that mobile phones are sold in the US.

Prior to receiving the Nexus One I was a Blackberry Storm user on the Verizon network.  I had the opportunity to carry both the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Eris, each for a few weeks after they were released.  They were my first introductions to the Android OS, and gave me a good idea of what to expect.    Making the change from Verizon to T-Mobile was perhaps the hardest part of the transition, especially since T-Mobile coverage is no where near as good as Verizon.  I should also point out that I am a heavy user of Google products, and a fairly entrenched fanboy of those products.  So why make the switch now?
  • Unlocked Phone:  I really do not like being locked into a contract with a wireless carrier.  The Nexus One is sold unlocked (though it is certainly not the only phone) and for full price.  This allows me to take advantage of a month to month service plan.
  • T-Mobiles Plan:  I am saving quite a bit of money with the 59.99 plan from T-Mobile.  I get 500 minutes of talk with unlimited everything else.  The most important part is that this is a month to month price.  The only downside I have found is that the month to month plan is not eligible for the discount they give for work.
  • Android:  After using the Droid for two weeks I knew that I needed to switch to Android.  I will mention the Gmail client in a bit, but it is just one of the many reasons that heavy Google users should be considering Android.
I have had the phone for a little over a day now.  My thoughts on the phone after spending time to configure and play?
  • The screen is awesome.  I have heard people say that they think the screen on the Droid is better, but I disagree.  The N1 screen is bright and vivid.  Colors look great, and I am not seeing any pixelization.  The Droid screen was never as bright or crisp.
  • The touch screen is pretty good, but I am noticing some times where I need to tap an icon more than once to get it to register.  I have also noticed that when I am in the application list I sometimes need to scroll up a little before I can scroll down.  My hope is that this can be tweaked via software, because the screen is generally very responsive to touch.
  • The speed increase over the Droid is noticeable.  The phone switches between apps faster, scrolls through lists and web pages faster with less stutter, and flies through the Facebook widget better than on the Droid.  The FB widget on the Droid was very slow to switch between posts.
  • The device itself is thin and light and fits very nicely in the hand.  The power button is easy to press, but not so much so that you bump it.  The button on the Droid was a pain in the ass to push.  I like the inclusion of the trackball.  Something like this is a godsend when trying to edit something in the middle of a block of text.  The volume rocker on the N1 is as poorly placed and sensitive as the Droid, so easy to bump.  It is especially bad when using the camera.
  • My T-Mobile experience has been great so far.  It did take a while for my number to port from Verizon (about 14 hours), but I don't think that is their fault.  Phone call quality on the N1 is amazing, better than Verizon in my very limited testing.  I am sure this is at least in part due to the phone, but is also a factor of the T-Mobile network.
  • The network speed at my house for 3G is faster on T-Mobile. With my Storm and N1 right next to each other my N1 is getting 502 Kbps and the Storm is getting...well the Storm hasn't even loaded the test page yet.  In general though I am seeing 200 - 400 Kbps faster on T-Mobile around Houston and Pearland.
Let me finish up by saying two things.  First, the out of box experience for the N1 was very nice.  I am perhaps not the best judge, but it seemed very straight forward and easy.  Second, to all of my family and friends who use Verizon, I am sorry but you will need to pay to call me now.  Oh and you have no excuse not to use my Google Voice number now.  :)

Here are a few useful links about the Nexus One:

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