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Jay gets his hands on the hottest new Android phone, the Google Nexus One, and give the hardware the once-over.
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Google Nexus One Hardware Tour:
Hi I’m Jay Goldman and you are watching Mr. Mobile on butterscotch.com. Now today we are going to take a look at one of the most hype phone since the iPhone came out. That’s right it’s the Google Nexus One. And the real question on your mind maybe, why was this phone so hype? to mean after all it’s all it’s an Andriod phone. we’ve seen Andriod phones before well, I’ll give you a hint, it has a lot to do with the word Google on the back, this is the first time we’ve seen an Android phone actually that came from the Google mother ship. The rest of them have all been produced sort of in partnership with Google, we’ve had a recent release of the Motorola Droid. It was kind of a big deal. This is sort of over shadowed it in a lot of ways because it is actually the Google phone itself.
It’s a really nice piece of hardware, I will say that for sure, it’s designed by HTC; you can see an HTC logo at the back there. HTC has actually worked with Google on a few phones in the past, the first Andriod Phones that came out we’re all HTC models. This is again an HTC phone that’s powered by a Snapdragon CPU which is a very fast little processor and you can see in it a lot of the stuff that they’ve added into the software. A very responsive phone so hardware wise internally very nice. It’s running Android 2.1. This is the first phone that we’ve seen that’s running Android 2.1. And it opens up some interesting questions; I mean it’s running on an operating system that comes from the open handset alliance although really built by Google but sort of through the open handset alliance.
And there are bunch of companies that are members of that alliance like say Motorola, who just had a very hype marketing heavy launch of the Droid or Milestone if you’re outside of the US. And all of a sudden, it’s overshadowed by the launch of Google’s own phone so, what is that really mean? I mean as a member of the open handset alliance, I am starting to sort of question whether Google going to beat me at my own game, well, we don’t know yet. This is the first time it’s happened so I guess we’ll have to see, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at this phone.
It’s a great hand feel on this, it’s got a soft touch back, we’re seeing a little bit more of this and I really like it in some of the new products that we’ve taken a look at, it just feels nicer that cold hard plastic or even aluminum on it. So I have to say, on points over the iPhone, the back here definitely a nicer hand feel on it. In terms of dimensions compared to an iPhone, it’s almost exactly the same the same size. I mean visually they look pretty similar. This phone’s actually a little bit narrower; it’s also a little bit slimmer on the side views so a little bit thinner that way. It’s slightly taller and it’s a little bit lighter. So comparable in terms of pocket feel but this phone is slightly smaller and a little bit light.
On the back we’ve got a five mega pixel camera with an LED flash; the flashes are really nice touch when you’re taking pictures in low light. I will say that this camera tends to rely on it a little too much so if you’re comparing to an iPhone the low light pictures will be better on the iPhone without the flash, better on here with the flash obviously. The front has got a nice big 3.7-inch touch screen. This is an active matrix organic LED or an EMOLED, great display. One of the first things that people say when they take a look at the phone is “wow! That display is really bright” and they’re not lying.
It’s 480 by 800 pixels. That’s 54 pixels smaller than the Droid. And you’ll notice that really on the height on long than, you’ll surf you say it’s scrolling through a lot of email and Gmail for example. You’re going to miss that 54 pixels, I would have shown you one extra message. But compared to an iPhone at 480 by 320, your resolution is a lot higher here and that means you’re going to see things that are a lot sharper, they’re a lot crisper, you can read text that’s smaller so on the whole, really nice screen on here.
However, and there always has to be a however, there’s no multi touch. And this is a pretty controversial issue I mean multi touch only really made a—it’s soft of way into world with the iPhone and now we’ve become kind of spoiled and we’re used to it so we get a touch screen that doesn’t have it, we start trying to do hand gestures that we’re used to on an iPhone with two fingers, they don’t work on here. That really comes to play in things like Zooming in and out on photos and on Maps, rotating things around and really in gaming. We’ve gotten used to of seeing games on an iPhone platform where we can use both thumbs on the screen like this is two controllers. It doesn’t work on here, only one finger at a time.
It’s rumored that this hardware actually supports multi touch and that this phone may in fact have it in other regions of the world when it gets released there, so it may in fact be a patent issue or a legal issue along those signs and hopefully something that Google can resolve. The phone is definitely less useful because of the lack of multi touch and there are Android Phones on the market that have it so a point to keep in mind when you’re looking to buy the phone.
On the front we’ve got also four soft keys here, you can see the icons underneath the screen, they are use throughout the operating system for various different things and we’ve actually seen the same four soft keys in a hard format on the droid so, this seems to be becoming a bit of an emerging Android standard. It’s not one I’m a huge fan of, I find of getting a way a little bit when typing but on the whole, it’s useful to have them here and you just have to remember to use them. So sometimes, you get to a careen where you can’t see an obvious way out of it. Use the back button then these are hidden in here, you can get to your homescreen that kind of soft.
That little roller ball down here, works exactly the same way as it does in a BlackBerry so if you’re coming from the BlackBerry, well do, you feel quite at home. You can roll the ball, you can also click. And this particular one glows when you got a new message so it acts as a new message indicator.
Bottoms got charging ports for docking this, you can buy different docks. It’s also got a micro USB port and that’s the standard, and we’re seeing it as an emerging standard on a lot of phone so if you are coming from the blackberry world and you bought a—one of the more recent BlackBerry models, you’re micro USB charger will pop right in there and you’ll be able to charge it this of course comes with one of the box as well.
Up on the top here, we’ve got the lock button that locks and unlocks the screen, it’s actually the only thing it does, so tapping on the ball won’t do anything. Point to either mine, you’ve also got your standard headphone jack which is really nice because we don’t have to buy proprietary headphones and this of course comes with headphones in the box so we’ve got a little set of headphones right there, we’ve got a micro USB cable, we’ve got a charging cable, that’s still in the box and we’ve got a little sleeve that you can pop it in that’s got the fun little Android character right there on the front.
Battery life seems to be about on power with the iPhone 3GS. I get through a full day of using this and I’ve got about 20% left so that’s not bad, you probably want to plug it in every night all the same but it’s not a bad battery life and it’s certainly a reusable one.
One of the things that was rally hyped upped about this phone when it was coming out was that Google was going to completely revolutionize the sales process. I guess in a way they sort of did because you can buy it directly from their website but the truth is that, it’s an expensive phone, unsubsidized and it’s a similar price to iPhone subsidized and you have to but a T-mobile to your contract to get that price. So you know not the huge revolution I think people we’re kind of hoping for. All the same if you’re in the US right now, you can go to google.com/phone and you can buy one directly from there and they will ship it to you, you can even get it customized, this one says Butterscotch.com on the back.
If you’re not in the US, you’ll get a little message that says you can’t buy this phone in your region yet. Now there are obviously ways around that if you know what you’re doing and you’ve got a proxy and that kind of stuff or just a friend in the US who wants to buy a phone and send it to you. The good news is the $529.00 unlocked version which is what this one actually is will work anywhere in the world that supports GSM, the $179.00 locked version will be cheaper but tied into your contract on T-mobile.
A point about the unlocked version, this phone actually uses a slightly weird band for it’s 3G data so although you’ll get GSM voice and probably edge data using the unlock version pretty much anywhere, you may not actually get 3G, so if you're looking to use this phone outside of the US then you’re going to buy the unlocked version. It should work but you want to check with your local carrier as to what band they use for their data in order to make sure that you’ll be able to get full 3G connectivity.
I’m Jay Goldman, this has been Mr. Mobile, thank you as always for watching and we’ll catch you next time.