Google’s hasn’t rushed to introduce its first branded handset, leaving HTC, Motorola et al to win plaudits for its Android platform. Now, though, it’s poured all the lessons learned from the likes of the HTC Hero and Milestone into the Nexus One. The result proves that good things come from those who wait.
Built by HTC in close cooperation with Google, it’s equipped with the latest Android OS 2.1 (“Eclair”, if you must) and at 11.5mm deep, it makes the Hero look chunky.
What makes the Nexus One great is its mix of power and precision. The 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM mean everything zips along, with no stuttering and no pregnant pauses while apps load. Web pages also boot up quickly on the Apple iPhone-matching browser.
There’s support for multitasking, unlike on that certain other smartphone. Hold a button down and a banner appears with icons for apps, allowing effortless shifting between, for instance, email, instant messaging and a browser, while the MP3 player tinkles in the background. It works a treat.
More on the Google Nexus One
The OS is incredibly intuitive. Easily as smooth, if not quite as slick, as the iPhone’s, while the touchscreen is highly responsive, though the UK version lacks multi-touch at present. As a result, you have to double-tap to zoom in and out of web pages, but to be honest, it was quick enough that we didn’t mind. The virtual keyboard is a little cramped for large fingers, but reasonably accurate, and the self-correcting is on a par with the iPhone.
Exceptionally bright, the 3.7-inch AMOLED screen is gorgeous, as long as you stay away from bright sunlight. Is that acceptable? Right now, yes. Ask us again in summer, though. Contrast is excellent and colours are bold and vibrant. Decent quality videos and photos look knock-out on it.
Setting up push email and syncing to your Gmail is simple, Hotmail also worked quickly and easily. Log in and it syncs contacts and appointments as well as hooking up with Facebook. Microsoft Exchange is supported as well.
The five-meg camera with LED flash takes decent pictures in favourable conditions. It’s not amazing, and nor is the 20fps video, but it’s not actively bad either. Battery life is acceptable – charge up every night and you’ll be fine.
With superb hardware and software that’s a joy to use, the Nexus One is the best Android phone to date. Its speed and multitasking-support outstrip the iPhone 3GS, and if it’s not quite an iPhone killer, that’s only because the build and UI are less superhumanly slick and the app selection more stunted.
Link: Google Nexus One
Review co-written by Jeppe Christensen and Hannah Bouckley