Google Nexus One: Review Roundup

As a new owner of a Google Nexus One (GNO or N1?), I’ve been following the reviews across the internet.  Below I pull together a few of the more visible ones.

First, you can compare the objective qualities of the GNO with other top of the line phones:  iPhone 3Gs here, or Droid here, or Palm Pre Plus here.  However, a phone is more than its hardware, so we will take a look at what else the internet cognoscenti have to say.

NPR wraps up its favorable review with: “[F]or those who don’t like the limits of the iPhone battery or the totally uncool quality of a Blackberry, I think that the Nexus One is going to offer a really nice alternative.”

Engadget provided the first full review of the new device.  “[T]he Nexus One is nothing if not handsome. From its ultra-thin body to sleek, curved edges, the phone is absolutely lustworthy. While it’s unmistakably HTC, there are plenty of design cues that feel authentically Google as well — and it’s that balance which makes the phone such an intriguing piece of hardware.”

TechGadget provided a rave review.  “This is the best Android powered phone to date. It’s also the fastest and most elegant smartphone on the market today…if you are looking to buy a high end smartphone right now, this is the phone for you…the Nexus One has no obvious flaws or compromises. The phone is the state of the art in mobile.”

Cnet offered a more balanced review, with the bottom line being: “It doesn’t have all the features we’d like, but the Nexus One greatly enhances the Google Android family with a fast processor, good call quality, and improved voice control features.”

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal focused his review on comparisons with the iPhone.  “It’s the best Android phone so far, in my view, and the first I could consider carrying as my everyday hand-held computer…The Nexus One finally has the right combination of hardware and software to give Android a champion that might attract more people away from their iconic iPhones and BlackBerrys.

Gizmodo gave the most negative review that I have seen to date.  Still overly positive, the reviewer states: “The Nexus One is probably HTC’s best looking phone to date…it’s fast fast fast.”

Wired’s review focused a lot on the speed of the new device: “One of Google’s core values is that when things run things faster people use them more and like them more. True to its principles, Google has loaded the Nexus One with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. I haven’t done the metrics, but the thermometer meters that indicate how fast something loads on the Nexus definitely zip by faster than on other phones. The speed provides a halo effect that really heightens the pleasures of using the Nexus One.”

David Pogue of the New York Times raved about the new device: “It’s loaded with gleaming, attractive features. It’s hard to choose which is more gratifying: the speed — instant, smooth response when you’re opening programs and scrolling — or the huge, 3.7-inch touch screen, which has much finer resolution than the iPhone (480 by 800 pixels, versus 320 by 480).”

The TechCrunch review was also fairly positive.  “This is the best Android powered phone to date. It’s also the fastest and most elegant smartphone on the market today…the Nexus One has no obvious flaws or compromises. The phone is the state of the art in mobile.”

Gigaom states the GNO is the best Android device yet, but still lacking when compared to the iPhone.  “This phone is fast, thin and has a gorgeous high-quality WVGA screen…Looks, they say, aren’t everything. And they’re right. If anyone has ambitions to beat the iPhone, then they need to bring their A-game, emphasizing ease-of-use and seamlessness when it comes to the user experience and from a software standpoint, simplicity. Here the Google Phone misses the mark.”

Ars technica gave a 5 page review with benchmarks.  “The Nexus One is the best smartphone on the market at this point for general use. Its speedy specifications, excellent hardware design, marketplace full of applications, and direct Google support ensures that there are no other phones currently out there that match it overall.”  [This is an important reveiw as it was written on a random device a week after release, and it mentions no problems showing that the hoopla about the quality of the device is over-blown.]

Many of the reviews mentioned the lack of multi touch.  In my usage I have not found this to be a big deal but I have not had much experience with a multi touch phone.  The thing to note is that in the rest of the world the GNO has the same multi touch as the iPhone, in the US with our backwards patent laws this feature has been disabled.  However, it is only a matter of time before Apple loses this patent due to prior use (MS Research was using multi touch years before Apple’s patent application.)  It is only a matter of time before someone goes to bat against the tyrant of Cupertino, for whatever reason, Google chooses not to do that.

Also mentioned in most reviews was the superior call quality of the GNO.  This is pretty important as whether we call them smart phones, app phones, or super phones, they are first and foremost phones.

Since many of the reviews focused on comparisons with the iPhone, I will wrap this up with an 18 minute video from Techno Buffalo comparing the two devices.  It is interesting that the reviewer is an iPhone user and it shows the GNO to be superior in almost every way. The few places where the iPhone bested the GNO were user error (i.e. typing into address field where auto suggest and auto correct do not work; and, stabbing at the buttons instead of “gliding” over them.)

Overall I am extremely happy with the Nexus One and am glad that T-mobile accepted the return of my MyPhone 3G.

What is your take?


iSuppli has done a teardown and pricing of the components.  Interesting in that the GNO has unibody construction.

Tim O’Reilly has offered up his thoughts on the device.

Boy Genius Report offered up a scathing two part review.