This might be the last review of Nexus One on the Earth since no one would care about abandoned phone no more. Some say Nexus One is not a great phone; some say other phones are just better. I don’t deny that and more importantly none of that matters. Nexus One, as of now, is the only phone that can do play smoothly regardless of how much better newer phones are. Yes, there are Froyo custom ROMs for some Androids, but those are just unofficial—it doesn’t indicate anything in market perspective as a whole.

IMHO, Google just wanted Nexus One to be the new bar as far as android hardware spec is concerned. As you may notice, after Google have Nexus One on January 5, 2010, there are a pile of similar spec coming up, e.g. HTC Evo 4G, HTC Desire, Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy S, Motolora Droid X and so on. Have Google achieved what they wanted? I would say so. Nevertheless, it’s probably financial issue alone that made Google decide not to continue having Nexus One on their virtual shelf.

Since Palm OS day, I never ever used anything for long since none of so-called new generation smartphone achieved what I need, being organizer. Even Android can’t do a simple calendar as good as Palm OS. And that included iOS, Maemo, and everything. None. Believe it or not, I still had to carry Treo 755 with me in 2010. However, I ditched that for Nexus One. Can Android fulfill what I need? read on.

As of the time I am writing, 2010-07-23, Nexus One was sold out from Google Store.

Packaging

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The box is pretty solid; white plan design with a bit color of Google. This is such a nice packaging, but what is interesting the most is Nexus One pouch. Somehow, I wish Nexus One has that Android bot sign on the back of it.

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Hardware Specification

Processor Qualcomm QSD 8250 1GHz (Snapdragon)
Operating System Android 2.2 (Frozen Yogurt—Froyo)
Display 3.7” WVGA AMOLED multi-touch screen
800*480 px
100,000 : 1 typical contrast ratio
1 ms response rate
Capacity 512 MB Flash
512 MB ROM
4 GB Micro SD Card (expandable up to 32GB)
Cellular & Wireless - 3 UMTS bands (either 900/AWS/2100 MHz or 850/1900/2100 MHz)
- HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA 2 Mbps
- GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) [n is supported also?*]
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR; A2DP stereo Bluetooth
Camera - 5 megapixels
- Autofocus from 6 cm to infinity
- 2X digital zoom
- LED flash
- Geo-tagging photo
- Video captured at 480p at 20 fps or higher, depending on lighting conditions
Sensors - AGPS
- Digital compass
- 3-axis Accelerometer
- orientation sensor
- proximity sensor
- light sensor
Connector - Micro USB
- Dock pin connectors (3-pin)
- 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
Dimension (mm) 119 H x 59.8 W x 11.5 D mm
Weight - 130 g (with battery)
- 100 g (without battery)
Power & Battery - Removable 1400 mAh battery
Charges at 480 mA from USB, at 980 mA from supplied charger
Buttons - Power
- Volume Control
- Tri-color clickable trackball
- Illuminated capacitive soft keys: Back, Home, Menu, and Search
Box - Micro USB wall charger
- Micro USB cable
- Stereo headphone w/music controller (play/pause/fwd/back)
- Android pouch
  • Updated: My Nexus One w/Cyanogen 6.1RC can connect to N-only access point just fine. I was surprised about this also.

Google Nexus One is still standing strong in term of hardware. There might be some worse than newer phones; that’s normal—nothing ever lasts in the world of technology.

Nexus One

If you asked me how is AMOLED screen, I would say it’s much better than one on iRiver Clix 2 and roughly the same as Zune HD. Color is vibrant; contrast is very high; black is black, not gray; no backlight leaks around the edge, of course. However, there is an issue similar to ghost trail when small black text on white background is displayed. Not really a big deal, but it can be bothering you from time to time.

For array microphone or noise cancellation microphone, I haven’t heard anyone I talked to complain about sound quality even in noisy area, but that has no proof scientifically. Good enough for me I say.

Design

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A vanilla Android comes in a vanilla package. They suit each other quite well. For all standard buttons, they all come in a soft way, nothing spectacular.

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Nexus One has exactly 4 physical buttons: power, vol+, vol-, and trackball. Power is the one that is likely to be broken first since it’s vital to Nexus One. There is no replacement in term of function, esp. when you locked the screen.

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Trackball is not only to use as controller, but also a notificator. It’s RGB Trackball which can light up in many colors, tons of possibilities here; this is one of the best designs I’ve found. I’m so happy that Google decided to choose colorful Trackball over D-pad or optical sensor.

Nexus One

The connectors are micro USB for charging and communicating to the computer and 3 of pin for dock/car dock

If I could change Nexus One, what would I do? well, I would add physical keyboard like Motolora Milestone. LOL. The rest is darn nice already. I don’t really mind extra thickness since I love to trade that over for productivity anyway.

Android OS

This is my first Android and it won’t be the last. That’s how I feel about Android overall. I had Maemo on Nokia 770 and N900. I had iOS back in the first iPhone. I had iPad. None of those can stay with me for long, only Palm OS for me as far as mobile OS is counted.

My requirement? search.. if you ever have Palm OS, you would know how excellent Find in Palm OS is. Calendar is the second; That’s the strongest point of Palm OS. iOS completely failed me. Spotlight can’t do search as natural as Find in Palm OS. Imagine you are surfing the web and want to find something. You have to comeback to home, slide to spotlight page, start typing; such a pain that is. Calendar is just a basic app. But none of these features are what makes iOS strong anyway. Maemo? they are more like Desktop OS, not really mobile to me.

Android? well, Google search might be the best in town, but on the phone it doesn’t do that good; however, there are apps that can search efficiently, and of course you can choose which app you want to search which is really nice addition. Calendar in Android? well, it sucks. However, the best of Google Cal is a synchronization between clients & web and Google Calendar on the web is pretty intuitive. Let’s say it has different strong point than Palm OS. Oh I forget to mention that none of these OSs’ calendar can do time-zone event correctly, pretty much worthless when you have to go around. I can’t believe nothing beats Palm OS in 2010.

Nexus One

For Android, there are three main buttons needed for the OS, back, menu and home. Home is just common, but the other two can be the first obstacle for any Android newbie. They really don’t intuitive as iOS at all since there is not as ‘visible’ as buttons in iOS. Nonetheless, if you get used to this 2 buttons, they make sense perfectly and they will eliminate needs of wasting screen estate. Now, I found that iOS is not that intuitive, lol.

For apps, I really think Android is up to par as iOS in term of functionality, but I must admit that iOS apps are way more beautiful. Does that matter? To some, yes. To me, not so much.

Frozen Yogurt (FroYo) brings a lot of good improvement into Nexus One, esp. all Google apps, not to mention how faster JavaScript engine is. Using Google applications in Nexus One w/ Froyo is such a pleasant. I will cover that later on in Android review, perhaps.

Note: You might think of why I don’t have webOS in comparison at all, but I do have Palm OS in mind. The reason is Palm Pre & Pixi, the only webOS devices, are such a bad ass form factor. They have keyboards that only midget can type and screen that only 12-year-old kid can read comfortably. No matter how good their OS might be, w/o right hardware, it will never gain any success, esp. in mobile’s world. I’m still patiently waiting for HP to come up with nice hardware with webOS. Palm, Inc will never be a good hardware company while they are the king of mobile software—regardless of marketing plan, of course.

How I feel about Nexus One

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The position of the trackball and all soft keys are so close. The very first time I rolled the trackball, I also hit the key, mostly home one. It’s really annoying. This required a while to get used to. Moreover I hated all crappy touch keys then. But, as time goes by, it grows my impression little by little everyday. Now I’m super happy with Nexus One. The only thing that would make me leave Nexus One is a good Android phone w/ physical keyboard. Well, by these days’ trend, it’s unlikely to have what I want. For Nexus One thickness, it’s up to par to now standard. But somehow, I feel it’s too thin plus slippery surface on the side (on the back it’s lightly rubberized one) making me drop Nexus One from time to time, but that can be fixed by having any kind of case, I presume.

Nexus One

Camera is surprisingly the one I use a lot. In Froyo, you can changed exposure, white balance, or digital zoom level, and you can have geotag too. Quality is pretty nice comparing to N900 which is pretty good by Nokia standard.

With Rockplayer, Android is catching up with Palm/Windows Mobile in term of multimedia devices. You can just throw any movie file in SD, then you are good to go almost all codec you have, including AVI, MKV, MP4, FLV, 3GP, MOV, ASF, DivX, Xvid, and H.264. You can only find better feeling in stock Maemo since you can do streaming over samba protocol automatically, but sadly Maemo doesn’t have better hardware than what in N900 which is considering slow for the task. I’m sure there will be nice apps catching up with Maemo soon.

With Froyo, you can now have Tethering or Portable Wi-Fi hotspot with one click away. I can’t believe it’s that easy too since I was still thinking of back in the day of USB modem bla bla bla. As far as my experience goes, using 2 clients + Nexus One itself via Portable Wi-Fi hotspot is working flawlessly. I didn’t really feel a significant dropped speed on any single one.

There are few apps that complete Nexus One experience for me. Firstly, ‘no lock’ which will let you toggle lock/unlock screen also using trackball as power button. EStrongs File Explorer for smb file transfer protocal, Tinanium Backup which is the excellent backup app. Gmail Notifier/Missed Reminder/Handcent SMS for colorful trackball notification—imagine that you see blinking red trackball for Gmail, blue blinking trackball for Twitter, green for GTalk, without turning screen on, you know instantly what you can expect from those alerts. This is perfect for me.

Summary

If you want flashy standing out in the crowd kind of phone, Nexus One is likely not the be the one. More than half of Jane & Joe will not know how great Nexus One is, probably only iPhone they will notice.

Needless to say more. Nexus One is the great phone for me. It might not be excellent in every area, but it’s well-rounded device. I only wish it came with physical keyboard version. Then I don’t have to think of any missing feature.

Pros:

  • plain vanilla Android
  • direct update from Google
  • fast
  • good camera
  • multi-color trackball
  • nice and vibrant AMOLED screen

Cons:

  • no physical keyboard
  • only one button that can turn on