The Nexus One is a great package. You get cutting edge hardware coupled to an operating system that is far better than Windows Mobile and far more customisable than on the iPhone. There's very little to dislike, including the fact that the Nexus is trying to stick it to Apple by offering greater openness.
Superb hardware specification; runs Android.
Application incompatibilities between Android devices
$ 529 (or depending on contract)
119 x 59.8 x 11.5mm, 130g (with battery), 3.7in 480 x 800 touch screen, Android 2.1, 5.0 megapixel auto-focus LED flash camera, microSD slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, miniUSB, Quad-band, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Not since Apple's iPhone came out has another mobile device garnered so many column inches, but then not since the original iPhone has a real contender hit the market. The Nexus One doesn't have to beat all comers, but it has to beat the iPhone and, in almost every way, it does just that.
The Nexus One is the first consumer-oriented physical product Google has produced and, as debuts go, the search giant takes the biscuit with fantastic hardware and software. By using HTC's Bravo the hardware in most cases far surpasses that of anything that's out there now, with the exception of HTC's own HD2.
Powered by the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor found in the aforementioned device, there's more than enough grunt to run Android. There's enough system memory too, with 512MB for both Flash and RAM.
This is supplemented by a microSD slot with a 4GB card included. One of the more peculiar points is that Google is only allowing 192MB of the 512MB flash to be used for application storage. Since you can't store applications on the microSD card, it does seem to be a trifle limiting. Google says that this restriction will be lifted once it fixes certain security issues.
Other headline features include what can only be described as a stunning 3.7in Amoled 800 x 480 screen, which is bright enough to play a role in a Jean Michel Jarre concert. Image capture capabilities are good too, with a 5-megapixel auto-focusing camera with LED flash that can capture 720 x 480 video at 20 frames per second.
There's 'real' GPS along with additional cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning and, thanks to a digital compass, it knows in which direction you are travelling, something which is becoming increasingly important for the slew of augmented-reality applications available on iPhone and Android devices.
Users in the US have complained about poor 3G speeds on T-Mobile, but the experience of an iPhone 3G on AT&T is hardly mesmerising either. O2's 3G network seems to be just fine here in central London, and in casual use seems faster on the Nexus than it does on the iPhone. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on whether you get 3G at all. The Nexus does support HSDPA up to 7.2Mbit/s but frankly that figure could just as well be 56Kbit/s thanks to the dismal bandwidth quotas afforded by mobile networks.
Battery life is surprisingly good thanks to a 1,400 mAH removable unit. With Wi-Fi and 3G radios enabled you can expect to charge every other day with average browsing, push email, listening to music and, of course, phone calls. Even using the processor at full tilt it will take around six hours to drain the unit completely. Considering the speed of the processor, and the resolution and brightness of the screen, that's pretty impressive.
As Apple has shown, it isn't the hardware that makes the phone. So, while it's all there, Google has to provide the wow factor that the iPhone OS did back in 2007. The Nexus One is the first handset to ship with Android 2.1, or Eclair. It's clear that Android is maturing into something that has the finesse of the iPhone OS along with the raw capabilities of Windows Mobile. Thankfully, stability wise it's firmly aligned with the Apple devices, but with glitzy features such as active wallpapers and a far more customisable home screen, the full implementation of the Eclair OS has more glam than the iPhone.
Thanks to widgets that can be used for browsing information, or single click access to any particular feature, such as putting the phone on silent, the multiple home screens become your main port of call. As part of the visual feast you can replace bog standard static wallpapers with ones that have moving objects and react to your screen presses. It's all quite impressive even for a 30-month iPhone user, but where it all comes together is in the speed of transitions, opening applications and switching between applications when notifications occur. Granted, much has improved with the iPhone 3GS, but the Nexus One really pulls out the stops thanks in large part to its processor.