Nexus One impressions from a non-smartphone user

MedioGringo

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I've had my N1 for a few days now, and I've been following Android for about a year, so I thought I'd give my impressions of the device coming from a crappy old Moto Razr. I have used the iphone and Droid a bit, and I actually had a Sprint Hero for about 10 days before I took it back and got this instead.

This is for all you guys out there sitting on the fence. Hope it helps you make a decision.

The Good:

The screen. UN-believable. Feels much larger than the Droid screen, even though it's not. Colors are incredibly saturated (even a bit too much) and this thing is tack sharp. Plus, you can view it from just about any angle without getting the normal distortion.

This thing is fast fast fast. Web pages load over wi-fi same speed as on my desktop. That's pretty amazing. Launching and switching between apps is a breeze - I feel 100% more productive on this thing than the Hero. For example, Advanced Task Killer would take up to 5 seconds to load on the Hero and I had to hit the "kill tasks" button a million times before it would work. The N1 loads it up in about 1 second at the most.

Trackball is really nice to have. I wish people would quit criticizing it. Try to browse a forum on the web and hit the "next page" button with your finger. Just try it.

Live wallpapers are really cool. Consumer oriented smartphones to me should be about having fun, and these little touches really help. Even if the clock wallpaper doesn't work.

Gallery is awesome. It's so smooth an easy to navigate through a ton of pictures and I actually prefer the zoom buttons on this app vs the multi touch on the Hero. Before you all go crazy, let me explain why. This screen is big enough for you to see just about any picture really well when it fills the screen. Hitting the + button once does just that. I don't really need to pinch and zoom in to get a good look at my image on a 3.7 inch screen.

The new app menu animation and button are much better than the old app tray. Call me lazy, but I prefer to tap a button to swiping up, and the old grey bar was just ugly. The new UI fits a next-gen device such as this.

The clock feature is great. Goodbye old alarm clock! Now if they would only sell me that dock...

Speech to text is amazing. I spent about an hour talking to my girlfriend through Google Talk, trying to stump it. Those who say it doesn't work seriously need to learn to speak English. Or not - this thing knows Spanish as well! You don't even have to switch a setting, just start talking. I found it works about 95% of the time if you speak using real sentences because it seems to base a lot of its decisions on context. For instance, I said the following and it got it right: "I have 2 pizzas. You need pizza two." And it knew when to use "damn" and not "dam."

The Bad:
The touch buttons at the bottom suck. Just give me normal buttons. Seriously.

Every other complaint is Android related. HTC did an amazing job with this phone. I wish they had done the UI. Bravo anybody??

Despite the Snapdragon processor, it still stutters. This seems all down to the coding in the transitions. The menus and apps still load lightning fast, but the animations drop frames like crazy. Swiping between home screens causes stutters every time (it's much smoother using the little dot buttons at the bottom for some reason) and closing an app causes stuttering in the animations. Google, please fix this. Home screen transitions were smoother on the Hero. I know the N1 is pushing 2.6 times the pixels but come on.

Contacts app is just decent. Taping on a contact's picture to interact with them is really cool, but the Sense UI way of organizing all the emails, text, stats updates, and photos of each contact is genius. There were no better replacements in the app store either.

Stock messaging app is pretty weak. Sure Handcent SMS fixes everything, but it'd be nice to buy a phone that is ready to go out of the box. (for instance, group texting doesn't happen in the Android SMS app)

Music app is lame. Lame lame lame. I hope this is the next thing to go on Android 2.whatever. It's really unintuitive and horribly ugly. Luckily the music widget is actually nice to look at.

Android Market is still kinda weak. There are probably 50 really good apps, but most could really use a UI update. Hopefully, with Google getting behind their phones in a big way with the N1, more developers will get on board Android.

No media sync.

Overall, this phone is amazing. Some iphone users could never go to Android because of the disjointed UX, but I could never get an iphone after multi-tasking (this is HUGE) on an Android phone. Plus I don't want to be forced in the Apple ecosystem. So for me, this phone is finally superior to the iphone.

But what I love the most about this phone, is that it is Google's phone, which means that every new update with hit this thing first. For me, Android is still very much a work in progress and really needs updates to the contacts app, music app, some media syncing, optimization of animated transitions and some spit and polish on the menus. But the hardware is truly next-gen, so I can keep this phone for a while knowing that it will only get better with time.

Hope this helps anyone out there considering this phone. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about it. Don't listen to the reviews. Gizmodo, BGR and Engadget can eat it.
 

beaker#AC

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Nice overview.

I wonder if the issue with the lag between home screen swiping is due to the animated backgrounds on the homescreen eating up processor resources. If you got rid of the animated backgrounds, does the lag still occur?
 

MedioGringo

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Nice overview.

I wonder if the issue with the lag between home screen swiping is due to the animated backgrounds on the homescreen eating up processor resources. If you got rid of the animated backgrounds, does the lag still occur?

Nope. I tried removing the animated backgrounds and it didn't help.

I just did a little experiment: it's the widgets. I have 8 to 9 widgets running on my home screens and as I removed each one, the transitions got smoother until they were all gone, and swiping was perfectly smooth.
 

beaker#AC

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Nope. I tried removing the animated backgrounds and it didn't help.

I just did a little experiment: it's the widgets. I have 8 to 9 widgets running on my home screens and as I removed each one, the transitions got smoother until they were all gone, and swiping was perfectly smooth.


8 or 9 widgets? Wow. That's a lot! How many widgets can you have running and still keep things smooth?
 

MedioGringo

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8 or 9 widgets? Wow. That's a lot! How many widgets can you have running and still keep things smooth?

4 or 5. Also seems to depend on how my phone is feeling that day. Killing all the background apps regularly seems to help a lot too. Just kind of annoying though, imagine if you dropped 5 grand on an Alienware gaming rig then found out it stuttered playing the Windows 7 transitions but still ran high-end games at a billion FPS.

Oh, forgot to mention, video looks amazing on the N1. Load up some youtube HD and check it out.
 

2pugsgmom22

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MedioGringo - Thanks so much for your review. I also have an old Moto Razr and whichever phone I decide on will be my first smartphone. As I read a lot of the forum posts on the Nexus I am a little afraid the phone is going to be smarter than me but that is a whole other issue! LOL! Your review (for me) was easy to understand and made me think I could handle the Nexus. I really appreciated your elaborating on the points you made, both good and bad.

Kathy in NC
 

anon(6936)

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@MedioGringo - I agree with you 100%. There are a few annoying bugs especially when coming from the polish of an iPhone but this device is awesome, hands down a keeper. The gadget blogs are way too critical - somehow they think that builds loyalty and readers.
 

SiNJiN#CB

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Nope. I tried removing the animated backgrounds and it didn't help.

I just did a little experiment: it's the widgets. I have 8 to 9 widgets running on my home screens and as I removed each one, the transitions got smoother until they were all gone, and swiping was perfectly smooth.

It's supposed to be like that...SNAPdragon processor...:p LOL....Google just needs to get a leash and enroll the Dragon in obedience school. :D
 

MedioGringo

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The problem with that is the loading, seems like it only works right if the phone is on wifi and being on wifi means less battery :(

That's true. But I converted some episodes of Community to watch on the N1 and the quality was fantastic. I'm not that concerned about the battery either. Just take the USB cable to work with you and plug it in during the day if you're a heavy user. Assuming you work on a computer, of course :)
 

MedioGringo

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MedioGringo - Thanks so much for your review. I also have an old Moto Razr and whichever phone I decide on will be my first smartphone. As I read a lot of the forum posts on the Nexus I am a little afraid the phone is going to be smarter than me but that is a whole other issue! LOL! Your review (for me) was easy to understand and made me think I could handle the Nexus. I really appreciated your elaborating on the points you made, both good and bad.

Kathy in NC

Ok so in all fairness, this phone has a bit of a learning curve. It takes a lot of use to really get the most out of it. I'm on day 5 and I'm still discovering things (Better Keyboard really is better). For me, this has been a fun 5 days, but people less comfortable with technology might have a different experience. As much as it pains me to say it, try an iphone at the Apple store, then try a Droid (which is similar to the N1).

If figuring out how something works and customizing the crap out of it sounds like fun to you, this is your phone. If you want to buy something and not really have to mess with it at all to get a lot out of it, consider an iphone, or even the new iphone when it's out this summer (unless you live in an area with crappy AT&T service, like NYC). But remember, the iphone works great out of the box, but you can't really customize it at all. This is a deal breaker for me, but not for a lot of people. Also, multi-tasking makes this phone really feel like a pocket computer, which is what I needed after my laptop died. Can't do that on the iphone.
 

MedioGringo

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So after a lot of thinking, I've decided that I will not buy the N1 unless it gets launched into retail stores. It's definitely one of the best phones I'd much prefer to handle things in person, rather than online.

I get that. Maybe check out the Droid once it gets Android 2.1? It's basically an N1 with a hardware qwerty.

But I guess if you don't like AT&T's prices, you surely won't like Verizon's.
 

beaker#AC

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I'm on day 5 and I'm still discovering things (Better Keyboard really is better). For me, this has been a fun 5 days, but people less comfortable with technology might have a different experience. As much as it pains me to say it, try an iphone at the Apple store, then try a Droid (which is similar to the N1).



There is a keyboard in the Android Market called the "Better Keyboard", that more closely resembles the iPhone keyboard for those that prefer a little more space between the keys that the standard Android keyboard has.
 

MedioGringo

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There is a keyboard in the Android Market called the "Better Keyboard", that more closely resembles the iPhone keyboard for those that prefer a little more space between the keys that the standard Android keyboard has.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Although, having had the Hero, I'm waiting for xda to hack that keyboard to the N1.
 

TaeKwonDonkey

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There is a keyboard in the Android Market called the "Better Keyboard", that more closely resembles the iPhone keyboard for those that prefer a little more space between the keys that the standard Android keyboard has.

By biggest problem with it is that it costs money :p
 

Yahma

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I get that. Maybe check out the Droid once it gets Android 2.1? It's basically an N1 with a hardware qwerty.

But I guess if you don't like AT&T's prices, you surely won't like Verizon's.

The Droid was the best Android phone available until the Google Nexus One arrived. The Droid is definately not like the Nexus One. Hardware-wise there are some significant differences:

Droid: 550Mhz Cortex A8 Processor (ARM Based)
N1: 1Ghz SnapDragon Processor (ARM Based)

Droid: 256MB RAM / 512MB Flash
N1: 512MB RAM / 512MB Flash

Droid: 1 Microphone without Noise Cancellation
N1: 2 Microphones with active Noise Cancellation

Droid: Physical Keyboard + D-Pad
N1: Virtual Keyboard + Trackball

Droid: Weight - 169g
N1: Weight - 130g
iPhone 3gs: Weight - 135g
 

MedioGringo

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The Droid was the best Android phone available until the Google Nexus One arrived. The Droid is definately not like the Nexus One. Hardware-wise there are some significant differences:

Droid: 550Mhz Cortex A8 Processor (ARM Based)
N1: 1Ghz SnapDragon Processor (ARM Based)

Droid: 256MB RAM / 512MB Flash
N1: 512MB RAM / 512MB Flash

Droid: 1 Microphone without Noise Cancellation
N1: 2 Microphones with active Noise Cancellation

Droid: Physical Keyboard + D-Pad
N1: Virtual Keyboard + Trackball

Droid: Weight - 169g
N1: Weight - 130g
iPhone 3gs: Weight - 135g

Meh. Same size screen, virtually same resolution, stock Android 2.1 soon...they're pretty similar. Yeah the Snapdragon is nice, and the ram, and the mics, but overall I think they are comparable devices. It's not like the user experience will be vastly different between the two because of the ram and processor once they are both on 2.1.
 

Yahma

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Meh. Same size screen, virtually same resolution, stock Android 2.1 soon...they're pretty similar. Yeah the Snapdragon is nice, and the ram, and the mics, but overall I think they are comparable devices. It's not like the user experience will be vastly different between the two because of the ram and processor once they are both on 2.1.

Don't forget that one of the biggest differences is that the Droid uses a Backlit LCD Screen, while the Nexus One uses the much superior AMOLED screen.

AMOLED screens don't suffer from the washed out appearance of backlit LCD's, they don't have the massive light leakage in dark conditions, have much better viewing angles, superior color reproduction and use less battery power.

Read the Ars Technica review for more details on the AMOLED screen on the Nexus One. The same review also shows the Nexus One to be twice as fast as the DROID in almost every benchmark!

I've compared my Nexus One screen to my friends Droid and after using the AMOLED screen, I would never go back to a Backlit LCD.
 
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CyD13

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Meh. Same size screen, virtually same resolution, stock Android 2.1 soon...they're pretty similar. Yeah the Snapdragon is nice, and the ram, and the mics, but overall I think they are comparable devices. It's not like the user experience will be vastly different between the two because of the ram and processor once they are both on 2.1.

Actually, the Nexus 1 has a slightly lower screen resolution than the Droid. Also, I <3 the physical keyboard on the Droid.
 

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