I get inspiration to write from the strangest places. It can be a conversation, an observation or just music. I say it’s from the strangest places because the inspiration doesn’t result in a painting or a photograph, it ends up in the structure or body of a review of some piece of technology. Whether it’s a CPU review, SSD article or even just a cookie cutter article, it all starts with something that gets me in an excited-to-write mode. It’s rarely the product, but rather the thought of writing about it that gets me going. Provided I have the right inspiration.

Most of the time you all scare the crap out of me. I want to impress, I want you guys to be happy with what I write. I want every article to be the most well received thing ever. Every writer wants that. No one ever gets it. So when I see comments telling me that you’re eagerly anticipating my Nexus One review, I get a turtle complex. And not the ninja kind.

Although I’ve used and owned (briefly) plenty of Android devices since the platform launched in 2008, I’ve never sat down to actually review one. Going into today’s review I wasn’t even sure what approach I should take. You’ve been asking for an iPhone or Windows Phone 7 style treatment of the platform, but our coverage of both of those things happened when the platforms were just being introduced - not 17 months later.

Then came the inspiration. I was talking to our newest smartphone editor, Brian Klug, about the review and he gave me the angle. For Brian, today’s review wasn’t so much about exploring every corner of the Android OS but rather properly conveying the feel of the OS and how it differs from the alternatives in the market today. So while I’m going to definitely do the former, I want to tackle the latter early on because ultimately I believe that’s what will determine whether or not Android is for you.

Boxus One

You can't buy a Nexus One in any store, your only route is to go through Google itself. Even though there are versions for T-Mobile and AT&T's networks, those carriers don't sell the phone on their websites either.

The ordering process is very simple and you have the option to engrave two lines of text on your phone at no extra charge (doing so voids your ability to return the Nexus One for a full refund). You have two purchase routes. You can either buy the phone unlocked for $529 (AT&T and T-Mobile versions are available), or you can sign up for a new 2-year agreement with T-Mobile and get the phone subsidized for $179. An AT&T subsidized version isn't available at this time.

Google lists both Verizon and Vodafone versions of the Nexus One shipping in the Spring. For today's review I'm looking at the AT&T version of the Nexus One.

Apple has started a trend of companies spending entirely too much on packaging. We all wrote about how good Apple's packaging was, and now everyone spends much more on packaging just to have it thrown away. I swear someone just played a huge practical joke on us, er or Google, or Apple...I'm not sure.

The Nexus One comes in a pretty white box with a splash of color. Inside you find the usual combination of manuals, more boxes and nice feeling packaging.

The Nexus One ships with a wall charger, earbuds and a separate USB cable for connecting to your computer. You also get a neoprene case.

Experiencing the Nexus, Without Whoopie


View All Comments

  • Chloiber - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    Sorry for repeating myself, but I really look forward to a test of the HTC Sense UI with either the HTC Desire, Legend (slower though) or Evo. I read several reviews and in every single one they were really impressed by the onscreen keyboard. Reply
  • ol1bit - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    I love the android platform. Now my last smart phone was the first Palm ever, so I could be thrilled with anything.

    The kicker for me was buying my android at Amazon for $49 (3 weeks ago), and now it's only $19!

    It's hard for me to grasp how much power is in my hands for $19. Sure I have to have a 2 year contract, but I'd have that anyway.

    As far as difference between mine and Goggle's? there's some, but the core functionality is present in both, just like an HP and a Dell computer with their built in thingy's.

    Cheers on a great review!

  • LongTimePCUser - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    Today on Amazon the Motorola Droid is $19.99.
    Amazing. I bought mine about 3 weeks ago at $49. I thik that it is great and a bargin at the price I paid.
    They are practically giving it away now. That tells you how profitable their $30/month data plan is.
  • naalex - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    Wow, I've got to say: Super Job! Not only did you review the Nexus One, but you managed to simultaneously review Android, review the iPhone OS, compare the two's strengths and weaknesses, and describe ARM's role in the smartphones and microprocessor business (which I never understood). Long yes, but every page was well worth it.

    After reading all the hyperbolic tech news coming from Engadget, CNET, and PhoneArena, I was under the mistaken impression that Snapdragon was a clear smartphone platform champion, so I found it rather interesting that Snapdragon's integrated GPU was inferior to the PowerVR solution on the iPhone 3GS. If I'm not mistaken, this is the GPU that is used in the TI chip in the Droid, so does this mean that my Droid may be able to keep up with Nexus Ones/Snapdragons with 3D gaming apps, or will there be too much hardware and OS fragmentation for any app developer to create any optimized 3D gaming app for Android.

    This is going to be my go-to resource to provide to people who ask, "What is that strange object pressed to your face that isn't an iPhone? Does it cure cancer like the iPhone?" Trying to explain to my clueless tech friends that there are other viable smartphone options out there is an uphill battle, but one that may go a little easier now.
  • ExodusC - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    Anand, I'll admit, this is the gist of what I expected from your article (I don't mean that in a bad way, mind you--). I own an iPhone 3G, and have for almost a year now. I like it, but I don't particularly love it. I imagine the 3GS would be a more fluid (and therefore more enjoyable) experience. For some reason, tech reviewers tend to not want to get rid of their iPhones for some reason. Even with a device like the Nexus One at their fingertips. I type this from a Motorola Droid right now, and I love it.

    I agree, I love the fluidity of the iPhone compared to Android devices (why must they be so powerful, but so choppy? That's my biggest complaint), but I love the feature set of Android even more.

    I also really want to know, why do you feel Android's pull-down notification menu is awkward? The first time I picked up an Android device and used it (never knowing about the feature), I felt it was very intuitive and a wise design choice.

    I completely agree with your general consenus that Android needs some polish, however.

    I absolutely love your website, reviews, and attention to detail. Keep up the good work! I just thought I'd share my honest opinion with you. Hopefully you'll have time to respond.
  • ExodusC - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    Excuse my extra "for some reason" in that post. I was a bit distracted while typing up my reply... Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    It's just an odd construct in my opinion. It's the only place in the entire OS that you pull something down to reveal more notifications. If anything I'd expect a tap to expand sort of deal, but the pulldown seems strange to me.

    I will say that after using it for a while, it has lost it's weirdness in my opinion :)

    Take care,
  • DukeN - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    Love the slide out keyboard - if only this was like the original G1 but with all the new horsepower.

    The G1 is the first phone that has tempted me away from a blackberry (well...almost) in 5 years.
  • EazyVG - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    I have been a WinMo user for past 3-4 years, but I have to agree that Android, not WinMo7, is the replacement for Windows Mobile 6.5, and hence I will be jumping to Android phone (as of today I like the HTC Desire, but want QWERTY) from my current HTC Touch Pro 2. Reply
  • Pitne - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    wow I cant believe how biased this article is towards apple. Almost every word you used when talking about the Nexus One had a negative connotation. Most of your 'negatives' towards the nexus one are completely false.

    The notification area for one--this implementation is 100% better than apple or palm and you think its a poor way of handling it? Wtf are you smoking.

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