Monday, July 25, 2011

Google Nexus One Review

In a nutshell: The Google Nexus One may be a great phone, but when you can buy the almost identical yet superior HTC Desire for less money, you'd be silly to buy the Nexus One!
Google Nexus One
We're a little bit surprised to be reviewing the Google Nexus One at all, considering that Google made such a song and dance about not making their own mobile phone. Anyway, here it is, or rather it was launched in the States back in January but still hasn't become available yet in the UK, unless you buy it sim free imported from the USA. We presume that it will become available at some time in the UK.

First thing to say about the Nexus One is that it's manufactured by HTC, which is a relief since Google's a software company, right? Anyway, the simple story of the Nexus One is that it's almost the same phone as the HTC Desire, but it's been Googled. What does that mean? Well the most obvious difference is that HTC's user interface, HTC Sense, is missing and the Nexus One runs the naked Android operating system. As you can see from the photo, it's not a pretty sight, but it may well have a strong appeal to techies. The other main difference is that it uses a trackball, which we like less than the more conventional hardware buttons on the Desire. The quoted battery life figures are also significantly less for the Nexus One, which is curious since it uses exactly the same 1400 mAh battery as the Desire. Oh, and it's missing an FM radio too.

But the Nexus One does have a few tricks up its sleeve. The first thing it has is active noise suppression, which is designed to screen out background noises so that the person you're speaking to doesn't hear your traffic noise or office chatter when you talk to them. In reality this makes little difference, and we suspect that its true purpose is for use with the voice-to-text novelty feature. The Nexus One can also use an optional desk dock giving access to the alarm clock, music player and multimedia gallery.

Do these minor enhancements cancel out the disadvantages? In our opinion, no, clearly not, and when you consider that the Nexus One costs more than the HTC Desire and is harder to get hold of, it's not a big surprise to hear us say: go buy the HTC Desire. But if the Desire didn't exist, we'd probably be recommending the Nexus One instead!

Update (December 2010): the new Google Nexus S is the evolution of the Nexus One, and it looks like much more of a mainstream phone.


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