Andy Ihnatko on the Nexus One

Sun, Jan 24, 2010


Chicago Sun-Times columnist and MacBreak weekly mainstay Andy Ihnatko recently penned a review of the Google Nexus One. As with every other “iPhone killer” to come down the pipeline, Ihnatko found the Nexus One to be the best of the Android bunch, but far from a true threat to the iPhone.

Here are a few excerpts.

The physical design is on point:

It’s like no other Android phone I’ve seen: it’s smart and stylish. More importantly, it has practically the same profile and dimensions as an iPhone. The clunkiness of the original T-Mobile G1 is gone and forgotten and the hard edges of the Droid have been sanded down quite nicely. Overall it feels very good in your hand, with a slightly siliconized feel to it.

The battery cover won’t pop off unless you want it to, and maybe not even then (which is a good thing). If you do manage to dislodge it, you’ll find a swappable battery and a MicroSD card slot for user storage. You can swap out the factory-installed 4 gig card for one with as much as 32 gigs. Battery life is quite ample, but (as is standard for smartphones) it can’t stand up to aggressive all-day use without spending a little quality time with a desk or car charger.

What’s interesting is that the size and shape of the iPhone has essentially become the de-facto standard for what a smartphone should look like – which is pretty incredible when you stop and think about it. In Apple’s first foray into the smartphone market, their product was able to set the standard form factor for smartphones. And truth be told, don’t be surprised if the current iMac design eventually becomes the de-facto desktop standard as well.

But moving on, Ihnatko writes that the physical buttons on the Nexus One are misplaced:

As with the droid, the four standard Android system buttons (Back, Menu, Home, and Search, available at all times in all applications) are touch areas at the bottom of the screen. But Google has made a subtle mistake in their placement. I kept hitting these buttons by accident. When typing a message, I frequently dismissed the onscreen keyboard by tapping a little too low and hitting the “Back” button. I kept putting the Nexus into Search mode while taking pictures or navigating a webpage. And scrolling up and down with the trackball often landed me on the phone’s Home page.

More problematic, though, were issues Ihnatko experienced with the Nexus One’s touchscreen.

But the touchscreen is a serious source of concern. I frequently needed to tap buttons more than once to get the Nexus to recognize the tap. Just as often, an app would think I’d tapped an item close to what I had been aiming for.

And camera quality issues also crept up, which just goes to show you that there’s a whole lot more to taking good photos than counting megapixels.

I  have similar qualms when documenting my experiences with the Nexus’ 5 megapixel camera. It has some serious quirks…

The Nexus’ best is better than the iPhone’s best. But the iPhone is far more reliable; it finds ways of giving you a perfectly usable photo where the Nexus just stares at its shoes and says “Look, it’s not like I’m a real camera or anything, all right?”

Personally, I’d rather have the iPhone’s camera. The user interface of the standard Android camera app is just a couple of notches better than “terrible,” too. But then again, I have high expectations. You can check out my sample photos and decide for yourself.

Overall, the Nexus One seems to the latest and greatest in a line of smartphones that while great, still can’t hold a candle to the iPhone. As Ihnatko points out, this problem is especially magnified when you compare the Android Market to the iTunes App Store.

You can check out the full review over here.



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