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
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  • Antioch18x - Saturday, April 03, 2010 - link

    Not only that but I didn't see mention of using a background task killer with "auto kill." (But, granted, I didn't *read* the whole article as I already own a N1 and didn't need to see your impressions of it). Due to the Android's method of multitasking, many times you don't actually exit an app when you think you do - it continues running in the background. You really do need a background task auto-killer to get the best battery life. This is one flaw, I think, in Android.

    Anyways, keeping this in mind I find that your battery life tests may be off. I get better battery life on my N1 than the old iPhone 3G.
    Reply
  • spideryk - Saturday, April 03, 2010 - link

    There are alternative keyboards available for the android. as of right now swype keyboard is the best available means of entering text on a smart phone. once you get used to swype, you only need one hand to type and most of the time do not need to look at the keyboard to type. a must have on android. Reply
  • bob1939 - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    Great review as usual but you missed something I consider critical. The lack of support for hands free bluetooth dialing.
    Where I live it can cost $180 if you are caught using a handheld phone while driving, so Hands Free dialing is a must.
    Worse Google insists in calling his shortcoming an enhancement and shows no sign of fixing it in the near term.
    For me this is a showstopper.

    Bob Benedetti
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    Not sure what you mean by blue tooth dialing but there is certainly voice dialing. The whole voice integration in Android is really fantastic as Anand said in his review. Reply
  • bob1939 - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    I mean leave the phone in your pocket and press the button on the steering wheel, on the bluetooth speaker or bluetooth earpiece and say call whoever and the phone dials the number.
    My understanding of the N1 and other Android 2.1 devices is that you have to press something at least twice on the phone to operate the voice dial. Where I live that will cost $180 if you are seen by a cop fiddling with the phone while driving.

    Bob Benedetti
    Reply
  • LongTimePCUser - Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - link

    I have a Motorola Droid and a 2006 Toyota Prius.
    The Droid connects via BlueTooth with the Prius.
    I can dial a phone number on the Droid from the Prius touch screen.
    Reply
  • joe6 - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    1) Good: Nexus One has a microSD card slot. Big advantage in my book.
    2) Bad: Nexus One doesn't support Exchange/Outlook calendar sync without going through the Google cloud services. This is just silly and frankly, kills the deal for me. I think most Nexus One RMAs come from this bullet alone.
    Reply
  • Pitne - Monday, April 05, 2010 - link

    There an app for this. How do you people miss the point that is android? Android is all about being open and not LOCKED DOWN like apple. So go download the more functional exchange apps and STFU Reply
  • Cali3350 - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    Not sure if you posted it and I missed it or if you simply don't want to say in a public forum (which is understandable) but which do you , Anand, see yourself using in the future - the Nexus One or the iPhone 3GS? That sort of message says a lot about the current state of the platforms. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Sunday, April 04, 2010 - link

    Honestly, I'm torn.

    After the review I switched back to the 3GS because of the simplicity and the keyboard (I type a *lot*). In doing so, I miss the screen, form factor (ugh it was painful holding the iPhone to my head for an hour long phonecall vs. the Nexus One), some of the apps/features and the speed of the Nexus One. Today my answer would be the 3GS, but after using the Nexus One so much over the past few weeks I have to say that some aspects of the iPhone really do feel archaic.

    What I may do going forward is continue to alternate between the two to get a better feel for their respective strengths and weaknesses.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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