Quick T-Mobile G! Review


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Jun 30, 2008
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Ok, I know there are other reviews on the web but most are based on a douche playing with it for an hour then posting a review. Well, I've played with mine for 2 hours so I'm clearly more qualified....

Not really, I've had it for a month now and had a chance to really check it out. This is intended as a "Kudos"/"Concerns" kind of review, ala Guitar Player.

1. Aesthetically, it's not ugly but not sexy either. Simple but elegant. Size-wise, it's equivalent to carrying around a Treo or Blackberry. It fits in the pocket ok, but it's weight makes it so you don't want to keep it there long. I don't like heavy things in my pants pockets, no matter how small. But if that doesn't bother you, then it'll fit in your pocket just fine.

2. Radios. It has GPS, 3G/2G, Bluetooth and WiFi + the normal cell network. In short, when they work, they work well. The GPS is spotty. One minute I can get a good signal in my home and the next...nothing. In short, I wouldn't use the GPS for navigation but I could use it in a pinch if I were lost and could pull over in a parking lot to get my bearings. The apps available that use the GPS functionality are only as good as the signal you're getting. Google Maps is a built-in app that is integrated quite well, complete with street view. It works great when the GPS is tracking.

I use the Bluetooth for hands-free with my Sony car stereo. It connected right up and works as expected. I haven't used any BT headsets, so I can't speak for them. The WiFi works pretty good. It probably doesn't get as good a signal as your computer, but still pretty good. Again, there are a bunch of WiFi apps available at the Android Marketplace. Some simply hunt out hot-spots, some will map and save hot spots, complete with GPS data.

The 3G speed is not up to iPhone standards, but still quite usable. I'm sure it will get better as T-Mobile improves their infrastructure. Here again, the 3G connectivity can be spotty. Not as bad as the GPS, but still spotty. I only use the web browsing functionality occasionally so it's not a deal breaker for me. Even if the 3G isn't available, the 2G is still usable.

The T-mobile cell network (GSM with GPRS and EDGE) reception can be flaky as well, but this is probably the least troublesome of the on-board radios. For the most part, it is pretty solid but in some locations I can go from 4 bars (full signal) to 1 bar or no bars, in the exact same location. Again, this is seldom a problem but it's worth mentioning.

3. Notifications. The phone, like most phones, has notification built in. It will notify audibly as well as vibrate when receiving SMS, Instant Messages, email, missed calls and voice mail. First, there is no virtual keyboard, so you have to slide the keyboard out to reply to a text message or email. The notifications work well. There is also a notifier bar at the top of the display with icons for different type of notifications. The @ sign for a new email, an enevlope for a text message, a cassette tape for a new voice mail, as well as other icons for various notifications.

4. Email. The first thing you do to activate the phone is log in to your Gmail account. If you don't have one, you will create one. It's a must. The phone supports standard POP3 accounts, however the built-in POP3 is horrible. It doesn't sync well with the actual account and the deal-breaker here is you can't empty the trash! It is clearly a glitch with the program that needs to be fixed. But another issue with the POP3 app is the fact that you have to delete emails one at a time. For instance, there is no "Empty Trash" option. But even after you delete them one at a time, after you do a refresh, they're back! If you get a ton of junk mail, you have to open them one at a time and delete them. In short, the generic POP3 client is not so really usable, IMO. I even tried resetting my phone and trying it again, but it still wouldn't permanently delete emails.

The upside is, the Gmail app sync's well with your Gmail account. You can log into your gmail account and configure it to fetch email from your other POP3 accounts, and it works quite seamlessly. I didn't think I would be able to adjust to use a "web" based email program, but from the perspective of the G1, it's just another email app. And you can configure you Gmail account to use your regular email address, if you don't want it to appear that your email is coming from Gmail. Any changes you make to your Gmail account through the web, such as contacts, folders, etc. will get pushed out to your G1. All in all, the Gmail integration is great.

5. Web Browsing. Not much to say here. The display is small, slightly small than an iPhone. However, the display on this phone is crystal clear, bright, good contrast, great color...I have zero complaints about the display. You can zoom in on areas of a website, swipe the page around and long-click links. The built in trackball makes moving between closely spaced links a little easier than trying to touch them. The trackball also incorporates a "click", so once you roll onto the link you want, just press the trackball. Again, the web browsing is what you would expect in a small format.

When you first open the web browser, it is in portrait mode. Unlike the iPhone, it doesn't automatically go to landscape mode when you turn the phone. There are two ways to do that; slide out the keyboard or go to the Settings of the browser and change it there, so it's always in landscape mode. The unit does have an integrated "orientation" sensor, so there is no reason that this couldn't be integrated in future upgrades.

General Info.

The display utilizes "long touch" as opposed to double-tap. Personally, I prefer this over double-tap. With the small display of these types of devices, it can be difficult to tap in the same place twice. With the G1, you just touch whatever it is you want to activate and hold your finger on it for about 2 seconds and it does what it should. I have found it very usable and intuitive.

There are 3 "desktops" available. Each available by swiping your thumb on the display either left or right. You can put apps or shortcuts on the desktop. For instance, on my right desktop, I have about 8 contact icons for one touch dialing. So rather than fumbling through my contacts, I can swipe to my right desktop and long-touch the contact I want to call. On my left desktop I have shortcuts to disable/enable GPS, 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi. The possibilities are endless.

The keyboard is well laid out and tactile. The keys are domed and have a good feel to them. There is a dedicated @ key, making emailing somebody who's not in your address book, much easier.

The Android Marketplace is loaded with 3rd party apps. Many are crap, but most are useful...and right now, all are free! Developers have to pay a $25 registration fee, so you will see less garbageware than if it were a free-for-all, so to speak.

One included app that I have to mention is the Youtube app. It is really usable! The videos load up fast and sound decent. The video quality is good. Keep in mind, there is a dedicated Youtube app for a reason...because the web browser doesn't support many plugins, such Quicktime, Java apps, etc. So going to Youtube in the web browser isn't going to work. It will prompt you to open the Youtube app.

The instant messenger app is worth mentioning as well. It supports GoogleTalk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger and AIM. I only use Windows Live Messenger and it works great. Never a hiccup.

Battery life is going to be largely variable, depending on which radio functions you have enabled. If you have GPS, WiFi and bluetooth all going at the same time, while watching Youtube videos, it won't last long. But for general business use, checking email, doing text messages, etc. It'll get you through the day with ease. I always plug my phones in at the end of the day, so it's not an issue.

The camera. It's junk. Sure, it's 3.2 Megapixels, which is quite respectable, but the shutter speed is so slow in low lighting that it's difficult to get a blur-free picture. In good light, it's usable, but indoors with low light, forget it. My Razr had a far more usable camera.

The voice dial function is also useless. I say "Call Bob" and it comes up with "Call Ralph?". No, "CALL BOB!", and it comes up with "Call Jan?". Arrggh! Forget it.

It has a mini USB port but no mini-jack for headphones. Instead, you have to use an adapter (included). It also comes with a home charger and a set of ear buds. The USB to audio adapter has the mic built into it, so you can't use your own audio headset with it (I've never tried it, but don't think it would work since the audio adapter is designed for stereo headphones). Trying to use the stereo ear buds with the adapter is a messy affair and not very convenient for hands free talking since it puts the mic that's built into the adapter down in the middle of your chest or further.

Finally, it also comes with a soft-side carrying case and a stick-on belt clip as well as a 1GB microSD card.

For $24/Month (on top of your standard cell service) gets you unlimited web access and 400 SMS text messages. I believe the unlimited text message service is $34/Month.

All in all, I'd buy it again if lost or stolen. Can't think of anything else right now. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.


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