INTRODUCTION As many of you
may know, T-Mobile was the first carrier in the USA
to release HTC's first phone (the HTC Wallaby) which
was also the first full touch screen smart phone
available in North America. It was running Windows
Mobile, then known as Pocket PC Phone Edition and,
at the time, was the most powerful Smartphone
around. That was six years ago.
Now, T-Mobile has released HTC's first phone that
does not run Windows Mobile. The G1 runs the Open
Handset Alliance and Google's
first attempt at a Smartphone operating system
called Android. The following review will
primarily look at the G1's offering from the
perspective of a heavy user of Windows Mobile. Read on for the revealing review!
(all images link to higher resolution)
WHAT'S HOT The big thing about the T-Mobile G1
is that it runs a new operating system called Android, which is open-source
and free. To the average consumer, that means practically
nothing, so the other big thing about the G1 is that
it syncs with Google's services such as Gmail,
Calendar, and Contacts. It also supports
Google Maps, and for the first time on a mobile
device, Google Maps' Street View. So if you use
Gmail and Google for everything, then you should be
very excited about this phone. In fact, it
requires you to log in with (or sign up for) a Gmail
account when you boot the phone. You aren't
even allowed to use it without a Gmail account!
So don't try to set it up in an area without a data
connection, 'cause it won't work and you can't turn on WiFi from there,
Just like Windows Mobile,
developers are allowed to create any type of program
they would like in order to enhance the smartphone
experience on Android. However, there are supposedly no restrictions.
Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains
to be seen. Open-source software has never
become very popular in the public view, probably
because giving it away doesn't leave you much money
for marketing. Windows Mobile has had few
restrictions for years and supports many many
different types of devices. The bad news is that
this type of model often leads to a difficulty for
developers to create applications that can be
supported on such a wide variety of hardware.
Currently, this is not a problem for Android since
there is only one device that runs it on the market
THE BOX The T-Mobile G1 comes with a Mini-USB sync cable
(same as other HTC devices), USB AC adapter, stereo
headphones, and manuals. There is no software
CD for your desktop computer because there is no
desktop syncing interface at all.
Check out our unboxing video, and try to figure out
where Wal-Mart is.
THE DEVICE Let's talk specs. The G1 uses the same Qualcomm MSM7201A CPU clocking at 528MHz than does the HTC Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. The capacitive touchscreen is 3.2" and has a resolution of 320x480, making for a pixel density of 180ppi (the Diamond has a 285ppi screen, and the iPhone has a 164ppi screen). Running on quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900) and dualband UMTS (1700/2100), the G1 packs 256MB ROM and 192MB of RAM. Also included is Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, WiFi (b & g), aGPS and microSD for memory expansion. The camera on back is 3.2MP and includes autofocus but no flash. Powering it all is a 1150mAh battery. For even more specs, check out PDAdb.net.
The device is a bit larger than
what we've been used to lately, but it still feels
good to hold. Unfortunately, the build quality is a
bit lacking, and you can hear creaking sounds when
squeezing the device between the battery cover and
sliding screen piece. Even squeezing its sides will make a noise.
When the screen is slid up to show
the keyboard, you still have a big hump on the right
side which may interfere with typing characters on
the right side of the keyboard. However, it does
give you a good grip and easy thumb-access to the
trackball, menu button, home and back keys.
With full brightness on, the
screen is still fairly usable outdoors during the
day. There is no automatic brightness control.
The screen slides out in a loud
arching motion to reveal the hardware keyboard. This
is the only way you can enter text on the device.
The keyboards buttons are spaced
out well, but they're too flat and difficult to feel for.
The hardware buttons are very flat
and difficult to feel with your fingers. The small
trackball in the middle works quite well and seems
to be more accurate than the Blackberries in
everything except the web browser.
On the left side, there are volume
Here's a close up of the volume
up/down buttons. It's just a simple rocker switch.
At the bottom, you'll see a
ExtUSB jack and microphone hole. I've come to love
the ExtUSB jack instead of having separate
audio/charging/sync jacks because now I only need to
plug in one wire to perform all those functions at
the same time.
The right side includes a camera
The top end is completely void of
any hardware buttons or controls.
Here you see a view of the microSD slot.
It's a bit difficult to find if you don't know where
On the back is the 3.2MP
camera, along with the reflection mirror, the
external speaker and a "with Google" logo. Is
that a complete sentence? What is with Google?
There is some nice space to the left of that logo to
place your own words as stickers. The battery cover
here on the back is made of a
rubbery "soft touch" material very similar to that
which was introduced with the HTC Prophet (i-mate
Behind the battery cover is the
1150mAh battery and SIM card slot.
Here you'll see from left to
right, the Touch Diamond, T-Mobile G1, Blackberry 8820,
and Treo 800w.
Here you can see a comparison of
the thickness. From top to bottom you see the
T-Mobile G1, HTC Touch Diamond, Palm Treo 800w, and
Here is a hardware tour video.
Click on over to the next page we'll talk all about the G1's software.