Kevin McMahon

Chicago based mobile developer.

Nexus One - First Impressions

My thoughts on the Nexus One and the Android OS? I like it. A lot.

Likes

  • Speed. I have the older iPhone 3G hardware and from a user experience perspective it was not that bad. When compared to the Nexus One, however, it is down right sluggish. This probably isn't as big of a factor when comparing a 3GS versus Nexus One, but for someone coming from a 3G iPhone, it is a huge plus.
  • Being able to run apps in the background. Browsing the web while streaming Pandora and downloading an app in the background works flawlessly and shows no noticeable signs of lag or sluggishness.
  • The OLED screen is really nice. Higher resolution and OLED screen looks great in low-light situations and is supposed to save precious battery by not drawing less power than normal LCD screens.
  • The Android OS is pretty sweet. It has a lot of nice features like the status bar, an active "desktop" that you can put interactive widgets on as well as app icons, and an easy way to get music and files on and off the device.
  • Integration with Google Apps is fantastic as expected. I love getting mail and talk updates in the status bar and the overall experience with the apps on the Nexus One is better than on the iPhone.

Dislikes

  • Cut and Paste is clunky.  I can see why Apple needed to spend awhile working out the UX issues before rolling it out.
  • The touch interaction with the device has not been as good as the iPhone in my experience.  I am not sure where the blame lies (hardware or software), but I sometimes find it difficult to select elements in the UI.  This is not something that occurs frequently, but in the short time I've owned the device, it has occurred enough to be noticeable.
  • 4GB of storage out of the box is lacking.  It is an easy upgrade but given the amount of money that Google is charging for the device, this seems like they are skimping here.
  • The Android Market place experience is integrated nicely but isn't as tightly integrated as the iTunes App Store.  This is arguably a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.  As a user this is a bad thing since it makes finding and buying apps more difficult than just popping open iTunes.  I've found the Android Marketplace, both on the phone and the web, hard to browse.

There are a few negatives that I can't pin exclusively on the device but are still worth noting. I have been using my AT&T SIM with the Nexus One and most likely will do so until my contract is up in a few months. With that caveat out of the way, the talk quality seemed poor and the phone gets really hot when talking for periods greater than 10 minutes. I hesitate to even mention these issues since I am not using the phone on the network it was intended, but I know there probably are others considering doing what I did, and this feedback might help if someone is on the fence.

The Nexus One is exactly the kind of phone and competition that was needed to push Apple. I strongly recommend anyone looking for a smartphone to give it serious consideration before running out and getting an iPhone.

Tagged: iphone / active desktop / nexus one / ux / ui / 3gs / review

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