Parting with the Google Phone T-Mobile G1 – The Verdict – Top 10

After a week of using the T-Mobile G1 – the Google Phone – today I give it back. I knew before trying it that it was junk. Playing with it was still fun. There are great features on this phone, but for the most part it’s a phone to leave behind.

Last Shot of the G1

During the week I used the phone as my primary personal cell phone. Usually I carry an iPhone for work and a Nokia N82 for photography and personal calls. Having the iPhone and G1 on me for a week made for some great comparisons and a little benchmarking.

I do not recommend this phone. You should probably not buy this phone. BlackBerry and the iPhone are both superior in almost every aspect.

The Good

  1. Great (for plastic) screen. Bright, smooth movement, and fairly durable. The Flashlight application is bright.
  2. Terrific email client (see remarks about keypad below)
  3. Market (aka Android App Store) describes exactly what systems (GPS, PIM, 3G, etc) an application requires before one installs it
  4. Excellent USB implementation – The G1 reports as a removable drive when plugged in to a computer, and charges from the USB
  5. 3G beats the heck out of EDGE – It’s about 75% of the speed of AT&T’s 3G here in Philadelphia, but it’s 4x faster than EDGE
  6. Amazon MP3 store integration
  7. 3 megapixel camera has better resolution than the iPhone or current BlackBerry units, but is still antiquated enough to generate smile fatigue
  8. Hardware keypad is useful for customers who aren’t willing to type more quickly on a virtual keypad
  9. “Chin” section reminds us of the 1995 Motorola phones – Great way to reminisce
  10. Google logo on the back
The Bad
  1. Not stylish
  2. Twice as thick as it needs to be – Slide-out screen reveals unfriendly QWERTY keypad, the culprit of this waste
  3. “Chin” section is unnecessary and uses up an inch of length
  4. “Chin” section gets in the way in landscape orientation while typing
  5. Lack of multi-touch, poor trackball
  6. Can only type with keypad, requires sliding out.
  7. T-Mobile data plan is slower than AT&T (arguably this will change, but for now it’s 75% as fast as AT&T)
  8. Too many buttons – Looks like a repurposed Windows Mobile device from 2002
  9. Weak initial application offerings – lack of apparent payment system for developer compensation
  10. Android isn’t ready for commercial release – this OS has great potential but its lack of a svelt, smooth, and exciting experience exudes a lack of design
The Verdict – skip this phone – it’s a 1st generation device that is botched by poor hardware design and a pre-release operating system. A G2 or G3 version with a slim multi-touch interface and polished UI will be worthy of your attention.

12 thoughts on “Parting with the Google Phone T-Mobile G1 – The Verdict – Top 10

  1. shut your face ' fanboy' dont review phones untill you have to pay for the next iphone with video record. G1 will be upgradeable, sucker

  2. Nice review, this matches my impression of the G1 (definitely first generation).

    By the way, have you seen this spoof review of the G1?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEYWtouy8eE

    Its from the point of view of a guy who hasn't actually seen a G1, but his conclusions about the interface seem surprisingly on the mark, if a little weird. Worth a watch.

  3. I've been using and reviewing phones since the mid-nineties. Most of them
    I've bought with my own skrilla.

    The G1's hardware is the major failing point. It just plain sucks, sucker.

  4. That YouTube is fantastic, thanks for the link. I think those of us who have
    used HTC, Palm, Windows Mobile, and other devices over the years had an
    engrained sense of doom for the G1. The combination of hardware, UI, and
    offerings, just aren't what one expects in a production device.

  5. I certainly agree… it is junk. Out of the box, getting the battery case back off is an effort that made me think it would break. I am sure the plastic clips on the battery cover will wear off or break in about a dozen openings. — THEN one must call to get provisioning to sign in an existing GOOGLE account (if you have one). Provisioning will take from one to 25 house claimed customer service. — my tolerance for an already disappointing venture will not last hours. The keyboard is useless compared to my Razr… which I have happily used for 4 years now. The phone is considerably larger than the Razr and the feel is really odd. “TRY AGAIN” for the provisioning check requires you re-enter your password on the dinky keyboard… minimum of 8-character passwd… each time you RETRY over the 25-hour wait time. I could drive to the phone kiosk store and back with a Blackberry by the time this dog will hunt. Back in the box for Buyer's Remorse Return.

  6. Hardware keypad is useful for customers who aren’t willing to type more quickly on a virtual keypad.

    perhaps thats phrased strange, but id be willing to argue about typing more quickly on a virtual keypad.

    granted i have no idea who you are so your recommendations don't really mean much but some of the pros(5) and cons(2,5 apple has it patented which is seemingly more silly overall (it has been implemented however),9) are a bit silly.

  7. That does sound strange. Why wouldn't someone want to type faster?
    Granted, it doesn't happen out of the box – there is an adaption phase
    to a virtual keypad. Once you learn to work with the keypad you get to
    where you're typing magically fast (compared to a physical keypad).

    True that Apple has a patent on multitouch, but the trackball is just
    a terrible implementation. It feels like it's going to wear out in a
    few months.

    Do you own a G1? What are you thoughts?

  8. I am dipping my toe in the water about whether to get the G-1 phone so I apprecaite your site that I found through Google. I am adding you to my Yahoo reader!

  9. I am dipping my toe in the water about whether to get the G-1 phone so I apprecaite your site that I found through Google. I am adding you to my Yahoo reader!

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