Wednesday, October 06, 2010

My G2 review

Today is the day most people can buy the new Tmobile G2 phone. I was fortunate to receive a device late last week and have had almost a week to play with it. As this is my fifth Android device (G1, Droid, Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy) I have a lot of experience with this mobile OS. For the purpose of this post I think there are 5 areas worth commenting on: hardware, setup, usage, HSPA and applications.

Hardware - The G2 is a hefty little device. I actually feel like having some heft is a good thing in a device. Of the devices I have had, the G2 weighs in as the heaviest at 6.5 ozs. I thought the Droid was actually heavier but it in reality is lighter at 5.99 ozs. Maybe the boxy industrial design gave me that impression. This is contrasted with the G1 which was 5.6 ozs. and the ultra light Samsung Galaxy device which is an amazing 4.59 ozs. For a non-Android comparison, the iPhone 4 is 4.8 ozs. It is interesting to me how close in weight the iPhone and the Galaxy are, but how much more solid the iPhone appears. As far as durability, I think the G2, Droid and iPhone all seem fairly similar in that regard.

The G2 to me, looks a lot like a beefed up Nexus One. The faceplate appearance is a slightly more squarish version of the Nexus One, but that is where the difference ends. The G2 has an amazing spring loaded slide action that is as strong as what I saw on the Helio devices back in the day. Not quite a switchblade locking action, but a strong spring loaded slide up. The keyboard is gorgeous and most closely resembles the Sidekick 2 with slightly raised rubberized buttons.

Setup - Like all Android devices, you need to be bought into the whole Google thing to experience the full range of the device. In my case that means I am a user of Gmail at work, I have all my contacts in Google Contacts and I use Google voice. With a simple login with your Google credentials you have a quick OTA update of the relevant services and before I knew it, my 1800+ contacts were loaded and ready to go. Two additional comments on setup. Thus far, I have had to load back every application when I set up a device. It would be great to have your application profile saved so that when you migrate from one device to the next you don't have to go back and redownload all the applications. iTunes has Google beat on this front in that an iTunes sync to a new device does all that the Google OTA stuff does but it also brings over your applications. I am sure that is either fixed and I don't know it, or it will be fixed.

Usage - The device works great. One of my big concerns was that the processor has a slower clock speed than the Nexus One with 800 mhz vs. 1 gigahertz. I am not sure if there are memory optimizations or other things that make the speed comparable, but I have yet to notice any speed differences between the two devices.

One last thing on Usage, one of the primary things that I love about 2.2 Froyo, is the Car mode and how unbelievably amazing voice search and voice controls are when I am driving. I connect my phone with my Blue Ant hands free and basically toss the phone in the seat next to me.

HSPA - I can't say that I have any concrete comments about the HSPA network speed vs. my previous experience with Tmobile's network in general. I am sure that with time I will have a clearer perspective. Two things I have done to test out speed that are worth noting were traveling down the freeway at maximum speed limit and streaming NFL Sunday ticket this last Sunday morning between San Onofre and North San Diego county. I wasn't watching the video necessarily (wink) but rather was tracking the audio via my hands free as a means to listen to the game. I had zero interruptions over approximately a 30 mile drive while streaming video. I think that is a positive test. The second and less tasking has been streaming Sirius XM over the device over the last several days, which also has worked well.

Applications - It is probably worth another post sometime as I use about 20 different applications frequently, but there are a couple worth mentioning now. Vlingo does a great job filling the gaps for me when I feel like Google Voice products don't quite do the job. Car Home is a noteworthy 2.2 application, providing an easy to use card dashboard for search, calling and navigation.

Summary - Since I am not in mobile anymore, I was really hoping that the G2 was a phone I can use for the next year or two. After a week of putting it through the paces, there is no question to me that this phone definitely fits the bill. My only concern is that all the innovation by OEMs is going to make me want to switch sooner than I should. HTC has done a great job with this device and I am sure the other leading OEMs are going to do their best to one up them.

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