Review: HTC G1 Android Phone - InformationWeek
04:23 PM
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Review: HTC G1 Android Phone

T-Mobile is expected to sell nearly half a million Google phones by year end. Does the first Android smartphone live up to the hype?

It's finally here. The Gphone, the Google Phone -- otherwise known as the T-Mobile G1 with Google. It is the first device running the new mobile operating system from Google, called Android. This InformationWeek report takes in-depth look at both the hardware and the software.

The build-up lasted nearly a year. Google first announced its intent to launch a new mobile operating platform in November 2007. Since then, the mobile industry and geeks the world over have been hungrily awaiting its arrival. Google, along with wireless network operator T-Mobile USA and handset manufacturer High Tech Computer (HTC), has offered up the first piece of hardware with Android as the backbone. Was it worth the wait? Can Android challenge the incumbents? Let's break it down bit by bit.

First Impressions

If you're looking to be wowed by the G1, better prepare for disappointment. The G1, manufactured by Taiwan-based HTC, is a rather blunt, blocky device that fails to inspire. It's heavy and doesn't have the attractive qualities that HTC has imbued some of its other recent smartphones. Compared to other devices that are of similar size, it is weightier and bulkier. Not egregiously so, but enough that you notice.

The review unit I had was brown. Brown is not the most flattering color for any electronics device. The G1 also comes in white and black (like another device you may have heard about, called the iPhone).

Most of the G1's controls are easy enough to use. There are five buttons at the bottom of the phone for interacting with the menus and other functions. All these buttons are fine. The trackball -- similar in feel to the BlackBerry Pearl or Curve -- works well for zooming around the screen quickly if you're too lazy to stretch your thumb up to touch the display. There are several hatches covering the microSD and miniUSB ports. While the miniUSB port on the bottom is easy enough to peel back, the microSD port is hidden craftily in the G1's side.

Touchscreen And Keboard

The two biggest parts of the G1 that you'll be interacting with are the touch screen and the full QWERTY keyboard. The touch screen is made from touch capacitance technology, similar to the Apple iPhone. Touch capacitive screens are very responsive. The G1 was no different in this regard. It responds well to user input and doesn't require multiple touches to get it to work. The screen itself is fantastic. It is very bright, sharp, and colorful. Images, Web pages, icons, and graphics look incredible.

If you read other reviews about the G1, you'll see both praise and criticism of the physical keyboard. I didn't like it. The brown version of the G1 uses poor color choices for the keys that make them very hard to tell apart. Even when the keyboard's backlighting is on, it is difficult to see which keys you're pressing. This makes it somewhat difficult to type.

Also, the G1 has a large chin at the bottom (where the menu keys and trackball are). You have to reach your right hand around this chin to reach the keyboard. I found it to be awkward and it caused some strain in my hand after using it for a while. Others have reported that the keyboard feels great. The keys themselves feel OK, but any keyboard takes some time to adjust to.

One thing to keep in mind: Since there is no software keyboard at all, you're going to be opening and closing the G1 a lot to type messages or any sort of text.

In all, the G1 is not a bad piece of hardware, but it is not the best I've used, either.

1 of 4
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll