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Google Nexus One review



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Our Score:


We're not going to deny it - we're a little late with this one. In fact, Google has all but discontinued the Nexus One. Nonetheless, enough of you have clogged our inboxes and comments sections with requests to give the device a once-over that we've conceded to popular demand. Better late than never, right? We're hoping so.

Although Google has given up selling the Nexus One itself, the handset is still available to buy from Vodafone and SIM free from online retailers. Most reckon this announcement by Google to be the signing of the Nexus One's execution warrant, but that's not to say now isn't the opportune moment to snap one up while available. Especially as a price drop isn't inconceivable in the wake of Google's announcement.

Naturally, we've loaded this particular Nexus One with the latest version of Android - 2.2 if you prefer numerals, Froyo if you don’t. This features the plethora of small tweaks and improvements we'd expect from an incremental update, as well as one particularly headline-grabbing addition: mobile Flash. This is provided as a separate download from the Android Marketplace, so in theory it could be made available to previous versions of the OS, but for now you'll need Android 2.2 to get it.

Knowing that Google won't be selling the Nexus One itself any more, we're wary of assuming it will remain the first device to get Android updates in the future, but as it runs the OS without third part 'improvements' it should at least be among the foremost devices to see future releases. We know it will be able to run Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) at any rate. This makes it a good option if you want to be at the cutting-edge of Android software releases for the foreseeable future, and why we've decided to look at it even at this late juncture.

Next read: Nexus 7

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August 4, 2010, 12:08 pm

@Hugo "we'll admit we'd prefer it if the browser defaulted to not displaying Flash elements until asked to, or at least offered that functionality as an option"

Browser - Settings - Enable Plug-ins - "On demand" does that..

Although Google have stopped selling the Nexus One direct, it is still available as their 'developer phone' through a third party.

I'll be very surprised if it doesn't see at least the next two releases minimum, at least until a manufacturer releases another phone that runs native Android without SenseUI, etc.


August 4, 2010, 12:54 pm

'We're not going to deny it - we're a little late with this one.'

Might I suggest that if Trusted Reviews spent a little less time on reviews and 'news' (an example of news here - http://www.trustedreviews.c... of the iphone there may be space and time to review other products before they are discontinued.


August 4, 2010, 1:01 pm

What would the score have been if it was reviewed back in January?


August 4, 2010, 1:02 pm

Were it the case that writing iPhone news had any impact on our ability to get hold of a Nexus One then yes we would, sadly the two are entirely unrelated.

Geoff Richards

August 4, 2010, 1:17 pm

@Joose - the Nexus One has *not* been discontinued. Google has simply killed off their online store for it. Nothing sinister or mysterious here: it was created specifically to distribute the phone from launch.

These days, Vodafone and other fulfil that purpose so selling direct becomes slightly unnecessary.

HTC will continue to manufacture it as long as there is demand I'm sure. Indeed, they recently announced the SLCD version after switching out the AMOLED screen that is in such short supply. My bet is that the Nexus One will continue at least as long as the Desire, since they are so similar under the hood. They quite possibly share the same production line, just using slightly different components (trackball vs optical trackpad) etc


August 4, 2010, 1:47 pm

@Geoff - Sorry if I was mistaken. I read the line 'In fact, Google has all but discontinued the Nexus One.' and took it at face value. I have read on several other sites that Google has sent the last shipment of Nexus One's and when they run out thats it. (http://www.google.co.uk/sea...


August 4, 2010, 1:49 pm


That comment doesn't hold water. I eschewed buying a Nexus in favour of an HTC Desire about 4 months ago after playing with one in a shop. I think it's a bit lame reviewing any mobile phone this late into its sales cycle given how quickly the market is moving at the moment. All the best phones seem to be second best after about 6 months these days.


On the subject of the review itself (which I don't think was a bad review, by the way), I think you missed the main point. Android is a reasonably open platform, so if you don't like the keyboard, for example, you can change it for one of the many others available free or paid in the market. I can understand why you would omit this fact if you were reviewing any other Android phone, which might be carrying OEM software (Sense, Motoblur, Timescape etc) that can compromise the process or lock down elements of the UI, but the whole reason d'etre of the Nexus is that it is the purest implementation of Android, and there are absolutely no obstacles to this kind of customisation.

David Horn

August 4, 2010, 2:04 pm

The touch-sensitive buttons on the Nexus One are fine... you just need to touch about 3mm further up than you'd expect and they work every time.


August 4, 2010, 2:14 pm

@Bluepork: Noone's denying it's regrettable that we couldn't get hold of a Nexus One before now but I was refuting the idea that it was somehow to do with coverage of other handsets. It wasn't.

As for your comment about the keyboard and general customisability, I think you're missing the point, namely that there aren't any better alternatives. Moreover, it's somewhat of a fundamental part of a phone and the last thing one wants to be doing upon receiving a phone you've paid £500 for is start changing the keyboard. Obviously it's good that you can change all manner of aspects of the phone but you shouldn't be expected to!


August 4, 2010, 2:29 pm

blurry text??? Maybe it's time to get your eyes checked


August 4, 2010, 3:08 pm

@David Horn: Yeah, because that's what I expect to have to do?! Also if this was an iPhone product and we'd made your excuse for it we would have had 100 comments by now saying we're biased. It's poor usability and it's as simple as that.

@DC: It is a subjective thing to a degree - just like a lot of the artefacts you get on various types of displays - but it is a known issue with raw figures that support the complaint. Because of its Pentile subpixel arrangement its effective resolution is only the same as a 392x653 conventional display.


August 4, 2010, 3:19 pm

@Ed/Trusted Reviews team - Do you know of any other Android based phone currently available or expected shortly that is in a vanilla state?


August 4, 2010, 3:24 pm

Tried to watch the video review of this on my nexus one but that samsung ad screwed it up, bah.

I agree with some of the complaints, the touch buttons suck. I've gotten used to them and as a David Hon said you have to touch above them but that is still a design flaw. No camera button is poor to. I really have to take exception to the "blurry" screen that most people can "live with" comment. What the hell? I bet you show this phone to 10 people and 10 out of 10 of them won't even notice it let alone find it an issue. Maybe the Iphone 4 display makes other screens look like ass now but come on, that was a bit over the top. Also £480? from where? I paid £415 for mine direct from googles American store. Maybe the price has gone up now it's been discontinued but again, pretty unfair as it's been much cheaper than that for 6 months. Also I'm glad the bottom buttons don't wake up the screen or it would be waking up 50 times a day in my pocket.

I personally have a screen calibration with mine that is pretty infuriating. The forum about it is 4000 post strong and google are just ignoring it. People have gotten replacement after replacement and still have the issue so I haven't bothered to send mine back.

I guess the score is fair as things have moved on the last 6 months, although the only other phone I would choose would be the desire which is practically the same phone anyway. I wish google had added a few gig of storage to as i'm forever running out of space.


August 4, 2010, 3:26 pm

The touch controls below the screen are the greatest annoyance of this phone. It's strange because HTC use the exact same touch sensitive controls on the HTC Wildfire, and they are extremely sensitive, never missing a press. Plus the button placement isn't the best thought out.


August 4, 2010, 3:28 pm

@codemonkey - As far as I can tell, you can run stock Android on HTC phones by turning off the Sense UI. Go to Applications>Manage Applications> HTC Sense> Clear Defaults. Then click the HOME button on the phone and it will ask you whether you want to use Sense UI or Android. However it isn't wise on HTC. Sense MAKES the phone.


August 4, 2010, 3:40 pm

So the main menu scrolling still isn't completely smooth?!

I really, really don't get this. How can a phone that a) has all that processing power and memory and b) claims 400% speed improvements over 2.1 still struggle to do the absolute BASICS right?!

I would happily wait an extra second for my apps to open if it meant I could scroll my main menu, contacts and music smoothly. Very dissapointed this hasn't been fixed.


August 4, 2010, 3:43 pm

@99tollap: Finally! A commenter that is annoyed by this as me! This along with a couple of other minor interface 'features' still bugs the hell out of me and is among the reasons why I find Android to be still not quite there.


August 4, 2010, 4:24 pm


Have you not heard of Swype? Amazingly accurate and fast even when not used with precision. Some manufacturers have started installing it as the default IME. Ars gave it a glowing review although I can't be bothered to find the link. Saying that there aren't any better alternatives is of course a matter of opinion although I'd argue that there definitely are.

I'm not too keen on the vanilla keyboard and prefer HTC's but as you say in the review it is pretty much good enough. The many many alternatives are just a bonus. I still know many people who prefer a number pad with T9. The great thing about Android is that they can have it how they like. And it's just a case of searching and installing from the market, not some complex technical procedure only used by geeks.

The touch buttons are definitely flawed and should be more accurate. You can get used to it but that's not the point.

Assuming my Desire uses the same screen then I have no clue what you mean by the blurriness. The screen always looks sharp and legible to me. Apart from the iPhone 4 I haven't seen any screens that are markedly superior. Is it just that you are spoiled by quality displays and therefore can distinguish quality better?


On the Desire clearing the defaults and force closing HTC Sense doesn't revert you back to the standard launcher. And even if it did Sense is much more than just the homescreen. You'd still have all the other Sense elements which include the tweaked menus, skinned UI and HTC custom apps and widgets.

To get a true vanilla experience you'd need to flash a Vanilla ROM. This would give you the default launcher, IME, apps, widgets, menus.....


August 4, 2010, 4:27 pm

@ed, 99tollap

Perhaps a Nexus one issue? One thing I noticed was that my 2.2 Desire is smoother scrolling (it annoyed me too) than before. I have a friend with an N1 and when comparing software versions it seems the Desire is a slightly later release, that might explain it.

iOS is still a bit more polished though.

Craig Turner

August 4, 2010, 5:00 pm

Android seems to have come on well a lot recently, still isnt a finished product in my opinion. Too many options and gizmos and not even shine & stability.

I'd like a Nexus One to play about with, but I'll keep my 3GS thank you!


Ed - Unless you paint your nails for the weekend get them cut man! haha.


August 4, 2010, 5:58 pm

@Craig Turner: I know, sorry. I'll have to keep a manicure set at work or something.


August 4, 2010, 6:20 pm

@Craig Turner That's not just limited to this site. Pretty much every tech site that has product photos on it always seems to use the person in the office with the rankest nails to hold the product.


August 4, 2010, 6:21 pm

I have one and I'm very pleased. The trackball is the physical camera shutter. Also I find the trackball quite useful for fine movements when editing text. I had the same issue with the touch sensitive buttons when I first got the device, but after a few days I never missed. I found it a bit like getting used to a touch screen keyboard after being used to physical keys. I thought the review was one of the best I've seen.


August 4, 2010, 6:53 pm

Better late than never I agree. I think in general it'd be interesting if you reviewed products when new versions of software was available for them (I imagine the iPhone 3G getting a scathing review with iOS4 on it for example...). People don't always buy the newest and greatest phones, but pay less for older models so this review is as relevant now as it would have been months ago, well done for publishing it.

It should be as much about the software as the hardware.

It's dissapointing to see Froyo not massively speeding up Android, I'd hoped it'd get a real boost from that. If Google could have done that Android would have another big reason for selection over an iPhone. As it is, it's much like the PC market. OSX and Windows 7 are both good, but neither has any major benefit over the other (just individual preferences here and there). Maybe Gingerbread will make the difference, but I feel even that will mostly be a decent skin and tightening of the OS more than a revolution. For these reasons I still think MS have a chance with Windows Mobile; it's at least got something new.


August 4, 2010, 7:25 pm

@ed, 99tollap: I've seen the scrolling lag on a Hero, a 2.2 Desire and a Milestone, and it's present on all three. It's not just menus either - web pages, PDFs and Google Maps all suffer to an extent.

I must admit, after using my Hero it's a relief to go to my iPod Touch and experience what a complete absence of scrolling lag feels like. This fast graphics performance and near-instant response to user input is one thing Apple got right from the start, and perhaps Google should have learnt from it by now.

That said, does any of this really matter? I know this is one area where Android could use some improvement, but does a bit of scrolling lag really get in the way of any task? If you weren't already accustomed to iOS, would it annoy you at all?

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