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Google Nexus One review

 Review: March 2010  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Google Nexus One may be a great phone, but when you can buy the almost identical yet superior HTC Desire for less money, you'd be silly to buy the Nexus One!



We're a little bit surprised to be reviewing the Google Nexus One at all, considering that Google made such a song and dance about not making their own mobile phone. Anyway, here it is, or rather it was launched in the States back in January but still hasn't become available yet in the UK, unless you buy it sim free imported from the USA. We presume that it will become available at some time in the UK.

First thing to say about the Nexus One is that it's manufactured by HTC, which is a relief since Google's a software company, right? Anyway, the simple story of the Nexus One is that it's almost the same phone as the HTC Desire, but it's been Googled. What does that mean? Well the most obvious difference is that HTC's user interface, HTC Sense, is missing and the Nexus One runs the naked Android operating system. As you can see from the photo, it's not a pretty sight, but it may well have a strong appeal to techies. The other main difference is that it uses a trackball, which we like less than the more conventional hardware buttons on the Desire. The quoted battery life figures are also significantly less for the Nexus One, which is curious since it uses exactly the same 1400 mAh battery as the Desire. Oh, and it's missing an FM radio too.

But the Nexus One does have a few tricks up its sleeve. The first thing it has is active noise suppression, which is designed to screen out background noises so that the person you're speaking to doesn't hear your traffic noise or office chatter when you talk to them. In reality this makes little difference, and we suspect that its true purpose is for use with the voice-to-text novelty feature. The Nexus One can also use an optional desk dock giving access to the alarm clock, music player and multimedia gallery.

Do these minor enhancements cancel out the disadvantages? In our opinion, no, clearly not, and when you consider that the Nexus One costs more than the HTC Desire and is harder to get hold of, it's not a big surprise to hear us say: go buy the HTC Desire. But if the Desire didn't exist, we'd probably be recommending the Nexus One instead!

Update (December 2010): the new Google Nexus S is the evolution of the Nexus One, and it looks like much more of a mainstream phone.

Google Nexus One features include:

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Google Nexus One user reviews

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Average rating from 17 reviews:

Reviewed by Bob Marly from Ireland on 3rd Nov 2010
I've had this phone for a couple of weeks now and its one of the worst phones I have EVER had! It's really slow and when I go and call someone, it always takes at least 20seconds to start calling. not to mention the texting, the buttons are so small its stupid. If im trying to type a simple word, i'd get something strange with random letters. Awful.

Reviewed by LS from UK on 29th Oct 2010
Shocked at the nature of the main review. So scathing yet you're compelled to give 5-stars. Strange. To not even discuss the benefits of naked Android OS but instead waste a sentence describing it's aesthetic appearance.....please tell me this is not your priority in informative journalism?! And to dismiss such a fantastic feature as voice-to-text facility as "novelty" confirms the rather churlish nature of this pretty useless review. I am well aware that the above notes are based on your opinion, but please put your personal angst (as is obvious in the entire review) aside and don't omit valuable information in the process. Your reviews are for the benefit of your readers to help make informed decisions, nothing more. Oh, and to clarify, I am the owner of an HTC Desire and my wife owns the phone I'd rather have.....a Nexus One! To steal a phrase used by the reviewer..."You'd be silly to buy into the main review"!

Reviewed by Nathan from UK on 19th Aug 2010
This phone is faster than the HTC desire as it is not running the sense ui. It gets software updates before any other android phone it's currently running 2.2. The desire also lacks the full voice to text functionality this phone has. Everyone has the desire i'm more than happy with my N1.

Reviewed by lee from nw england on 12th Aug 2010
I asctually wanted this phone in the 1st instance BUT excessive price forced me off it and ended up paying 650 for a Desire: I got a Wildfire 1st them loved the type of fone soo much bought a Desire. I would've prob. got a Nexus if the availability was better though, VF do them on contract - though I've never been 1 for a PM situ. I still feel, even though Im a lover of the DESIRE the NEXUS is the better situ. as the processor is IMO just right for this kind of phone RATHER THAN running all kind of Friendstreams' etc...though I do have Launcher' thats converts the Desire to Android. Anybody interested in a Wildfire' going, sort of, cheap - as its brand new lmao...

Reviewed by best phone review on this web site plesae read this review thx from the best country. england on 24th Jul 2010
best phone ever!!!!!!!! cheep, light, good cam, good for g mail, couldnt say no more "GO BUY ONE".

Reviewed by Rohan from india on 17th Jun 2010
This is a superb phone in this price range u cant get better than this.Superb battery life too wat else do u need.

Reviewed by kitty from england on 7th Jun 2010
well this phone is very suprising considaring it is 500 or more thet are good phone but will crash arfter a while like mine i have only just got it but thats couse i split a cup of cola on it but if i could aford it i would buy a nother one or a htc phone which are expensive

Reviewed by Mark from England on 2nd Jun 2010
Have owned Legend, Desire and Nexus. All excellent phones, but for some reason I prefer the Nexus, battery life is better than Desire ( had Google Maps running in my Car on Desire, plugged into charger and the battery was still draining down, doesn't make sense ! ) and looks/fells better. Htc sense is over rated in my opinion, and my desire will not sync with PC, despite my Legend having no problem syncing. Also being the first to get all the updates is a bonus. Nexus 1 Legend 2 Desire 3

Reviewed by Fi from UK on 24th May 2010
I am no hardcore techie - this is my first smart phone (well I had an N95 but never had any success doing anything other than phone, text and a bit of email), and it was easy to get going with straight away without looking at the manual. ALL my apps are free and my google phone can do everything I ever dreamt a phone could do and much more. My friends with iphones are madly jealous. This phone has become my constant companion, my husband got jealous and got one too! The sat nav is better than our in car one which we no longer use, and the tom tom will never see the light of day again. I spent a long time researching phones, I considered getting an HTC Desire but who wants Sense UI getting in the way - the Nexus lets you do things your way, and with 2.2 any minute now, which everyone else will have to wait for, this phone is the best there is!

Reviewed by Craig from UK on 23rd May 2010
Nexus now has FroYo! Update on my last review. The Nexus One now has flash (though it's only beta for now and a bit choppy on some sites like iPlayer), tethering and JIT, which makes the phone just that bit snappier. The Desire has none of these features as yet (HTC say 2nd half of 2010 so it could be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months). I think this places the Nexus One back to the top of the list.

Reviewed by Mark from UK on 19th May 2010
Its not often I leave a review on any product, but after 2 weeks with my Nexus One, all I can say is WOW! Although the UI is a little quirky in places, this just adds to the charm of the phone. That said, overall the UI is slick, well laid out and intuitive to use, but it does take a bit of getting used to if you have never owned a smartphone before. Call quality is excellent (a must for any phone) as is texting (you can even dictate your text to the phone and is remarkably accurate). The e-mail support is also a winner with all the mail from my many accounts delivered directly to the phone and stored under a single mailbox. Being able to read all your email from a single inbox is a great way of handling things, although the option does exist to set up multiple inboxes should you want it that way. Contact handling is a breeze and it will sync your email to facebook and the like with very little intervention. Being able to Call, Text, Email or write on Contacts Facebook Wal l with a single press of the screen is pretty cool! Apple fanboys will say it does not have the same number of apps as an iPhone, which is true, but those that are available are generally good quality and unlike those on the iPhone quite useful! Sure battery life could be better, but I'm still able to just about get 2 days from a single charge with medium use of calling, texting, internet, email and browsing the App Market. Will I ever go back to a regular phone after this - err NO. Smartphones are only going to get better and with the latest update to the Android OS due out soon, what niggles users are reporting should hopefully be fixed. For those still wavering - don't - go out and get one, ignore those that say its not as slick as the iPhone because generally it is and anyway, thats missing the point of phones like this. If you want a phone that does what you want, how you want and more importantly when you want, get one!

Reviewed by Alan from UK on 23rd Apr 2010
Remove the word "Desire" from the "In a nutshell" review of that phone, replace it with "Nexus One" and you'll have a more realistic and objective review of this phone. Unlike many reviewers of the Desire, who have "owned it for two days and it's the BEST PHONE EVER"(are these reviewers from your "target audience"?), I have owned the Nexus One for two months and it does exactly what I expect of it. One of the main the reasons I chose this phone was that I became exasperated awaiting ROM updates from HTC for my Touch Diamond, while updates are available OTA upon release for the Nexus. It'll be the first to get Android 2.2 which could enable the FM hardware for example. Naked Android means I can customize as I wish, unlike Apple/SE/HTC smartphones. It may not be for everyone, but it deserves a better review.

Reviewed by Martin from UK on 7th Apr 2010
Firtly, I feel compelled to write this in order to leap to the devices defence of the handset after the original review appears to take no prisoners! I Have to agree with what a lot of people have said below. Having used the device for just apporaching a month now, I find it a lot easier to use than the HTC Sense UI (previously used HTC Hero). I would not consider myself a hardcore techie, just someone that does his research before buying a new handset. The review above was clearly done by someone that is HTC to the core and will not give anyone alse the time of day [Editor's comment: the Nexus One is made by HTC, so like huh?]. What I like about the device is mentioned in the original review; the "naked android operating system", if I wanted to see all my interactions with one contact, then I would download the relevant app off the Android market. Also since when does having hardware buttons become a disadvantage? [Editor's reply: we said it was an advantage, not a disadvantage.] As Billybob says below: "You miss out so much in your review, it's shocking"

Reviewed by Zola from Manchester, UK. on 30th Mar 2010
I have to agree with, Craig, Billybob and Adrian. Looks like some anti-google reviewer reviewed this phone and the Sony Ericsson X10 as well. Looks like someone forgot to mention that the SE X10 will get an android 2.1/ 2.2 upgrade within months of its release....everybody knows it, it on the news and on the official website of Sony Ericsson, it's everywhere!!! So much hatred for Android devices unless they are from HTC. No longer will i visit this website. [Editor's reply: Well, it's getting quite exhausting replying to people about this phone. We give it a 5 star outstanding rating, we describe Android as the operating system of choice in our X10 review, and yet we're described as haters. It gets kind of irritating after a while. Maybe future reviewers could talk about the phone and not about this website.]

Reviewed by Craig from UK on 26th Mar 2010
Had this phone for about a month now and it's the best phone available (Desire apart). The review above doesn't do the phone justice because while the Desire has Sense UI and a radio the Nexus One has noise cancellation and voice-to-text (something the reviewer left out) which actually works better than you'd think (even with my Yorkshire accent). Search google, open apps, call contacts or dictate texts and e-mails....all done without typing on the keyboard. The Desire cannot do this. The Nexus, imported and vat paid cost me 461. But I was unlucky with the exchange rate when I purchased it. The average price has been around 440 (some as low as 420) so it's not that much more expensive than the Desire (440 at play.com and most other reputable outlets). One thing to remember is that the Nexus One is google branded; it's google's flagship phone with google's operating system. That means that any upgrades to Android will mean Nexus One users will get over-the-air updates as and when the updates are ready. Compare this to Motorola Droid and the up and coming Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which have Android 1.6. The Desire ships with 2.1 but in 3 months some really cool features may emerge with the next update and Desire users will be waiting months (hackers aside) to get their hands on new features. All things going for the Nexus the above reviewer failed to take into account. If you want hardware buttons, a shiny UI and a radio then the Desire is the phone you want. If you want features you can't get on any other phone like noise cancellation and voice recognition (as well as future-proofing due to updates to Android) then get the Nexus One. The phones are a lot closer than this review makes out.

Reviewed by Billybob. from uk on 25th Mar 2010
I have been waiting for your review on this phone for a long time. Your site is now off my favourits list and I will no longer be recomending people use it to guide them to mobile phones. I have a Nexus One, I used to have a Hero, I would not go back to having the sense UI, I choose whats on my phone, not some company. I can down load all the widgets/apps that Sense gives you from the market onto my Nexus. When Google push an update out I wont have to wait for HTC to tinker it about to make it fit in with Sense I can just do it over the air on my Nexus. As for battery life, mine is lasting me 2 days with moderate use, or 1 day if im gaming, music, txting, emailing, GPS, but you really have to go some to drain the battery. You miss out so much in your review its shocking. The great 3d interface, how quick the phone is, how smooth the picture is when watching films, the amazing google news widget.. I could go on... but I know its a good phone and anyone who does there research will know it. But then you are the website that gave the HTC Hero 4 stars for not having an FM radio... but then you gave the Iphone 5 stars, I have had a look at the Iphone, I dont find no FM Radio.... I give the phone 5 stars and this review 1 star...

Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on 25th Mar 2010
Billybob, thanks for your comments. We were kind of expecting this kind of feedback. Would it be fair to describe you as an "advanced user"? I'm sure that this is the perfect phone for hardcore techies, as our review clearly states. If you're the kind of person who thinks nothing of spending 400+ to import a phone sim free from the USA, then is willing to invest significant time installing apps and tweaking the OS, then you are probably not the target audience for our review. Sorry!

Reviewed by Adrian from UK on 25th Mar 2010
I think you should take your own guidance, 'Please do not review this phone if you have not used it'...A very poor review. You also left out one of the main advantages of the Nexus One. Being a 'Google Experience' phone you will always be kept up to date on Android releases until the phone hardware becomes unable to support any upgrades. You get no such assurance with the HTC phones. Perhaps you should take this down and conduct an actual review taking into account that this phone was released before the desire.

Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on 25th Mar 2010
Hey, we like your attitude Adrian! Admittedly our review is slightly "speculative", but what choice do we have when Google refuses to launch the phone in the UK? Didnd't they learn anything from the Palm Pre launch fiasco?

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