Three nagging questions about the Nexus One

Though the Nexus One deserves CNET's "Excellent" rating, there are three things with which we're not entirely comfortable.

James Martin/CNET

We've now had three weeks to play with the Nexus One, aka the "Google phone." After a lot of poking around under the hood, we still think that it's a great addition to the Google Android family and that it deserves our "Excellent" rating. But even so, there are three things with which we're not entirely comfortable.

3G reception and touch-screen
Like with our CNET iPhone, we haven't experienced many problems with our Nexus One data connection. It's a little shaky in subway stations and deep inside buildings, but not much more so than other T-Mobile 3G phones. Yet, enough CNET readers have reported problems and T-Mobile admitted as much earlier this month. And earlier this week, the carrier said it is developing a fix , but cautioned that it may not solve the issues of all users. We're waiting to see what happens.

We've also aware that some Nexus One customers are having problems with their touch-screens. We haven't experienced this issue either, but we've heard from a lot of people who have. We tend to think this is more of a teething problem than an inherent flaw in the device, but we'll be watching this as well.

Yahoo e-mail
As we've mentioned, we had trouble syncing Yahoo e-mail on the Nexus One when we tried the standard setup. Not only did we receive a message that the phone does not support all Yahoo accounts, but also it wouldn't recognize our user name and password. We finally were able to make it work using the manual setup, though it involved extra steps and information that isn't readily available.

If you're having trouble with Yahoo mail on your Nexus One, and we know that many of you are, try these steps.

  1. Open the e-mail feature and choose "Add Account."
  2. Enter your full Yahoo e-mail address and password and choose "manual setup".
  3. Select the "IMAP" button.
  4. On the Incoming server settings screen, enter "imap.mail.yahoo.com" in the IMAP server field and "143" in the Port field. Your username and settings should populate automatically, but just enter them again if they don't.
  5. On the Outgoing server settings screen, enter "smtp.mail.yahoo.com" in the SMTP server field and "587" in the Port field.
  6. Check the "Require sign-in" box and go to the next screen.
  7. Select how often to check for e-mail and browse the default options.
  8. Give your account a name and you should be done.
Though we were glad to find this workaround, we're not happy that we had to find it in the first place. Yes, we realize that some may find the idea of using Yahoo instead of Gmail on an Android phone rather ridiculous, but we shouldn't have to go through so much trouble to get it to work. And once it is set up, free Yahoo mail should sync over Wi-Fi. Android, unfortunately, restricts that.

Sales model
When we first heard about how Google was selling the Nexus One we were intrigued. We loved that both versions were sold unlocked , even if the phone only supports T-Mobile 3G's network. Also, we were surprised that Google was able to wrest such power from the usually control-freak carriers. Granted, Google was becoming the control freak here--a point that seems to go against the open spirit of Android--but it was a change.

A few weeks later, however, we're not so enamored. The unlocked aspect remains great, but we recognize the disadvantages in the sales model. Customers can't visit a store to handle the phone before they buy it, and they can't speak to a customer service rep in person or even on the phone when they have problems . Indeed, customer complaints about the lack of customer service flooded Google shortly after the Nexus One went on sale January 5. Removing the human factor may work for some products, but it doesn't work for a cell phone.

Customers also griped that current T-Mobile customers had to pay a much higher price than new subscribers. Fortunately, Google tweaked the pricing scheme two weeks ago, but current T-Mobile users still have to shell out $100 more to get the phone, even if they sign a new contract. Again, why do carriers punish loyal customers? We'll also be watching what the FCC does with that lousy $350 early termination fee .

 

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