CNET First Look
T-Mobile G1The first Google Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1, is just days away from hitting the street. Check out our First Look video to see whether you should head out and buy one or if you should wait.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor for CNET.com and today we have your first look at the T-Mobile G1. Now, as most of you know, the G1 is the first Smartphone to run the Google Operating System and will be available from T-Mobile starting October 22nd. We've been playing around with it for a few days now and there's a lot to like about the device, but there's also some big annoyances. I'll start with the design first, the phone itself is made by HTC and has a similar look to the other Smartphones from the company including the T-Mobile Wing. It's definitely not the sleekest device and has this bottom section here that you see that kind of juts out, we think it's to get the microphone closer to your lip when you're on the phone but it just -- it's just weird. Plus it makes it a little awkward to use the phone when you're using the full cordia keyboard. To get to the keyboard you just push the screen to the right and the buttons are a little bit on the smaller side but I think there's enough spacing between them that it shouldn't give users too many problems. And the screen orientation only switches from portrait to landscape mode when you open the keyboard, so right now it won't switch automatically if you rotate the phone which is kind of disappointing. The touch-screen is nice and sharp and I really do like the interface, it's easy to customize the Home screen, you can do it a couple ways. First you can do a long press on the Home screen or you can add shortcuts and widgets or change the wallpaper. You can also bring up the full Menu key here and you just hold and press whatever icon you want and you can drag it onto the Home screen. There are also sliding panels on the Home screen that you can add more shortcuts and there's a notification bar up here, which will show you missed calls or missed messages and things like that. There are some shortcut buttons along the bottom here; you've got talking end keys as well as a Track Phone Navigator for scrolling the menus. There is a microSD expansion slot on the left side and a mini USB port on the bottom. Unfortunately there's no headphone jack so you have to use a USB port and an audio adapter to plug in ear buds, and I really have no idea why HTC decided to do this because I think it's a major design flaw. Moving on to the features, the T-Mobile G1 has WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G support wherever that's available. It also has GPS with Google Maps with a built-in compass on the phone so you can navigate 360 degrees by moving the phone around. The G1 supports Gmail and other POP3 and iMap accounts but it won't offer Microsoft Exchange support at launch, so probably not the best device for corporate users, plus you can only view and not edit Office documents. One of the highlights, of course, is the Android Operating System, the Open Source platform allows developers to create all sorts of applications and you'll be able to purchase and download these over the air from the Android Market. At launch they're thinking they'll have about 35 applications available in the catalog and we were actually able to get some games and utilities like Pac Man and AccuWeather over the 3G network and it was pretty good and fast. Multi-media features include a 3 point 2 megapixel camera on the back but no video recording. You do get a video player as well as music, and one thing I'm particularly excited about is the integration of Amazon MP3 Store, so you can buy and download songs directly from the store over a WiFi connection and all songs are DRM free. The G1 offered good call quality and snappy performance but overall I felt kind of under whelmed by the G1, I like that it has a full cordia keyboard and the interface is great but the design wasn't very inspiring and I think my biggest beef with the device is the features that were left out including video recording, Exchange support, and stereo Bluetooth. I think after the backlash that came from the missing features on the iPhone HTC and Google maybe would learn from their mistakes and add some of this functionality at launch, but not so much. The Android Operating System I think offers a lot of potential and again, I'm a huge fan of the interface but I might be inclined to hold out until the next model. The T-Mobile G1 will be available on October 22nd for $179.99 with a 2 year contract. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the T-Mobile G1. ^M00:03:53 [ Music ]