T-Mobile G1Is the first phone with Google's Android operating system worth all the hype? Brian Tong shines the light on it to find out.
>> It's T-Mobile's first phone with a touch screen, an apps store, and that Android OS from Google. I'm Brian Tong from cnet.com and on today's Product Spotlight; we're fixed and focused on the T-Mobile G1. ^M00:00:11 [ Music ] ^M00:00:17 >> The G1's design looks pretty good in pictures, but in reality it's not that hot. It's just plain chunky and the curved base makes it awkward to pocket. Now this phone won't win any beauty queen awards, but there are plenty of things to like about it. It features a great looking 3.2 inch touch screen that's very responsive and you'll have other navigation options like the Blackberryish trackball and with a quick flip there's a full QWERTY keyboard. Now moving through the interface is intuitive and easy, but it's still not as slick as the iPhone. The G1 is loaded with 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth plus you'll get a full e-mail client, a 3.2 megapixel camera, access to the Amazon Music Store for DM3 tracks which I love and YouTube. Other nice features are multimedia messaging, copy and paste, even if it's a little generic, and a micro ST card slot for expansion; so all you iPhone users can be jealous about that. The Android market app store is a great addition and it may not be loaded with apps right now but the potential for growth is ridiculous. So what about the things that this phone really needs to work on? First off, design. Now we talked about its bulky body but its off-center design makes using the keyboard uncomfortable; and at the moment there's no touch screen keypad so if you want to enter any URL's or write e-mails you have to use the keyboard. Now this phone has multimedia and access to the Amazon Music Store, so including the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack is a must. There's just no excuse to use a USB dongle and with the screen this big you'd expect it to play video, but there's no native video application and you have to download one from the store to even get video playback. Okay another drawback is that you can't sync the G1 to your computer, so you'll have to live in the Google world to get your e-mail, contacts and calendar synced up. Currently, there's no exchange e-mail support so business users you gotta beware for now. Now you know I'm not trying to rip this thing apart but I'm just being honest. Now on the performance side this is a quad band GSM phone, call phoning was solid with slight background noise and I had a small audio hiccup or two during the call but that's kind of normal with my T-Mobile experience; 3G connectivity is super-snappy and it might be due to the low volume of 3G users on T-Mobile's network, but either way it's very good in real world use. Now the T-Mobile G1 has a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 5 days of standby time. Now all in all the G1 comes packed with all the connectivity you want, but it has many shortcomings. The bottom line, the openness of the platform makes this something to look forward to but the phone is just not there yet. I'm Brian Tong for cnet.com and there's your Product Spotlight. Keep shining.