Google Nexus One vs iPhone 3GS vs Motorola Milestone vs HTC Hero

We take the best of the Android phones and the iPhone 3GS and throw them in the ring for a smart phone showdown the likes of which have never been seen before

Flora Graham
4 min read

Google has stomped into world of mobile phones like Godzilla, but is it leaving giant mutated dinosaur footprints all over its competition, or is it a case of the bigger they come, the harder they fall?

We've pitted the Google Nexus One against current heavyweights iPhone 3GS, the Motorola Milestone and the HTC Hero, to see which should find a place in your pocket.

Click 'Continue' to get started in the ultimate showdown -- the best of the Android phones against Apple's iPhone champion.

The iPhone 3GS doesn't have the flexibility of open-source Android phones, but its sleek design and easy user interface keeps it at the top of the smart-phone pile. The 3GS is still the smoothest and most enjoyable touchscreen phone out there, but, now that the design is almost a year old, it just doesn't offer the same thrill.

Why mess with a good thing?

The 3GS is the latest and greatest version of the touchscreen phone that set the standard for usability and fun. The Apple App Store is full of zillions of great apps that add even more features to the phone, and they're easy to download and install.

Two years' hard time

It's not cheap to get on the 3GS bandwagon -- even with Orange, Tesco and Vodafone joining O2 in the iPhone hot tub. Also, to keep the iPhone running so smoothly, Apple controls which apps make it into the App Store, and how they run, with an iron fist. That means almost no multitasking.

For the full lowdown, read our Apple iPhone 3GS review.

The first phone to run Android 2.0, the Motorola Milestone feels like an evolution of the T-Mobile G1. It's got a funny chin and handy slide-out Qwerty keyboard, but with built-in Microsoft Exchange support, a stunning capacitive touchscreen and a smorgasbord of smart-phone features, the geeky gadget feels much more polished.

Tap the light fantastic

The Milestone has a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, while still keeping as slim as a greyhound on the Atkins diet. That means the keys are very flat, but if you like a real keyboard rather than an on-screen one, the Milestone is a fantastic choice. It also has multi-touch so you can zoom into Web pages with the pinch of your fingers, unlike the Google Nexus One.

Goldie-lookin' chin

The Milestone's odd shelf-chin and gold trim may not win it any beauty contests. Motorola had to ditch Google's sat-nav feature for its own Motonav, which isn't great.

The HTC Hero is still one of the best Android phones out there, thanks to its jazzy user interface and compact, angular good looks. Its screen isn't as big as its competitors and it can be slightly sluggish at times, but this is still a smart phone worth craving. 

Hey, good-lookin'

HTC has wrapped Android in a custom user interface, called Sense, which gives it a polished look and adds some useful features. For example, your photo album will access your Facebook and Flickr galleries, as well as the images on your phone -- and it'll do the same for your contacts. There's also Flash support, which means surfing the Web is even closer to the big-screen experience.

Behind the curve

Because of HTC's user interface tweaks, the Hero isn't as fast to upgrade as other Android phones, so it's still lagging behind with version 1.5 of the operating system. It's still got a lot of features, however, such as Flash support and multi-touch, that the Google Nexus One can't match even with version 2.1 of Android.

We've only had a taste of the Google Nexus One, but Google says it's the phone that will really show what Android can do. Although it doesn't live up to the hype that built up around the mythical Google phone, it does look like it'll be the fastest, smoothest Android phone yet.

Latest and greatest

The Nexus One packs version 2.1 of Google's Android operating system, which puts it ahead of the even the Motorola Milestone, which was leading the pack with version 2.0. It also has a stunning 94mm (3.7-inch) AMOLED screen and gets its speed from a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.

Lost in the UK

Like the Motorola Milestone, in the UK, the Nexus One is missing one of the biggest features the latest version of Android, Google's turn-by-turn navigation. It does have voice recognition, however, so you can dictate almost anywhere you can type.

For now, the Google Nexus One looks like a tempting option for anyone who's been waiting for Android to get polished. We'll soon be doing a full review, but in the meantime check out our hands-on photos.