Tuesday, 20 April, 2010

The Nexus One, powered up and flying in Mumbai

It's been a while since I got the best gadget I've possessed so far.

I was drawn into an internal struggle between the iPhone 3GS and the N1. There are enough people on both sides over the net to confuse, so I looked down into the facts. Here's what tilted me in the favor of this marvelous piece:
  • Its got a bigger, brighter screen with a higher resolution than the iPhone. ("This is the best mobile phone display on the market today, blowing away the iPhone’s 480 x 320 display" - Techcrunch)

  • Its got multitasking built in bottom up.

  • 5 Megapixel cam with flash - much better picture quality than the 3.2 on iphone without a flash. I've seen both the pics now and can say for sure.

  • The dual microphone noise cancellation feature - silences out the background noise for crystal clear voice - to the other side of the line. iPhone users have always complained of poor call quality.

  • Better contact syncing over the net. Any of you change your phone numbers over facebook or twitter, and my phone will update itself in minutes. Ofcourse I can add additional numbers.

  • Google's own phone - much better and natve Gmail and Gtalk integration, smooth performance. (the best Gmail and gtalk app in the entire phone market)

  • Google Calendar synced in with full support for all features - multiple calendars, labels, tasks etc. iPhone had clumsy hacks to enable one or more of these.

  • Openness about the android platform and adobe's promise to release the latest flash for N1. (Didnt we know Steve Jobs thinks nobody uses flash or rather shouldnt? Everyone ofcourse uses quicktime instead).

  • The promise of Google voice coming to India sometime that will rid us or dependency on mobile carriers. Its already got the app running free in the US.

Tell me how much of that can you do with the iPhone? IMO the iPhone is a fancy iPod with a multimedia computing device and a phone app that serves to be a very highly regarded masterpiece of fashion jewelery in the tech genre.
I would very much like to own it, and when I feel the need for a fashion adornment I'll get one. With N1, I get a lot more power, flexibility and usability.

The Nexus One
Now that I've got the phone and have been using it for a while, I'm not disappointed at all.
the 1GHz snapdragon processor makes this phone run so fast, that experiencing lag is history. I don't think ill be able to adjust with any other phone after this.

The multitasking is smooth, contact syncing is intelligent and I've got lots of apps to do a lot of things.

The Advertised vs the Real
GPS navigation is surprisingly pretty accurate in mumbai - accurate upto 2 metres in the west and varies till around 50m in the east.

The push notifications are handy and realtime for Twitter, Gtalk, Facebook, SMSes and Emails.

The contact and sync is intelligent and automatically merges duplicates within the phonebook.
The profile pic is also autopicked from facebook / gtalk.

The picture quality is much better than any phone cam I've ever used. The gallery app autosyncs with picasa and shows up those albums beside the camera album.

The phone really is fast. It responds with every touch as fast as it can, except where network speed is a bottleneck.

Offline mode: I can continue to delete, read, write emails, calendar entries offline and they're synced up when the connection is made.

Voice search: voice recognition works 50% of the time for me when i spell it out slow. I guess it'll get better over time because the analysis is done over the net.

Here we dont have 3G yet, and I was doubtful about the EDGE speed and coverage. But the phone works, rather flies fantastic for its capabilities on the Vodafone EDGE network here. But it does lag bad enough to lose motivation when I try viewing youtube videos.
Vodafone has the largest coverage in this part of the country and hopefully with the 3G bidding that has begun, it should be launched by the year end.
Call quality is good and as I mentioned, maps and GPS location work just as advertised.

The few cons
A few minor cons that should look to get fixed:
  • Multi Touch and pinch-and-zoom work fine, but are not very smooth and sometimes jittery.

  • high battery usage. I've got learn the skill of turning on and off features as I need them to be able to use it for 24 hours without any recharge.

    Most of it is eaten by the display though.

    With maximum use (almost constant playing around), it burns out in 12 hours. using just call, sms, and email when necessary makes it last 40 hours without a recharge. so its a play between these limits.

    Here's a handy link for battery life on N1.
Haven't rooted the phone yet, and dont plan to until I'm bored of its present state. I'll go for the cyanogenmod route then.