Google Nexus One review

Hard to distinguish from HTC's Desire, the Nexus One lacks HTC's Sense software and more practical controls

11 Jul 2010
Google Nexus One
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


Android 2.1, 3.7in 480x800 display

Google's Nexus One is remarkably similar to the HTC Desire, which is no coincidence as both phones are made by HTC. Both share the same basic specification: 1GHz processor, 3.7in 480x800 screen, 5-megapixel camera and the latest Android 2.1. The Nexus One differs in design, and in the fact that it has only the basic Android operating system, without HTC's Sense interface.

That's not to diminish Android's built-in software: there's support in Android 2.1 for multiple Google and Exchange accounts, and all the basic apps are there for email, contacts, calendar and messaging. Google Maps Navigation provides free turn-by-turn navigation in a clear interface, and Google has integrated this into a Car Home app, which also incorporates voice search and contacts so you can quickly look up someone's address. A link to Amazon's MP3 store gives you access to over 9m DRM-free songs.

Like the Desire, the Nexus One's screen is gorgeous, although not quite as bright and colourful as Samsung's AMOLED screens. With a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a capacitive touchscreen, flicking through home pages or open apps is a breeze, and the virtual keyboard is responsive and has excellent word prediction. The camera takes decent snaps, although it lacks some advanced features such as anti-shake. Colours are sharp and vibrant, even with the flash, but there's noise in darker areas.

Instead of buttons for the common Android tasks such as Home and Back, the Nexus One has four touch-sensitive icons under the screen. It also has a rollerball instead of the Desire's optical touchpad, which is more likely to get clogged with grime. The two phones also share an annoyance - when they go into sleep mode, you have to press the power button, located inconveniently at the top of the phone, to wake them up.

The Nexus One also shares the Desire awful battery life, so you'll find yourself plugging it into the mains at every opportunity. Overall, we feel HTC stole the crown in this showdown: the Desire's trackpad, hardware buttons and Sense software trump the Nexus One's vanilla Android installation, and it's also better value.


Price £500
Rating ***


Main display size 3.7in
Native resolution 480x800
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format MP4, 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPS yes
Internal memory 512MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 4096MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/1900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, UMTS
Size 119x60x12mm
Weight 130g


Operating system Android 2.1
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, AMR-NB, AMR-WB 9, MIDI, OGG
Video playback formats MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
FM Radio no
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 7 hours
Standby time 10.4 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 18h 58m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £500
Price on contract £30-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

Read more