Google Nexus One review
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.