A little over 3 weeks ago, I finally made the decision to dump Symbian and pick up a Nexus One, Google’s unbranded Android-powered smartphone. It was a big leap, given that I’ve pretty much exclusively used Symbian-powered smartphones for the past 6 years, and used them for everything. So, how do I like it?
For starters, the Nexus One is fast. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s 1GHz SnapDragon processor, which is backed up with 512MB of RAM – quite the killer combination, especially to power a pocket-sized device. It’s a welcome change from…….pretty much every Symbian-powered smartphone I’ve ever used, and a feature of the phone that I doubt I’ll ever get tired of.
One thing that I’m really loving about the Nexus One and its Android operating system is the customization options. For instance, I don’t particularly care for the stock Android portrait keyboard – it’s rather plain, and I much prefer the HTC Sense UI keyboard, which shows you the symbols and lets you press and hold a letter to access its respective symbol. I’ve also lately been using the Swype beta, which gives a similar option, in addition to the line-drawing feature. The key here isn’t the keyboards – it’s the fact that since I don’t like the default, I can easily change it. Similarly, I find the default SMS app boring – so I installed Handcent, a free alternative that completely replaces the default. Just like that.
One of the things that I originally read about the Nexus One is the poor battery life. I definitely expected the worst, but have been pleased to find that I can actually get through a full workday without having to keep it plugged into the charger. Of course, I can kill the Nexus One in a single day quite easily – but then again, aside from the BlackBerry Bold 9700, that goes for any smartphone on the planet. I’m typically getting anywhere betwen 9-11 hours of continuous use on my Nexus One with Twitter, Foursquare, email, texting, and some web browsing, along with music playback. Overall, I’d say I’m pretty satisfied with the battery life.
I’m also really enjoying the Android Market, which is where I’ve gotten most of my apps. While the Android Market could obviously use some upgrades in terms of app discovery, it does its current job quite nicely, and I really love getting notified when there are new versions of the apps that I have installed on my phone. It’s a far cry from the Ovi Store that I was used to, which doesn’t really do much aside from act as a storefront.
Overall, I’m really having a blast with my Nexus One. Of course, I’ve had to make some sacrifices, such as the phontography experience, but in the day-to-day usage, I’d say that’s been an entirely worthwhile sacrifice. I’ll have more thoughts on the Nexus One (and Android in general) next week, including a list of my top recommended apps.