on October 12, 2010
This is my first smartphone. I'm not typically a laggard, but I've been waiting for the PERFECT phone. Is this it? No. I give it 4 stars out of 5, but the reasons for the demerit are minor and are not unique to this phone. It's the most perfect phone (for me) out there. I've played with iPhones (3g, 3gS, 4), and other Google phones (G1, Nexus One, Galaxy S, Droid X), and this phone is what I've been waiting for.
I've had it for almost a week now and no regrets.
- Android is just #$%&@! incredible. It's so intuitive. I had facebook and gmail up and running within seconds of turning the phone on for the first time.
- The build quality is great. The phone has a really solid feel (especially compared to Galaxy S and VZ Droid X).
- Fast, fast, fast. Web, messaging, apps, downloads, uploads... Just fast. I was worried about the 800 mhz processor, especially with 1 Ghz and dual core's coming out over the next few months, but I can't imagine seeing a noticeable benefit. Also, the HSPA+ (up to 15 mbps) is huge.
- Keyboard is top notch.
- Swype is even better. How did we ever live without this app?
- Navigation makes my Navigon 2090 unnecessary.
- Camera photo quality is better than my Olympus 850SW, not as good as my Nikon D40.
- The touch screen is highly responsive and very sharp and crisp. I like it better than the iPhone 4.
- T-mobile just released an update to allow wi-fi calling, tethering and mobile hotspots from the G2.
- Unlimited data at no extra cost (also unlike iPhone, unless your grandfathered in)
- Battery life. I can't tell if it's because I can't stop using the phone, or if the battery life isn't as good as I would expect. I charge it over night, and I'm down to 10-15% by bed time.
- Screen hinge. If you hold the phone screen-side down, it will slide open. I was pretty worried about this before buying the phone, but who walks around holding their phone upside-down anyway? This is not an issue that impedes usage, but more of a PR problem. Still, it shouldn't happen.
- The speaker phone isn't loud enough.
- The ringer isn't loud enough either.
- Why does wi-fi calling still use up my minutes? I know the answer is $$$, but come on T-mobile!
- Only 2 GB internal storage. It comes with an 8 GB micro SD, but I'll still eventually get the biggest possible. 10 isn't enough.
If you can live with the neutrals and cons, then get this phone. Stick it to Apple and AT&T. Android, tethering and HSPA+ should be reasons enough.
It's been about 1.5 months since I got it, and I have to up my rating from 4 stars to 5. I love this phone. Google voice actions are just...wow. See for yourself:
I've learned to stretch my battery by managing apps. I stop running apps after I'm done using them instead of letting them stay running in the background. It's the price we pay for multi-tasking capability, but it's very easy to do and becomes a good habit. Now by bed time, I usually have about 30-40% remaining.
The ring-tone and alerts are louder than I first thought. It must be the default ring-tone that sounds a bit muffled, so just experiment with them.
What's the coolest thing about the G2? Probably the interesting shade of red that comes over the faces of my friends and co-workers who have iPhone 4's when I show them what this baby can do.
on October 11, 2010
I've spent hours testing and playing with various smartphones, and my conclusion was that the T-mobile G2 was simply the best. My previous phone was a pretty basic Motorola, and after trying the G2, iPhone4, Evo 4G, Samsung Vibrant and the Droid 2, I decided that the G2 is the best choice out of them all if I were to move up to a smartphone and there's only one phrase to describe why:
The Android OS on this phone is as basic as it gets, meaning there's no other software that clutters your interface and slows down your phone. This latest version of Android known as Froyo (or version 2.2) allows the OS to be compatible with almost all of the latest apps on the market meaning there's little worry about compatibility. The buttons and touchscreen are all very responsive, and there is virtually no delay in opening programs/app or browsing the phone. The charger plug is mini-usb, which means it's compatible with many chargers by other manufacturers and that saved me money because I didn't need to buy a new in-car charger. Battery life is also superb, and that's a big deal for me because I hate to worry about my phones running out of juice if I'm in an emergency. I usually last the entire day without needing a charge even with heavy usage.
The best part is that the phone's OS syncs with your gmail/google and Facebook accounts and this makes SET UP A BREEZE. I personally hate to change phones because I always spend hours setting up the device, adding photos of my friends and their emails into my contact list. On startup I had the phone sync with my gmail account and Facebook account, and once I copied my contacts from the SIM card, the phone started to add photos of my contacts from Facebook, and it also added their emails from my email account and consolidated all that into my contact list. It was so easy that I was blown away.
There are many other aspects of the phone that I think make it great, such as the solid build quality and the convenience of a very well designed qwerty keyboard (it has great spacing so it still felt comfortable for my large hand and fingers). A quality qwerty keyboard like this is exactly what I've been looking for in a smartphone that also has a touchscreen. The aluminum pieces and the soft touch plastics certainly give it a premium feel. T-mobile's service is also fantastic, as I basically entered the store, and exited with my new phone in less than 20 minutes. By the time I got home I was also able to use T-mobile's internet network known as HSPA, which was VERY FAST in the LA area. I'm not sure if it's as fast as 4G like T-mobile claimed, but it was definitely faster than any 3G phone I've tried. There were barely any delays when watching Youtube videos and browsing the the web was a snap. The only downside is that the HSPA service is still developing, and it just doesn't reach some suburban areas like my house. It's not a big deal because I have WiFi in the house so I don't really need HSPA at home.
In my opinion a phone should be all about convenience and user friendliness, and this phone definitely delivers in these two categories. This is the most versatile I've ever used and I have good feeling I will be using this phone for quite a long time.
on October 9, 2010
Had this phone for a week now, got it at T-Mobile with new service. Stepping up from a Nokia N-Series there certainly is a learning curve but I wouldn't go back now. I'll start by going over some device specific stuff as that's what review readers are probably most interested in, then I'll comment on Android 2.2 and a quick bit about my experience with T-Mobile.
The ability of this device as an app machine is phenomenal, strictly as a phone its not so good as the Nokia or any other phone I've had. The speaker is terrible, speaker phone functionality is a joke, its underpowered and crackly at its higher volume. The screen is a good size, not the portable theater size of some others but I'm happy with it. There is a quality feeling to it and it is certainly quite heavy, but I think thats a good thing. There is an aluminum plate on the back which gives it an industrial feel. This is my first qwerty phone so I have no frame of reference but I will say I'm getting faster at it all the time and like it better than the screen based keyboards as it frees up screen space for content. The hinge opening style of the keyboard is cool, time will tell if it is more or less durable than a slider. I find the real estate taken by the little trackpad on the bottom of the face could have been better spent on a larger screen. As for the 4g capability I don't live in an area with such coverage but looking forward to checking it out and I like having the capability. I don't like the camera/flash as much as my old N-82 but it's descent and certainly processes the pictures much faster. Battery life is good considering the processing power of this thing. With normal use, some browser use, some tinkering and game play, it will last two days. If I glue myself to the thing all day it needs a charge after one day but thats not bad. My wife got the Vibrant and it lasts half as long given the same use, to be fair her screen is better but I like this phone much better over all.
As for Android 2.2, bit of a learning curve but it gets more intuitive with time. It's quite fast. One downer for me is that it seems like because of the availability of aftermarket apps, some of the core features of the system are not very feature rich. For instance the messaging app ensures you'll look elsewhere, its as basic as they come. The browser is fast but very bare bones. Those are minor gripes as of course there are a bazillion apps to replace what you don't like. I've also found that in order to change certain settings I have to look into forums to figure things out because Google doesn't have enough in house resources to help you understand all the settings. The navigation feature rocks, very intuitive with voice input and voice prompts, I was grinning ear to ear the first time I used it, better than my Garmin in many ways. I'm just scratching the surface with Android and I'm having fun so far.
As for T-Mobile, all is okay so far. I've been with Verizon, then AT&T over the years. The store and call center folks have been very friendly and helpful. The availability of a non-contract plan which is significantly cheaper is great. Service is certainly cheaper and allowed me to get more phone and more service for my money as we both have unlimited internet now. The big downer here is the cell coverage. I work in the field service sector and I lack coverage in several buildings around town that I always had service in before with AT&T. As for data connectivity its even worse, the phone loses its connection within ten feet inside most buildings. Honestly I can live with it, just a bit disappointed.
I'm not sure who to blame but I do get frustrated when I can't delete preloaded apps that I don't want just because "the man" wants them there for good. Hoping the good hacker folks out there will find a way to permanently root this thing or some such solution to ease my control freak issues here.
I checked out a lot of phones before I picked this one and I would still pick this one in retrospect, I give it four stars really for the significant fail of the speaker, it really is awful. Otherwise great phone with great capabilities.
on October 14, 2010
My previous phone was the AT&T Tilt, also made by HTC. It's about 2 years old, and it was a Windows Mobile phone. I've had the G2 for almost two weeks now and I have to say - it's the best phone I've ever used. Android blows Windows Mobile out of the water, no question. I've also experience with other Android phones, but I've noticed that most of them have some kind of manufacturer "overlay" on the OS. Even HTC puts their HTC Sense add-on onto most of their phones. The G2 is the pure Android OS without any of the extra software covering it up - and trust me...that's a good thing.
-Pure Android OS. I could go on for hours about how great Android is. Let's just keep it short and sweet: It's fast, very user-friendly, and very customizable. You can set the G2 up in whatever way you'll be the most comfortable using it.
-Extremely fast hardware and software. There is no wait time for ANYTHING on the G2 that doesn't involve downloading something from the network. There is zero delay in switching between apps, launching new ones, loading pictures, playing vidoes, nothing.
-Great size, weight, and feel. It's rather heavy, which I actually prefer. To me the weight gives it a sturdier feel. It's extremely thin for having a full QWERTY keyboard, and the length and width measurements are just the right size as well. The screen is glass, which feels very nice. The back cover and the frame around the screen are made of metal, which gives it a very sturdy, industrial feel.
-Good camera. 5MP camera, with a bright flash. I've taken pictures outside, inside with a window, and in a basement with no windows. All of them have turned out really well. I've only tried the video camera inside, but it was pretty good quality.
-Great QWERTY keyboard. Not as great as my old HTC Tilt (best keyboard I've ever layed my thumbs on btw), but still very good. Very comfortable to use, good key positioning, responsive buttons that you can actually tell you've pressed. Certainly much better than on the Motorola Droid (that keyboard is a nightmare...).
-Very responsive touchscreen. As good as the iPhone. Picks up every swipe, flick, tap, etc. It also supports multi-touch.
-The SWYPE keyboard. I've always been a huge proponent of full QWERTY keyboards on phones. I'm a huge texter. That's why I waited so long for the G2 to come out - I can't stand touchscreen keyboards and refused to buy anything without a QWERTY keyboard. There's no tactile feedback to let me know what key I've just pressed, and where it's at in relation to the other keys. But now that I've tried the SWYPE keyboard, I've barely been using the full keyboard on the G2 at all. SWYPE is extremely fast, and you don't have to be too accurate when using it. I'll misspell a word, or I'll miss a letter or two, and it will still get the word I was trying to type. The biggest difficulty is with short words like "or" and "of", but those are very minor annoyances compared to how quickly I'm able to type everything else. For my next phone, as long as I can get the SWYPE keyboard on it, I won't care if it has a QWERTY keyboard or not. And that's saying a lot.
-The optical sensor. It's probably better than a trackball, but I feel that a d-pad may have been easier to use. Sometimes when I'm texting I just want to go back a letter or two to correct something, and the optical sensor is a little touchy. The cursor will end up going too far or not far enough. But it's a touchscreen phone and I rarely use the optical sensor, so it's not a big deal at all.
-USB charger. The mini-USB plug for the G2 may be standard for a few other phones, but not a lot of them, and certainly not for any other type of device. I like that my last phone used the same USB plug as my camera, and my mp3 player, and one of my other old phones. I had charger cords that would fit my old phone everywhere. But this one is pretty non-standard, and as much as I have to charge this thing (see the Cons section) it's a bit of a pain that I'm going to have to buy at least one more charger for it.
-Battery life. By far the biggest negative to this phone. When my HTC Tilt was new it would last two days of heavy use without dropping below 25% battery. Even after I owned it two years with the original battery, I could still text and talk heavily on it and it wouldn't need to be charged until I went to bed. I was hoping that since the G2 is also made by HTC it'd be similar in that respect. Unfortunately...no. In the last two weeks I've only made it through one or two days without having to charge it in the middle of the day. Today, for example, I had a text conversation that lasted maybe an hour and the battery was down to 40 percent. I had to put it on the charger because I know it won't last the rest of the day if I spend much time using it at all. Plus the charger cord is only about 3 feet long, and when you have to charge it so often, it gets to be a pretty big hassle to have to sit so close to a power outlet.
-The hinge. I love the WAY that it slides out, the z-hinge. It's pretty unique, and it feels pretty slick. But the hinge itself feels pretty flimsy. I went to the T-Mobile store after I bought the G2 to buy insurance for it, solely because the hinge feels very toy-like. The rest of the phone feels very sturdy, but i dropped it (and I've never broken a phone before) I'm very worried that the hinges would snap like a twig. I'm even worried about putting any kind of pressure on them because they don't feel like they could stand it. The hinges on my HTC Tilt were rock solid, and I'm disappointed that they're not keeping that same standard on the G2.
-Bloatware. The G2 does come with a ton of great Google apps. Some of them are extremely useful (Maps, Voice, Places), some are cool but will probably be used rarely (Goggles, Shopper, Skymap, Translate), and some will never be used (Finance, MyTracks). The problem is that you can't uninstall these apps. A bigger problem is that some of them, and other apps (Photobucket, Amazon MP3, QuickOffice, TMobile's MyAccount)run automatically in the background, and as soon as you stop them they just start automatically again. The phone is still extremely fast, but I can't imagine how much quicker it would be without all this crap running in the background. I have Advance Task Killer, but as soon as it kills the extra tasks, they just start again. The G2 gives you control over everything else that goes on with Android, why not let you uninstall the crapware you don't want that is just taking up space and slowing down your phone?
Overall the G2 is an excellent phone, the best one I've ever used. I'd recommend it to anybody. It has a couple of problems with the hinge and the battery life, but otherwise it's a great phone.
on October 29, 2010
I recently have switched from Verizon to T-mobile, due to dissatisfaction with Verizon's customer service. First off, the folks at T-mobile have been very helpful and friendly over the phone and in the store, as opposed to the majority of the people I dealt with at Verizon who tend to treat you like you don'k know what you are talking about.
I've learned one VERY important thing, and that is not to order a phone without trying it first. I was blown away by the specs at the HTC HD2, and didn't think Window's Mobile would be a big deal due to the fact the Windows market place has "thousands of apps" and the beautiful 4.3" screen. That and the fact that I have Windows on my computer and don't have an issue there, what could go wrong? Well, after having a Droid on the Verizon network for over a year, I realized how much I truly enjoyed the intuitiveness and overall enjoyment of the Android experience. My wife doesn't mind Windows Mobile, so she took that phone and I proceeded to get another one for the account. I decided to go into the local T-mobile store to get a hands-on experience with their top two Android phones, the Samsung Vibrant and the G2. I've read good and bad things about both, most of it based on user preference. I first tried out the Vibrant, which at first glance is completely stunning. Easily the best screen I've seen on a phone (including the latest iphone). But the user interface Samsung put over Android seemed to mar what Android was supposed to be about. Why change something in itself that is already great? Next I went to the G2, and instantly the heavier weight and overall quality build set a good first impression. Next I opened the phone a few times to see what all the fuss was about the hinge, and I actually like the smooth motion. It didn't do any of the weird hanging I've been hearing about. Within seconds I was right at home moving between screens, opening apps, moving stuff around. Feels very similar to the Droid except on steroids! All the apps I've downloaded (20 or so to this point) have worked almost flawlessly. Everything opens almost instantaneously, the camera takes sharp, precise pictures with virtually no lag, and the screen has a beautiful, bright display. All good so far!
So after purchasing the phone, some minor issues have crept up, that will hopefully be addressed by T-mobile. The known problem of calls being dropped and 3G being erratic are true. I can be sitting in one spot, and be at 3G/4G to having absolutely no signal within seconds. It just doesn't make any sense. Also, the battery life is not good what so ever. I manage the programs that run in the background and keep the screen off when not in use, yet I seem to be charging the phone twice a day. I'm going to look in to a longer-life battery for this item. Seems like they aren't that expensive, so it may be worth a shot. That and the only other minor gripe is Mabilo ringtones doesn't work nearly as well on this device as it did with the Droid, as any ringtone I assign seems to skip like a scratched cd. If anyone has a fix for this, I'd love to hear it!
Overall if you are a T-mobile customer looking to switch to Android or upgrade, you simply can not go wrong with this phone, unless the most important thing to you is a screen over 4" and watching Avatar on your phone. I'm looking forward to the exciting things coming our way from Android and T-mobile!
on December 1, 2010
PROS: Seriously the best phone currently on the market, HSPA+ is great if you can get it.
CONS: Undersized spacebar, Android is occasionally buggy, screen doesn't quite measure up when compared to the competition.
I did a fair bit of research before finally taking the plunge on a smartphone. After spending a fair amount of time playing with the G2, iPhone, Samsung Vibrant and Epic, Droid, and a couple of less-noteworthy phones, the choice was clear. The G2 is without a doubt the best smartphone out there right now for my needs.
I remember when the specs were first announced, a lot of people scoffed that the processor was "only" 800 MHz, but let me tell you, this phone is no slouch. I actually found it to be smoother and more responsive than my friend's Vibrant, which is likely due to the G2 coming with a near-stock version of Android.
Upon unboxing the phone, the first thing I noticed was that it was heavier than I'd expected. That's not really a complaint for me, as I'll easily notice if it's not in my pocket and it really makes it feel like a solid product. But the weight might be a drawback for some. The phone is also slightly larger than I was expecting; it's about the same size as the iPhone, but noticeably thicker. Still, the phone is overall very sleek and stylish and feels very solidly built. The z-hinge in particular feels like it will hold up well over time.
Setup of the phone was a breeze. I simply entered my Google and Facebook login credentials and I was good to go (no Twitter for me, thanks). The one thing that was a little off-putting about the setup was that it synced my gmail contacts rather than pulling contact info from the SIM card. Most of my gmail contacts didn't have phone numbers associated with them, so it took me a few minutes to go through and enter all that info into my contacts (I did it on my computer to expedite the process). Also, I'm not totally certain, but I think it might pay off to have your gmail contacts in groups (e.g. family, friends). That way, you only have to deselect "All Other Contacts" to keep from syncing every last person you've ever emailed. It also automatically synced all my Facebook contacts, but the setting to turn that off was easy enough to find (and turning it off automatically removed all of those contacts).
I did have one minor issue when setting up Google Voice. I'd set it up and listened to the introductory message. I then archived it, but it still showed a new message indicator in the status bar. Long story short, I had to switch back to my T-Mobile voicemail and check for messages there. Oddly, there weren't any, but that made the notification go away. I've since had no problems using Google Voice. It was probably more of a T-Mobile issue than an issue with the phone, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
The screen, while nice, is one of the few areas the G2 doesn't quite stack up against its competitors, namely the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S phones. The 3.7" screen is not only smaller than the others, but is also less sharp and vibrant. Putting a screen protector on it only makes the screen duller, but overall it's still good. I have noticed that the screen occasionally registers touches when I'm typing on the physical keyboard, but I think that may be due to the screen protector.
The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is really what sold me on the G2. I've never been a fan of typing on a touchscreen, and while typing on the G2's touchscreen is just as good as most other phones out there and Swype is a nice alternative, the keyboard is where the G2 really shines. Keys feel solid and responsive and are spaced adequately so as to prevent multiple key presses. The biggest complaint I have about the keyboard is that the spacebar is smaller than it should be. It only reaches across 3 keys on the G2, whereas a standard QWERTY keyboard has the spacebar reaching across over 5 keys. Personally, I wish they'd foregone the programmable Quick Keys in favor of extending the spacebar, and maybe allocated one of them for a more commonly used symbol, such as the apostrophe or exclamation mark. In fact, the narrow spacebar led to the occasional accidental press of one of the Quick Keys, which resulted in the opening of the programmed app. As a result, I no longer have apps programmed to the Quick Keys. It'd be a nice compromise to be able to program text/characters to them. But despite these minor shortcomings, the keyboard is still fantastic and is one of the top selling points of the G2.
The G2's camera works well enough, but it won't be replacing my point-and-shoot anytime soon. The LED flash seems to do a decent job (and serves as a nice flashlight too). A number of other reviews have mentioned the lack of a front-facing camera as a drawback, but I personally have no use for this feature, so it doesn't bother me.
Battery life on the phone is good, but not great. Again, this is my first smartphone, so I had to quickly get accustomed to charging my phone every night rather than every few days. It's easy to drain the battery completely within mere hours if it's not set up right. After making a number of tweaks to what does/doesn't sync and what services are allowed to constantly run in the background, I'm able to get through an average full day of use (8am-11pm) with about 30% battery remaining. I carry a micro USB cable in my bag for heavy use days, and am strongly considering picking up a car charger in the future.
On the software front, the G2 ships with a near-stock version of Android 2.2 (Froyo). I knew early on that I wanted an Android phone, largely because I wasn't willing to switch to AT&T for the iPhone. Though T-Mobile has make some very minor tweaks and loaded some unnecessary apps on the phone, it still runs smoother than most of the other Android phones I've played with. Android still has room for improvement however, as I've experienced 3-4 crashes during my time with the phone (to the point that I actually had to remove the battery), though that may be due to some of the apps I've downloaded. Android can also be somewhat obtuse at times. Uninstalling unwanted apps, for example, is more difficult than it should be; I strongly recommend downloading an uninstaller app.
Call quality on the phone is better than any phone I've owned, though that isn't saying much. I do wish the speaker was louder, though it's usually loud enough for me to hear unless I'm in a really noisy environment. Accessing the internet using HSPA+ (T-Mobile's idea of 4G) is snappy and puts all of my friends' phones to shame. Luckily, I'm able to get a full HSPA+ connection just about anywhere in the Seattle/Bellevue area...except inside my apartment. For whatever reason, my phone always has trouble maintaining any kind of connection when I'm at home, though that's a problem I've had with past phones as well, so it's more likely a problem with my apartment if not T-Mobile. Thankfully, I can just use Wifi calling when I'm at home. Problem solved!
I know I've probably dedicated more words to the negatives of the G2 than I have the positives. To be honest, all of the shortcomings of the G2 are relatively minor when compared to how the phone excels in every other way. I know it doesn't read like a 5-star phone, but trust me, this is hands-down the best Android phone and, in my opinion, the best phone currently available on the market. It's not a perfect phone, but there will always be room for improvement. As anecdotal proof of how awesome the G2 is, the first weekend I had it, my partner spent some time playing with it. Less than 48 hours later, we were at the T-Mobile store getting another G2 to replace her ancient (by comparison) myTouch 3G. It's the first phone I've owned where after 2 months of owning it, I'm still in love with it. Do yourself a favor and buy it, or at least go to a T-Mobile store and spend some hands-on time with it. You won't regret it.
on April 1, 2011
I have been an Android user since the first Android phone was released, the G1.
I was very happy with it, but my contract was up and I was looking for a new faster phone. The other wireless carriers did not have signal at my house on a hill, so I was definitely staying with T-Mobile. I naturally picked up the G2 when it was released.
- the phone is very fast
- the Android 2.2 live wallpapers are very nice, especially the live google map that shows traffic
- there is recent ActiveSync support, which was unavailable on the G1
- it runs Flash . The ergonomics are not very good given the small screen, but it is still nice to have.
- the phone survived an overnight soak in water within a month of owning it, due to my cat dropping a glass of water on it that I had left on my desk. It didn't work very well for the next week and kept resetting itself, but after a few nights in my dry sauna, it revived itself. I haven't had any issue since.
- Bluetooth support is improved compared to the G1 . Works nicely with my Prius 2007 and Panasonic home cordless phones.
- Battery life is still very short, just like on the G1. I am a heavy user. Typically after taking it off the charger at 9am, it would run out of battery by 5pm, only 8 hours later. Not enough for one work day including commute. I solved this problem ordering a battery from China which makes the phone a lot bigger, but it never runs out again. This is the same thing I had to do on the G1.
- The keyboard requires the use of the alt key for typing digits. This is ridiculous. It makes it MUCH more difficult to type passwords, for instance. There is no way to lock the keyboard into "alt" mode also to type multiple digits. It appears this compromise was made to reduce the size of the keyboard. IMO, it is a very bad compromise. I want my 5-row keyboard back ! The worst problem is when you mean to hit 0 and instead of typing Alt-0 , you type Alt-Del accidentally . Then it deletes the whole line, and you have to start over. The top row design is really very bad.
- the pointing device is a touchpad, which is much worse than the trackball on the G1. Please bring the trackball back. Touchpads are the reason I cannot use laptop computers. I use trackballs on my desktop computers. Fortunately, the use of a pointing device is not critical to a mobile phone, so it is not that big of a problem. I just never use the touchpad.
- it is too easy to turn the volume up and down accidentally due to the large volume button. This can prevent it from rining
- wireless N wifi only works on the 2.4 GHz band, not 5 GHz
I love the G2. It's an awesome phone. I got the G1 when it came out, and have waited for my contract to qualify for an upgrade and for the right phone to be released.
I'm glad I waited.
The phone is incredible. The display is fantastic, and the speed is...well...zippy.
The construction is solid, so you don't have to worry about the keyboard and display being loose or insecure.
The voice commands are great in this newer version of the Android OS. You can speak a text message or email, and it's pretty accurate. It's a lot of phone.
I got an screen protector to put on the glass because I don't want it getting scratched up.
The tracking pad as opposed to the tracking ball takes a little getting used to. I haven't quite got the hang of it yet, but it's coming.
I like that when a call is placed, to put the caller on speaker, you don't have to hit the menu button, there's an on-screen prompt that you can use or you could use the other option and enable a bluetooth headset.
The swype keyboard is fantastic, and I find myself using the swype keyboard a lot more than I ever used the on screen keyboard of the G1.
One thing that I did notice is that if you put the G2 in your pocket and have a little bit of pocket lint, the lint can get into the headphone jack or into the bottom hinge area of the phone. Lesson: keep your pockets clean.
on December 7, 2011
I bought this phone after I had my G1 stolen. I loved my G1. Lots of people would show me their Droids, Evos, Samsungs, etc, but I liked my G1. Why? Because the T-Mobile G1 didn't have Motoblur, Sense UI or anything else layered on top of it. It was just a pristine Android phone. Uncluttered and very hackable. I use my phone for work. I work in the IT industry. I preferred not having updates for Facebook or any of that crap. But it was stolen... :(
So I bought the G2. Holy mackerel! This thing was just like my G1, only I didn't have to hack it at all. It is fast. It is uncluttered. It is flawless! Sure, it doesn't have stuff like an HDMI port or a front facing video camera, but I don't need those things anyway. I need it to work fast and not force close stuff because Sense UI or Motoblur isn't liking what I am doing. I get that level of compatibility with my G2. I am in love.
Though I miss my old G1, I am happy I have my G2. I think I will stick with this phone for a good long time. Perhaps until HTC comes out with a G3.
Tips for the battery. DO NOT leave location settings on. They will both kill your battery. Only use them when you need them. So perhaps get a widget for each so you can quickly turn them on and off as needed. Same goes for the WIFI. Don't leave it on when you aren't at a place where you have connected before. It will continuously scan if you do and that is a power drain. Do press the power button instead of letting it time out to turn off the screen.
Tips for making any Android phone a better experience. Do get Launcher Pro. Adds home screens, makes them wrap around, adds widget buttons to either side of the app tray button for phone,contact, messaging, web. Settings, sound, remove haptic feedback. Remove audible touch tones, selection. Display, set the brightness as low as possible. Saves the battery A TON! Screen timeout, 2 mins. Accounts-Sync, remove auto-sync. No more annoying notices for every Email you get. Languages/Keyboard, Swype remove Vibrate on keypress. Same on Android keyboard.
After doing all of that I would also remove animations of any kind. While it looks cool to pop stuff in and out and all of that jazz... It adds time. I often do stuff very quickly and switch windows and what not. I don't need to add a second to everything I do. But you might like the glitz and the glamour.
In the end you will have a very stable phone. It will also have a much longer battery life!
on September 9, 2011
I owned the first Android phone, the G1. While I loved getting in on Android early, it wasn't long before it started to feel slow. Once the first Motorola Droid came out there was a new set of expectations for how fast things should run. Not to mention a flood of apps started hitting the market that my poor old G1 just didn't have the hardware to run. Since then I'd been waiting for the perfect replacement. It seemed like it would never happen - plenty of fast phones came out, and some of them even for T-Mobile. But NONE had those characteristics combined with a keyboard.
I almost got the MyTouch 3G Slide when it came out, despite the wonky looking "Espresso" skin. It had some flaws, but it had Android and a keyboard, and wasn't as dirt slow as my G1. But now, I'm glad I didn't. The G2 is probably the most well rounded smartphone I've ever seen, and a perfect fit for me. I can't imagine giving this thing up for any phone on the market right now, even if carrier wasn't a concern.
The screen is big enough to be impressive, but not so large that it could pose a problem for some users (eg the Evo 4G - one of the most impressive phones ever built to be sure, but it is actually too big for some people to use effectively). The 3.7 inch form factor seems to be a good middle ground. Resolution is 800x480, which was standard for the higher end of the spectrum at the time it released. It's still quite good today - amazingly there are still budget phones coming out at 480x320 - I don't think I could go back to that. Colors are good, the display is bright. Sunlight visibility is as good as anything (meaning not that great, but no display is outside of e-ink).
DO NOT let the 800MHz CPU clock speed fool you. It's an MSM7230, which is a second-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon. You will never notice that it's not 1GHz (except maybe by better battery life). The phone runs stock Android, no custom skin. This easily makes up for the CPU speed. Even now, a year later, most apps load instantly. It runs new games like Dungeon Defenders perfectly smooth. To illustrate my point - when the Samsung Galaxy S came out, I remember seeing an Engadget post enthusiastically saying that their unit had gotten 55FPS on the Neocore graphics benchmark. I ran the benchmark on my G2 - 58FPS. The Galaxy S was considered the newest and hottest thing at the time.
The hardware keyboard is one of the best I've used, if not the best. Beats my Droid 2 work phone by a country mile. Dedicated @ and [...] keys. It also has 3 blank hotkeys which you can set to launch apps of your choosing. I honestly haven't used this much myself, but it's a great feature that I haven't seen anywhere else.
If you're a connectivity junky, this phone is for you. Sure, lots of phones can do wi-fi tethering these days. It's been built in to Android since 2.2. Even the Verizon iPhone does it. But on many phones, if the carrier doesn't force the manufacturer to disable the feature entirely, they require an additional monthly fee. A phone that tethers without a charge is a rare gem, and this is one of them. It will tether through either WiFi or USB, no extra dollars required. This feature has saved me more than just a few times (and consequently, the fact that the HP Touchpad was WiFi only means diddly to me, heh). I only use it when necessary, and I can tell you I have NEVER gone over my 5GB cap. Most months I don't even approach 1GB. That includes the billing period where some friends and I tethered the Touchpad all the way through a 5.5 hour drive to Chicago and back again. And even if I did go over, T-Mobile doesn't charge you overage - they just slow you down to EDGE speeds for the rest of the billing period.
Battery life is quite good for a smartphone. Due in no small part, I'm sure, to the 800MHz CPU. Even with the stock battery, I rarely had to charge it outside of its nightly bedside charge. Only on very heavy usage days. But these days I am running an extended battery from Mugen. 1800mAh as opposed to the stock 1300mAh. My record so far is 52 hours, and I still had 20% battery at that point. If the math didn't click for you, that is OVER 2 DAYS. With a smartphone. This is the sort of battery life I used to get with my old Verizon flip phone. That is only the extended battery model that still fits under the stock battery cover. Mugen also makes a 3600mAh unit which requires a larger battery cover - a hump on the back of the phone. Simple multiplication (possible 4 days runtime - are you kidding me?) suggests it may be worth the added bulk. :)
Speaking of bulk - it's not overly large. It is of course thicker than something like an iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S, due to the hardware keyboard. But it's not huge. It's one of the slimmest phones with a keyboard out there, and with the beveled edges you will have no trouble at all slipping it in and out of a pocket. I wouldn't call it heavy - no modern phone is, really. But it is definitely dense - as in well built. It just feels solid and well built. Typical HTC construction. Not like the Samsungs which almost feel hollow.
I'll only mention things here that are unique to this phone. The rest is stock Android.
It comes with the ability to use Google Voice for your voicemail. The reason this is great is that Google Voice transcribes the messages into text. It's not perfect, but it's usually close enough to find out what the message is without listening to it.
Here's an Android history lesson - it's actually been possible to use GV for your voicemail on Android for a long time, by setting your phone to send unanswered calls to your GV number. Then you just install the GV app and set it to download messages automatically. I was doing this with my old G1 for some time. Where the G2 innovates is this: when you're first setting the phone up, it asks whether you want to use your carrier's voicemail, or GV. If you choose GV, it does all that behind the scenes setup for you. From then on, when you get a voicemail, you get a notification from GV - tap on that, and you can either read the voicemail, listen, or both. This option can be changed later FYI.
Android 2.3. While the phone originally came with 2.2, there is an upgrade to 2.3 over-the-air. It might be that units sold now are shipping with 2.3? I really don't know. Anyway - 2.3 is not the quantum leap forward that 2.2 was, but it does have some nice additions. Better battery life, an improved mechanism for selecting text that lets you adjust the selection before hitting copy/cut or paste (the old method just copied as soon as you finished dragging - it was annoying if you missed a few characters on your first attempt). And of course, 2.3 was when Android went to the black and green theme which I love. Lots of other improvements, too many to go into.
No getting around it, T-Mobile does not have the greatest coverage area. 3G is mostly only in major metros, because that is the only place T-Mobile's own network exists. In other areas they partner with regional carriers, which are usually only EDGE (2G) or GPRS (amazingly slow data, barely usable for more than text messaging). Voice coverage is pretty widespread due to those regional carriers - I always have the ability to call, it's just the data coverage is slow outside of my hometown of Des Moines. On the flip side though, this is one of only 2 or 3 phones I know of which comes with the ability to place calls through WiFi. It does use your plan minutes which is not so great, but it has allowed me to place calls in situations where I otherwise couldn't have.
Here is the other side of that coin though - T-Mobile may not have the most widespread 3G network, but in the areas they do have 3G, they are often the fastest. Only Sprint can really compete with their network quality. Here's an example when sitting at home, where I have 3G on both my personal and work phones: On my Droid 2 (Verizon) I can get 500kbps down and 300kbps up, on a good day. My G2 (T-Mobile) consistently gets 2-3mbps down and 1-2mbps up. I have never seen it get less than 2/1. You can tell the difference when you load web pages or other internet content. Not that Verizon's 3G is unusable of course - but there is a marked difference.
I refuse to say anything regarding "4G" because no technology currently advertised these days is truly 4G. Also, we don't have HSPA+ here yet.
Voice quality with this phone has always been exceptional. I might have had 2 or 3 dropped calls in the entire year I've owned it. Not kidding.
One final note - you will see some reviews that mention the fact that if you open the keyboard and then hold the phone by its base with the display facing down, the screen will fall, closing the keyboard. If you're having trouble visualizing, that would be if you were lying on your back, holding the phone up with the keyboard open. While it is true that this can occur when the phone's held that way, it's so unlikely that you'll actually do so that I have trouble grasping why reviewers even bothered to mention it. Just one of those rumors that hit critical mass on the internet, I guess. I only mention it here to counteract all the reviews and comments you're likely to see that make it sound like the end of time is upon us because of the G2's hinge. For what it's worth, I have encountered it exactly one time in the year I've had this phone. And I'd still rather have this hinge, which slaps (yeah, seriously) effortlessly and quickly into its open and closed positions, than my Droid 2 work phone which requires far too much force to slide, probably because the keys grind along the back of the screen - sheesh.
If you're on T-Mobile and looking at this as an upgrade, it is well worth the money. Period.