iPhone or Nexus One – My Two Pennies Worth

Someone asked me the other day “if you were robbed at knifepoint and had both your iPhone and your Nexus one stolen, and only had enough money to buy one back, which would it be?”… at the time the jury was out, I was undecided… today the jury has returned with a decision… for me, the choice is Nexus One…

I’m not trying to be different, or controversial and I’m NOT an “iPhone hater”. On the contrary, I think the iPhone is awesome, and as a consumer I owe Apple a huge debt of gratitude for making the rest of the industry pay attention to industrial design and user experience. The other players have inevitably been forced to invest plenty of their cold hard cash into R&D – and the results are now coming to market.

Now, there are stacks of iPhone / Nexus One reviews about, so I don’t want to repeat these, instead this post is purely opinion based. These are the reasons for my choice;

  1. Customisation
    This is the #1 deciding factor – the customisation that is possible with Android that you don’t get with iPhone OS 3.0.
    I like being able to put widgets on my home screen, rather than just icons.
    I like being able to choose my own background, themes, dictionaries and security options.
  2. Freedom
    I like being able to connect the handset via USB and have it switch into portable storage mode, so it functions as a USB Drive.
    I like being able to load my own music (ahem!) in which ever format I choose.
    I like being able to buy an unlocked handset and choose my own service provider.
  3. Synchronisation
    I like having all my Google account information synchronised without fuss; Gmail, Contacts, Tasks, Maps, Analytics, YouTube, Picasa etc…
  4. App Store
    There are plenty of apps that I want. Most of the usual iPhone apps already have versions available in the Android Market (Facebook, Twitter etc).
    I can write my own applications, using free tools and free SDK’s.
  5. Haptic Hard Keys
    I love having more hard key options available for navigation and contextual input. The iPhone only has one button, that only takes you back to your home screen. If you are used to this, then it works just fine. But once you are used to the multiple inputs on the N1, you’ll get frustrated having to scan the UI looking for context options, the lack of a simple back button on iPhone now drives me crazy! The hard keys also provide a tiny ‘haptic‘ vibration when pressed, and this is a surprisingly nice feature…
  6. The Little Things
    The N1 comes with a protective pouch – I like to keep my gadgets in good order!
  7. SMS Spell checking
    The spell checking is really really good. I can just mash away at the keyboard with my fat fingers, and 99% of the time my ‘spilling erorrs‘ are corrected automatically.

Inevitably there are some features of the platform that I don’t like;

  1. I have had to reboot the handset twice, when the touch screen got out of sync – this may have been down to an app that i have downloaded – not got to the bottom of this yet – it could be hardware / it could be software.
  2. You need to be tech savvy to set up the handset. Because it is not offered on any UK contract deals yet you will have to setup your own WiFi, Mobile Internet and MMS settings. Pretty easy to do, if you know where to find the settings. Because of this I wouldn’t buy this phone for my wife – it isn’t as easy to just pickup and use as the iPhone.
  3. Some apps just don’t work. Because of the open nature of the Android platform, not all applications are distributed via the official Android Marketplace. Some apps are therefore badly written, and function poorly.
  4. I’m not getting very good mobile signal at home. Not a problem for Internet, as the WiFi is excellent, but my old cell phone had better reception, and the iPhone has good reception too, albeit on a different network.
  5. There are no sync options for handset video to be uploaded to Picasa – !!
  6. Because the handset comes from the US, it doesn’t include a UK charger.
  7. The voice recognition IS amazing BUT requires a really good Internet connection which renders it pretty much unusable on a mobile connection – it’s faster to type.

All in all (& IMHO) the good points of the N1 outweigh the bad, and if I only had the option to buy one more handset, the N1 would be it.

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