I’ve had an iPhone for more that a year and a half. I waited in line at an AT&T store the at the mall in Capitola in Santa Cruz, CA in June of 2007 to get the first iPhone. I love my iPhone, and I’ve been generally happy with it since I’ve had it. Sure, there a f ew things here and there that I would change; I’d like better email service, and there should be a landscape keyboard available in every app, but on the whole it’s one of the best devices I’ve ever owned. Everything was grand, until recently.
In the last 2 or 3 months, I’ve had trouble talking on the phone. Specifically if I just hold the phone to my face, sans bluetooth or headset (you know, like a normal phone) then people on the other end can’t hear me. It’s an issue for me when my phone doesn’t let me talk to other people. I went to my local Apple store and asked about getting it serviced. They don’t do servicing. If it’s outside of warranty (which mine is) then I can do one of three things:
- Deal with it
- Buy a new 3G phone
- Pay $200 and they’ll give me a brand new (or refurbished) phone of the same type
#3 doesn’t really sound like such a bad deal. $200, a brand new phone that lets me talk and has no scratches… I’m thinking about it. But, in the meantime, maybe I’d like a shiny new handset? Maybe it’s time for a cool new gadget. Voila, here comes the G1. The new Google phone has some nifty features that sound very attractive:
- Full size (and quality) screen, comparable to the iPhone
- Multiple nav options (touchscreen, roly ball, keyboard)
- Full QWERTY keyboard – that’s RAD!
- Google branding and software – that’s a nice, reliable, comfortable thought
- It’s new – always fun
- Let’s me push back emotionally against the Mac Fan-Boy feeling I sometimes have (I don’t like feeling like a super-devotee to anyone)
- It’s on T-Mobie – some people count this as a negative, but I’ve found T-Mobile to be very reliable in my home and work place, and they have the best customer servicve that I’ve ever encountered in a mobile carrier
- 3MP camera – this is a nice upgrade from the 2MP camera on the iPhone, and I’m hopeful that they’ll come out with a video-recording application, which Apple steadfastly refuses to do (or allow)
So, in a fit exuberance I went down to my local T-Mobile store, checked out the device, and decided to just go for it. I mean heck, I’m paying a steep price to live in California, I might as well take advantage of some of the beneftis. In this case that includes a full 30 day trial period for any mobile carrier. Worst case I just have to pay for 30 days of service, and then I can still return the handset and get out of my contract. Low risk, possibly high reward.
So I took home the Google phone, and I’ve played with it for a week now. And I can tell you hands-down, it does not compare to the iPhone.
There are lots of things I like. The keyboard is great. The applications are amazing. I read Erick Schonfeld’s assessment on TC
before I bought it, and I’ve found that I agree with him that the apps are the most fun and engaging part of the whole experience. I also generally agree with Eric Benderoff’s article
from the Chicago Tribune. The G1 is not as pretty as the iPhone, but Google did manage to deliver an impressive first device. However, the overall experience just doesn’t compare. Here are some of my issues and reasons:
- The phone freezes up sometimes – apps can take 7-10 seconds to load
- Email pull is actually slower than the iPhone, and I was hoping for an improvement
- The SMS interface (and the email interface) just doesn’t compare with the iPhone
- It’s a handsome device, but the quality / heft / experience of holding it and using it just isn’t as nice as the aluminum backing on my iPhone
- As a media player (music and video) it just doesn’t come close
I have three major tasks (“Major Tasks”
) for which I use my phone: calls, email, and media player. SMS is a distant fourth. I’d say with phone calls the two phones are about a wash. For email, the iPhone has a nicer interface, accomodates more email services (G1 doesn’t play nice with Yahoo! mail) and has faster push and pull. And as a MP3 player / video player, the iPhone is probably the best gadget I’ve ever used bar none. The G1 can’t touch it.
Given my personal requirements, the Google phone just doesn’t cut it as a replacement to my iPhone. I’m better off to just suck it up and deal with the voice problem, or use the $180 + tax that I would have to spend on the G1 to buy a brand-new (or refurbished) iPhone.
To summarize, I was having trouble with my iPhone. I thought I could replace it with a G1, and have the joy of a new gadget while simultaneously supporting Google. I was wrong. The G1 is not a suitable replacement, or an improvement on any level (except the camera and keyboard.) I’m stcking with my iPhone, until something better comes along.
If I were forced to give the G1 a numeric rating between one and ten, I’d call it a seven. That’s pretty good, but my iPhone is still a nine.
iPhone vs. Google Phone on 12seconds.tv
This post is also available on 1TO10REVIEWS.