The T-Mobile G1 'Google phone' is a tweaker's delight

The first Android-based phone isn't especially sexy or eye-catching, but it does a lot of things right.

The G1, the first phone to run Google's Android software, includes a touch screen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard.

The G1, the first phone to run Google's Android software, includes a touch screen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard.

Applications: The phone comes with a number of apps preinstalled--and you can add tons more via the Android Market. The versatile IM lets you configure instant messaging with AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. Because Android permits multitasking--and no app actually closes--you can receive IMs after you've left the IM app to browse the Web, for example. (With the iPhone, you won't get your messages if you leave the IM app, and you have to log in again each time.)

Mail from Gmail gets its own icon, but you can set up other POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts as well, in just a couple of steps (the software automatically configures the server settings). The calendar syncs with your Google Calendar. I had no trouble viewing the various calendar entries I'm privy to, or adding an entry to my calendar, but I couldn't add an entry to other Google Calendars that I have rights to. And bizarrely, Android has no Google Docs support at launch; the only way you can access Google Docs is through the Web browser--a bit of a pain. You can view Microsoft Word and Excel documents through Gmail, but you can't save and view these docs through the Web browser. Similarly, you can open and read PDF files received through Gmail.

The Web browser handled much of what I threw at it, but it balked at some tasks (for example, it lacks in-browser Flash support). I missed having discrete forward and backward controls (you can go back only by clicking the universal hardware back button) and an option for offline viewing (as on a Palm OS-based Treo), but adding and retrieving bookmarks was simple.


The Amazon MP3 app is a useful alternative to iTunes, and music downloaded quickly and easily. I could queue up the DRM-free tracks for download, which occurred in the background as I did other things with the phone. Unfortunately, the selection is less extensive than the one on iTunes.

The music player application is easy to navigate, and great for finding and playing back music. Music sounded okay when piped through the built-in speaker (on a par with the iPhone 3G's speaker). But the lack of a standard headphone jack limits the G1's potential as a music player.

The camera app is a big disappointment. Though the device has a 3-megapixel camera, it lacks a flash, a zoom, and any controls for adjust image quality, white balance, or the like. There's no camcorder, either, though T-Mobile says that the imaging sensor can capture video if someone writes a video capture app and offers it on the Android Market.

Final Analysis

T-Mobile's Android-based G1 isn't especially sexy or eye-catching, but it does a lot of things right. It's a strong first-generation Android device, but the absence of a standard headphone jack, a video camera, and Google Docs (and support for Word and Excel) at launch are notable detractions. Still, I would recommend this versatile phone over countless other smart-phones; Android's intuitive ease-of-use raises this phone above most Windows Mobile- and BlackBerry-based devices.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google Android

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Melissa J. Perenson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?