T-Mobile G1: First Impressions


Alright folks so I got a decent amount of time to “play around” with the G1 and I’m sure people are eager to know what the overall take is on the phone. Whats good? Whats bad? What do you like? What don’t you like? So… don’t hold me to any of these opinions as they could change in even the next few hours (I’m going back to play again after I write this post) but here are my initial thoughts/views:

The Looks

On PICTURES that I’ve seen online, the G1 looks kind of goofy. When you actually have the phone in your hand or are looking at it in front of you, its actually quite attractive. I’m sure all of you can relate… its not immediately photogenic but in person, this thing really does look quite good.

Part of the reason everyone was “hating” on the look of the phone was that little tail chunk at the bottom. I happen to like it…

The Tail Chunk At The Bottom

That little “chunk” serves a couple purposes that I don’t think you could fully appreciate unless it wasn’t there at all. First of all, it makes opening the QWERTY a little more easier and comfortable. Secondly, the trackball that is on the “chunk” is incredibly easily accessible in that position and makes browsing through options and scrolling through links VERY easy.

While perhaps they could have “hidden” the chunk a little better, overall I think it serves a pretty functional purpose. It works.

The Colors

To me there are only 2 colors… Black and White. I would consider myself slightly colorblind… I have trouble telling the difference between dark blues and black, dark blues and dark green, etc… But if that is the definition of colorblind I think most people are colorblind to some degree.

The brown just isn’t “different” enough to warrant its own color in my opinion. It looks very similar to the black… even the T-Mobile people had a hard time telling them apart. I was expecting a chocolatey brown and while I might not have LIKED a chocolate brown, at least it offered a good bit of variety. If you’re going to do a 3rd color, my thing is, why not make it completely unique?

The Feel/Build

Overall the phone seemed to be pretty solid and of good quality. I need to look at the weight compared to other phones with similar features/specs when I get a chance, but it seemed pretty light weight which I enjoyed. It felt really good in my hands.

The Keyboard

To be honest it was a little bit cramped – not as spaced out as my Voyager – but still MUCH better for me than using a touch screen QWERTY or typing. If the little “chunk” at the bottom weren’t there the Keyboard could be more spread out which I think would be hugely attractive for most people.

I heard someone complaining about the enter and delete key being right next to eachother which, although wasn’t an issue for me, could be an issue for some people. Overall I thought the keyboard had a pretty nice feel, but definitely not the best keyboard on the market.

The Screen

The resolution and quality on the screen seemed pretty amazing. From the default G1home screens to web browsing, the screen was very crisp and clear… a HUGE plus. This will be even more important when you’re using games, maps and applications on a daily basis. But my first experience with the screen was that it ROCKED.

The Applications

I’ll have more information about the applications tonight/tomorrow but the Android Market seemed integrated pretty beautifully. Selecting an app was easy, downloading was easy, launching apps was easy… it was a really nice integration. It will be interesting to see how they manage the Android Market when it expands and there are TONS of apps. I asked if there would be a web/online component and they had no response… but seemed to hint that eventually there would be.

I played with a couple of the applications listed and… I’m happy to say… they were A LOT of fun and I’m excited for apps more than anything.

The Touch Screen

I feel like some of the touch screen features COULD be more intuitive. They try some new things and perhaps they just take getting use to. I’m wondering if 3rd party developers could alter the way the TouchScreen UI works/looks by default. I think more than anything, it just seems like it’ll take some time getting used to the various features/options since the G1 is very “different” than most phones.

One Pretty Cool Feature

One thing that I REALLY liked was the dedicated search key. Regardless of if you’re surfring the web, in your contact book, in your calendar, in an application or WHEREVER you are, you can press the “search” button on the QWERTY and it will open up a search box that will search the specific area you’re in. Pretty cool and very useful… are there other phones that do this?


Alright, I’m headed back to HTC! I want to play with this thing one last time. Who knows when the next chance I’ll get to play with one… so I’m out of here! I’ll be back online in a few hours with more updates.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

T-Mobile G1 Demo Video

Previous article

Confessions of a Live Blog Failure

Next article

You may also like


  1. I am SO thrilled.
    Just ordered mine in Black. I was hoping for the white, even though it would probably get dirtier than black. But none were shown in the order screen.
    Am glad they offer a $100 Online Discount! Made mine a little over $340 with taxes.
    Anxiety mounts … waiting … October 22.

  2. It’s one of the uglier devices out there; looking like a 1990s wordtank, making it look uncool and tough for early adopters to want to pluck down the cash and walk around with it. Of all things, it needed to look cool, not embarrassing.

  3. In my Opinion I have a wish list of things I wish were different (or improved) on the G1….

    1) The first thing that bothers me comes from T-mobile….. 1 Gb max on their 3G network vs At&ts 5 Gb max on theirs, this makes a bigger difference since this is a internet based phone in which their will be lots of downloads, you tube viewing, song downloads, games, pictures, etc.

    2) Because of 1 Gb max on the web per month this makes tethering almost laughable.

    3) The screen looks nice but it could have been slightly bigger (HTC is putting out the HTC HD with a 3.8″ screen and the iphone has a 3.5″ screen compared to the G1’s 3.2″ )

    4) Is it just me or is there no Accelerometer? Looks like they didn’t include this feature that rotates the screen based on the phones position.

    5) Also I saw a video of the G1 and the iphone side by side viewing the exact same web page and it looks like the G1 response was slower and choppier! Isn’t the G1’s whole purpose to be a web browsing power house?

    6) Just My taste but it looks like the HTC G1 is a little to thick for my taste…

    7) The strange “chin” that i was hoping to be only part of the prototype made it to the final build…..MISTAKE.

    8) How come storage space is 1 Gb out of the box with a 8 Gb limit……. I can’t put all my music, movies, pictures on
    just 8 Gbs! I was hoping for 16-32 Gb

    9) The key pad looks a little small for me….

    10) They droped the ball when it came to no regular headphone jack 3.5mm instead you have to use their proprietary jack…mistake as well

    Overall it seems like an amazing OS with alot of potential but the hardware (HTC) and the carrier (T-mobile) are the ones to blame for most of these short falls…..really a shame, i’ve been waiting for this phone for 6 months now!

  4. George shows a good point___But i still believe its an iphone killa.

  5. Perhaps I’ll wait for the next Gphone,
    what i gonna do while waiting 4 it? Bold seems okay to try..

  6. George, let’s be honest man. This is without a doubt most certainly the best mobile phone ever. Flash browsing!! Does the iphone do that? Hell no it doesn’t. Open Source!! Unlimited potential. And show me how noticeable .3inches is for screen size; no one will notice that minor size difference. Most importantly, ” the average iphone user utilizes 750mb of bandwidth monthly”(News Factor.com) A gig works for me, and I’m sure once t-mobile’s 3g network expands they’ll without a doubt increase the bandwidth restriction’s. 32 GB’s is kind of crazy this is still just a phone, an extension to your laptop or desktop, I really think 8 gb is plenty of space.

  7. George sounds like hes a perfect fit for an iphone, as for me i ordered mine 179 full discount gigadi gigadi goo. the apps are going to be sweet. iphone killa? you bet.

  8. I LOVE the hard buttons on the side – at first, I was like, AHH! OMG! (like Ross in friends!?), but then looking at some of the movies of peeps using it, I’m like, WOW, I would use that back button a lot.

    iPhone may look fancy and scroll better, but i would take open source ANYDAY

    Now, heres to crossing my fingers we get SOME kind of leak from sprint before oct. 22nd (hardware specs!!!) (long time sprint user), otherwise, bye bye sprint – and yup, that includes cancelling my contact

  9. waited so long for this bt pretty disappointed with the design. wish to have a better looking phone in the next release.

    looks like i’ll go ahead with iphone for now. wont wait for a phone that looks bulky and unattractive. i wanna have it in my pocket, not in my bag. wish it was slimmer and touch screen all the way instead of the keyboard sliding out. eewww i hate the looks. no offence

  10. I also think its a cool phone, but not a real iphone killer. I’m looking forward to see the G2 :-)

  11. There are accelerometers in the device that will rotate the screen based on orientation, if the app supports that. All of the core OS stuff does from what I’ve seen on some demos and on the SDK.

    Many of the demo video’s I’ve seen though seems whoever held the phone simply kept the screen slid up so it kept making it look like you need to open the screen to switch to landscape mode.

    Here’s an example from Life360:

    “Collision Detector: We use your phone’s accelerometer to detect if you are involved in an accident. If you are, we will call 911, let nearby users know, and display your emergency information on the phone”

  12. Count me as another who absolutely hates the tail chunk. It is crazy to sacrifice screen real estate and keyboard space for a trackball and some buttons. If the touch screen works well enough, I don’t need a trackball (which is likely to get dirty and fail anyway). The HTC Touch HD manages to get a much larger screen (and by the way 0.3″ is a lot (10%) when you are in the vicinity of 3″) and 4 buttons. I would have been so much more excited if the phone had cost $300 and it was more like the HTC Touch HD (3.8″ 800×480, better camera, 3.5mm jack). Heck I’d even like a 4.3″ screen with pushing the dimensions to 124x67x13mm to accommodate it (this screen is on a few other devices like the HP iPaq 310 GPS).

    I’m not convinced a slider is really what I want, but there is no way you can convince me that not using the entire length of the phone for the keyboard when the lengths are already cramped is ever justified. Xperia, Nokia N810, etc. – that is the only type of slider I’d consider worthwhile. With a 4.3″, I think a screen landscape keyboard could satisfy me, though I’d like it to be customizable.

    Finally, what is the point of these microSD cards in a phone this big? Give me the full size where I can get 32 GB right now, and this size will always lead the micro by a factor of 2 or 4. Plus more people have these cards laying around. (Note: this phone isn’t any cheaper to purchase than an 8GB iPhone if you have to purchase and 8GB microSDHC card – and you can’t even get a 16GB for an extra $100 yet, I don’t know T-mobile, hopefully the per month charge for an equivalent voice+data plan is less).

    I may be stuck waiting for the next one.

    Dara Parsavand

  13. Dara,

    Not sure where you’re buying your SD cards, but Newegg has 8gb microSDs for 28 bucks. Even with shipping you could fit 3 in for less than $100 which is 24gb of storage. Sure you can only have 8gb at a time in the phone (for now that is) but you can carry & swap as many cards as you’d like. Not sure how in the world this is worse than the iPhone approach where you’re stuck with what came with it when you bought it, and it costs more per gb as well…

  14. Nortius,

    Carrying multiple microSD cards doesn’t sound that appealing to me. On the other hand if some phone company ends up offering 4 places for these cards say underneath a removable battery, I agree with you that this completely negates the higher capacity available in SD over microSD (since the cost per GB of the upper end cards often gets worse). Of course 32 GB sounds like a lot and I’m not even sure what I’d do with that much right now, but I’m sure I’ll think of something – maybe combining a large music collection, a large database of offline topographic maps to use while hiking, and still wanting room to shoot a long sequence of moderate compressed video (which isn’t possible with the G1 I realize) would push it. Some people probably have 32 GB of music alone (I don’t). I don’t buy some people’s argument that one can swap songs back and forth from a laptop to the phone so who needs that much space – I’d find that to be a bother – I’d rather just have it all on the phone.


  15. The G1 is the ugliest looking device I have seen in my entire life. I am lost for words at how hideous that is. And to think how many people were hoping it might be a real contender against iPhone. Terrible.

    What were they thinking with that ugly looking ‘tail chunk’? Who designs these things? Honestly? I mean – how can anyone get it so incredibly wrong? I really don’t understand. Is it that hard to identify ‘elegant’ from ‘trash’? Because this looks like trash!

    There is no denying it looks absolutely disgusting. Functionality is one thing – I’m not taking away from that. But in terms of design/form, anyone who likes it, obviously has no concept or taste of good design. iPhone got it right – minimal, sleek, modern, condensed, efficient. G1 has failed with its big, heavy, busy, ugly, clunky, plastic, pathetic, over-loaded, 1980 2-dollar-shop look.

    I can honestly say if I found one of these in the garbage bin, I would not pick it up. I’d thank god that the phone was where it belongs, and continue on my merry way.

  16. First of all, taste is inherently a matter of opinion.

    Second of all, I want to point out that half of all Apple fanboys are just wannabe design snobs who think they’re in some elite inner circle that supports the finer things in life. In reality, many (not all) are superficial prima donnas who blindly follow a brand name because they think doing so makes them cool by association when in reality the functionality and productivity of their phone – the reason it was made – suffers and is compromised because of their own need to stroke their ego.

    Don’t get me wrong – the iPhone is an amazing device. Is it revolutionary? Absolutely. Is it gorgeous? I think so. Is it more attractive than the G1? Most would probably say so. But seriously… get over it. The world grows tiresome of your perpetual reminders of your phone’s beauty and elegance… its like the mobile version of Paris Hilton.

    The comparisons to the iPhone are justified. But how about being original? Or maybe even *gasp* fair or logical?


  17. *APPLAUD*the*RANT*

    I’ve never once used an iPhone. I have been a hard-core WindowsMobile user for years. Never wanted an iPhone. Never liked following ‘the in-crowd’.
    I actually did use an iPhone today, co-worker wanted to know why I was so thrilled about my new G1, that I’ve been bragging to my friends for months.
    Yes, it’s nice. (and that’s about it)

    True, taste is inherently a matter of opinion. But when voicing ones opinion, Apple FanBoys must look at other aspects than just the ‘wow’ and the ‘shine’ and the ‘gloss’ and your reflection in this super wowwee shiny glossiness.

    While the iPhone has set the standard for all future phones (we all know this), the G1 will revolutionize the way software interacts with the hardware. And how the user interacts with their phone.
    It gives the owner OF the phone the rights to do what they want WITH their phone.
    Why are there so many jailbroken iPhones? Because Apple has such strict reins on the app store and with the restrictions, you CAN’T run just any app you want, can you? You can’t just develop any app either without jumping through flaming hoops.

    How’s that for freedom?

    On the other hand, we get to celebrate, in less than 30 days when I and countless other geeks get our sweaty palms on our G1 phone … we get to celebrate all that the Open Source goodness has provided. Freedom to do with our hardware and software whatever we want!

  18. No – you miss the point. Don’t group me here with any ‘apple fan boy design snobs’, I don’t own a single mac product – I just can appreciate an *OBVIOUSLY* superb design when I see one.

    I actually think it’s the case that many dorky nerds feel that they have to ‘go against the grain’ with iPhone, and won’t use it BECAUSE it looks so slickly designed – which of course is absolutely ridiculous.

    The bottom line is quite simply that the iPhone looks and feels GREAT. The G1 looks and feels like a ridiculous toy brick phone pile of crap.

    Remember – just because something might LOOK absolutely garbage, doesn’t mean that it’s better than something that looks great!

  19. all of u r wrong !!! come join the elite with prada, and the nokia 8801, this is where technology begins. stay in the lower class working at mcdonalds if u want to. but if u want class get a Benz and an 8801.

  20. I don’t get how you guys don’t buy something like the iphone or whatever it may be just because you believe that you don’t want to be followers and follow the “in-crowd.” That’s just stupid. When the Motorolla Razr first came out I didn’t buy it because I didn’t think it was a quality phone not because I didn’t want to follow the in crowd.

    I am a PC user. Always have and always will be. BUT I do have the iphone 3g and it is amazing. It’s so easy to use and there are so many apps out there. It also looks great! I didn’t buy it because of the commercials or because people have them. I bought it because it is simply a great device which is obvious.

    As far as the G1 looks, taste is different and my taste tells me that it’s an ugly phone. The photos make it look uglier but when you actually see it in person it’s still an ugly device but not as bad as the photos of it. As far as functionality goes, it’s got a lot of potential and may even surpass the iphone in the applications area because of open source. The only solution for iphone owners is to jailbreak their phones.

    I don’t understand this whole apple vs windows thing. It just makes people look stupid. How about you think
    realistically and make decisions yourselves instead of letting windows or apple make it for you. There are great windows products and there are great apple products. Why not enjoy the best of both worlds?

  21. The picture does not do this phone justice. When it’s in your hands there’s a world of difference an it is very sleek in person. For a 1st version I think they definitely took a unique direction instead of the same ol square touch screen phone like everybody else and did a good job. Still waitin for mine but I know I won’t be disappointed after using it in the store.

  22. The G1 is a really sleek looking piece of kit – much easier to hand than the wide iPhone – and the slightly angled ‘tail’ is a stroke of genius, allowing the phone to be stood on its side. My own quibble is with the placement of the volume controls – too easy to catch them by accident while typing.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Opinion