T-Mobile G1 review: The whole cagoogle

GSMArena team, 20 March 2009.
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Design and construction (continued)

The back side of the handsets is where the 3 megapixel autofocus camera is located, as well as the loudspeaker grill. There is no flash of any kind, suggesting that low-light photography isn't really the G1 element.

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The T-Mobile G1 from the back

Under the battery cover, which gets opened in the aforementioned scary routine, lays the 1150 mAh Li-Ion battery, which powers the G1. Its performance is hardly spectacular managing about a day under heavy usage (an hour and a half of messaging, one hour of browsing over Wi-Fi, several calls and a couple of hours of exploring the rest of the phone features).

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The battery life of the G1 is hardly impressive

The general build quality of the T-Mobile G1 is pretty good, the plastic used looking sleek and durable. The handset would've felt pretty good to hold in hand if it wasn't for the really disturbing rattling noise that comes from the slider spring. Every time you grab or push the G1 a bit harder you hear a squeak.

While we appreciate the HTC and Google's attempt to make the device as unique as possible they would've been better off with a regular slider. The single curved spring mechanism also has another disadvantage as the slider has a really uneven run. You basically need to press as hard as you can to get it moving but then you suddenly need to watch your fingers as the top part snaps almost viciously.

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The handset held in hand

The QWERTY Keyboard is good enough

Now this is the one part about the G1 ergonomics over which our team simply couldn't reach an agreement. The problem with the G1's QWERTY keyboard is that its buttons are smaller than average making it hard for most people to get used to.

On the other hand there is more than enough spacing between them so missing by a millimeter or two will not result in a wrong press.

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The QWERTY keyboard has its ups and downs

All in all the T-Mobile G1's keyboard does need getting used to but once you do, it gets real quick to type on. And we do mean quick, as the five-row layout has almost ruled out key combinations for the most frequently used symbols.

The backlighting of the keyboard is also good enough so your typing speed won't suffer in the dark.

Display reaches for perfection

As we mentioned, the T-Mobile G1 is equipped with a 3.2" 65K-color capacitive touchscreen of HVGA resolution. The half VGA resolution of 320 x 480 pixels has been recently known as the iPhone resolution.

The picture quality is commendable with sharp contrast and good brightness levels on the TFT display. The 65K-color count turns a weakness on very few rare occasions when single color gradients are displayed. In all other aspects the G1 screen performs greatly.

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The display is really impressive

The sunlight legibility is also flawless with the colors retained almost perfectly even when the handset is exposed to direct sunlight. The only thing that makes it worse than the Apple iPhone's display is the fact that it reflects more light, resulting in occasional rainbows on the screen.

The sensitivity of the touchscreen is also brilliant. A well-known advantage of capacitive touchscreens is their sensitivity, as they don't actually need a push to register a click. Even the lightest of touches does the trick which is probably a large part of the reason why would one buy a touchscreen phone in first place.

The only thing missing - as a stylus is not an option with capacitive touchscreens - is handwriting recognition.

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