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Review: HTC G1

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The G1's screen is absolutely gorgeous. It's big, it's bright, it is super sharp and everything about it looks great. Web sites look phenomenal. It is highly visible in dark environments and even outdoors in full sunlight. Simply put, this is one of the finer screens I've ever seen on a mobile phone.


Here's where we run into some trouble. The G1 can access T-Mobile's 3G network. I happen to have 3G coverage where I live in NJ, and noticed that the signal was all over the place. It ranged wildly from no coverage to full coverage. This is probably more due to the scattered availability of T-Mobile's 3G network rather than the G1. Oddly, though, the G1 didn't give me any indications that it was providing EDGE coverage. When there was 0 bars of 3G, it never said that it switched over the EDGE. The worse news is that you can set the G1 to only use EDGE for data networks. When I did this, signal strength dropped. In side-by-side tests, the G1 performed less-than-average when compared to other phones on the T-Mobile network.


The ringers can be made sufficiently loud on the G1. The default ringer is absolutely hysterical. Very befitting of the name "Android". It is the kookiest theme I've heard, and makes me think of the Addams Family. It is loud enough to hear from several rooms away, and I didn't miss any calls due to not being able to hear the ringer. Earpiece volume was also good. I didn't have any problems hearing callers through the G1. As for the quality of the sound, it was average. I've heard worse phones, and I've heard better. It didn't blow me away, but there's not much to complain about either.

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Battery life is not one of the G1's strengths. Consider this: I charged the phone on a Friday. Left it completely alone all weekend, and by Monday, the battery was completely drained. Keep in mind, this is with the 3G radio on, but absolutely NO usage whatsoever (and no Bluetooth and no Wi-Fi). I charged it half a day Monday, brought it with me into NYC on Monday afternoon for some meetings. The battery was half depleted by that evening. I did use the phone to surf the web, read my RSS feeds and check email, but I didn't use it for anything else that day. Since I've had the phone less than a week, I can't say if this is normal behavior or not. Either way, I'd caution you to bring your G1 charger with you whenever you can.

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