[Crossposted from HERE
The design of the HTC G1 has been quite a controversy for the past couple of months. We saw spy shots, speculation, and plenty of iPhone comparisons. They made some bold choices with the hardware, like using a capacitive touch screen and a nonstandard headphone jack which have thrown many early adopters off the bandwagon. It features a slide out QWERTY keyboard and a trackball, unlike the ďwe-hate-buttonsĒ iPhone. Are they in the same league? Is the G1 a terrible first platform for Android to make its mothership? Absolutely not.
The first point of notice on the G1 for first time onlookers is the angled chin piece. Sporting five buttons and a trackball, it sticks out just a tad below the touchscreen. Some users are reporting that it gets in the way when typing on the keyboard, but Iíve found it to be a positive element rather than a negative one. It serves as a gripping point for your hand while your thumbs do all the work from the bottom. If itís in the way, youíre probably holding it in the most uncomfortable way possible.
Speaking of the keyboard, talk about a learning curve. The buttons are almost flush with the panel they sit on and offer little to no feedback when pressed. Theyíre quite small and completely covered by your thumb when typing something up. Itís a bit of a strange setup, but works surprisingly well with a few hours of practice. The backlighting looks gorgeous on the black model. Say goodbye to the clickity-clacking of your blackberry, because these keys are as silent as they come. Again, a positive or negative if youíre looking for feedback from the buttons. Continue reading after the break.
At just about 158 grams, itís not the lightest phone in the world. The back of the phone is slightly rubberized, so the weight of the phone feels like more of a stability increase than a brick-like flaw. Itís fits in your hand perfectly and doesnít slide around as you might imagine from a phone with so much plastic. The sliding mechanism feels solid and can be popped open briskly, or slowly pushed into place. When closed, it stays put and doesnít flop around when shifted.
The camera is one of the biggest points of misery on the HTC G1. It doesnít offer a flash, and photos need to be in near perfect lighting to turn out decent.
Hereís a snapshot of directly below my apartment from the balcony. Itís a bright day outside and Iím aiming at the ground from three floors up.
Not bad, right? This is my office using nothing but the ambient light from the window.
As you can see, itís definitely not as sharp as youíd think. You can focus by holding down the button halfway prior to taking the picture, but unfortunately, it doesnít help much.
Aside from that, the G1 is a beautiful phone as long as youíre looking at it in person. Itís one of the most unphotogenic pieces of hardware Iíve ever come across and hardly looks any better in a hands-on video. The matte finish on the phone never looks right in pictures, but looks polished and classy in your hand. The minimalist concept comes over nicely with such a beautiful screen. Colors are bright, blacks are dark, and the backlighting is all business, baby.
I love the design of the G1 and couldnít be happier from an owners standpoint. As a reviewer, itís hard not to get frustrated with the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack, but we can see where HTC is coming from.
Overall, itís a fantastic piece of hardware that we look forward to working with.
Next, weíll tackle the most important piece of the whole sha-bang. Googleís Android platform.
What do you think of the HTC G1ís design? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments. We pay cash-money for each one.