Mossberg on Google’s G1 phone: stubbier, clunkier, thicker, heavier, less complete than Apple iPhone

Google’s new G1 phone “won’t win any beauty contests with its Apple [iPhone] rival. It’s stubby and chunky, nearly 30% thicker and almost 20% heavier than the iPhone. It’s a bit narrower — more like a standard phone than a ‘smart phone’ — and longer, but has a somewhat smaller screen,” Walt Mossberg blogs for The Wall Street Journal.

Mossberg reports, “The G1 complements its touch screen with a physical keyboard, the lack of which has made the iPhone a non-starter for some users.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, those users who’ve never used an iPhone.

Mossberg continues, “The G1’s keyboard is revealed when you slide open its screen. The keys are a bit flat, and you have to reach your right thumb around a bulging portion of the phone’s body to type, but it’s a real keyboard. And there’s also a BlackBerry-like trackball that supplements the touch screen navigation. I found typing on this keyboard to be OK, but not great.”

MacDailyNews Take: “OK, but not great.” Now there’s a ringing endorsement for making your device thicker and heavier in order to sport an antique mechanical keyboard.

Mossberg continues, “A second big feature, or limitation, of the G1 — depending on your point of view — is that it is tightly tied to Google’s web-based email, contacts and calendar programs. In fact, you must have a Google account to use the phone, and can only synchronize the phone’s calendar and address book with Google online services. Unlike the iPhone, it doesn’t work with Microsoft Exchange, and it can’t physically be synced with a PC-based calendar or contacts program, like Microsoft Outlook. So, if your world already revolves around Google services, you may find that the G1 fits like a glove. If not, you may be disappointed.”

“The web browser is based on the same open-source technology as the iPhone’s, but works differently. You can view a portion of a page, and use a zoom control and finger-dragging to see the rest, or you can view the whole page in miniature, as on the iPhone. In the latter mode, however, you can’t simply use Apple’s technique of tapping or ‘pinching’ to zoom in on a portion of a page. You must move around a virtual lens to pick out a part of the page on which to focus,” Mossberg reports.

Mossberg reports, “The G1’s multimedia capabilities are less polished and complete than the iPhone’s. There’s a very basic music player, and a built-in version of Amazon’s MP3 download service that works fine. But the G1 lacks a built-in video player — you have to download one from the third-party software store. Also, you cannot use standard stereo headphones with the G1. You need special ones, or an adapter.”

Well, you get the idea. Mossberg’s full “first look” review here.


  1. This is such a gross mischaracterization of Mossberg’s review which concludes:

    “In sum, the G1 is a powerful, versatile device which will offer users a real alternative in the new handheld computing category the iPhone has occupied alone.”

  2. As someone said yesterday, the Google’s G1 is to the iPhone as a PC is to the Mac.

    Like a PC, you can get a G1 to do everything an iPhone does, but you have to download apps and stuff from all over, be satisfied with a less then stellar user experience, live with the constraints for the phone provider, and hope that the apps from various sources don’t conflict with each other.

    With an iPhone, as with a Mac, it just works.

    In fact, I can see a whole series of future Apple commercials along the lines of:

    I’m an Android, I’m an iPhone.

  3. Have to agree with marduk…just because it’s an election year and we’re used to seeing comments taken out of context, doesn’t mean MDN should stoop to this level…

    Mossberg wrote a generally positive review; a lot of his complaints were about hardware, and there will no doubt be better designs in the near future. Also, the software is organic and will also improve in time (especiallywith open source solutions). The app store also promises to be less tight-fisted in what is accepted/rejected (also see current Joy of Tech ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />.

    All that said, I STILL love my iPhone!

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