Do I get the G1??
June 9, 2009 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Thinking of buying a T-mobile G1. Have some questions about it. Also, is this going to come back to haunt me in a year?

Right now I'm with Sprint and have been for a year. So fed up with Sprint's customer service and coverage area that I am very willing to pay the $200 ETF and switch.

I know T-Mobile doesn't have full 3G coverage - the area where I'm living is still on EDGE. How is the G1 with EDGE?

Right now I'm on a WinMo 6.1 phone and I hate it. I know I like Android, what are everyone's thoughts on the long-term viability of the G1? Will Android still be a good solution 1 year from now? I don't want to get into a 2 year contract with a phone that will be extremely outdated in a year.
Obviously the rate which cell phones are developed everything will be outdated in 2 years. My problem is that my WinMo feels absolutely ancient after a year and I don't want to experience the same thing with the G1.


Disclaimer: I have read this post but it was 8 months ago.
posted by nokry56 to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a G1 in an area without 3G. I don't really find that it hinders my ability to use the phone's functions. Yes, it's slower than 3G, but it's not that bad. As long as I'm relatively close to the city (Baton Rouge, LA, fwiw), I can browse, check emails, etc. with no noticable delay. If I get too far out in the middle of nowhere, it does slow down somewhat. I was in Minneapolis recently, which does have 3G. The increase in browsing speed was detectable, but not remarkably so. I'd say the difference boiled down to a 2 second google search versus a 4 second search. Gmail is always superfast, as are maps and other functions.

So far my *only* complaint is the lack of good Outlook support. There have been rumors since launch that Outlook support was on its way, but I'm starting to doubt that we'll ever see it. And I know you didn't specifically ask about T-Mobile, but I've had them for years and have always been very happy. In my area, T-Mobile has hands-down better coverage and reception than AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.
posted by tryniti at 7:42 AM on June 9, 2009

Speaking personally about T-Mobile experience and anecdotally about the G1:

T-Mobile has reasonable coverage in some areas, incredibly variable coverage in others. Their coverage maps on the site are pretty accurate. As for 3G, it's still not in my area at all. You're going to get EDGE coverage that's about as fast as EDGE gets, but that's about it.

As for the G1, it's pretty good, and if you want a device with a keyboard that's a little clunky but has some sweet software, I think I'd recommend it. The biggest complaints from friends so far have been the slow software rollout, the fact it eats batteries like crazy if GPS or WiFi support are turned on, and the fact that it's a first generation device.

I don't think it'll feel incredibly outdated in a year software-wise, since most new features will migrate. The first gen iPhone still feels pretty current despite being considerably thicker than the new models due to the software. You might feel envious of some of the other devices coming out built by companies other than HTC, but that's the risk you run.
posted by mikeh at 7:47 AM on June 9, 2009

I have the G1 and I don't live in a 3g area. The edge is a little slow, but it has wifi as well, so when I'm at home the internet is really fast on the device. On the other hand, when I'm at home I might as well just use my desktop PC anyway, so it's kind of a moot point.

My phone just got updated to Android 1.5 over android 1.2 or whatever it was and there are a lot of enhancements, including window animation and such. Presumably if they keep updating the OS it will stay "fresh", but there is no guarantee that they'll do that.

Other then that, I don't really think there is anything anyone can do to keep their phones from being outdated in a year, maybe the Palm Pre will have more staying power but you'd have to wait, and I think it's going to be on Sprint anyway. There is a lot going on in the mobile space just this year, and there are going to be a couple new Android phones out as well.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my G1. I don't care that much about having the latest and greatest, though. My old cellphone I had for 4 years, and the one before that I got in 2000.
posted by delmoi at 7:50 AM on June 9, 2009

I went with the BBerry Pearl on T-Mob. Really, really, REALLY wish I'd have gone with the G1.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 7:52 AM on June 9, 2009

Oh and the collections of software and tools, mostly free, are awesome. There are a HUGE number of free apps in the app store.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2009

I bought a G1 this Christmas. I will NEVER buy a non-Android device again. EVER. Android is just that amazing. It's also going to constantly evolve, being a Google product.

That said, there are close to 20 Android phones coming by the end of the year to various carriers, the soonest most likely being the MyTouch 3G (terrible name, I know,) coming to T-Mobile. That one lacks a physical keyboard, which I personally can't live without, but the Android software keyboard is great anyways.

So, should you buy an Android phone? DEFINITELY. Should it be the G1? Well, if you'd like a physical ekeyboard, yes, otherwise you might be waiting several months. Otherwise, I'd wait for a couple weeks until the MyTouch 3G comes out.

FWIW, I'm typing this whole thing on my G1 right now.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:55 AM on June 9, 2009

I should clarify. If you don't care about a physical keyboard, get the MyTouch 3G.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:58 AM on June 9, 2009

I HAVE to have a physical keyboard. I'm so done with touch keyboard (capacitive screen or not).

Should have mentioned that earlier. Was looking at upcoming Android devices, looks like AT&T and t-mobile are both getting similar devices in the fall. However the specs for the upcoming devices really aren't any better than the G1 and I can just hack the UI onto the G1 anyway.

Still keep the thoughts coming, I'm always looking for more opinions.
posted by nokry56 at 8:01 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

The only "complaint" I have about the G1 is that it's bigger than I'd like, but that's the price you pay to have the full keyboard. Agree with the above that (a) the G1 already does pretty much whatever I want, (b) the app store is good, and will get better, and (c) new features will likely be sent out via software updates (as happened with the 1.5 "cupcake" update recently). And if those updates aren't sent out, then some enterprising person will figure out how to add them, and do so.

So yeah. I like the G1. And I haven't had any battery issues, but I tend to keep the GPS and wifi turned off unless I'm using them.
posted by inigo2 at 8:06 AM on June 9, 2009

I'm a G1 owner and I work developing Android software. It's currently possible to root/jailbreak the G1 and then install Google's "Android Developer Phone" software releases on it (basically identical to the T-Mobile releases but missing a couple of features like Google Latitude that aren't licensed globally) or builds from the open-source Android code. It's a minor hassle to do this, but it means that you can then keep updating your phone with new Android releases even if T-Mobile stops sending over-the-air updates.

If you like the G1 form factor (large touchscreen, large flip-out keyboard), go for it. If you might prefer a different style of hardware, and you're not in a hurry, wait 5 or 6 months for a new batch of Android phones to be released in the US.

A small silver lining: The battery will last longer on EDGE than on 3G.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:16 AM on June 9, 2009

Just to echo others, I have a G1 and generally get along ok in an EDGE only area.

The phone itself looks clunky in photos but in person, it's not too bad. I have larger hands and it fits better than smaller phones and the physical keyboard definitely makes texting much easier (especially in manic situations when I need to pound out a message immediately.)

Also, I don't think there's a whole lot you can do to hedge against newer phones. Just get what you need now and worry about upgrading later when a new phone has features you can't live without.
posted by asterisk at 2:48 PM on June 9, 2009

T-mobile has great flexpay plans where you don't need a contract. Being a gsm carrier, there are lots of great unlocked/unlockable mobile phones available for it. If you do decide to hold out for a better phone, next gen g1, whatever, I definitely recommend finding a good deal on an unlocked phone for the mean time.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2009

I have a G1 is EDGE data area, and it replaced my WinMo MDA phone (which replaced a palm T3 and cellphone) if you like the form factor of the G1, the software is handy and it seems that T-Mobile is committed to keeping the G1 updated, and as mbrubeck states, it's not that hard to move to a community build if you're not happy with T-Mobile's update schedule.

A few caveats, though: if bluetooth matters to you, The G1 currently only supports the Handsfree, Headset, (as of Android 1.1) and A2DP/AVRCP (as of Android 1.5, Cupcake). No PAN, OBEX, DUN Tethering options. DUN Tethering is available if you decide to use the community builds. It does look like more Bluetooth support is coming in the 2.0 tree (Donut)

Battery life isn't great, but Cupcake has improved it a bunch for me. I have a charger for the car, and use the Locale app to turn on bluetooth for my car's handsfree, so plugging in while driving serves two purposes for me. There are longer life batteries available after market.

@sSalamandrous, I don't think the G1 is available with a flexpay plan, as it requires the data package, but I could be wrong.
posted by jrishel at 9:42 AM on June 10, 2009

As a follow up -- I got the G1 and couldn't be happier. I got a 1 year contract (FlexPay IS available, but I couldn't get my Chevron discount with FlexPay). I have a community build loaded on it, and it is fantastic. I did get a 3rd party battery which helps.

Thanks everyone for your advice, it is a fantastic phone.
posted by nokry56 at 8:03 AM on June 15, 2009

« Older It's party time and I've got nothing to wear!   |   Why are there so many French internet radio... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.