Tell me about the Nexus One.
January 25, 2010 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me about the Nexus One - confused about my buying options in the UK.

I am not a phone power user by any means, though I am very techy in other ways (computers, gadgets, programming, etc). Phones are a blind spot for me. I would really like a Nexus One though, but I'm afraid I need advice on what my best options are.

I am in the UK. Vodafone are going to be offering the Nexus One in March, both with a contract and pay-as-you-go. I have heard prices touted of €179 with contract and €529 without, which mirrors the dollar values. But assuming I want PAYG, why wouldn't I just buy it from the US and have it shipped to the UK, since $529 = £325 whereas €529 = £461. Is there an advantage I'm not seeing in waiting for the official UK version to be launched? Is it possible they'll stop shipping the $529 version to the UK once Vodafone starts offering it for more money?

If buying from the US for $529, I will have to separately buy a SIM, yes? (This where my knowledge falls down.) How do I pick one, and what restrictions are there on which ones will work?

If using the Nexus One as a wireless internet device, there's no charge, right? The phone data rate will only kick in once it's outside the range of a wifi network it has access to? So would it work without a SIM just without the phone aspect of the device?

Basically I would like an idiot's guide to what to do after ordering the phone from the US, if that's my best option. For instance, I'm a bit hazy on exactly what SIM cards one can buy and what they provide. You can buy "pay monthly" SIM cards, right? Is that any different from having a contract?

And what else am I not even asking that's relevant?

(For context, if you want a laugh, this is my current phone.)

Thank you so much for your help!
posted by bent back tulips to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The US version of the phone operates on Euro GSM frequencies (900 MHz & 1800 MHz) though I'm not 100% sure you'll get proper 3G. My guess is you will but I'm not absolutely sure.

Basically there's a little card in your phone which is the SIM - Subscriber Identity Module. You get one when you sign up for a service plan and it identifies you as you to the network. You can get one from Vodaphone or pretty much any UK mobile phone provider. You can probably just pop the one you have in your current phone out and put it in the Nexus One; you may not be subscribed to a data plan but you'll probably be able to make voice calls.

Basically the SIM is a little chip that lets the mobile company tell who the phone belongs to. Having it separate from the phone makes it easier for you to change/upgrade phones as you just pop the SIM out.

If using the Nexus One as a wireless internet device, there's no charge, right?

Yes, I have one and use it without a SIM. It works fine on WiFi only at home.

Is that any different from having a contract?

Yes. If you have a phone you can sign up for service and prepay (PAYG) or pay monthly. You get a contract usually when you buy a new phone with service and you get a discount on the phone but they make you keep the service for a fixed period (2 years, maybe 3). If you buy the phone unlocked from the US you won't have to sign a contract - you'd be able to cancel you service anytime.
posted by GuyZero at 3:47 PM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: Here's more basic info to look over.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:51 PM on January 25, 2010

If I understand this page correctly, 3G frequencies are different between T-Mobile in the US and European carriers. Is anyone here more informed than I am about this?
posted by miyabo at 4:44 PM on January 25, 2010

Yes, the 3G frequencies are different but the Nexus One operates on the 1, 4 & 8 UMTS bands for 3G where the 1 band (2100 MHz) is used by O2, Vodaphone & Orange. I am fairly sure the same phone being sold for T-Mobile will be the one they sell for Vodaphone, but again, I can't say I'm 100% sure.
posted by GuyZero at 4:49 PM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers, that's quite helpful. I'll investigate more into what SIM to buy and hopefully go from there.
posted by bent back tulips at 5:09 PM on January 25, 2010

Buying a US version is probably a bad idea. Its localized for US settings, will come with a US charger, etc. Id wait, especially if youre idea of a good time isnt spending a coupe hours reinstalling phone operating systems.

Considering all the reception issues people are having, perhaps its best to wait for the Vodaphone branded hardware, which will at least be slightly newer, than going with the US version.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:09 PM on January 25, 2010

You can usually find sim cards for pennies on ebay, BTW, so don't let the service provider charge you a bunch of money for one.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:39 PM on January 25, 2010

There should be no technical hurdles, yay GSM consortium, but you're missing things in your pricing calculation.

To work out the final UK price, my price break down comes to this...
$529.00 For the Phone
$19.99 For the AC adaptor
$29.65 For the DHL shipping
As of this afternoon the currency rate was 1$ = £0.62 so using that as a conversion rate...
£330.19 For the Phone
£12.47 For the AC adaptor
£18.50 For the DHL shipping
Coming to a final items price to £361.16 ($578.64)
Import duties for mobiles are 0% so I hear and I'm inclined to believe them, this leaves us with VAT which is 17.5% which HMRC will either charge to us or DHL, most likely DHL who will then charge us. From my experience DHL sends us an invoice on any outstanding fee's within a month.
%17.5 of £361.16 is £63.20
Which leaves us with a grand total of...
posted by themel at 1:18 AM on January 26, 2010

The phone comes with a multi-voltage adapter (110V-240V) that has US spades. All you need is a plug adapter. Anyway, micro-usb chargers should be cheap. Or you can charge it via USB, slower.

And the language settings let you localize it to British English although US spellings some up before British ones in the autocomplete tool. Type "colo" and it suggests "color". Type "u" and then it suggests "colour". Same with marvelous/marvellous etc and all the other examples I could think of. The US version also has a bunch of western euro language settings like German and French but I didn't check those out because inevitably I can't find my way back to reset it.
posted by GuyZero at 9:05 AM on January 26, 2010

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