Browsing the Web
Android's Web browser has never been my favorite, and while the iteration found on the Nexus One offers some notable improvements, it still isn't the best mobile browsing experience out there. Too often, Android phones require you to access some of the browser's basic functions -- like the address bar and back and forward buttons -- through a menu. On the Nexus One, you get access to the address bar right from the Web page you're viewing, so it's easy to enter another URL. You also can use the touch-sensitive button below the display to move back. But the only way to access the forward button is through a browser.
The addition of multi-touch support is most welcome when you're browsing the Web; pinching and spreading the screen is the best way to zoom in and out on pages with precision. You also can double tap the screen to zoom in.
Google Gmail users will love the tight integration that Android offers with their accounts. To set up the phone, you need a Google account (if you don't have one, you can sign up easily); you enter your user name and password, and your entire Google account, including your Gmail and your Google Calendar, is automatically synced to the phone.
While Gmail accounts get top billing, the Nexus One supports IMAP and POP3 e-mail accounts, too. I did have trouble getting the Nexus One to work with my free Yahoo e-mail account, though; it kept telling me that my user name or password was incorrect, even though it was not. I've had similar problems with other Android phones, including the T-Mobile myTouch 3G, on which I was never able to access my Yahoo mail.
The Nexus One will sync with Microsoft Exchange e-mail accounts, but will not sync with Outlook calendars yet. Google says this feature is in the works, but that may be too late for some business users.
The camera on the Nexus One features a 5-megapixel resolution, and includes autofocus, an LED flash, and a digital zoom. It also works in coordination with the Nexus One's GPS receiver, so you can tag photos with their location. The pictures I snapped looked great -- as long as my subjects weren't moving. While all of my photos were bright and colorful, I noticed that the autofocus sometimes delayed the camera shutter significantly, causing me to miss a shot of an object or person in motion
The Nexus One's camera also captures video clips at a resolution of 720 by 480. The clips I captured looked great, especially when played back on the phone's spacious screen.
Like all Android phones, the Nexus One includes one-touch access to Amazon's MP3 store for DRM-free music downloads. It also sports a standard 3.5mm headset jack so you can connect most headphones to the handset, which is a nice touch. The Android music player is perfectly serviceable, but a bit drab. It could stand an update.
The Nexus One is an excellent smartphone. It features elegant hardware and advanced software capabilities. It does revolutionize the smartphone market enough to really warrant being called a superphone, but it's super enough to join the ranks of today's best smartphones.