Review: Nexus One, Android & Software Freedom

The first time I mentioned I wanted a Nexus One phone was on January 21st, 2010. That’s almost a year ago and I was ready to trade in my iPhone for a Google phone. This Christmas I made myself a present and got that Nexus One from some “not so legal” Internet store here in Moscow. I guess they’re (Nexus One & Nexus S) not yet or ever will be certified for the Russian market, so I had a hard time finding one, but I did, and I’m glad I did.

I was an iPhone 3G user for over a year and was quite satisfied with everything that it offered. I didn’t jailbreak it, updated the iOS frequently and used the free applications from the App Store. That’s right, I never spent a cent on software for my iPhone, since most applications had an ad-driven free version available, and I’m quite greedy — I can’t remember the last time I payed for software.

I opened up the Nexus One box and figured that Facebook and Twitter applications were pre-installed, gorgeous! So I instantly tweeted, and posted a photo and the fact that it has a flashlight surprised me. I then found out it came with a 4GB SD card, which is awesome. Yeah, my iPhone had 16 gigs but you can get a 16 GB SD card for around $130 when you run out of the 4GB.

Next up was my e-mail and contacts. Honestly I was a little scared here, since as soon as I added my Gmail account, my phone had all my contacts, and not only! It linked my Twitter and Facebook contacts to my Google ones, and then I installed Skype, and there too, everything was linked and merged, so there’s no longer copying contacts from SIM cards, syncing by connecting to your PC and what not. This is definitely more user-friendly than Apple, way to go Google. And there’s more! When I started texting, Google’s dictionary recognized all the names from my contacts, so I never had to spell my or my girlfriend’s last name again — input three letters and voila!

Then I took a few hours to explore the Android Market. I never knew they had such a place, which could have made me miss my iPhone, but they did, and it was quite easy to navigate around, since it looked very much like the App Store on iPhone. I didn’t try the paid apps but I did give a go at a few dozen free and ad-driven ones, including Angry Birds ;) The Market syncs very well, giving instant applications updates when they’re available.

Next thing to surprise me was Google Voice Recognition, they got their TV ads running around here in Russia. It’s not as good as the TV says, but they get most of the stuff right. There are some language configurations which have to be done in order to recognize both English and Russian. I got that working when writing text, but not Google Voice Search, which keeps giving me junk in English when I speak Russian. Anyways, that’ll be fixed I’m sure.

Battery. Definitely better than the iPhone 3G here, and could be boosted even better with some utilities from the Market. Just make sure you don’t have Sync, Wifi and 3G turned on when you don’t really need them. Multimedia? Ah you’ll love Android if you’d like to read books, watch videos or listen to music, iPod? Meh!

Below is a list of applications that I, as a novice Android user recommend. Some might be pre-installed on your phone. Can’t get you direct links to these, but searching by names in the Android Market will get you going:

  • Foursquare — obviously!
  • Google Reader — still waiting for Feedly for Android, but this is okay I guess.
  • Chrome to Phone — I don’t use it much, but certainly a time-saver.
  • Dropbox — sync files and multimedia to the cloud.
  • ConnectBot — an easy to use SSH/telnet client. Good way to reboot your servers when in the metro ;)
  • Adobe Reader — books save you from being bored.
  • MySettings — quickly turn on and off stuff like sync, wifi, rotate and other settings.
  • OI File Manager — surely one of the best file managers for Android.
  • Thinking Space — create neat mindmaps on the fly and export them to various formats to email, Dropbox, etc.
  • WordPress — of course, it’s where I’m writing this post from ;)

There are also a bunch of interesting widgets, one of which is the Google Analytics Widget that can display pageviews or visitors directly on your home screen. Nice thing to check out waking up in the morning haha ;)

So anyways, the bottom line is yeah — I fell in love with Android. I’m not really looking forward to getting the Nexus S model, although I believe it’s better than Nexus One, and it’s been to outer-space too, but Nexus One is really a first, so I’ll sell that for a couple of thousand after a couple of decades. Besides, I think HTC’s better than Samsung anyway ;)

About the author

Konstantin Kovshenin

WordPress Core Contributor, ex-Automattician, public speaker and consultant, enjoying life in Moscow. I blog about tech, WordPress and DevOps.


  • Great post, and it was great to finally read the oppinion of a user who used an iPhone before. I'm glad you jumped on the Android part, not that I'm and Android fanboy or anything similar.

    I own a Samsung Galaxy S since September, so I'm very new to Android myself, but what I've realized is that I spend less time on the computer since I have my phone. I don't jump on the desktop to check my mail, since my phone notifies me. I don't jump on the computer to check twitter or facebook, I can just lay back on the couch and do it from my phone. Great stuff and it saves me time for some "computer-off-time".

    Some applications you might want to check:

    Tweetdeck – twitter, foursquare, facebook in one app. Saves phone resources, and you need to run only one app, not all 3 of them.
    ES File Explorer – it has built in Samba support, so you can also check shared drives
    Angry Birds Season – Halloween and Christmas edition of AB.
    Winamp – You can sync your phone with your local computer through wifi. Works great in getting music on the phone without a cable.
    Watchdog – Monitor your applications, see which one is consuming the most.

    Oh, and p.s., something I learned a couple of weeks ago, and some new Android users might not know it: don't fall for Task Killers. Android doesn't need that. Here's a post on Lifehacker why you should'n use them:

    Oh, and I've been following you for a long time, but this is my 1st comment. Enjoy your Android phone. (:

    • Awesome, thanks Puck! So nice of you to recommend the software, I'll definitely check those out. Hope you're enjoying your Galaxy S, I read some good reviews about it. Cheers!

  • Thanks for this post! I am exactly in your position: I have had an iPhone for quite some time now, I have always been interested in Android, but so far I didn't dare switching.

    There are still some things I don't know how I would handle with Android. For instance, I manage all my music, films and podcasts through iTunes. Would I have to switch to another software if I were to buy an Android?
    I also wonder how the iPhone optimized webpages or webapps look like on Android? My RSS reader (Fever) does not have an app, only an optimized web version for iPhone, and I wonder how it would look on Android.

    I guess that's about it. You answered to pretty much all the other questions I had :)

    • You're welcome! Well, as I mentioned in the post, I'm fine with Google Reader, but if you're addicted to Fever, well I guess you can try to get a Firefox plug to change your user agent to an Android browser and see if it differs from the iPhone ;)

      Cheers, and have a great day!

  • Was looking for some wordpress stuff, then found your blog. Right now I'm thinking iPhone4/Android. I've never been apple boy, I would rather DIY when comes to computers. Thanks for posting!