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A smart nexus of phones

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Price: Rs 38,000

The Google Nexus One, not officially available in India, has made its way on e-commerce websites like eBay. Priced at Rs 38,000 on eBay, it is a costly buy.

The smartphone is thinner than the iPhone and you have to hold it in your hands to know that it feels incredible. You cannot help being impressed with the Nexus One’s 3.7-inch Amoled capacitive touchscreen display when it comes to image quality and crispness. Unfortunately, Google didn’t include multi-touch in this phone.

Remarkably enough, HTC has successfully managed to blend a perfect mix of an 800×480 display, a 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512MB of RAM, world-wide 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, among other things, into a slender 11.5 mm package. It’s a huge risk to put such a beast of a processor in a small form-factor like Nexus One, which can anyday slurp down the battery power. But we were pleased to see the Nexus One battery deal with this issue quite efficiently without resorting to task-killer apps. The 1,400 mAh battery is large enough but if Google decides to launch an enhanced power battery pack, then go for it. The Nexus One’s battery is on a par with the iPhone’s — it dies out after eight hours of continuous usage.

Google’s Android operating system is nice too. The phone naturally connects to your Gmail account and automatically syncs contacts, photos, and more. Notably, Nexus One’s text entry is voice-enabled (data connection required) so you can speak out what you would like to type and Google’s software will type it for you. During our testing, the feature worked quite well, especially in low-noise environments. Android’s voice recognition capabilities can be extended to dictate Facebook status updates, Twitter posts, emails, texts and instant messages. A 5-megapixel camera beats the iPhone’s 3-megapixel sensor, although there are several other smartphones that provide better cameras.

We agree that limited onboard memory of 512MB is a restraining factor, but it remains expandable with external memory cards. So, while the software runs from Nexus One’s memory, heavy applications like navigation apps can keep maps on the removable media, rather than clogging the phone with several gigabytes of data. We don’t see iPhone users making the switch, especially if they have made investments in purchasing the apps from the App Store or BlackBerry. But if you’re looking to step up to a smartphone then Nexus One is a great choice. Don’t go expecting an iPhone killer in Nexus One because it isn’t — not because it’s inferior, but it’s simply different.

Nokia N97 Mini
Price: Rs 30,939

Nokia’s N97 Mini, an offspring of the older N97, packs in a few killer features.

Sporting both a touchscreen and a physical keypad, N97 Mini has a chic design and weighs148 gms. The N97 Mini has a slightly smaller 3.2 inch screen than the N97’s 3.5 inch but you also get a compact form-factor in return.

The key presses are close to perfect, while you are tweeting or writing a lengthy email. The latter can be seen on the larger screen with TV-Out capabilities of Nokia N97 Mini.

However, it’s the touchscreen on the Nokia N97 Mini where the problems start. Nokia’s ageing user interface, Symbian, dampens the fun. When compared with Nexus One or the iPhone, the touchscreen simply fails to hold its ground. But a kinetic scrolling feature provides some much-needed tickle to N97 Mini’s touchscreen. The internal memory is 512MB, which can be expanded to 8GB with a micro SD slot. Still, it looks stingy on a phone that is supposed to be your one-stop entertainment device.

A vital part of the N97 Mini is the bundled applications and the Nokia music store is its most impressive feature. In addition to that, there is the usual Nokia Maps 2.0. It’s also the first Nokia device to sport Lifecasting — a new partnership between Facebook and Ovi. Lifecasting enables users to update their Facebook status directly from the device’s homescreen. Your location details can also be updated as you move about, thanks to the GPS sync, enabling a whole new level of social sharing and communication.

At Rs 30,939, Mini is not going to be easy on the pockets. But if you want a mini PC-like mobile phone, go for it.

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