T-Mobile G2 hands on

Like many, I've been itching to get my hands on the T-Mobile G2, and today was my lucky day.  It's the latest in the HTC cadre of Android goodness, and if first impressions stand, a fine successor to the Nexus One or a great way to get introduced to Android.  Brushed aluminum, Teflon soft coating, solid build quality (at least on the ones I tried out), and a unique look and feel will make this one a winner for many of you guys.  Follow the break to see my initial thoughts and check out the hands on video for yourself! (And a big thanks to Android Central podcast listener and T-Mobile employee Victor for getting my pre-order snafus all sorted for me!)


YouTube link for mobile viewing

Oh, and thanks to YouTube commenter indiecarlos, I now know that double tapping locks the ALT key.  So yeah, I overthought the hell out of it. 

It's not quite vanilla Froyo, but it's a close as we're likely to get on a carrier-subsidized phone.  And this thing flies.  I've tried most of the latest and greatest Android phones, and the G2 is as fast, or faster than any of them.  Put the worries and fears about the 800 MHz processor to bed -- it's not an issue.  Scrolling through the seven homescreens is like butter, the appdrawer-3D rolodex-Froyo launcher thingy is snappy and fluid, and Internet page rendering is fast.

I also spent some time with it plugged in and at the command prompt, mostly to answer some questions, but also cause I'm that guy.  It looks like support for tethering is built into the kernel, and some of the binaries are in place, but what's needed to get it started has been stripped.  That's the good news.  The bad news (for some) the light ring around the trackpad doesn't respond to any commands to change color or intensity, so I think we're stuck with white.  Blame the Nexus One for spoiling us all with colored alerts.  I'll certainly keep tinkering though, and so should you!

And I'm really feeling the size.  Using the Evo (you Droid X users know what I'm saying here, too!) I was worried that I'd be ruined and unable to ever go down in size.  But it's fine.  Having the silding qwerty helps while in landscape, and having Swype in portrait just makes it happen for me.  Have a peek for comparison -- from left to right HTC Hero, Nexus One, T-Mobile G2, and the Evo 4G.

Size comparison

You can see, the big guns the 4.3 inchers are packing might be enough to make the difference for you, but the increased pocketability and better size (for me) while making calls evens it out in my eyes.

And then there's the hinge.  I fondled looked at three units this morning, and none had any hinge issues.  Watch the video to see how I determined that, I thought the poor gal at the T-Mo store was going to have a conipition watching me shake the daylights out of them.  Like I mentioned in the video, you need to visit a T-Mobile store and play with one of these.  You might just fall in love, and there's a good chance that we'll see some variant (HTC Merge anyone?) on the rest of the big four here in the states.  But this one's mine.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a warranty to break.


Reader comments

Hands on with the T-Mobile G2


Jerry, great video be sure to let us know how the rooting goes if you do decide to root it!!...Also about the 1.2GB issue that seems to be popping up. Do you think that they will fix this issue in later releases of this phone?

For now, root is temporary. I rooted it 3 or 4 times, played with some of my own ideas to get it permanent until I locked her up and had to flash the shipping ROM back, then decided I had better stop until we get this one reviewed lol.

Couple of ideas about the 4GB/1.5 GB storage issues.
1. It's hardware and someone, somewhere really screwed up.
2. Android can't see "Application Storage" beyond the 2.1 GB mark, (which explains the memory layout for the Galaxy S phones)and a software glitch isn't showing the 2 GB FAT partition as "Phone Storage" like it should, or it isn't getting mounted.

Or it could be something completely different.

In regards to the storage issues I did do some more digging and I did find that T-mobile addressed the storage issue on their facebook page stating:

"Thanks for the questions about the G2′s memory. Here’s the scoop: The G2 includes 4GB of internal memory, of which a portion is accessible for downloading applications from the Android Market and a portion is allocated for both the operating system and preloaded applications. You can also store content and some applications on the included 8GB SD card, which is expandable up to 32GB."

I think I will go ahead and pick up this phone as soon as I pay my bills for this month :D

Jerry needs a hands-on hand model...good god man were you giving a coyote a root canal before you did your hands-on?

7 homescreens
portrait homescreen
Lack of hotspot
Lack of a setting to always enable LED alerts
about 100 MB of Google applications are baked into the ROM (all good ones, but still)

I like it, but just not sure its enough of a jump in specs to give up my N1 for it. Even the TouchHD seems little lacking to make the jump. I wish we would get a game changer like the Evo was when it came out, on T-Mobile.

Why would you consider the EVO more of a game changer than the G2 or the new myTouch? Just because the EVO replaced more dated devices? (e.g. it replaced the Hero/Moment, as opposed to these replacing the N1) The only thing the EVO has over the myTouch is screen size no? And the myTouch has a faster processor/GPU combo...

I'm just curious, I love my EVO and I think the HDMI output is an underrated feature... But other than that and screen size, it hasn't got much to lord over other recent phones. The front facing camera has been a bust if you ask me, unless Skype or someone else comes out w/a solid app for video chat before next gen phones start dropping in 2011 it'll be a missed opportunity for phones like the EVO/myTouch imo.

The only way I'd give up the 4.3" screen would be if I get a significantly thinner/smaller device in return tho. I looked at the Epic and Vibrant and while they're thinner they're barely any smaller than the EVO, lot of wasted bezel space if you ask me. G2 looks to be shorter tho so maybe it feels more compact even if it isn't thinner.

I have a Nexus One, best device ever made to date. Saying that I still went out and bought the G2. Like the G2 but to me it will never replace the Nexus. The G2 is a very snappy device and the only thing it lacks that the Nexus has is the tethering ability out of the box. If you don't want to root the G2 you could always buy a 3rd party app for tethering, there are a few out there. One of the reasons I bought the G2 was the memory capabilities. Before too long we will be seeing just about all apps having the ability to store to the memory card so I don't think memory is a big deal for the people who want to stick with their Nexus. I might send my G2 back after a few days and just keep the Nexus One and wait for something that will just be over the top. Don't know how I feel about this new My Touch with the FFC and the bigger processor. The G2 is a great device for anyone looking for a Nexus like device with added memory. I just love my Nexus One rooted and loaded. Still best device out there.

I agree. There are a lot of cool devices that have come out since I got my Nexus, but nothing that's really made me look at my Nexus with disdain. I have friends with a Droid X and my wife has a Captivate, and I can still do things on my device that they can't (thanks to the XDA Dev community).

Plus, I have really good AT&T coverage where I live so in order for me to give up my Nexus it would have to be some amazing over the top device that comes out with AT&T compatible 3G (maybe even LTE) and hasn't been screwed up by either the manufacturer or the carrier.

I'm not holding my breath.

can you download the multitouch visualizer app and bring two touch points close to each others. Do they collapse into one touch point ? this is critical for fast thumb on-screen-keyboard typing !
haven't had a problem using that on the galaxy S, but had terrible issues with all other phones. Including the Nexus One.

(no, i don't have all these phones. but i tried them whenever I saw them or with friends..)

Already have :)

4 touchpoints, zero issues. Cross em any direction you like, move them as fast as you can, works exactly as you would expect. We'll have some video of that soon.

The phone looks pretty sweet. Does it have the UMA that we saw a week ago? I would like to see you guys do a showdown of all the newest qwerties. Keep up the good work.

Sent from my rooted droid 2 running phil blur

Faster than the Evo? Yes, faster than the Vibrant? No, when it gets Froyo you will see, it should fix the lag issue and increase it by a ton, I refuse to believe at 800mhz it can supposedly "beat" the Vibrant, my Vibrant is on 2.1 and it hits 2100 on Quadrant scores, still looks like an amazing device though

What makes this phone different from the HTC Merge for Verizon other than the trackpad and the radios? Anything worth note? It looks like the hinge mechanism is different. How much space do most apps take up? Is 8+gb's of storage really going to be an issue for most?

This phone makes me want to go back to t-mobile , my mom left it for fail AT&T :/ we didn't know anything about android phones now I have one of the worst android phones out I wish we could go to sprint just for that evo or tmobile back for this phone but we can't, early termination fees :( this phone has big possibilitys. Phones like this coming out and the Htc Verizon Merge is what makes AT&T the worst to offer in phones right now .

Phone is super sexy, which the one on Verizon was a little more similar in design. Oh well, I'll still get the Merge.

Will you guys be able to do a comparison of the G2 and Merge?

y brother is on T mobile and just got his yesterday. As soon as he opened it I checked the hinge and indeed when turned upside down the screen fell open. Had to send it back and had to argue with them to let me go get one from the store to make sure in person the hinge was a good one.