T-Mobile G2 Hands-on: What We Like, What We Don’t

Last night we had a chance to get our mitts on the very hot T-Mobile G2, the carrier’s first HSPA+ phone. With this technology inside the G2 promises 4G speeds in 65 major markets and counting. It’s also the most beautiful Android phone yet, in our opinion, and it has a unique slide-out keyboard with a Z-hinge design.

We’re working to bring you our full review of this Android 2.2 device soon, but in the meantime here’s a quick summary of what we like and what we don’t, along with a tantalizing gallery.

What We Like:

  • Great Design: The G2 weights a relatively hefty 6.5 ounces, but it looks and feels like a truly premium smart phone, complete with an aluminum back and accents up front. The rest is solid plastic. We also like the optical trackpad underneath the screen, and the brilliant S-TFT display itself (800 x 480 pixels).
  • It’s Snappy: The 800-MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 processor combined with the relatively clean load of Android 2.2 made this phone very swift when moving between menus and opening apps.
  • Killer Keyboard: The G2’s keyboard has plenty of space between the keys, making it easy to type quickly. We prefer the clickier keyboard on the Epic 4G, but the G2 is a close second.
  • 4G-Like Speeds: Although T-Mobile is still building out its HSPA+ network, we saw speeds between 3 and 4 Mbps in San Francisco. We’ll have to see how well the phone performs in New York City.

What We Don’t Like

  • Z-Hinge Design Raises Concerns: The G2 isn’t your typical slider phone. The screen literally rises above the keyboard on a Z hinge as you push it back, kind of like leapfrog. That means when you hold the phone upside down the display will hang down from the keyboard portion of the device. We also have to wonder about the long-term durability of this hinge. I certainly wouldn’t give the G2 to my kids to play with.
  • No Mobile Hotspot Feature: When you deliver 4G speeds, you want to be able to leverage that with your laptop. Unfortunately, the G2 doesn’t offer this feature, unlike several other Android phones on the market. You also can’t tether the device to your laptop via USB, though it’s possible that this feature will be added later.
  • Googleware You Can’t Delete: As Engadget pointed out in its review, the G2 comes loaded with lots of Google apps you can’t get rid of, including Places, Shopper, Earth, Sky Map, Latitude, Tracks, Finance, Listen, Translate, and Google Talk. We didn’t find these apps to negatively impact performance, but some may find them annoying.

Quick Take: The G2 looks like it belongs at the top of T-Mobile’s Android lineup alongside the Samsung Vibrant, giving the carrier a great one-two punch. If you want a physical keyboard, it’s a no-brainer. However, some may want to wait for the new T-Mobile myTouch, which will offer video calling. Stay tuned for a full review of the T-Mobile G2.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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Submit Comments

  1. cascas Says:

    I am not really clear on the third negative point “Googleware You Can’t Delete”. Could you clarify?

    I have the impression that it sounds similar to somebody complaining that you can’t remove Apple iOS default apps from the iPhone (like calendar, youtube, maps, sticks, calculator, safari, notes, …).
    Or are you referring to something different?

  2. told you so.com Says:

    you also cant root this device as with the droid X and malware protection code has been implemented which Android Phones may be seeing as a normal thing in the future. SO android fans welcome to lock down.

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