Wednesday, January 7, 2009

T-Mobile G1—Size Comparisons

I've been meaning to post these pictures for a long time, just so I could compare my new T-Mobile G1 to my other gadgets. It's not much of a surprise I suppose. The G1 is a little taller, a little narrower, a little thinner, and a little lighter than the Treo 680 and a little shorter, a lot narrower, a little thicker, and a lot heavier than the Palm TX. Overall, the G1 strikes a nice balance in terms of size which makes it more pocketable than my two Palm devices. But I love the sheer size of my TX's screen.

Bottoms up so to speak. Palm's big "Athena" connector dominates the bottom of the Treo and TX while the G1's tiny micoUSB connector is hidden behind a little plastic door. One of the first things that I told the T-Mobile store sales rep. was, "That [door] is going to break off fast." But a month later, the little door is still attached. Curiously enough, even though both the TX and the Treo can recharge throgh the Athena connector, Palm has also included a second, tiny recharging connector right next to it. This is great for traveling as you can leave the regular Palm USB cable with its tiny, delicate wires at home but it makes the devices bulkier.

The right side of the G1 features a dedicated camera button, something the Treo 680 lacks (of course the 680's buttons are fully customizable so it's easy to assign the camera a dedicated button on the 680). It's actually a pretty nice placement for the button since it allows you to turn the G1 on its side and use it like a point and shoot camera. Sadly, the G1 camera's slow shutter response negates this cool factor somewhat. The 680 has a door for its SD card on its right side which feels pretty flimsy but it does keep the SD card from popping out the way the SD card my old Treo 600 would pop out on occasion (such as when I dropped it). The TX is the thinnest of the three devices here and its stylus is exposed through almost the entire length its right side. It's a nicely weighted metal stylus which allows for good precision use of its touchscreen, allowing you to write comfortably on the screen. The G1's screen is optimized for finger use and it has no stylus; while I rarely miss being able to use a stylus, there are times when I can't quite control the G1's screen and scrolls too fast for my taste.

The left side. Both the G1 and the 680 have their volume buttons here. The 680 also adds a side button which you must press to confirm that yes, you really did mean to raise or lower the volume, the phone didn't just get jostled in your coat pocket. The side pocket can also launch an application when it is held down which makes it perfect for using the Treo's camera or voice recorder. The TX comes with a flip cover which attaches to its left side. This is a fairly unique feature to Palm PDAs as it allows you to protect the device's screen without using a bulky case which helps maintain a nice, thin profile. Unfortunately, the flip cover tends to tear over time which makes the TX look a little shabby.

The top of the G1 is pretty boring compared to that of the G1 and TX. You can just barely make out the release tab for the G1's battery cover but otherwise there is nothing of note atop the G1. The 680 and TX by comparison have headgear that rivals Carmen Miranda's.

The 680 has a switch that shuts off all sound on the device. This feature is so brilliant and so simple, that it should be mandatory on all cell phones. With the G1 by contrast, I must use the Ring Toggle application. While this application which is available for free from the Android market is wonderful; I have to turn on the phone, unlock the screen, and tap on a radio button in order to silence the phone. There is simply no substitute for a physical button for this important function. The 680 also has an infrared (IR) port and a small but usuable stylus. Thanks to Palm's optimizations for one-handed use, the 680's stylus rarely leaves its nicely hidden stylus.

The TX's top is even busier. While the 680's IR port is more for backwards compatibility with older Palm devices, the TX's IR port is much more powerful and when paired with Novii Remote, the TX becomes a universal remote capable of controlling almost any TV, TiVo, and a whole crap load of audio and video equipment. The TX also adds a recessed SD card slot which for the most part does away with the whole card popping out of its slot problem. The on/off switch on the TX is somewhat squishy and unreliable, it's one of the most annoying aspects of this device. The TX's stylus extends to the top of the device. The TX also has 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, something that both the Treo 680 and T-Mobile G1 lack, forcing you to make due with bulky adaptors or non-standard headphones. It has quietly become one of my favorite features on the TX because even though I usually carry an iPod, the TX has a much bigger, prettier screen and is great for viewing movies with CorePlayer. It can also function as an MP3 player in a pinch if your iPod dies. In fact, with the advent of Dmitry Grinberg's PalmSDHC driver, the TX can use newer high capacity SDHC cards and can be a compelling alternative to the iPod and other MP3 and media players. In many ways, the TX was a device ahead of its time.

And finally, just because its keyboard makes it look like a tiny laptop, here's my T-Mobile G1 with a 15.4" HP laptop and an 8.9" Acer netbook.

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