Prizefight (week of February 03)
Prizefight: Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS
Prizefight: Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS
Debuting as the first cell phone of 2010, the Nexus One by HTC made big waves in the cell phone world. Not only was it the long-rumored "Google phone," but it also offered a new way to buy mobile devices. Google sells the handset directly, even if you're buying it with T-Mobile service. You can also buy it without a T-Mobile service contract, and both versions of the phone are unlocked.
With an expansive display, a lightning-fast processor, and expanded voice command features, the Nexus One brought several new options to the Google Android family. But how does it compare with the still-mighty iPhone 3GS? It's obvious the Nexus One was made to compete with Apple's phone, which still holds the cards when it comes to apps and multimedia. To find out exactly how the two handsets fare in a battle royal, we threw them into the ring for CNET's latest Prizefight. Read on to see how the brawl developed.
Let's have a clean fight, fellas. Ding, ding!
Editors' note: The Prizefight scoring system is as follows: Each judge rates on a zero-to-five-point scale. At the end of each round, we will take an average of the three judges' scores. The final score for each phone will be an average of all five rounds.
Round 1: SexinessDesign and looks count for a lot when you're shopping for a cell phone, so here's where we examine the look, size, feel, and sex appeal of the devices.
|HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)||5Oohh, shiny! The Nexus One is pretty. I love its slim design, gorgeous display, and solid construction. Top marks!||5It's the sleekest Android device to date, with a great weight and beautiful screen.||4This was a really tough one. Both phones are incredibly well-designed. The Nexus One is slim and curvaceous, and the OLED display is just stunning.||4.7|
|Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)||5Of course, the iPhone is attractive, too. It created a whole new design class that the Nexus One obviously went for. But, the Nexus One did it well, so this round is a tie.||5The iPhone still keeps its sex appeal after all this time, thanks to its minimalist design.||4I'm going to call it a tie for this one, simply because I still think the iPhone 3GS is an attractive device. It doesn't have the OLED display of the Nexus One, but it has a streamlined design and it feels good in the hand. The chrome detail along the edges is a nice touch.||4.7|
Round 2: Controls and user interfaceSexiness is one thing, but are the phones easy to use? In Round 2, we examine the design and usability of their user interfaces, keyboards, and navigation controls.
|HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)||4Though some users had trouble with the Nexus One's touch screen, I didn't have any problems. I also didn't have issues with the trackball, though the touch controls below the display weren't always responsive. On the whole, Android has a more technical feel than the iPhone's OS, but that's the point.||4I really like the touch-screen navigation on the Android OS. The trackball is nice, but I don't use it much. The software update for multitouch will silence critics. Sometimes my touch doesn't register on the haptic feedback controls just below the display.||4I do like the Nexus One's touch-screen interface. It's easy to swipe and scroll through menus, and although I find the touch controls below the display a little annoying, they can be quite handy. I like the virtual keyboard on the Nexus One, as well.||4|
|Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)||4Apple has perfected ease of use, and the iPhone is no exception. You know exactly what to do when you turn it on and I appreciate the expanded gesture support. On the other hand, in its effort to make things user-friendly, Apple typically sacrifices real customization. And that's one area where the Android OS succeeds.||5I get sick of saying this, but the iPhone is still the easiest device on the planet to use.||5This is entirely a personal thing, but I prefer the simple flip-through-style menu interface of the iPhone 3GS--there's no need for shortcuts or folders here. I also prefer the look and feel of the iPhone's virtual keyboard.||4.7|
Round 3: FeaturesWhat do these phones offer under their hoods? Here we examine the features in each device and rate which phone offers more.
|HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)||5The Nexus One wins for its Google apps integration, high-resolution camera, multitasking, faster processor, and an open OS with better customization. On the other hand, the iPhone has more apps (at least for now) and Outlook Calendar syncing.||5The Nexus One has awesome voice commands, multitasking, more customization, and turn-by-turn Google maps. I love the notifications pull-down, but Outlook syncing still has some issues. What's more, its 5-megapixel camera with a flash outdoes the iPhone's.||5The Nexus One blows the iPhone 3GS's features out of the water. Not only is the 5-megapixel camera superior, but also it has much better Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, a microSD card slot, and we love the voice search feature. Perhaps more importantly, the Nexus One is available unlocked right out the door. Plus, it has a removable battery!||5|
|Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)||4See above.||4The iPhone still hasn't stepped up its game with multitasking. Also, its push-notifications system gets in the way when I'm making calls.||4The iPhone 3GS does have a number of cool features going for it--GPS, stereo Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera with camcorder--but they just pale in comparison with the Nexus One's offerings.||4|
Round 4: Web browsing and multimediaThese handsets do a lot more than just make calls; they also have Web browsers and multimedia players. We tell you which phone offers a better media and Web-browsing experience.
|HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)||4The Nexus One's Web browser has some welcome features, like cut and paste and multiple browser windows, and sites look great on the lovely OLED display. I welcome the new multitouch, and 3G data speeds are faster, but I still like the iPhone's browser better.||4The Web browser remains a notch below Safari, but it performs very well and I like the icons for multiple browser widows. The media player is still very basic, and I was hoping for more from Android 2.1.||4I think the Nexus One has a better browser; it seems sleeker and faster than Safari on the iPhone and it now has multitouch. I also really do like the music player on the Nexus One, except I would wish for better podcast integration and access to Audible audio books.||4|
|Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)||5If I had the choice, I'd browse the Web on the iPhone. The touch interface is a tad more responsive and the gestures are smoother. The iPhone also offers the better media player.||5It has the best mobile browser even without Flash. It has the best mobile media player and its integration with iTunes offers the deepest library of TV shows, movies, and other content that look and play great. Camera is just satisfactory, but video capture is better on the iPhone.||4Though I prefer the Web-browsing experience on the Nexus One, I still like the Safari browser. The iPod interface on the iPhone is very well done, as well, and I like the easy access to videos, podcasts, and audio books.||4.7|
Round 5: Call qualityCell phones aren't worth much if they don't make good calls. And as the handsets run on different carriers, audio quality will differ.
|HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)||5I had no complaints with the Nexus One's call quality. It didn't drop calls, and the noise cancellation feature worked like a dream.||4Calls sounded very clear. I heard no pops or static breakups. The other side of the line also said call quality was solid and better than on the iPhone.||5I was quite impressed with the call quality of the Nexus One overall. I did get a little bit of static occasionally, but callers said I sounded loud and clear, with a natural-sounding voice.||4.7|
|Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)||4I agree with my colleagues here. The iPhone offers good call quality most of the time, but it suffers from more interference and I dropped a call once during testing.||3Call quality is a step below the Nexus One's. It's acceptable, but with a little more static and breaks for both sides of the call.||4The call quality on the iPhone 3GS was decent, but there was slightly more static and crackling. The voice quality was also not as good as on the Nexus One.||3.7|
The winner is...
HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile) (4.5 pts)
Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T) (4.4 pts)