In more real-world testing, the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN came up in 5 seconds and 3 seconds, respectively, whereas CNET's full page loaded in just 19 seconds. With support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, we were also able to get CNET TV videos to play. We downloaded the Pandora app in 7 seconds and a track from Amazon's MP3 Store in 15 seconds. YouTube videos buffered in just a couple of seconds, and even high-quality videos loaded within a few seconds and played back without interruption. With such swift speeds, it's really a shame that the tethering and Wi-Fi hot spot capabilities have been disabled on the G2.
Hopefully, T-Mobile will activate the feature at some point in the future since it's a built-in function of Android 2.2, which is what the G2 is running on, along with the stock Android skin. Though we have no problem with customized UIs--as long as they're useful and don't impede on future updates--we also love the standard Android experience for its pureness and clean look.
Aside from the Froyo features outlined in our article here, the G2 also comes preloaded with a number of Google services, more than other Android smartphones on the market. Aside from the staples--Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk, and YouTube--you also get Google Voice, Voice Actions, Google Earth, Google Translate, Google Finance, and Google Listen, among others. This is all well and good, but unfortunately, you can't remove or uninstall these apps, which is annoying, especially since they take up some of the phone's 4GB of internal memory.
As a phone, the G2 offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and in addition to HSPA+ support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. The phone book is limited only by the available memory (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts), and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, IM handles, group IDs, photo caller IDs, and so on. The G2 can be set up to pull and merge contact information, calendar appointments, and messages from multiple e-mail and social networking accounts, including Exchange, POP3, IMAP, Facebook, and Twitter.
The G2's multimedia capabilities are pretty standard. The media player isn't quite as robust as the Samsung Vibrant's, but it supports your most basic music and video codecs, offers the essential playback features, and comes bundled with DoubleTwist syncing software. The phone comes preinstalled with a 8GB microSD card, but it can accept up to 32GB cards, if you have a larger multimedia library.
Last but not least, the smartphone is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera, which is capable of HD video capture. Despite having an LED flash, the picture quality on our standard indoor shot was a little dull and fuzzy, as was our test HD video. The camera did much better on photos taken outdoors, however.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) T-Mobile G2 in New York, and call quality was great. We enjoyed clear-sounding calls with very little background noise and voice distortion. We also didn't experience any dropped calls during our testing period, and we had no problem using an airline's voice-automated response system. Friends were also pleased with the performance on their end. There were a couple mentions of some slight tinniness, but overall, no major complaints.
T-Mobile G2 call quality sample
Speakerphone quality was pretty much what we expected: slightly hollow, but clear and loud enough to hold a conversation, even in louder environments. We were able to pair and make calls using the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem. The G2 also supports voice dialing over Bluetooth.
In terms of general performance, many were quick to dismiss the G2 because of the fact it had an 800MHz processor instead of a 1GHz processor like many of today's smartphones, but don't let the numbers fool you. The G2's next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 processor does just fine at keeping the handset on task. We experienced very little to no delay during our review periods, regardless of what task we threw at it.
The G2 ships with a 1,300mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 6.5 hours and up to 17.5 days of standby time. The G2 met the rated talk time in our battery drain tests. Anecdotally, we were able to get a full day's worth of use from the smartphone before having to charge the battery. According to FCC radiation tests, the G2 has a digital SAR rating of 1.31 watts per kilogram.