Not many people had love for the original G1 like T-Mobile had hope they would, but there was a soft place in my heart for it. Many viewed it as a replacement for the side kick, which it obviously wasn’t. I always viewed it as what it was, Google’s grand entrance to the mobile world. I was really excited to see rumors of a G2 coming to be, and now that it’s here; its gets a warm welcome back from me!

The G2 showcases HTC’s ability to produce beautiful hardware. This thing stunning! From a corporate minded perspective, the dark grey, brushed aluminum finish of the phone is a joy to show off. Even at 0.58” of thickness, the phone feels great in the hand. It feels a lot better than something like the Touch Pro 2. It might not be obvious to some the phone has a physical keyboard at first glance.

Its 3.7” screen is as gorgeous as anything else on the market, although not as vibrant as the screens shipped with the newest Samsung devices. I’ve been using the HD2 for some time now, and have grown quite accustomed to the large 4.3” screen; but I must say the screen provided on the G2 is more than enough to go around.

On the left side of the device you’ll find the volume rocker and the charging socket. On the right, the camera shutter button and release for the battery door. At the top you have your power/suspend button and nothing to the bottom of the device. The home, menu, back and search buttons are all soft buttons located directly under the screen.

How about that keyboard? HTC managed to come up with some nice dazzle effects when sliding out the keyboard. Where the original G1 slide out to the side, the G2 slides upwards then back down. The hinges themselves look sturdy. The entire keyboard sliding motion is a solid one, one that seems to be able to hold up throughout the life of the device. It took a few minutes to get used to it at first. Everything seems to be off centered toward the right, but once you account for that bliss will follow. There are also 3 unassigned buttons on the keyboard which are left to be programmed by the user. You can map them to any app installed on the phone. Nice! With the exceptions of the keyboard on the Touch Pro 2, this is hands down the best physical keyboard I have ever used on a device.

What has always been my favorite feature of the G1 has been revamped. Much like Blackberry, HTC replaced the trackball at the bottom of the screen with a track pad. This was a great move. I always enjoyed having a way to scroll through emails, websites or even picture libraries without actually touching the screen. It works wonders for on handed operations.

The software on the phone was an excellent one. I was indeed surprised with by the G2’s performance. When I first got a glance at the rumored specs, I pretty much dismissed the device. Mainly because of its 800 MHz processor, boy was I wrong! The G2 seemed as fast if not faster than any of the latest android phones I have used (I’m looking at you mr.Evo.) It handles multitasking like a pro, and never skips a beat.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the minimalistic presence of HTC’s Sense. It didn’t feel too comfortable at first, but soon I realized what was going on. Was this the reason the G2 performances so well? Maybe! But you can still see remnants of Sense, things like the dialer and contacts programs are still skinned the HTC way.

Even the battery life on the phone was impressive. Although it only ships with a 1300 mAh battery, it does a good job at providing you with a good days’ worth of productivity or play. The battery life was notably better than other android phones (I am tired of looking at you mr.Evo.) Perhaps this could be a byproduct of the 800 MHz processor onboard.

The only thing I can point a finger at would be the camera. It seems the iPhone as stuck yet again. Even though the 5mp camera included takes great pictures and 720p video, it still doesn’t look as good as the iPhone. But that shouldn’t be viewed as a negative, simply because this isn’t the iPhone. The camera takes great pics! However, the lack of a front facing camera could be a concern to some. Until Google finds a way to implement that into the OS (Google chat please,) I think it is best left alone.

Here is a comparison between the G2’s video camera to the iPhone 4G’s.

 
G2 Recording traffic

 

iPhone recording traffic

My time spent with this phone was a joy. So much so, that I will be replacing my HD2 as soon as Windows Phone 7 touches down. With the solid design queues, the best physical keyboard of its generation and a solid software experience, the G2 is hands down the best android phone I’ve ever used. I have no problems recommending this phone, well done T-Mobile.

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