If you didn’t know, Google and T-Mobile held a small event that introduced the world to Android and the first Android device, the T-Mobile G1. And though Android impressed many (TiPb included), a lot of people scratched their heads when it came to the T-Mobile G1. Sure it packed a lot of features, controls, layouts, etc in one device but looks-wise it just didn’t blow anybody away. Is this really the device that Google is going to use to introduce the world to Android?

So we decided to take a closer look at the hardware and see how it compares to the iPhone 3G!

Read on to see how the iPhone 3G compares to the T-Mobile G1 Here's a disclaimer: We know that the iPhone is the iPhone is the iPhone while Android can pretty much be anything anybody wants it to be. Apple and Google employ different strategies, different ideals, and different means but the goal is the same—to take as much of the cell phone market as they possibly can. We’re not going to delve into the differences because honestly, it’s too many to list.

Google is a company that (almost) receives as much attention as Apple so when they release a cell phone platform, we’re going to pay attention. Though some may argue that Android is trying to replace Windows Mobile more so than go after the iPhone, like it or not, the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1 are two devices going after the same consumer market. So let’s see how they compare, hardware wise, yeah?


Probably the biggest disappointment of all is the styling of the device. Though it looked considerably better than the leaked photos, the T-Mobile G1 still lacks a certain swagger to it. It seems like it’s so confused on what to be that it just comes off as plain. Not even to imagine the Jay Leno sized chin, in product shots the thing is ginormous. The device does seem to have an endearing quality to it, perhaps it’s the usage of very-approachable colors—you won’t find a glossy black or white here.

But overall, it’s sad that the design couldn’t be more revolutionary than evolutionary considering HTC doesn’t typically make bad looking devices (look at the Touch series). I think it can be said with fair certainty that the T-Mobile G1 will never win any design awards and will NEVER be mistaken as an iPhone.

Edge: iPhone, Comparing the styling of the iPhone to the T-Mobile G1 is really no contest and probably offends the heck out of Jonathan Ive.

Input Method

Plainness aside, the T-Mobile G1 is the perfect device to launch Android with. Why? Because it includes all the popular input methods: touch-screen, keyboard, and even a trackball. Developers are able to create versatile apps that will extend past the T-Mobile G1 because of all the input methods available.

But by including so many input methods, the T-Mobile G1 risks confusing the user experience. Would anyone ever actively use a trackball over a touchscreen? Is a keyboard that might not even be good (there have been complaints of it being too flat) worth the added thickness? And above all, having a touchscreen is fine and dandy with TiPb but where’s the multi-touch? Most other touchscreen devices are less sensitive and less responsive than the iPhone 3G and without multi-touch it can’t even be considered in the same league. Maybe the T-Mobile G1 will be better in that regard.

Edge: T-Mobile G1, I think people who can effectively use the iPhone’s keyboard won’t look twice at the added input methods of the T-Mobile G1 (I know I won’t). But it’d be careless to not admit that the T-Mobile G1 beats the iPhone in offering options. I mean, even Blackberry users can get in on the fun with the (out-dated) trackball.


Size and shape wise, the T-Mobile G1 does a great job in creating a easy-to-hold, good-in-hand feel. It’s a wee bit taller than the iPhone (4.6 inches vs 4.5) and noticeably thicker (.62 vs .48), but it does deserve credit for being narrower (2.16 vs2.4). The screen is a nick smaller at 3.17 inches vs the iPhone’s 3.5 inches but I can’t imagine people complaining about that difference. In all, dimensions wise the T-Mobile G1 is commendable, it’s pretty amazing how it can offer so many input methods in such a tight package.

But come on, really? To compete with the iPhone you have to package a more amazing product in stunning dimensions. The T-Mobile G1 doesn't do that. Instead it loses here, loses there, and pretty much loses everywhere when compared to the pure dimensions. Some may still complain that the iPhone 3G still doesn't "feel" like a phone but you'd be hard pressed to find a better package than the iPhone.

Edge: iPhone, Though the T-Mobile G1 surprised many with a solid build quality, it doesn’t approach the iPhone 3G (and original iPhone!) in terms of feeling great in the hand.

Storage, Headphone jack, Camera, Battery, Misc

Some people like expandable memory via MicroSD cards and sure it offers a lot of options for the future, but honestly, I would rather take the 8/16 GB out the box than the 1GB—its just easier that way. When bigger MicroSD cards become affordable we’ll probably be on 32GB iPhones and maybe even a G2.

Even worse than a recessed headphone jack is using a proprietary ExtUSB port. Seeing how much flack that the original iPhone got for not including a 3.5mm headphone jack it is simply jaw-dropping that the T-Mobile G1 would include something even worse. Yeah, we know HTC typically uses this style of port but come on, we’re really going to get excited to listen to our DRM-free music through this thing?

One thing the T-Mobile G1 has going for it is opting for a 3 megapixel camera that can auto-focus at close distance over the iPhone’s 2 megapixel fixed camera. Also, the T-Mobile G1 includes a removable battery while claiming to offer the same talk time (5 hours) as the iPhone 3G. A big plus for power users. Oh, and don’t forget that the T-Mobile G1 has a built-in compass that adds a ridiculous amount of slickness when using Google Maps Street View.

What they both have: Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, GPS, Accelerometer

What they both lack: stereo Bluetooth, video recording

Edge: Tie, In our book, Built In Storage + 3.5mm headphone jack = Better Camera + Removable Battery + Compass

Final Thoughts

Don't worry, the king is still the king and the world can continue on spinning. The iPhone 3G still takes the cake in this hardware shoot out. Yeah, who would have thought we would do that huh?

Though a lot of the features are similar, the things that the iPhone are better at are simply best-in-class while the T-Mobile G1’s offering were simply par for the course. Put it this way, the iPhone is a knockout punch while the T-Mobile G1 is just a light jab. The iPhone was made to stun and revolutionize the industry while the T-Mobile G1’s main purpose is to get the market ready for the Android onslaught. They're both successful at what they aim to do.

Even though we are the iPhone blog, we’re pretty excited at the potential of Android and were surprised about how solid the T-Mobile G1 was. Our baby-sister site AndroidCentral is covering all things Android and T-Mobile G1 so be sure to check them out!

What do you think? Do you think the T-Mobile G1 is a worthy contender of the iPhone? Let us know!