Most Android smartphones are more powerful than an iPhone 4 in one or two ways, but offer a less polished experience and fewer apps. The T-Mobile G2X bucks this trend, by offering a compelling package in its own right that’s more than the sum of its specs.
What’s in a name?
The T-Mobile G1 was the first Android smartphone to reach the United States. It offered a pure Google experience, unblemished by manufacturer “skins” of dubious quality like Motorola’s MOTOBLUR.
The G2X continues this trend by shipping with pure Android — version 2.2 “Froyo,” although an update to 2.3 “Gingerbread” may be in the works at some point. There are a handful of non-uninstallable apps put there by the carrier, but “clutter is kept to a minimum” according to the Engadget review. Built-in apps include Qik Video Chat, Polaris Office, the popular Swype keyboard, and HD games like Need For Speed: Shift.
A gaming phone?
The G2X lacks the pixel-less Retina Display of the iPhone 4. It has a dual-core processor, though, plus the NVIDIA Tegra Zone app preinstalled to help you find games that take advantage of the G2X’s horsepower.
Games are playable on a DLNA-compatible HDTV, through wireless streaming. You can also stream HD video — and the G2X can record up to 1080p at a smooth framerate.
The G2X’s wireless streaming may not be quite as seamless as the iPhone 4’s AirPlay, but it also doesn’t require an Apple TV set-top box. You can also connect it to your HDTV via a standard HDMI cable, instead of using a proprietary adapter made by Apple.
But where are the apps?
The T-Mobile G2X’s biggest shortfall, relative to the iPhone 4, is its dearth of apps. The Android Market has over 150,000 apps, but because of Google’s lack of screening many of these are wallpapers and ringtones. In a nutshell, most “name-brand” apps (like eBay and Angry Birds) are available for both iPhone and Android, but indie studios tend to save their most compelling work for the iPhone.
On the plus side, the Amazon Appstore for Android recently opened, which lets you shop for apps on Amazon.com. Plus, they offer a “free app of the day” which may cost as much as $4.99 normally. The Amazon Appstore is not available for the iPhone, and may be worth checking out.
Most people buying a T-Mobile G2X will probably do so for the network first, and the phone second. Those who do so, however, just might be pleasantly surprised … and if you haven’t checked out T-Mobile’s signature G-series Android phones for yourself yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.