The T-Mobile G2 (manufactured by HTC) is a high-end Android OS phone that includes a flip-out QWERTY keyboard. It is billed as a "4G" device, and is capable of using T-Mobile's HSPA+ high-speed network.
The G2 is $200 for new T-Mobile customers or current ones who qualify for an upgrade.
BUILD & DESIGN
The G2 is a very well built, solid phone. It's plastic with aluminum accents and battery door, giving it a high-quality feel. It's substantial without being heavy. It feels comfortable to drop it in my pocket to carry around, and I hardly notice it is there.
The 3.7-inch WVGA (800 x 640) Super-TFT touchscreen is very sharp, and seems to have the right amount of sensitivity. On my old T-Mobile G1, I often found myself needing to swipe more than once to get the screen to change or browse through apps. I rarely need to do that on the G2.
This device also has a sensor near the top of the screen that detects ambient light levels and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly. This works surprisingly well, and only occasionally seems to get dim briefly when in normal light, but usually will correct quickly.
Overall I am very impressed with the screen quality and touch sensitivity.
One of the big draws for me to the G2 was the hardware keyboard. Even though touchscreen keyboards have improved, I still prefer a physical keyboard when doing any lengthy typing. I thought the G1 had one of the best hardware keyboards of any phone I have used, and was anxious to try its successor.
The G2's keyboard is accessed by pushing on the bottom in landscape mode (the left side in portrait mode), and it rises up and back, then folds down flush again. This is called a "Z Hinge" by HTC, and has proved to be a bit controversial. Many find it too easy to open, possibly a result of some loose hinges in early batches. I am happy to say that I have not had this problem. I can hold the phone upside down and the keyboard does not fall open for me. It only opens and closes when I intend it to.
Although I would rank the keyboard below the one on my G1, it is still a very good keyboard. The G1 had 5 rows of keys, with the fifth being a dedicated number row, which I found very useful. The G2 has four rows of keys, and therefore you have to use the ALT key to enter numbers.
There are also three user-assignable buttons. There is an app called "quick keys" used to assign them. I set mine up for email, messaging, and Docs to Go.
Overall the keyboard is very good, and the buttons have a good feel to them. They are raised slightly and give good tactile feedback when typing.
Other Buttons & Controls
The front side is taken up mostly by the touchscreen, but there is a trackpad centered near the bottom, just below four touch-sensitive buttons for Home, Menu, Back, and Search. These buttons took a bit to get used to for me. The G1 had physical buttons, and were easier to hit since you could feel them. Still, once I got used to them, I became much more comfortable, and have fewer misfires.
The trackpad is centered below the screen, and has a small border around it that lights up for notifications, and is fairly easy to use. The G1 had a similarly-located trackball, but I find the G2's trackpad much easier to use.
The left side of the device contains a volume rocker, and a Micro-USB port. The top has the power button and 3.5-mm headphone jack. The right side has a camera button and a battery door release.
The volume rocker on the left, and camera button on the right side both are raised enough to be easy to operate, but not so much that they are easily bumped.
Overall the button layout is very intuitive, probably because of the similarity to the G1.
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