Exclusive: Google Nexus One hands-on, video, and first impressions

That's right, humans -- Engadget has its very own Nexus One. You've seen leaked pics and videos from all over, but we're the first publication to get our very own unit, and we plan on giving you guys the full story on every nook and cranny of this device. In case you've been living under a rock, here's the breakdown of the phone. The HTC-built and (soon to be) Google-sold device runs Android 2.1 atop a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 3.7-inch, 480 x 800 display, has 512MB of ROM, 512MB of RAM, and a 4GB microSD card (expandable to 32GB). The phone is a T-Mobile device (meaning no 3G if you want to take it to AT&T), and includes the standard modern additions of a light sensor, proximity sensor, and accelerometer. The Nexus One has a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and we have to say so far the pictures it snaps look pretty decent (and the camera software is much faster than the same component on the Droid). The phone is incredibly thin and sleek -- a little thinner than the iPhone -- but it has pretty familiar HTC-style industrial design. It's very handsome, but not blow-you-away good looking. It's a very slim, very pocketable phone, and feels pretty good in your hand. Thought you'd have to wait for that Google event for more on the Nexus One? Hell no -- so read on for an in-depth look. C'mon, you know you want to.

Now, of course everyone seems to have one question about the device -- is this the be-all-end-all Android phone / iPhone eviscerator? In two words: not really. The thing that's struck us most (so far) about the Nexus One thus far is the fact that it's really not very different than the Droid in any substantial way. Yes, we'd say the design and feel of the phone is better (much better, in fact), and it's definitely noticeably faster than Motorola's offering, but it's not so much faster that we felt like the doors were being blown off. It is very smooth, though we still noticed a little stuttery behavior (very slight, mind you) when moving between home pages. Still, opening applications and moving between them was super speedy, as was Google maps, and any area of the phone where you've got to get through long lists. Don't get us wrong, the phone cooks -- but it's not some paradigmatic shift for Android. One other note: multitouch has not been included here, so while the functionality is supported in Android 2.0 and up, we're still dealing with a one-finger-at-a-time experience... which leaves something to be desired when you've got a beautiful touchscreen like this to play around on.

Google has also included some visual enhancements you've probably heard about, and minor UI tweaks which make getting around the OS a bit more direct. Firstly, there are a set of really snazzy looking "live" wallpapers, some of which react to touch, but all animate in the background while you're on the homescreen. The company has also changed up its application menu navigation a bit, killing the sliding drawer for a more direct home button and overlay of the icons (which no longer scroll off the page normally, but wrap around a 3D cube on the edges). Google has also expanded the amount of homescreens to five, and gives you quick navigation to them by long pressing on the new "dots" which represent pages not in view. While most UI details look and feel the same, from just a bit of typing the keyboard does seem more responsive and accurate, and we're guessing the Snapdragon helps there as well. Throughout the phone there are also new animations and flourishes which make Android 2.1 feel way more polished than previous iterations (including the Droid's 2.0.1), though it's still got a ways to go to matching something like the iPhone or even Pre in terms of fit and finish. Regardless, it's clear Google has started thinking about not just function but form as well, and that's very good news for Android aficionados.

We're going to have a lot more info and a full review coming in just a few days, but for now, feast your eyes on the video and gallery, and hang tight for more Nexus One goodness. Oh, and if you've got some questions on the device, shout them out in comments and we'll try to answer and / or cover them in the review.