The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on January 31, 2010

Using a Nexus One in the UK

Using a Nexus One in the UK
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

Nexus OneNow that Google’s Nexus One has been available for a few weeks, let’s take a look at what it’s like to use one from a UK perspective.

While the tech blogosphere has already moved on to the next big gadget (Hello iPad!), the Nexus One still holds huge interest in the UK. If you’re looking to buy one in the UK, read through our Nexus One buyers’ guide. This post will look at some of my thoughts on the Nexus One after a couple of weeks’ use.

If you want an in-depth review of the device, there are lots around the web (and I’ve embedded a particularly good UK one below). This post will cover some of the issues that will affect UK users particularly as a follow up to the original post. So, let’s dive in…

Total cost

In my last post I estimated a total cost of £450 for the device once all taxes and delivery costs had been factored in. In the two-and-a-half weeks since mine arrived I have not been billed for VAT or any form of import tax. So, in total I’ve paid £361 for my Nexus One and that was including the optional UK mains charger. Be aware that you may be charged for these taxes but I certainly haven’t as of yet.

Get a flat-rate data plan

It might sound obvious, but the Nexus One uses a lot of data. Your milage will vary, but in the past day I’ve used 100MB of cellular data. Admittedly, I have three Google accounts constantly connected to it, Latitude updating my location regularly and I download podcasts over the air while I’m out and about so I’m certainly a heavy data user.

Even if you think “I’ll only do a bit of browsing through day”, Android (and the Nexus One in particular) positively encourages you to be a data glutton. With multitasking the Android norm, it’s easy to have lots of apps updating you on every aspect of your online life by regularly pinging your mobile data connection. If you have a limit on the amount of data you can use (Vodafone limits you to 750MB on some plans, for example), you risk paying extra for exceeding your limit.

Mobile reception

If you’ve read concerns from the USA about the Nexus One struggling to hold on to a 3G signal, dont worry too much. I’m using a 3 SIM-only contract (only £15 per month for 300 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data) and it generally holds onto a 3G signal fine. The only time it drops off 3G is in areas not covered by 3. In these cases, just like any other phone using 3, the phone roams on a 2G network but still works absolutely fine.


While the Nexus One is physically capable of multitouch ‘pinch to zoom’, you don’t get it currently. There are rumours that the version to be sold with a Vodafone in the near future will have the multitouch capability switched on, at present you get exactly the same handset that anyone in the USA would get.

To be honest, I rarely miss it. The ‘+’ and ‘-‘ icons on the screen and the double-tap zooming functions suit me fine for most zooming.

In-car navigation

Annoyingly, there’s still no in-car navigation solution for the Nexus One outside the USA. The nearest you get in the UK is ‘Car Home’ which is just an easy-access dashboard for the functions Google thinks you’re most likely to need while driving. There are big buttons for Voice Search, Navigation and Maps (although it’s just the standard Google Maps directions with no TomTom-style spoken directions), Contacts and Search.

Amazon Music Store

As we reported recently, the Nexus One is the first Android handset to feature Amazon’s UK Music Store app. This is a nice perk for users in the UK as until now the app has been USA-only. For the first time on Android in the UK, you can download DRM-free MP3s direct to your handset on a whim.

An in-depth review from a UK perspective

UK-based Steve Litchfield can always be relied on for fair and balanced handset reviews and his Phones Show video podcast is well worth subscribing to. Here’s the latest episode which he devotes ten minutes to the Nexus One…

Have any other questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out…