Google has created hype around its own phone to rival Apple with its iPhone - and it has better specs on nearly every feature with the Nexus One. But is it enough to sway public opinion?

In an attempt to show itself as a mobile manufacturer in its own right, Google has released the Nexus One, a handset built by HTC but branded solely as a Google phone.

Despite some well-publicised problems with customer support and keypad malfunctions - neither of which became an issue during our testing process - the Nexus One is actually a stellar smartphone, easily the match of its peers.

Google nexus one

Everyone likes to talk about the next 'iPhone killer' - in reality, Android OS phones are content with second place, beating competitors like Nokia, Palm, Windows Mobile and RIM's BlackBerry OS.

With Android, the hardware is also advancing, especially in terms of the touchscreen and the camera. For those wondering if they should just jump on the iPhone bandwagon, there are still a few annoying qualities about the Nexus One. It will not kill the iPhone, and here's why:

For starters, the Nexus One lacks some wizardry. For example, there's a split second pause when you turn the device to the side for landscape orientation, and you might even find yourself turning the phone a couple of times to get the accelerometer to kick in.

Google nexus one

The keypad - while fully functional when we tested it for several days - is a bit imprecise on occasion. In fact, the Nexus One acts like some of the poorer touchscreens on offer at times, where the display is mostly responsive under the finger but lags occasionally.

There are also a few minor gripes that add up to a less-than-amazing experience. One is that the phone can get a bit greasy after extended use and even slip through your fingers. You'll smudge up the screen quickly.

Google also needs to think seriously about some of the power saving decisions on the Nexus One. Of course, you can configure when the screen blanks and when the phone goes into a sleep state, but the default options are impractical: to resume the phone, you have to press the power switch.

Google nexus one

For those who are used to just touching the screen to resume, or pressing any other button, you might get frustrated quickly. Forcing you to use the power button is a design decision - it means you won't inadvertently make a phone call with the phone in your pocket. It's still a pain, however.

And then there is just the overall experience of using the Nexus One. In many ways, the Nexus One is a geek phone - there are a plethora of menu options for built-in apps and an exhaustive list of options under settings.

There are so many techie details to explore that new users might get confused by simple operations, such as how to archive an email. (You have to 'long press' and select Archive.)

Bottom line: even if Apple has no need to worry, the Nexus One is still the best Android phone available today.

Sure, it's easy to argue that the Motorola Milestone is more rugged and comes with a full QWERTY keypad, and that the Hero uses a specialised interface that you can use to suit your preferences. Still, as a basic summary, the Nexus One is thin, fast, has a great camera, and worked well as a primary business and consumer phone.