JR Raphael

T-Mobile's G2X: A powerful new pure Android phone

March 24, 2011 11:05 AM EDT

By JR Raphael

T-Mobile's future may be up in the air, but the company is wasting no time launching powerful Android devices onto its existing network.

T-Mobile G2XIn addition to the LG G-Slate we checked out yesterday, the carrier is getting ready to roll out a new phone known as the G2X. Announced at the CTIA mobile tech show in Orlando this week, the G2X looks to be a top-of-the-line device that follows in the footsteps of the G1 and G2 before it.

The G2X, manufactured by LG, is essentially the U.S. version of LG's Optimus 2X phone. It rocks one of those Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processors we've all come to love, along with 512MB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of internal storage and supports up to 32GB of additional external storage. The phone has an impressive 4-inch WVGA display and offers both DLNA and HDMI mirroring functionality. It has an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3MP front-facing cam for video chat. Oh -- and it supports 4G, too, via T-Mobile's HSPA+ data network.

Specs aside, the most noteworthy thing about the T-Mobile G2X is its software: The phone runs a pure, vanilla version of Android, with no manufacturer-added skins mucking up the experience. The phone, unfortunately, does ship with the already-dated Android 2.2, aka Froyo, release -- but T-Mobile and LG are promising a speedy upgrade to Android Gingerbread (2.3) after its launch. The fact that the phone is skin-free should make that and future Android upgrades a relatively pain-free process.

Now, there is one caveat to the "pure Android" qualification: The G2X, like many other Android phones nowadays, comes with its share of preloaded software -- or bloatware, if you prefer. As you'll see in the video below, the phone ships with a handful of T-Mobile-branded apps as well as some completely unnecessary third-party programs. This stuff isn't a huge deal, of course -- you can always ignore it and use whatever software you want -- but it is mildly annoying to have a bunch of content preinstalled and essentially stuck on your new phone.

In the grand scheme of things, however, that's a relatively minor chink in this smartphone's armor. T-Mobile's G2X has all the makings of a great Android device, and -- based on the short time I was able to spend with it at CTIA this week -- seems to generally live up to the expectations. The biggest potential problem with the phone may really be T-Mobile's pending marriage to AT&T: Android Power TwitterThat carrier, in a sharp contrast to T-Mobile, is notorious for its non-Android-friendly policies. If/when its takeover of T-Mobile is completed, one would imagine its rules and regulations will eventually extend to customers on both sides of the merger.

The G2X will launch later this spring. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Here's a quick hands-on tour of the phone:

 

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, on Twitter, or at eSarcasm, his geek-humor getaway.





Android Upgrades

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.