My latest phone I purchased was the T-Mobile G2, also known internationally as the HTC Desire Z, or the HTC Vision. I know the phone is going on 3 years old but it still appealed to me, and as much as I loved my iPhone 2G, the lack of Apps even with third party modifications like Whited00r and 3Store was the only downfall of it. The crazy thing is a while back, at least a year ago, I posted about how I wanted to buy this phone. I was originally going to purchase the Samsung Nexus S, but I couldn’t find any in stock within my price range at the time. Do I regret falling back to the G2? Not at all. It’s quite the fantastic phone. I bought it locked to T-Mobile’s network, and it was running the stock Gingerbread build with all of T-Mobile’s addons and bloatware. What I did after receiving it was unlock and root the phone, and I’m currently running a custom build of HTC Sense 1.9, which is very lightweight. Even though Sense 1.x is really old compared to the current Sense 5 that is out, I still have the option of upgrading once someone releases a custom ROM for the device, one of the better perks to being rooted. There are a slew of ROMs out there, since I’m on the topic. There are ROMs from HTC Sense 1.9 to 4.x, MIUI, Stock Gingerbread and Froyo, CyanogenMod 7.x to 10.2, Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs, and so many more that this small listing doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of them out there.
Onward to the hardware. One of my favorite parts of the phone is the physical keyboard that the device has on it. I wasn’t sure how I would like it at first, but I find myself using it more and more all the time, especially because I give up on typing on a soft keyboard from time to time. The hinge, despite the way that it opens and how frail it looks, is actually really sturdy and has a nice snappy-springy feeling. Another feature I wasn’t too sure about at first as well was the optical trackpad. But coming from the iPhone, it makes it really convenient to wake the device to the lockscreen. Whenever it comes to reading long pages in the web, or in a news app such as CNN or NPR, it also makes for a wonderful alternative to scrolling down on the screen. The overall build quality is very sturdy, as expected from an HTC device. It is quite a bit heavier compared to even smartphones around the time it was released, but that is due to the physical keyboard. After a while it just becomes natural and you don’t notice it, unless you pick up say a friends phone for a quick second, or even an iPod Touch. Overall, the T-Mobile G2/HTC Desire Z even by today’s standards is a phenomenal phone. If you’re looking for a cheap, but really well built smartphone that will last, then this is one of the phones I can recommend to purchase. The average price for one in a lightly used condition can go for around $90-150. Both the G2 and Desire Z variants can be unlocked if they aren’t already factory unlocked, albeit by a little complex method for the average user but there are some really wonderful videos that make it a breeze on YouTube. Leave a comment if you would be interested. For those wanting a cheaper smartphone that you want to tinker around with and have it rooted, I also recommend this video. People already have Android 4.3 Jellybean ported over and are planning on working on a 4.4 KitKat build in the future, so this still has a lot of support. All in all, if I wasn’t already eyeing up the HTC One X as my next phone whenever I have the expendable money, I would have no problem going at least a year with this as my daily driver.