November 21, 2014

Book Review: T-Mobile G1 for Dummies

Everyone knows the Dummies books. They’ve been around for years now and chances are good you’ve paged through one at least once. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of T-Mobile G1 for Dummies last week for review. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical as to what I might find in the book, assuming I would know pretty much everything in it. After all, the G1 has been my only phone for the last 90 days or so. This would be a bad call on my part as I would find plenty of information that was helpful to me.

The book was written by Chris Ziegler of Engadget, so I expected he would bring quite a bit of mobile experience to the table. I found in the book very well written with an easy-to-digest style. Ziegler does a fine job of making sure not to talk down on the reader, and at the same time, he never assumes things are known.

The book starts out with a nice background on Google, Android, and the Open Handset Alliance before delving into the tech stuff. There’s a decent amount of information in there to help people understand what Android is and how it fits into the bigger Google picture. I’d encourage everybody to check this part out, even those already well versed in the G1.

After that’s out of the way, we’re into basic stuff like turning the phone on and making calls. Being that Android is a new platform, users are bound to have questions – even at this stage. How do you merge two phone calls? What’s the difference in a ‘contact’ versus a ‘favorite’? These are the types of things that anybody new to Android will need to know.

Google is notorious for Easter eggs within their apps and services and Chris does a good job pointing out some of the hidden features in Android. He’s great at educating readers on when to hit the menu button to show things that are not immediately obvious to users. Between the tips and warnings, I found a lot of things that I take for granted. As part of my job dictates, I play with my G1 almost all day long. I’ve become very familiar with stuff that some might have trouble with and the book helps out quite a bit here. As a newbie though, I’d love having a reference book like this to bring me up to speed.

Ziegler does a good job of splitting up the different sections into equal parts. You’ll find great coverage on web browsing, Google Maps, and the basic settings of the handset. The back of the book is also very helpful in letting readers know what apps, accessories, and websites he recommends. Like the beginning of the book, this section is valuable for anyone who wants to get more out of their phone or learn about Android.

In summary, I’d say this job does a great job of picking up where the G1 user manual leaves you hanging. Obviously, you can’t pack this much information into the book that comes with the phone. I was able to skim through the book over 2 days and I’d imagine most people could spend a weekend getting pretty acquainted with their G1. I’ve never read a Dummies book on a specific handset before, but after this one I’d definitely be willing to look to see if my next phone has one.  You can order a copy of T-Mobile G1 for Dummies here.