Operating System 1, Hardware 0
Navigating pages with lots of small links is where the trackball comes into its own. Its not quite as satisfying to use as the finger mouse on the Samsung Omnia but you can roll around pages quickly and accurately to activate links without having to zoom in to make them large enough for finger-taps.
The browser opens up new pages and places them in a four-per-screen grid behind the page you are viewing. To change page simply click the relevant menu icon and tap the quarter-page image to bring it to the fore. Numerous quarter-scale pages can be accessed by simply scrolling up or down. It's not a feature we have come across before, and it's simple and highly effective.
There's no 3.5mm headphone jack
Though the web browser doesn't have native Flash support, the built-in YouTube player is one of the the best we've come across on a mobile phone as testified to by the planned five-minute test that turned into a 45-minute The Thick of It marathon.
The G1's touchscreen operation may not be as pure an example of the breed as the iPhone's, requiring as it does use of the menu button to access the main and contextual menus, but there's nothing inherently wrong with such a hybrid system and, ideology aside, it works very well.
The want of a 3.5mm headphones jack, the rather low-rent one-piece bundled hands-free rig and the lack of any kind of EQ modification in the music app limits the G1 as a music player, though it does support album art, ID3 tags and shuffling.
But if the G1 doesn't do what you want today, there's a fair bet that it will tomorrow, or next week, or next month, thanks to the Market Place.