I’ve had the iPhone 3GS for 1 month (and a day) now, and I thought it was about time I gave it a rather thorough review in case anyone was interested. So if you’re not, don’t read this.
Anyone that keeps up with my blog knows that I previously had an HTC Excalibur running Windows Mobile 6, and I hated Windows Mobile. The phone was okay, but it started showing its age as the battery held less and less of a charge. You also know from reading my blog that I was very afraid that I would hate the iPhone keyboard. So, if you’re interested in the iPhone, this is probably some decent information for you.
-The keyboard is extremely easy to get used to. Since I joined the iPhone party late in the game, most apps can use the landscape keyboard now, but I’m actually pretty good at using the portrait keyboard as well. Also, just like I predicted on Twitter, I type a good bit faster on the iPhone than I did on my old phone because my theory was correct – not having to press down the buttons does save time. I am actually glad to be rid of the physical keyboard.
-Either I have really oily skin, or the oleophobic screen is a joke. I wipe fingerprints off of it all the time. Maybe it’s not as bad as the first generation or 3G iPhone, but fingerprints are definitely still going to get on the screen.
-The screen quality is, however, exceptional. Colors look great and games and whatnot look wonderful on it.
-Cell phone cameras suck. The autofocus helps (it does macro focus and white balance, and maybe some other camera-related functionality I’m not aware of/educated on), but in the end, it’s still a cell phone camera. Without a flash, it will always be a cell phone camera. I’ve never been able to take good pictures indoors without a flash, even on my point-and-shoot digital camera.
-That said, when the lighting is decent, the quality of the pictures is actually pretty freaking good. I mean, I wouldn’t count on it to capture an important event or anything, but for a camera you have on you at all times that doesn’t take up any extra room in your pocket, it’s pretty good.
-Video recording is decent. I have a digital camera that takes 720p video, so I guess it takes more than 480×320 to impress me. 640×480 would’ve been neat, but the video recording still serves its purpose pretty well – this is, being a decent way to record video that you have on you at all times.
-3G in Baton Rouge and New Orleans is pretty decent. I’ve run a few speed tests, and I guarantee that if you have an iPhone 3G, your speeds are the same as mine, despite the fact that the 3GS supports up to 7.2 Mbps (which is faster than the 3G), AT&T’s network is pretty laggard.
-Edge, however, I find to be quite intolerable (at least, in Houma). If I had to pay $30/month for a data plan in Houma, I’d claw someone at AT&T’s eyes out (not really, but you get the idea).
-The iPhone 3GS is very, very responsive. It’s fast. There’s really nothing more I can say.
-On introduction, Apple touted that the iPhone ran OS X. I call bullshit. I’ve yet to see a smartphone that doesn’t crash, and the iPhone is no exception. Sometimes third party apps take it down, sometimes Apple apps take it down. It’s crashed while taking a picture and crashed while I was typing.
-So how does it compare to Windows Mobile? I do about 20x more on my iPhone than I did on Windows Mobile, and they both crash more often than I’d like them too. I’m sure I could sit here and come up with some mathematical reason dealing with proportions and percentages that the iPhone still crashes slightly less, but the key word in that sentence is “crash,” which is unacceptable. My computer doesn’t crash, so why is it that my phone always does?
-Applications are boss. Period. I don’t think I’ve ever bought this much software before. Some apps have their quirks, their instabilities, or other random annoyances, but they’re overall pretty amazing, and the quality is something I simply could not find on my old Windows Mobile platform. There are still crappy apps, but the crappier ones are the random ones. On Windows mobile, even my important apps were crappy (Pocket IE blows, Agile Messenger sucked – Safari is awesome and IM+ is pretty great).
-Quite possibly the most overlooked part of the iPhone…the part that actually makes calls. Sound quality of calls is fantastic. The speakerphone is much better than my old phone, but to be fair, my old phone had a crappy speakerphone (my RAZR had a better quality speakerphone than the HTC). Doing pretty much anything call related is easy and just makes sense. Dialing a phone number on my old phone involved using a tiny little number pad that was mixed in with the letters (people have asked me how to dial a number on it before). On the iPhone, the numbers are full-screen and it just couldn’t be easier.
-The text messaging app is perfect. Seriously. I could never go back to the Windows Mobile texting paradigm. It was absolutely awful, and the iPhone makes it so easy.
-I still can’t get over how gorgeous this device is. It’s absolutely amazing to hold, use, and look at. The build quality is just phenomenal.
-The physical buttons all serve their purpose pretty well. However, I do fear that if I didn’t have a case on my phone, my pants (or more specifically, my jeans) would possibly flip my silent switch from on to off, thus taking my phone off of silent mode. This has yet to happen though.
Things I’m worried about:
-I put at least one load cycle on the battery every day. At that rate, my battery will last almost a year before it loses the ability to hold a decent charge. The battery isn’t user replaceable, so I guess time will only tell how that works out.
-I’m pretty afraid of dropping it. I’ve dropped all of my phones before. My RAZR hit the CEBA parking lot once and got off with a couple scratches (for those not in the know, that lot is rough cement). My HTC was dropped more times than I can remember, but almost always onto carpet or grass. Despite that though, the falls were still hard enough to knock the back cover off and the battery out. I’ve dropped my iPhone once (from not very high up) onto the carpet. I’m not worried about damaging the internals (as I stated, it feels really solid), but I am worried about cracking the glass. The crazy thing is, I’m really careful with all of my stuff (computers, gadgets, whatever), anyone will tell you that. Yet, I still some somehow manage to drop my phones.
For me, the iPhone 3GS was something I didn’t really know I needed until I lived with one for a day. I think that now, I’d be lost without it.