September 9, 2008

iPhone 3G Review

DISCLAIMER: I won't review the MobileMe service, the specific 3G speeds, nor the iTunes store.

It's hard to hate the iPhone 3G if you overlook some of Apple's glaring feature omissions. I mean, for one thing, everything it offers, EVERYTHING, is on display even in the first time you open the thing after activation and syncing and whatnot, and they're all presented in the now trademark futuristic 'desktop' or 'springboard'. So if you want to access something in particular, you can just click the dominant Home button below the screen and press.

OUT OF THE BOX
Practically anyone with nearly zero technological know-how can use this thing. Everything the phone offers is at their disposal unlike other phones which need menus to sort out the clutter. Intuitive menus make sure they become an instant expert in using and maximizing the device, and the clean interface will make sure their eyes are not going to be ripped out anytime soon.

DESIGN
The iPhone 3G's design differs slightly from the original if you look at the comparison photos of various sites. For one thing, it has a black, smudge-prone and curved back, and the earphone jack is now ideal for normal earbuds. Plus, its heft feels better than holding the relatively anorexic iPod touch, so typing stuff wouldn't be as much of a pain.

TYPING AND TEXTING
Speaking of typing, it feels better overall than the iPod touch, which attributes more to it's thickness than its relative newness. Of course, extremely smart spelling suggestions ensure that you won't have to worry as much but if you're typing in Filipino, welcome to correction hell.

Once my dad sent me a message stating that he was at the office ("Nasa opis pa ako"), but it instead became corrected into "Nasa opus la ako". You can reject suggestions, but what if you're in a hurry?

Still, Apple brings a whole new perspective to texting as it presents them like an Internet chat. The con to this though is that forwarding would have to be omitted. If only copy and paste was existent, the omission wouldn't seem so bad. But the idea us still really nice as it's kind of practical. For example, you want to reply for a text but you forgot what the text's message was. Normally, you would have to go back to the main list of text messages, THEN read the previous text. Here, text messages of the same sender are compiled G-Mail style, so you only have to flick upward to see what the text has to say. This is also especially useful for long text conversations.

INTERNET and MAIL
I only browse through 2.5G, but compared to my own cellphone, the speed pages load are still pretty fast. This is possible with Safari, which practically let's you view any page save for Flash ones. Excellence is the word here, as Safari is a more than capable mobile browser- the best of its kind. Now if only a little more stability could be obtained...

And as for E-Mail, you can be ready to go no matter what service you use. It's all easy to set, and if you have the 'Push' feature on, the phone will regulary look for mail, but expenses will rack up if you do.

You can now view and download Word or Office files like any normal smartphone would, and it also works dandy.

CONNECT TO WI-FI
If the phone gets a Wi-Fi signal that doesn't have a password, it will automatically disconnect from the 3G network and connect to Wi-Fi automatically and nearly seamlessly. From what I've experienced, it works relatively well.

MAPS and GPS
GPS seemed like a good idea at the time, but the implementation here was nothing like I expected. You'd still need to wait for Google Maps to download the map of your area before the area you are in becomes clear, and the GPS location is not as specific as I would've wanted it to pinpoint to. Basically, it did not give me my address, just the main street. But maybe that's more likely due to the fact that there aren't specific Philippine maps?

APP STORE
The App Store is nice as it offers a collection of great apps that push the technologies running the phone. You'll need an account to download though, and some apps are not offered in the Philippines.

POWER ISSUES
When calling or hanging up from a call, usually from a number of a different carrier, the screen doesn't reappear and anything you do doesn't matter, as it will only reallear when it feels like it. That's stupid, but a firmware upgrade may resolve this.

ITUNES SYNCING
For the most part, I have no qualms with iTunes syncing except for Music. When in regular iPods you can selectively choose your music and directly drag and drop, you have to put music into a specfic playlist, go to the iPhone properties menu, select the playlist you want to sync, then press the Sync button to selectively get music in the iPhone. When something goes against the nature of other products made by the same company, it immensely gets me bothered. Why not be able to selectively directly drag and drop music to the iPhone?! The iPod touch can do it, but you can't?

Still, the multimedia features work fine in the iPhone, and video is the best.

OVERALL
The iPhone is a phone that's hard to resist but it's not exactly as feature packed as a typical Sony Ericsson phone would. Multi-touch is still the best kind of touch interface hands-down, Internet services are excellent, business features are pretty swell, it has a huge collection of applications both free and paid (I'm making this review on an iPhone app right now!), SMS is unique, but when you get to the calling, the phone becomes crap. Basically, it's not the 3Gesus phone T3 was talking about, but it's still one HELL of a phone. Now if only the prices were lower (although if you still want to buy now, the Plan 800 is most cost-effective and lets you save more than 10K of the set price for prepaid kits)...

Rating: 7.5/10

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