Pros sexy, cool, innovative
Cons buggy, fails to perform as a business communications tool
Summary I have been a user of smartphones for almost 10 years. I have to say that the best one I ever had was the Palm Treo. The last one I had was the Cingular 8525 HTC TyTn and I hated it - rife with performance problems. I waited for months for the iPhone 3G so I could ditch the HTC device. I suffered like many did just trying to get AT&T/Apple to fulfill my order - another long story there. Now that I have been an iPhone 3G user for almost four weeks, here are my frustrations listed in priority order:
1.) Buggy Phone UI; When you are on a call and holding the iPhone to your ear, the accelerameter (I guess) knows this and shuts off the display to conserve battery. When you pull the phone down to look at it, the display turns back on. Neat idea, when it works. I have found that mostly when signal strength is weak, the phone fails to turn back on the display. No matter what orientation I put the phone in, can't get the display to come back on. This is maddening when you are on one of those already maddening IVR menu systems (like Verizon's) trying to enter your phone number but you can't because the display won't let you access the keypad.
2.) 3G Network; I live in Union County, NJ, which according to AT&T's coverage map is completely saturated with 3G network support. BS. In my house I get 'no service' or one bar, which exacerbates problem #1 above. Already well documented is the problem in which iPhone 3G fails to down shift from 3G to Edge network support. This is just plain unacceptable - to require the user to go into settings, general, network, to disable 3G in order to get analog/Edge service is ridiculous. BTW, I confirmed this phenomenon - in my house when I disable 3G I go from 'no service' to three bars. Tolerable when I'm sitting at home, unacceptable when I'm traveling for business.
3.) No Copy/Paste; I had no idea how frustrating this would be. Someone txt's you their contact details? You have to write it all down on a piece of paper in order to type it all back into Contacts.
4.) "Not designed for iPhone"; Apparently the 3G is so different from last generation that Apple decided to block/prevent older accessories from working. Already documented is the lack of A2DP stereo bluetooth support. I read a blog from a guy recommending the iCombi AP21 bluetooth adapter as a workaround (while he likewise complained about Apple's decision not to support A2DP), so I bought one on eBay. When I plugged it into the iPhone 3G a popup message says 'Not designed for iphone' - so it does nothing for you. (I've reverted to using it with my old ipod). Likewise, I bought a car charger (because the iPhone out of the box doesn't come with) and even though it says right on it 'works with iphone' the 3G says "Not designed…" and refuses to accept it as a charging device. And I have an older iDoc stereo - same thing, refuses to accept a charge (but does play music through it, thankfully).
5.) Phat fingers; I was worried that typing on the display would be awkward. I am very fast and pretty accurate on keyboards of almost any size. Learning how to 'trust' the intelli-type's ability to guess what I'm trying to type when I press the wrong letter isn't working for me. If you are a one finger typist, maybe you'll love this. I'm finding it pretty frustrating.
I rated it average, which to me is a major disappointment after all the expectations building. It is truly innovative and does many things well, it's sexy and cool and lives up to lots of the hype. But it fails me because it's not a convergence device if it fails to perform as a basic phone and email machine first.
Pros The Interface
Cons The Limitations
Summary After using this phone for over a month I have done nearly everything there is to do with it on a regular basis. I will summarize my thoughts below.
The interface is prettier than any mobile software I have ever used.
3G data is super fast compared to any smart phone I have ever used. (Even faster than the terrible Verizon DSL I had at home! )
Webmail access for those of us who purchased it for home use works great as long as you have at least 2 bars of EDGE reception.
Wireless Mobile App functions are cool although most of the free software out there is utter garbage.
Transferring photos off the iPhone is incredibly easy.
GPS works great when you have reception.
Great SMS interface.
Great remote iTunes control if you have your PC connected to your home stereo system.
E-mail access does not work with IMAP for MSN, Microsoft Live mail or Microsoft Hotmail. This is ALL Microsoft's fault of course but the point remains, it doesn't work.
The system chokes up frequently like EVERY iPod I have ever owned.
Cell phone reception is typically sporadic.
You really do need a bluetooth headset for this phone, you don't want to have to have this garage door opener sized phone against your face, people will think you came back from the dentist and are holding an ice pack against a sore molar.
Synchronizing and updating are PAINFULLY slow. The latest update took me 45 minutes to synch and backup!
Battery Life is a joke. There is no way you could go a day without charging it. Even in standby my battery is dead by the end of the day whether I use it or not.
Photos appear a bit blurry but it might just seem that way because the images are so HUGE on this great screen.
You can't transfer ANYTHING to the iPhone without iTunes. Even though you can see the photos you have you can save any to your phone through Windows. You HAVE to synch through iTunes.
No custom ringtones.
No cut and paste text. <--This is rediculous.
No flash support for the browser, yet YouTube works fine...:S Guess they don't want free flash games available when the exact same ones cost $10 in the app store.
No 3G iTunes store. You can browse like crazy, watch videos and see countless images but not purchase music. :S The technology and capability is there.
No GPS turn by turn directions.
I thought this phone would allow you to see where your friends were at all times but in actuality it requires them to update their status and location manually AND the software that does it communicates via SMS not data! So SMS overages begin....NOW!
No voice dial. There is an app called Voice Dialer...but...(it doesn't work all that well.)
No quick way to speed dial.
No easy way to synch Contacts and no way at all to synch your Calendar unless you have a Mac at home.
Music and podcasts playing don't all have that last page of notes about the track playing anymore.
Memory doesn't seem to contain as much information as before. I could pause podcasts on my 30GB and go back to them days later. If I pause two or three on the iPhone, it doesn't seem to remember where I left off and starts over again.
All in all it is a GREAT phone. Far from perfect but it is capable of being greater if they would just loosen the reigns a little. Once you get one, there is no turning back. Integrated maps, GPS, Internet, iTunes (impulse buying access), MySpace & Facebook - slightly neutered apps, movie reviews trailer previews and ticket purchases etc. etc. etc.
Oh yeah, and its an iPod.
Pros Intuitive interface, desirability
Cons Price, closed development
Summary The Exchange ActiveSync compatibility is a great bonus and makes it easier for corporations to give users a desirable, reliable email device - let's face it Windows Mobile isn't great and Blackberry is too IO heavy on Exchange servers and incurs expensive licensing.
3G on Windows Mobile devices is slower in actual use (as a mobile browser) that the version 1.0 iPhone's EDGE so it will be interesting to see if there are real improvements. Of course the Windows Mobile devices are brilliant as an internet access point for mobile users with WM6's Personal Area Networks so this is a major drawback for some.
The GPS features, are of course moot; let's face it TomTom won't come to the device any time soon and unless all your friends buy an iPhone 2.0 tommorow, location based social networking isn't likely to be a compelling experience.
The major features with the new iPhone aren't the device itself; it's quite simply the lower price and the newer firmware.
If you're still an iPhone hater; just remember that it's making your vendor of choice (HTC, Blackberry and of course the "old" mobile makers) make more of an effort to finally get their act together and make decent devices that are flashy, reliable and intuitive to use.
"Fantastic smartphone"on by jtrath
Pros Excellent, easy-to-use (intuitive) interface. Lots of free apps to download (TruPhone, Pandora, Yelp, AirSharing, PixUp and ArtGallery are faves). Fast 3G. Outlook/Exchange connectivity works well (though sometimes push is delayed). Safari is great.
Cons 2 megapixel camera is blurry in daylight, unusable at night/low-light. No copy and paste feature (not a big problem, though).
Summary Good video review of the iPhone 3G on CNET. This is a truly excellent smartphone--very well designed hardware and software (typical of Apple). Elegant and sophisticated, with many features made easy. I've owned the AT&T Tilt (HTC), Blackberry and Treo 650 and tried many 3rd party apps and tweaks and can honestly say that the iPhone 3G is far superior. The high-end Nokias are very slick and have lots of Symbian apps, but are unaffordable to most people. Android has good potential. But Apple's design is simply better--compare them side-by-side, doing the same tasks.
I was concerned that the touch-screen keyboard would be a problem, and it has not been. I find that using the same finger for all keys (my right thumb) works well for me. Touch-screens do smudge, so keeping the wipe cloth handy is a good idea.
Outlook/Exchange connectivity is a great feature. I don't miss the Blackberry and find I can type messages just as quickly. Also, I can read attachments of various file types without issue.
Too bad you can't currently tether the iPhone 3G to your laptop (i.e., use the phone as a 3G modem) without hacking (illegal).
3G is really good (mainly in bigger cities), with EDGE providing decent fall-back coverage. Free wi-fi is easy to find in the U.S. (much less easy to find in Europe). Get the AT&T Data Global Add-On (month-to-month, no contract) when traveling abroad--it will save you a lot of money and headaches. You can use TruPhone (similar to Skype) over wi-fi to call anywhere around the world, usually for 6 cents per minute. Eventually, we'll get 4G (Wi-Max and/or LTE) and have truly high-speed wireless data.
To preserve battery life, I turn off wi-fi and 3G (enabling EDGE) until I need them. I do charge my iPhone 3G nightly, but only because I depend on it for business use.
Most importantly (and often ignored in reviews, except CNET's), the call (sound) quality is good for the earphone and speakerphone. AT&T has been improving coverage (I've seen it improve significantly in areas previously very patchy/unreliable). GSM buzz is much less noticeable than in the past and sound quality is good (not quite as good as Verizon's CDMA, though). But having GSM allows for truly global coverage--big plus for travelers. Occasionally, the phone call connection will be dropped, even with 5 bar reception (and I have the iPhone OS 2.1 update). While not a huge problem, it should be resolved--hard to tell if it's AT&T's network or the iPhone's OS/hardware.
For cases, I like the DLO VideoShell for iPhone 3G, which is slender, clear, lightweight, good cut-out access to buttons/jacks, durable and includes a stand for vertical or horizontal viewing. A good buy at $20. No need for screen protectors--waste of money (the screen is pretty durable).
Assisted GPS is great. Geo-caching photos, using Maps, Yelp, Nearby, BlackBook Guide and Google Maps work really well--very powerful, useful and fun.
iPod and Genius are excellent.
Safari is the best smartphone browser available, bar none. Supposedly, Flash is coming soon--haven't missed it, though.
I would probably get the 16GB next time, but do just fine with managing storage with just 8GB.
Voice plan plus data plan total price is comparable to other cell phone service providers. I like the rollover minutes, too.
Long review, but hope to help others in deciding.
Pros A well designed and the most innovative evolution of a mobile device. This is the one to beat. Plenty of applications to meet one's needs.
Cons As everyone else has stated missing some good useful tools.
Summary I would give the iPhone 3G 5 stars if 2 basic functions were included - MMS and Cut & Paste. I was somewhat of a skeptic and being a Blackberry favorite with TMobile for 12 years the reluctancy to change was prevalent. After a few months of researching for my next device I thought that the new Curve 8900 would give me the WOW factor. After waiting 2 months for it the disappointment in both the Curve 8900 and TMobile customer service cannot be expressed (see my review on the Curve 8900). It was either stick with TMobile and get terrible customer service (which use to be quite good) or take my chance with another service provider. Loyalty is a 2 way street. Having no choice but take a shot with ATT I got the iPhone and have never looked back at the last 12 years except to say to "myself why didn't I do it sooner". ATT has been impressive with their customer service and coverage. During a call to them and driving I lost my connection in a remote hilly area to my surprise the CSR called me back (TMobile never did this). Areas that I use to get 1 bar or no service with TMobile I now have 4-5 bars. To fully appreciate the iPhone you must make sure that full phone & 3G service is available in your areas of usage. The iPhone 3G has given me the WOW factor. Like having a mini computer in my pocket at all times. The screen size and resolution blows me away. Having over 15000 free and low cost applications available everyday life has just been made more convenient. With overall very good call quality I now have the quintessential mobile device. From my first hand experience - the Blackberry devices are great for true business users, but if you want a mobile device that can enhance overall conveniences in everyday life get an iPhone.