Product Type: Apple Smartphone
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iLove my iPhone!
Apple iPhone 3GS 32 GB
Member Name: Deru
Apple iPhone 3GS 32 GB
Date: 28/12/09, updated on 11/02/10 (130 review reads)
Advantages: Responsive, Loads of Apps, Easy to use, Lots of memory
Disadvantages: Battery life, Non-Removable battery, cost
DESIGN AND BUILD
The phone feels solid with a fair bit of weight to it but not too much as to hinder the usage. The size is of the phone, being a full touch screen phone, is pretty big but fits perfectly in my hand. I believe the screen is made of glass so can break quite easily if you were to drop it onto something so it's best to protect it with some sort of case but overall, the device looks and feels well built.
First thing that needs doing after taking the phone out of the box, is the charge it as well as put in the SIM. Installing a SIM involves removing the SIM holder using a pin to poke a hole to eject the SIM holder from the top of the iPhone. This is new to me as all the phones I've owned in the past required me to remove the battery to slot in the SIM.
If you get it from a network shop, they'd be happy to do the initial set up for you but otherwise, you would need to activate the phone via Apple's iTunes software, whilst connected to the Internet. You also set up an iTunes account, which is all pretty easy. Adding payment details lets you purchase 'Apps' and music from the iTunes store.
NAVIGATION AND USAGE
The ability to navigate from menu to menu, push buttons, etc with gentle swipes and touches to the screen and the responsiveness of the phone is what drew me to the iPhone in the first place. The accelerometer, which lets the phone detect movement, means that I can rotate the phone and the picture will right itself. This is quite responsive although sometimes requires me to shake the phone before it does it. May have something to do with the angle I'm holding the phone at but it's generally quite good. I like how rotating the phone when certain applications are open changes the view of the programs and sometimes gives me more options. E.g. with the built-in calculator open, rotating to a landscape view turns the calculator into a scientific calculator.
I really like the iPhone's abililty to let me access the Internet. It has the Safari web browser already built in for web browsing and I've found this to compatible with most websites I've tried to access unlike Internet Explorer on Windows phones! The double-tap to zoom in and using two fingers to control zooming in and out makes it really easy to use.
The iPhone, doubles as an iPod and can play music as well as view videos and photos. All of this content needs to be 'Sync'ed using iTunes, which is something I've never liked with iPods as I'd rather be able to drag and drop content into and out of the device. Even now, I find iTunes quite restricting and a little tricky to organise content but it works.
Transferring videos to the iPhone is a bit trickier but once on there, video quality is very good. Music quality is also very good either using headphones (included) or using the speakers, which is fairly loud but no good in a noisy room. Something good is that the headphone socket is a standard 3.5mm headphone socket located on the top of the iPhone. Phones from other manufacturer's like Sony Ericsson, Samsung, etc all seem to use their own connectors and they sockets aren't even situated in convenient locations, especially when you have the phone in your pocket. i.e. Samsung Omnia's socket for headphones is on the left hand side near the bottom.
The iPhones also gives me access to the iTunes music store on the go so I'm able to purchase music when I'm out. Tracks typically cost 79p or 99p. Furthermore, TV episodes are also available starting from 99p with the odd free one. Films can also be downloaded but prices seem to be circa £10. Otherwise, if you're savvy enough, you could rip your own DVDs, convert the format and then put it on the iPhone that way. Some DVD/Blu-Ray discs give you a digital copy to put on iPod, etc
CALLS AND TEXTING
Making calls is easy enough and just involves pressing the 'Phone' button (after unlocking and returning to the main menu if you're not there already). Once it appears, the keypad is large and very easy to dial. It also gives you some nice options like to do a conference call by adding other people into the conversation. With the speakerphone, people have commented that it sounded like I was "far away" during the conversation although It is still adequate as they still hear me fine.
Phone calls to companies that are picked up by their auto-attendants (i.e. press 1 for sales, 2 for customer service, 3 for whatever, etc) require you to press a number on the keypad for you to be diverted to the correct department. When I have the phone held up to my ear, the screen turns off but when I move it back down, the screen turns back on with the keypad visible so that I can press a number, which I find to be very user friendly. It also has voice dialling and the voice recognition if very accurate.
The QWERTY keyboard for texting is brilliant as the keys are large enough and the auto-correction for typos does all the corrections for you and usually gives you to correct work. The layout of text messages is laid out as conversations with speech bubbles. I really like this as the presentation is easy to decipher. Samsung tried to do something similar with message 'threading' but it was so confusing that I had to turn it off. Overall, texting with the iPhone is brilliant and I've found that I'm making fewer mistakes than I did with my old phone.
The camera has been upgraded to 3 Megapixels since the iPhone 3G from a 2 Megapixel one. Quality is okay but it lacks a flash. It also lacks a camera on the front meaning it doesn't support video calls, which some people might miss. Other camera phones provide higher pixel counts, better picture quality as well as flashes so the iPhone is a bit lacking in this area so if you want really good holiday or party snaps, take your digital camera!
Unfortunately, the battery and the battery life is another one of the let downs with the iPhone. It lasts a day at most whereas my Samsung Omnia lasted me three days. With constant use of the iPhone, battery life drops even faster and may last just three or four hours depending on what you're doing on it. Battery life may have improved since the iPhone 3G but it still needs work.
Another annoyance with the battery on the iPhone is that it is non-removable and this has always been the case. With all rechargeable batteries, they only last a limited number of charges. After that, you would need to replace the battery but with the iPhone, as you cannot do this, you would need to replace the whole phone! There's no way to tell how many charge cycles the battery would last but I hear it's typically about 400-500 charges, which means it'll probably last just 1-2 years if charged on a daily basis.
The iPhone has 3G connectivity, Bluetooth and the usual USB connectivity for synchronising the iPhone with iTunes on a PC / Mac. The USB cable is also for charging the iPhone. The 3G connectivity strength varies depending on your network provider and coverage depending on where you are but in general, download speed is fine when there's a signal. With the Bluetooth, I have managed to pair a headset to my iPhone but using it to send pictures doesn't seem to be so straight forward and I've never managed to do it, which is a bit annoying. It is also possible to 'share the Internet' with a laptop / Mac using Bluetooth but unfortunately, Apple have given the phone networks full control of this so costs extra (unless you Jailbreak (unlock the phone with an unofficial firmware))
CUSTOMISATION AND APPS
Like a lot of other modern phones, you can change things ringtones, assign ringtones to certain contacts, assign a picture to a contact, change the wallpaper, etc. Furthermore, you can re-arrange all the icons on the main screen, which is handy as it gets busy once you start adding new programs. Using music as ringtones is limited to to ones you've purchased from iTunes but I read there are workarounds for this. Not tried that yet.
One of the best things I've found with the iPhone is the ability to download 'Apps', which is the name for the extra programs that can be downloaded onto the iPhone. There is an incredible amount of software and tools that can be installed from games, SatNav to useful utilities. Many are free but there are plenty that need to be paid for although many cost only £0.59 so won't break the bank. Higher costing ones such as TomTom cost £59.99, which is still cheaper than buying an actual TomTom unit for the car. Co-Pilot Live is half the cost in the App Store.
Choosing Apps is easy once you visit the App store and just involves doing a search for a browse of the categories. Installing Apps is very easy and takes only a few taps of the screen. You're able to read descriptions, reviews and ratings for each App available as well as how many times they've been downloaded so you can make a more informed decision on whether to download/purchase an App. It is also possible to claim a refund for Apps if you really don't like one you've paid for but I've not done this myself.
There's also a huge array of games with some of them controlled using the accelerometer whereby you tilt and turn the phone to control the movement, just like you would with a Nintendo Wii. There are also loads of useful as well as pointless but fun Apps to keep one busy. It already includes programs like Google Maps, calculator, calendar, notes, voice memo, etc.
The iPhone is available on O2 and Orange for around £45 a month for free or £35 plus something towards the cost of the phone. It will soon be available on other networks or you could buy one on Pay As You Go for £440. Factory unlocked iPhone 3GS can cost around £700-£850+ as they need to be imported. Mine cost £785 off eBay.
The iPhone is not perfect with the poor battery life, lack of flash, average built-in camera, as well as being a bit on the expensive side. However, the usability, and all the extra software that can be obtained for it makes it worthwhile as there seems to be an 'App' for everything, which makes it all the more useful and fun device to own. Even if not all the Apps are free, many of them don't cost that much anyway. Not only that, it also doubles as an iPod, video player and is great for accessing the Internet with so it's an all-in-one multimedia device. Battery life can be countered if you buy certain accessories for it. My verdict is that I still love it, so highly recommended!
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