Product Type: Apple Smartphone
Newest Review: ... next setup screen which prompted if I wanted to enable location services. It then moved onto the Apple ID screen. Apple ID This is used... more
Berries, pah! I prefer Apples
Apple iPhone 8 GB
Member Name: yackers1
Apple iPhone 8 GB
Advantages: The ultimate device - see review
Disadvantages: The battery life isn't the best. It's expensive
***The model of choice****
There are a few models of i-phone currently available including the 8gb 3G, 16gb 3GS and the 32gb 3GS. Whilst the higher level models have more features than the more 'basic' models they are all pretty much the same core product.
After weighing up my needs, finances and information I gathered from the internet I decided the best option for me was the 8gb 3G. In my opinion 16gb, let alone 32gb, is just too much and whilst these 3GS models had additional features of which some, like the video camera (although like most things "There is an app for that"), would be nice there was no way I could justify the additional cost, so I plumped for the 8gb 3G model.
****In the box****
When I was presented with my i-phone box I must admit that I was quite disappointed. The box is very small and contains the i-phone, a plug with a USB slot for wall charging, a USB lead, headphones, the sim card removal tool (ensure you keep this safe), a quick start "finger tips" guide and two Apple stickers.
Everything to get you started is included but given the value and status of the i-phone I was expecting more. Maybe a bigger box? Maybe a few more user guides? Who knows, I just thought there would be something a bit extra. The small box is good for the environment though so as few trees as possible were harmed in the manufacture of these phones.
I have to admit that I am a fan of small phones and I always have been. The Motorola Startac, the Samsung GSH600, the Razr were all small phones and I loved them all. They may not have had all the features of other phones during their time but I simply loved the fact that they could be chucked in a pocket of the tightest fitting jeans and they wouldn't be obtrusive.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the i-phone and at around 12cm x 6cm x just under 1cm it is a bit of a beast. Compared to my previous phone, a Blackberry Pearl, it is huge and I did (and still do) notice the difference in size. That said, I think the i-phone is the perfect size for the features it has to offer. Any smaller and many of the features and applications just wouldn't work.
Size v features and functionality is a trade off and compromises have to be made, therefore I am more than happy to have a slightly bulkier phone that is packed with features so I am more than happy with my i-phone.
Whilst in the O2 shop I was treated to a demonstration of the basic features of the i-phone and how to use it. During the demonstration the salesman commented on how poor the battery life of the i-phone was compared to other mobile phones on the market. When he said his friend (being a heavy user) had to charge his phone on a daily basis and the battery went dead twice in a 24 hour period I thought he was exaggerating.
Watching podcasts or movies, surfing the net and listening to music all depletes the life quickly, which is to be expected really. In addition, if you leave the phone in 3G mode in an area where there is no signal the battery life will also be used up quickly as the phone is constantly looking for a signal (and using its power) that just isn't there. In order to preserve the battery life it is best to leave the 3G off unless you are actually in a 3G area.
After owning the i-phone I can confirm that this mobile devours its battery very, very quickly. If the phone is left alone with no use then the battery will last around a day and a half to two days. Compared to my previous phone (a Blackberry Pearl) the battery life is diabolical and I find that I have to charge my i-phone daily.
Personally, I have no problem with this since the i-phone can be charged via USB, a wall charger, car charger or one of those instant chargers so there are no excuses for not being able to top up the battery. I should also point out that you can even buy a solar charger that plugs in to the bottom of the i-phone so you can even charge it on the beach, by the pool, trekking through the Himalayas or wherever else your travels may take you.
****Instructions and user guides****
Where to start with the instructions and user guide? I can only really describe this as minimalist. Don't get me wrong, I am all for saving trees, reducing my carbon footprint as far as possible (within reason) etc but I do like to have some form of written instructions when I buy any product, let alone something like the i-phone, which is technologically advanced and requires a bit of getting used to the 'controls'.
When I was handed the box I instantly knew there wasn't going to be a (hard) paper copy as the box was just so small. There is, however, enough room for a CD so I thought there would be a user guide disc lurking somewhere at the bottom, however I was very mistaken. There was a tiny 'scrap' of paper, which Apple refers to as a quick user guide, although it is pretty useless and contains information about features that can be worked out within 30 seconds of getting the phone out of the box. Now this user guide, was a total waste of paper.
The full user guide can be downloaded free of charge from the internet. Just do a Google search and you'll soon find it for download. Even though the i-phone is easy to use I would highly recommend reading the user guide to get started.
****The home screen and included features****
The i-phone comes preloaded with features including messages, phone, mail, contacts, calendar, camera, youtube, maps, weather, calculator, settings, iTunes, Safari, ipod, stocks, photos, voice memos, clock, App store and notes.
The above is a good selection to get any i-phone user started, however, I doubt most people are going to use all of the features above. Personally, I will never use the stocks, notes or voice memos and these are icons that are just sat there. One thing that surprises me is the fact that the above features can't be deleted. It is possible to "get rid of them" by moving them to an additional 'home screen' so you can keep all the features and apps you're going to use together, so all is not lost.
One thing that surprised me about the i-phone is the limited number of ringtones and message stones that are bundled on it from the factory. I would have thought there would have been much more variety and a greater number of sounds than is actually included, especially given the emphasis that is place on ringtones. This is more of an annoyance than a disadvantage as it is exceptionally quick and easy to seek out tones that say something about you and a five minute internet search will give you access to thousands of ringtones and sounds that can be downloaded for free and uploaded on to your i-phone. I can remember the days when you had to pay a fortune for ringtones and the only way of getting them was to receive them by text, so there was no way of getting them for free, so the modern day MP3 tones (which are limitless and free from most places) are an absolute god send.
****Navigation and general overview****
The i-phone uses touch screen technology. Having had touch screen appliances before, including and Archos MP4 player amongst other things, I was a bit skeptical of how responsive it would be. Not only do I have fat finger syndrome but I also suffer from dry finger tips and rough skin and these are not a good combination for other touch screen products I own as it does affect the responsiveness somewhat. I have to confess that there are no issues over the responsiveness of the touch screen of my i-phone and is both fast and accurate, which makes for an excellent experience.
Texting and emailing is a pleasure. The i-phone has a full qwerty keyboard that instantly 'pops up' when you want to write an email, text, web address etc. Because of the issues I have above I did have some concerns and thought there would be many instances of the i-phone recognising incorrect characters when I typed, however I do have few problems. There are accuracy issues at times, there is with all phones, whether touch screen of the traditional button style, but I have to admit that the touch screen is far more accurate and far more responsive than the qwerty keyboard of my Pearl and my texting speeds, now I am used to the i-phone, are much quicker and contain far fewer errors than ever before.
****Music/video and podcasts****
Even the 8gb i-phone, which is the one with the smallest amount of memory, has enough room to store a few thousand songs, many small video files (or nearly two full length feature DVDs) and podcasts, which is more than enough for several hours entertainment.
In a nut shell the i-phone has a video i-pod built in. It works in exactly the same way and has all the same features of an i-pod so any consumer who is au fait with an i-pod will have no problems operating this feature. All media is uploaded to the i-phone using iTunes, which is pretty much expected, and it is possible to upload all current movies, playlists, tracks etc.
Personally, I prefer Media Monkey to manage my MP3 library, although since I have had the i-phone I have reverted back to iTunes since it is so user friendly and easy to use.
****Surfing the internet****
The internet is accessed using wi-fi, 3G or GPRS depending on what is available. A wi-fi connection is best, which is to be expected. Using the internet on a wi-fi connection is very fast and pages load up very quickly. Despite the i-phones relatively small screen size surfing the internet is a pleasure and text on the screen can be enlarged by simply doing a "spreading of fingers" action on the touch screen. Navigating around web pages, via the touch screen is also easy and very responsive.
Compared to my friend's Blackberry Storm the i-phone performs much faster on a wi-fi connection, which kind of annoyed him a little. That said, when connected to the internet via 3G or GPRS the i-phone is no faster than the Storm, which surprised me a little. Surfing the net using GPRS is slow, and this appears to be the case regardless of what appliance you use, and it is something that I avoid unless I really need to find something (such as addresses or contact details from a website) whilst out and about.
There are thousands and thousands of apps available for the i-phone. The Apple store claims there are over 85,000 where as some websites claim there is in excess of 100,000.
There are applications across a whole range of 'genres' and health and fitness, books, entertainment, games, business, finance, sport, travel, utilities, navigation, themes, wallpapers and ringtones provide a flavour of the types of things out there.
With so many apps to choose from there is something, in fact there are many things, for everyone so finding something for you will not create any problems. I should point out that many apps are a total waste of time and are nonsensical juvenile rubbish that some people may find offensive. That said, there are many fantastic apps that not only provide hours of entertainment but are also useful in day to day life.
One thing I have noticed about many of the free game apps is that they provide a quick taster or demonstration of the game only and after a very short time of game play you are directed to the site where you can download the full version for a fee.
****More than just a phone****
The i-phone is far more than a just a phone and this is largely down to the apps that are available for it. I am constantly finding my i-phone is starting to replace other gadgets I have bought over the years and I am finding that I am using it;
i) For satellite navigation (replacing my Tom Tom)
ii) As an MP3 player (replacing my Ipod and various other MP3 players I have bought)
iii) For internet browsing on the move - signal permitting (replacing my Archos)
iv) For watching films/TV series on the go (replacing my Archos and portable DVD player)
v) As an E-book reader (I no longer have to 'borrow' my other half's Sony Ebook reader)
vi) As a GPS map reader for hiking (replacing my Garmin Etrex)
vii) As a GPS training tool (replacing my Garmin Edge 705)
Whilst the i-phone may be an expensive outlay initially once you start using it to its full potential and realise exactly what you can do with the device it can start saving you money. Look at my gadgets it has replaced. Over the years I have spent hundreds of pounds and the i-phone now replaces them. I know for a fact I will never buy another MP3 player or an E Book reader or an MP4 player ever again and it is only a matter of time before the i-phone has paid for itself and actually starts saving me money.
The thing that really makes the i-phone stand out for me is the fact that most of the useful apps I have found are totally free which is great for the consumer. There seems to be loads of people worldwide that not only has the capability of developing these apps, but also the want and desire to produce them and then let i-phone users benefit from their creations for nothing, which is great for the consumer as it keeps a steady flow of new and useful apps that just keep getting better and better.
I have to admit that I have had to pay for some apps, although the cost of these has been a couple of pounds at the most. In my experience it appears that the apps that cost the money are for games, most of which don't really excite me that much. Whilst the cost of games is low, usually around 99 cents per game, if games interest you then it can be quite easy to get sucked in and spend a fortune on games. I have witnessed this in a friend who had the "oh, it's only 99 cents" mentality and proceeded to buy several games a day which amounted to a lot of money over the space of a few short months. Quite sad given most of the games kept him entertained for five minutes before they were deleted from not only his i-phone but his i-tunes directory as well.
As you'd expect the i-phone is not cheap. This 8gb 3G version is available on a PAYG tariff for £350, which is a lot of cash to part with. I should point out that a year's unlimited internet browsing/ data transfer is included in this price so all you have to do is put in a sim (the O2 simplicity scheme is £15 per month) and away you go.
This 8gb 3G version can be bought for around £100 on the cheapest 18 month contract or free on the cheapest 24 month contract. The exact price you can expect to pay will obviously depend on whether you opt for a PAYG or contract, and if you have a contract the type of contract you sign up for.
I hate to jump on the bandwagon and follow the heard but in this instance I just have to. The i-phone truly is an amazing phone and whilst you may not fully believe the hype and hysteria it has caused (I was very, very skeptical) I have to admit that it does live up to it and rise to the challenge. I cannot recommend this product highly enough.
The i-phone oozes class and style and looks awesome like many phones but unlike a lot of the competition the i-phone also performs. This phone is the real deal, the ultimate package. Hey, I would even go as far to say it is the "Dogs danglies" (an expression I haven't used for years) and I now see why the Gadget Show is so obsessed with it. The full features of this excellent product cannot be written down and the only way to find out what it is capable of is to get one and play with it.
Summary: Believe the Gadget Show hype - these are the BEST gadget