Product Type: Apple Smartphone
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To 'i' Or Not To 'i'?
Apple iPhone 8 GB
Member Name: xx_nic_xx
Apple iPhone 8 GB
Advantages: Superb web browser, excellent range of apps, very user friendly, texting made easy, crisp calling
Disadvantages: Battery could need to be charged everyday
Whether you love or hate the iPhone, it has become nigh on impossible to avoid it, the iPhone is everywhere and young or old, you're almost guaranteed to know someone that owns one. Which isn't surprising considering that the commercial is shown (in my experience) on almost every channel in *every* single advert break. These phones have become the must have gadget ever since their release a couple of years ago... but why?
I've got one word for you - versatility. There's virtually nothing that the iPhone can't do, and you can be sure that if it can't do something today, the geniuses at Apple will be working hard at making it available for you tomorrow. The choice that Apple offers is phenomenal and I'm not just talking about their extensive 'Apps'. Apple offer a range of different iPhones, which are, in essence the same phone but are tweaked in order to suit everyone's needs. First up was the 2G model which was the first iPhone to be released into the hungry market, but since then there have been numerous updates. There is now 3G which can be bought in an 8GB and 16GB model. Of course there is then the 3GS which claims to be the Alfa Male of the iPhone range. This model can possess up to a 32GB memory. In my experience the only difference between the 3G and 3GS, besides the hefty price tag is that the 3GS is supposedly slightly quicker when surfing the internet. The battery life and camera quality are also marginally superior.
With all that in mind I decided to opt for the 3G 8GB and I'm glad I did.
*** Availability ***
For this specific iPhone model, you're looking at paying £349 for the sim free model, or on contract you're looking at paying £30 upwards each month. iPhones are widely available on the internet and in numerous different phone shops. The iPhone is mainly marketed on 02, however now Vodafone and Orange have decided to buy into it. If you're looking at going onto contract though I would recommend opting for 02; they seem to offer unlimited texts and unlimited internet on any contract exceeding £35 which is something that I don't believe Vodafone or Orange offer.
*** Setting Up ***
With most 'normal' phones, setting up requires you to insert the sim card and battery and before you know it, you're away. However, the iPhone is no normal phone (and is proud of it), and as you can imagine, the setting up is a little more complicated. Given that fact, when the phone arrived I was expecting to have to sift my way through a 10,000 page user manual that covers everything that you could possibly think of - but no, the only manual included (if you can call it that) is a 'finger manual' which covers the simple things like making a call, sending a text and taking a picture. Reading this you may be thinking 'those cheeky cheapskates at Apple'. However, Apple is one of the few companies that employs a 'no paper' policy, which means that everything you need to know about setting up is on the Apple website, listed under support. This can be seen as an annoyance, but when you think about how many A4 pages are in the online manual (nearly 200), you know that they're doing the environment a huge favour by making us go online.
The phone can look daunting at first, especially sans a user manual but it really isn't *that* difficult. It requires you to use the small silver key included to open the sim department, the back doesn't come away so there's no need to install a battery. Next thing that's required is to open up iTunes on your computer before plugging your shiny new iPhone into the USB plug. You'll then be prompted to register your phone, which requires your name, address, telephone - nothing too complicated and you're away.
*** Generic Features ***
So you've just set up your brand new iPhone and you're desperate to test it out for the first time, you're unfamiliar with how most of the more 'unique' features work so you want to test out the generic features (touch screen, texting, calling, camera, etc).
I've had three touch screen phones before this one (all Samsungs) and I have to say that the iPhone knocks them all out of the park. The last Samsung phone I had (Jet) was incredibly easy to use, touch screen wise but it did have a few defects when it came to scrolling. The iPhone is controlled with ease, the only thing you need to remember is down is up and up is down in terms of scrolling. This is picked up incredibly quickly though and you'll soon be using the iPhone like a pro. The touch screen is incredibly sensitive and picks up even the slightest touch. The screen works from the heat on the tips of your fingers, therefore long nails might cause a problem, but in most cases I imagine that fake nails are a worthy sacrifice for the genius of an iPhone.
Texting is like nothing you've ever experienced on a phone before (unless you've previously owned a Blackberry), instead of your usual squashed together keypad where you'll need to press each number a certain amount of times for a letter to come up, you now have the convenience of a Qwerty keyboard just like those on computers. This is a great addition for someone that can type, however could take a little while to get used to if you're not familiar with the location of each letters on a computer keypad. Another minor problem with texting is the size of the letters, they are very small and those with... shall we say... slightly larger fingers may encounter problems when texting. Apple claim that they've come up with a solution to this, flip the phone on its side which will give you a landscape view of the keys. This makes them a little bigger, but when I say a little I really do mean a little. The prefer using the landscape view for texting, it means that I can text with both hands and send a message in half the time. The iPhone takes predictive texting to a whole new level, when typing a message, if you, for instance miss out a letter or click the letter next to the one you were aiming for, the iPhone will automatically come up with a suggestion as to what it thinks you're trying to type. If it has suggested the correct word then all that's needed is to press the space bar and that word will automatically be added to your message, which doesn't make much difference when typing short words, but when you're typing long words this is a great time saver. Don't fall asleep just yet though as I've yet to tell you about *the* best thing about texting on an iPhone. Do you have problems with grammar? Are you constantly writing 'its' when really it should be 'it's'? The iPhone has got you covered, everytime you type in something that requires an apostrophe the iPhone automatically adds it for you, saving you the trouble of going into the symbols menu and selecting it yourself. Finally there are no more excuses for 'typin lik dis', as the iPhone makes texting quicker than it has ever been and with the inclusion of a grammar checker you really have no excuses for missing out the occasional apostrophe.
Calling is the fundamental use of a phone and to the majority of people, the most important. Therefore, you want to know that you're not just paying for a games console and you are paying for a trusty phone as well. The iPhone accomplishes that (and of course much, much more). Calling is something that does take a bit of getting used to though, there have been occasions where I have touched someone's name and it has automatically began calling them when all I wanted to do was edit their name. This is something that can cause a few problems if you're used to Samsungs or other similar phones. On my Samsung you would click a contacts name in order to edit their information, however on the iPhone, clicking a name means that you want to ring them. You need to get into the habit of clicking the right arrow to edit, but that shouldn't take too long. Calling quality is excellent, it's crisp, clean and you don't have to have the volume up to the highest in order to hear what the person on the other line is saying. Infact, there have been occasions where I've had to turn the volume down because it's so loud, which is never a bad thing. Speaker is also very clear and easy to turn on and off, although given how loud the phone volume is I was expecting it to be a little louder, but as long as you're in a somewhat quiet area you shouldn't have a problem using the speaker phone. What I love most about the calling aspect is the ingenious battery saving idea that Apple have included. The phone includes a motion sensor which is mainly used for texting, internet and gaming, however, it can now be used when on a call too. The second the phone is attached to your ear, the iPhone somehow senses this and turns the lights off on it, therefore saving the battery. As soon as you move the phone in front of you (I.e to check the time/turn speakerphone on, etc) the phone will instantly light up. This works when you're on the phone to an automated voice too. The phone will be dark but as soon as the option to press one is spoken the phone instantly lights up - pure genius.
Looking at the stats of the inbuilt camera, you'd assume that the iPhone had dropped the ball slightly when it came to the camera. The phone incorporates a 2megapixel camera. Yes, you heard me right, just two. Considering that some phones are now incorporating anything up to 10mp this could be seen as the biggest letdown of the iPhone. However, don't write it off just yet. All things aside, the camera is actually superb. The last phone I had, incorporated a 5mp camera and the iPhone knocks that out of the park in terms of picture quality. If, on the off chance you're not satisfied with the camera there are apps that you can purchase to transform your camera into a 5mp or even a 7mp. Unfortunately there is no incorporated video camera (this is instead included on the 3GS), however there is again an app that can be bought which will give you access to a video camera.
*** Home Sweet Home ***
I'm sure with all the extensive marketing that Apple have done on the iPhone you'll be somewhat aware of how the home screen looks, (if you're not aware just take a look at the above picture). On your main home screen you'll find: messages, calendar, photos, camera, youtube, stocks, maps, weather, voice memos, notes, clock, calculator, settings, iTunes and App store. There is space for 16 apps on each page, therefore I've also added the Facebook app to my home screen. The inbuilt applications (the ones I've just listed) aren't able to deleted, but like everything else on the iPhone they are customisable. For instance, if you don't want the calendar to appear on your home screen this can be moved to a more obscure page, leaving room for something more useful to you to take its place.
I personally like the layout of the home screen and haven't messed about with it too much. I feel that moving apps is an easy process to do (you simply hold your finger down on an app and every single app will start to shake. When this happens you can either delete an app or move it around. Moving apps on the same page is simply but when you come to move them to a different page is when it starts to get a little difficult as it would seem that they're reluctant to move to a different page (much like a school child not wanting to leave his/her friends).
*** It's A Safari Out There ***
One of the iPhones main attractions is the full internet browser that it features. Whereas Windows uses Internet Explorer, Apple Mac computers use Safari. I had never used a phone with a fully functional internet browser before, therefore I was stepping into the unknown when I purchased my iPhone. I have used Apple Mac computers before and I wasn't fond of the Safari internet browser to say the least.
Fortunately Safari on the iPhone is nothing like Safari on the Mac, infact if I didn't know any better I'd say I was using Internet Explorer. It's very simple to use and it does what it says on the tin - gives you a fully functional internet browser. As this is the 3G and not the 3GS I was expecting it to be a little slow, however the expert in the shop I bought it from told me that if you have wireless internet at home (which I do) then it will be just as quick as the 3GS. I have actually tested this theory, a friend of mine has a 3GS and we tested it using my wireless internet. Understandably the 3GS was a little bit quicker but there really wasn't much in it and I certainly don't mind waiting a few extra seconds for a page to load.
Navigating web pages couldn't be easier. Ok, I'm not going to sugar coat it, it's not *as* good as being on a laptop or a computer but really what did you expect? This is only a phone after all. When pages load you may have to resize them to suit your tastes as when they first load they're always very small. This is easily adjusted by sliding your fingers across the screen. There's even a built in magnifying glass for those of you who struggle to read smallish print. What impressed me most though is the fact that you can have more than one tab open at once, meaning that hypothetically you can be reading and rating on Dooyoo, buying gadgets for your iPhone on eBay, all the while checking your emails. What more could you ask for?
*** iPhone VS iPod ***
This is a battle that has been going on for a while. I have owned a 4GB iPod Nano for some years now and have had no problems with it whatsoever, however upon buying my iPhone I went through a bit of a dilemma; whether to keep my iPod or use my iPhone as my iPod which of course can be done. The iPhone does come with a built in iPod, so you can transfer any purchased songs from iTunes onto your iPhone with only a few clicks. However, in the end I decided to keep my iPod and use it as normal. The only reason for this being that the battery life is so poor on the iPhone, compared with the 24 hours of playback I get with my iPod it seemed silly to devour my battery playing music when I can already do that using a different, yet equally excellent device. If you have an iPod and are thinking of purchasing an iPhone I would suggest keeping your iPod and using your iPhone battery for the things that the iPod won't do.
*** There's An App For That ***
I'm sure you've all heard the phrase by now and thought 'that can't possibly be true' and I must admit it is debatable, but on the other hand there are so many apps that can be purchased you're sure to find something to suit your needs, which either helps you in everyday life, or simply gives you hours and hours of entertainment.
Apps are easily downloaded either from iTunes itself or from your iPhone, by visiting the App Store on the home page. I personally find it easier to download from iTunes on my laptop as you can have a browse at what's on offer and once purchased, if your iPhone is plugged in via the USB cable the Apps will automatically sync to the iPhone. If you have a specific app in mind that you want to buy then using your iPhone to find it is very easy, but if you're simply looking for a browse then you're best off using iTunes. There are literally thousands of apps from Angry Birds (yes literally) to apps informing you when the next bus is due, the list is truly endless. A lot of great apps are actually free, however a lot you will have to pay for. 59p seems to be the standard price for apps, although some games (The Sims, Grand Theft Auto) will set you back a couple of pounds, so just make sure you don't get carried away!
*** Always Use Protection ***
So you've just got your brand new iPhone, you've had it insured for which you're paying around £10 a month, but you're still worried about people being able to get hold of your details if it is ever stolen. When I buy a phone this is one of my first points of call before I even consider buying it. Having been caught out before I always like to equip myself with pin and sim codes galore, meaning that if the phone does ever get stolen I know that those petty criminals won't get any use out of the phone. The iPhone offers some good security features. You can set up a pin code to be entered upon turning the phone on, this can be entered an unlimited amount of times. However, if you make it passed the initial test you then have to enter a sim code. The sim code can be entered up to three times, if you get it wrong on your third attempt then you'll be instantly locked out of your phone and the phone will be rendered useless to thieves. There is also an option to lock the phone after a certain amount of time. After 15 minutes of no usage, I have to enter my pin code to regain access, however this can be set to anything from 5 minutes to 24 hours. Again, Apple have made this all customisable for you. The pin code can also be implemented on things like Safari, youtube, iTunes, Apps, camera and location meaning that all your vital information is kept safe. The only thing I would liked to have seen are locks on your messages, contacts and call lists but Apple more than make up for this with other aspects.
*** Do 'i' Or Don't 'i'? ***
To put it briefly - yes you should believe the hype about this phone, it is simply sublime and the best gadget/phone I have ever had. I, probably like a lot of you, was sceptical about this phone, but since purchasing it I've been bowled over by how superb it really is. When you have a gadget thats only flaw is its battery life you know you have a great gadget. I use the word gadget instead of phone, as this is simply so much more than a phone. Ok, so you may need to charge it daily but so what? This is a must for any gadget lovers. Whether you get the 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 3G or 3GS this is a must.
Summary: The iPhone blows the competition out of the water... what are you waiting for?
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