My Thoughts on the iPhone 3G

As you may know about my little unfortunate accident that resulted in me getting a new iPhone 3G, now it’s time for me to do a likes and dislikes about the new iPhone.

1. It’s Certainly Faster in Many Ways

While the new CPU chip isn’t faster per se, it does seem to run more efficient. Applications seem to load up a tad faster.

The 3G network speed is certainly very nice, especially when you are trying to look up something really fast on the web such as a report you are supposed to have read and will be discussing in 5 minutes and you’re not a computer to pull it up. The only draw back is the lack of full 3G coverage. For the most part, in the San Francisco area, I’ve been able to get 3G, but there are a few places where the phone reverts to Edge network.

The GPS with the 3G rocks by-the-way! As my co-worker put it:

When you’re driving 70 MPH, watch the blue dot really jam it.

It’s accurate, very precise, and definitely very usable as a GPS. I find it very useful when navigating San Francisco on foot.

[rating:4]

2. The Battery Life Sucks

I swear to God, I fully charged the iPhone 3G the night before and after an eight hour work shift, my phone is telling me there is only 10% battery life left and that I should charge it soon. There is no difference in my usage of the 3G versus the original other than I have 3G enabled all the time even when I’m connected on Wi-Fi. I wouldn’t expect the 3G connection to drain the battery if I’m on Wi-Fi, but it looks like it does.

The majority of the time my phone is receiving email for both my MobileMe and GMail accounts. I don’t really watch any videos and I play games on the iPhone sparingly when I’m bored (which isn’t too often). I surf the web with the iPhone when I’m not at my laptop and need to look up anything. I only listen to music when I’m commuting on BART, a total of 30-40 minutes round trip. I make and receive calls maybe a total of 30 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes a day.

On my old iPhone, I could do all the same things that only be down to a quarter or half the battery by the end of the work day.

[rating:2]

3. The iPhone 3G Takes Shape

I’m still not 100% sure whether or not I like the new “plastic” back plate. It’s supposed to be more durable than the previous gen iPhone’s metal back plate and doesn’t block wireless frequencies like metal do. It feels a little slippery than the metal back plate, but handles in your hand much better because of the hump in the middle (to accommodate the new battery, supposedly). I find the back gets very greasy looking (and I don’t have greasy hands mind you) very quickly. I’m sure putting on one of those silicon condoms will solve the issue, but I think it takes away from the sexiness of the iPhone 3G. I personally do like the black back rather than the 3/4 metal with black back plate on the first gen. There is also a white back version if you purchase the 16GB model, I personally like the sleek black look.

Also, shamefully, the new iPhone 3G doesn’t quite fit in the Louis Vuitton iPhone case (if you wear it in, it will). And also, in case you are wonder, yes, the iPhone 3G is technically thinner than the iPhone but only when you compare the outer sides, the hump in the middle makes the iPhone 3G ever so slightly taller than the iPhone.

Also because of the redesigned back, the headphone jack is not as recessed versus the previous generation. I guess enough people were complaining about how they had to buy new sets or modify existing sets of ear phones, headphones because the jack won’t fully connect.

4. The Software Doesn’t Run Any Better

I thought the iPhone Software version 2.0 would run better on the iPhone 3G, but it doesn’t. Things still crash the same and on some things, it’s just as buggy. Waiting for an update to fix all this. I think the 2.0 software update messed up a majority of Yahoo/SBCGlobal.net/ATT.net users getting and sending their emails. I have an AT&T email account that I use GMail to retrieve any and all emails sent to it and I fetch GMail on my phone along with my MobileMe email account. My wife, on the other hand, has AT&T also that she gets directly on her phone. When I first upgraded her to the new 2.0 software, her phone could no longer send or receive AT&T emails. After a couple frustrating days, I managed to make it work again.

[rating:2]

Conclusion

The iPhone 3G is certainly a nice follow up to the iPhone; I like it. There are quite a number of improvements such as actual GPS, 3G, a speaker that actually works good (louder and not so staticy), easier to grip. It would be nice if Apple spent some time now improving upon the software so it doesn’t crash as often; perhaps integrate cut & paste, and a few other features many people have been asking for. Also, not as important, but I noticed Apple cut back on cost a bit by no longer including a dock. I thought the included dock was a nice touch, now it’s a $29 option at the Apple Store.

The battery life is something that should probably be addressed also. I do realize that if you are surfing at 3G, it takes quite a bit of power for the antenna, but it’s a feature that I’m paying an additional $10 a month for, so I intent to use it every chance I get. The iPhone 3G is a Swiss Army Knife of technology so it sucks when the battery runs out and you’re stuck with an expensive paper weight.

One thing that my co-worker, who has an iPhone 3G, is that the 3G seems to interfere with the cellular signal. He notices that his signal bars will be erratic, but when he disables 3G, it maintains solid 5 bars whereas the previous iPhone never had signal issues. Interesting.

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