Advantages Superb touch screen, great calling/texting quality, huge memory capacity, built in iPod
Disadvantages oor battery life, no huge differences from the 3G
|Look & Feel|
|Durability & Robustness|
|Battery standby time|
|Value for money|
|Range of features|
When it comes to technology, it’s safe to say that the smartphone is well and truly taking over the market; whether it’s a Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung or a BlackBerry, they all claim to out-do the others in their own individual way. However, what’s strange is, all the aforementioned brands seem to be ‘borrowing’ aspects of another phone and including them in their own models - that phone is of course, the big Daddy of them all, the iPhone.Love it or hate it, it’s become nigh on impossible to avoid it, the iPhone has well and truly penetrated the market with their range of elegant, functional and stylish mobile phones and whether it’s the 3G, 3GS or the brand new iPhone 4 it’s impossible to deny this phones brilliance. Apple - I salute you.
It’s safe to say that I have a decent amount of experience with Apple’s iPhone range. After owning a 3G 8GB for many months before upgrading to a 3GS, I have become entangled in Apple’s excellent marketing process and I now wonder how on earth I managed before this black shiny gadget landed in the palm of my welcoming hand.
Given its huge mass of elements and features that the iPhone 3GS provides you with, you’d expect it to be only for the techno geeks among us. I, for one am definitely not a techno geek and managed to get the hang of this phone within minutes. Having said that, there are a few little quirks that need completing before you’re able to roam free with your new favourite gadget. Firstly you’ll need a computer or laptop with iTunes and if not this can easily be downloaded freely from the Apple website. The back of the phone isn’t removable like most other handsets, therefore Apple have come up with a clever way of storing the sim card. In the box you’ll receive a tiny stick like object which you’ll probably be looking at with utter confusion for about 20 minutes after opening the box (I did first time around!). This is infact your key to inserting your sim card. The key inserts into a tiny hole at the top of the iPhone and when it comes out it reveals the sim card slot - in the words of the TV Meercat ‘simples!’.Apple aren’t just the creators of some of the greatest gadgets of the last century, no no, they also like to do their bit for the planet. Therefore Apple have incorporated only a very basic manual into the miniscule box. The manual covers things like making a phone call, inserting the sim, sending a text etc. All the other information is stored on the Apple website, where you’re able to view a full manual on your computer screen. A consciences way of saving paper, as the manual, as you can expect is *very* detailed.
First up is possibly the most important feature - the touch screen. Unlike other touch screens I’ve used in the past (namely Samsungs), the iPhone touch screen works like a dream and within minutes you’ll be navigating the phone like a pro. The screen is extremely sensitive and every movement of your fingers will have an impact. This is in no way a bad thing though, it means that you have to put in minimal effort to get maximum results from the screen. I thought the Samsung Tocco/Jet and the HTC HD touch screens were all very good, however, the iPhone is simply in a different league to those. The touch screen is a joy to use and I’ve never experienced any glitches whatsoever with this phone regarding the touch screen.Making a phone call is a doddle and can be done with three touches. Using the green phone icon at the bottom of your screen you’re able to navigate to your recent contacts, favourite contacts, your entire contact list, keypad or your voicemails. Whilst on a call, your iPhone will aim to do you favours along the way, turning off the backlight when the phone is on your ear, to save battery and turning the light on when the phone is moved to enable you to use the onscreen options. When it comes to calling quality this phone is simply unbeatable. I’ve used a vast array of mobile phones over my time and nothing even comes close to the clarity of the iPhone. It’s crisp and clear at all times and more often than not I find myself turning the volume down whilst on a call as the quality is just that good. As for signal problems that are prevalent with the iPhone 4 (apparently) I’ve never experienced any call cut outs at all and unless I’m in the middle of nowhere I can always get a signal on 02. The inbuilt speaker phone is just as good and with an array of volume settings you’re sure to find a volume to suit you. Speaker phone, just as normal calls are always clean and crisp at all times and unlike some other phones whilst on speaker, the voice on the other end never becomes muffled or distorted.
Texting is, yep, you guessed it - excellent (hmm, I see a pattern emerging here!). A lot of people have spoken out about texting being the Achilles heel of the iPhone, the only thing I have to say about that is - are you kidding? Ok, so the buttons are a little small on the QWERTY keyboard, but with the pre-installed auto correction feature, even if you do press numerous incorrect keys the iPhone will always correct you. For people who occasionally struggle with their grammar, the iPhone also has you covered. If you enter, for example, ‘youll’ into the phone, much like a computer, the iPhone will automatically correct it to ‘you’ll’. Unfortunately it doesn’t rescue you from the cardinal sin of the incorrect spelling of the word ‘definitely’ and it won’t teach you the differences between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, but come on, it’s doing it’s best isn’t it? If the keys are a tad too small for your fingers, you always have the option of tilting the phone into a landscape position, which stretches out the keypad somewhat. There isn’t a huge difference, but it helps. Although I personally prefer texting in portrait mode.The iPhone has not only revolutionised the way we text with the inclusion of the grammar checker, it lso includes an ingenious copy and paste feature. Yes, I know computers have been utilising this for years, but this is a mobile phone for God’s sake! Sending video and audio clips pose a bit of an issue, however. Utilising the MMS feature is very easy to use, however, if you wish to send either of the aforementioned files you’re severely limited by the iPhones capabilities. The iPhone will only allow you to send a 30 second clip, therefore if you want to send anything longer you’ll have to utilise email.
Speaking of email, it’s very easy to sync your email account with your iPhone, meaning that you can check and send emails wherever you are with the press of a button. You can sync any email account, whether it be hotmail, gmail or the many other incarnations of the noble email system. Simply enter your email address and password and the phone will take a few seconds to gather all your email information, including previously sent and received emails. Unfortunately the email feature is unable to be password protecting, however, if you utilise the security feature then this shouldn’t be a problem.
You’ll no doubt already be familiar with Apple’s trademark home screen and although it may have changed slightly since the first iPhone was released, the core features have remained the same. The home screen features: messages, calendar, photos, camera, YouTube, contacts, maps, weather, voice memos, calculator, notes, settings, stocks, iTunes and the App Store. The home screen is aesthetically pleasing and completely customisable. By holding your finger on a certain app for a few seconds, it will, along with every app, begin to shake and you’ll be free to drag and drop apps to whichever place you wish. This can sometimes be something of a hit and miss process as some apps can be very stubborn to move, however, this can easily be avoided by moving apps around on iTunes and then syncing your computer to your phone.
A phrase you’ll no doubt be familiar with, given Apple’s tireless marketing strategies. There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps (applications) to choose from, from ones that enrich your daily lives, to ones that simply help you pass a few minutes of your day. With a 16GB memory, the iPhone 3GS is equip to hold an awful lot of apps. Put in perspective, 16GB will hold roughly 8000 songs and with a lot of apps even smaller in memory capacity than most songs, there really is an endless amount of apps/videos/songs you can add to this phone and you’ll be very hard pressed to fill up the memory completely.
Safari is very easily navigated and it won’t take you long at all until you’re surfing like a pro. You’re able to have numerous tabs open at once too, meaning essentially you can be completing a number of different tasks all at once.
As aforementioned, the battery life is, well, poor - I won’t lie. My old 3G allowed for only a days battery life before it needed charging (maybe a day and a half with minimal usage) and although there are claims that the 3GS is better, it really isn’t all that better. I still find myself charging the phone every night and the same as the 3G, a day and a half if I limit usage. It’s the only real downfall with this phone, however, it’s bearable given all the superb features you’re getting and really, if the battery life is the only thing to moan about you know you’ve got a great phone.
So go on, what are you waiting for?
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