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I am afraid to admit that prior to owning my 3GS I was an Apple 'naysayer'. I had never owned anything manufactured by apple, and I never had any desire to. Then one day when my contract came up for review I opted for a Nokia... it broke within four days of ownership, so I was allowed to choose another phone...
After speaking for well over an hour to an adviser from my network provider I took a punt an ordered an iPhone 3GS, which at the time was the latest model.
My phone arrived in the afternoon the following day in a sleek network branded box. After spending an embarrassing length of time working out that the battery was encased in the phone, and the SIM card required a carefully hidden tool from the packaging I set out to set up.... I had never used iTunes before, but I installed it and very quickly my iPhone was set up and ready to go.
I was in awe about the quality of the screen, and having never used iOS I found it to be a very intuitive system. The model is a 16gb and the sheer capacity of the device is outstanding, I cannot speak highly enough about it. I quickly became engrossed in the App Store and its simplicity of use. The primary thing that I liked about the device was its simplicity, I have owned many phones over the years, but often the interfaces on many felt convoluted and contrived, iOS seemed to strip back the layers of unnecessary add ons that a broad spectrum of phones have developed.
At first sight I saw this as a long step backwards, why on earth would I want a camera without a flash? But in all seriousness from 18 months of continued use, the lack of flash on my camera isn't that big of a deal.
There are some down sides to this marvelous contraption though: sometime when using the GPS in mapping for example, the device can be a little sluggish in updating the actual map, the locator is instant, it just takes a while to see where you actually are in context of a map.
Another issue for me personally is the lack of control over the vibration setting, it is either on or off. This may like a trivial point, but I have a glass desk, and when the phone rings or receives a message the vibration can be that violent it sounds like my house is being attacked, and if I switch the vibrate off I then struggle to hear calls when I am out and about.
My final point of contention, which stood out from the moment I turned the phone on was the lack of feedback from the screen. I like the physical touch of keys, which is obviously lost on a touch screen device, but other brands of mobile phone for example Blackberry compensate for this with the touch feedback, giving the illusion you are actually pressing the screen down. You can activate an audible click, but it is no substitute for the feel of depressing of a key. Another quick point to note is the need for a human touch... literally... my old phone I could use a stylus or even the end of my pen to traverse it, and I find myself falling into old habits trying to control my iPhone with a pen and getting nowhere.
In the grand scheme of things the lack of functions can be overshadowed by what the phone does have, in essence it is a: calendar; address book; internet terminal; camera; a-z; notebook; gaming console; news reader; calculator; and most importantly a phone!
In terms of battery life, I can get a good days usage out of the phone, with frequent calls, text messages, checking of email and Facebook, as well as varying frequency of gaming and iPod usage. In the grand scale of battery life I don't think its the best, but I also don't think its the worst when you look at some other phones available on the market.
On a final note, in terms of wear and tear, I find the phone to be very durable, I have dropped it on many occasions and knelt down expecting to find a cracked screen or pieces of casing chipped off, but it has stood the test of my rigorous carelessness.