This is my second month with the iPhone 3G. For the most part, I love using it and it has been a worthwhile purchase. Before I get to how it’s changed my daily commute and other things, I’ll list the things that I wish could have been done better or that took a while to get used to.
The not-so-good includes:
- It can’t recognise numbers stored on the SIM card, and therefore cannot transfer them from the SIM to the phone. To get all my contacts onto the phone, I had to use my colleague’s Mac and its bluetooth connection to first transfer the numbers off my Nokia 6280 onto the address book in his Mac, and then use iTunes to transfer the numbers to my iPhone. If I didn’t have access to a Mac, well I probably would have had to do it manually.
- You can’t easily save numbers from calls missed, received, and dialed, or in text messages. There’s just no function to do so. You have to manually key the number in by flipping back and forth between the call log and the virtual keypad, which thankfully retains what you type as you flip between screens. Otherwise, this would have been an even bigger pain.
(Update 6th Jan 2009 – ok I’m a dork. I’ve now figured out that touching on the blue arrow is different to touching the actual number that it is next to. It takes you to a screen that allows you to save the number. :P)
- I’m ok with the camera being 2 Megapixel but the focus is slow and it’s kinda fiddly to use because the shutter button is virtual. This makes it hard to take self-potraits or reverse shots. And you can’t do MMS which is a glaring deficiency in such a multimedia capable phone. Oh yeah, no video either but that’s not that big a deal.
- I’ve mentioned this before and that is: the virtual keyboard takes a little while getting used to. And even after that, you can’t do single-hand texting easily like you can with a phone with a more tactile feel. So you can forget about texting coherently if you are holding a drink in your other hand.
- You can do your own custom ring tones but it’s not as straight forward as copying a sound or a song onto the phone. And you can’t do custom message tones, even if you buy them from the iTunes store. Because the phone just doesn’t have that capability. And that sucks. I miss my Yoda message tone that says, “Mmm, message from the dark side you have.”
- The phone software updates can potentially fail and you will have to restore your phone from the automatic backups (now I know why iTunes do it!). Which is not so bad if it didn’t mean having to sync up my songs to the phone again. Depending on how many songs you had on the phone, this can take a while. Because yeah, when the updates fail? It wipes the hard disk clean. Oh you’d also have to re-download any apps which you have downloaded from the iTunes Apps store previously. This area of the phone should have been done much better than this.
Ok so those are my major complaints. But I still enjoy using the phone a lot. The big sell for me? 3G Internet surfing and the iPod touch functionalities. Thanks to both of these, my daily commute feels shorter and is much more enjoyable.
Despite reports of 3G reception problems, on my daily route to and from work the signals are strong enough for me to have a good surfing experience. I use Google Reader, and news sites like News.com.au and NYTimes.com – all of which have iPhone versions so they are light on the multimedia and loads up fairly quickly. The amount of information on screen is just right, and text is easy to read and scrolling is smooth. Try and read a full size site though and that’s when you really notice the inadequacy of the screen, so I don’t.
Checking my Gmail is also simple and easy to set up. I don’t compose or reply to messages though because that would take too much effort. Other useful internet applets includes Yahoo! Weather and Google Maps, both of which I use quite often.
There are also other apps, free or paid ones, available from the iTunes Apps store. So far, I’ve got the Facebook one and the New York Times one.
And finally, the iPod touch. I love it, I don’t know how I lived without it. I’m now listening to more music than I did before. I’ve been ripping a lot of CDs, and in addition to what I normally download (shhh), I’ve been purchasing more music as well in CD form and from the iTunes store. The iTunes store is quite well done because if I find one song that I like, it recommends 5 more to me. This can get addictive and it’s very easy to just click and purchase more than you want to.
To really enjoy the iPod, I’d highly recommend getting a pair of 3rd party headphones. I got a pair of Seinheiser in-ear ones from the Apple store. And these are great. Like how you’d press normal earphones into your ear to hear better, except you don’t have to because these block out outside noise. You don’t have to turn it up so it’s good for your hearing and you don’t disturb others. Only downside is that it can get quite mucky because you are pushing them into your ears, so you will have to clean them after every use.
And lastly, because you are constantly touching the phone it will require daily cleaning if you want it to look its best all the time. Oh yeah I almost forgot – the phone itself? Call reception and quality is nothing fantastic, but nothing shoddy either. It’s adequate.
As a package though, you are getting so much more than a phone. Because of the way it looks, the touch screen, and how it feels in your hand, the whole thing just rocks.