Apple iPhone 3G Review

Apple iPhone 3G

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Apple iPhone 3G Review
Apple iPhone 3G Review
The iPhone 3G has the same threaded interface for text messages, and still doesn’t support MMS. The keyboard still needs some work. First and foremost, we cannot fathom why Apple doesn’t default typing of any sort to landscape. As it stands, the only time you can even access the keyboard in landscape mode is if you’re browsing the web and already in that view; if you bring it up in portrait you will have to close it, switch orientation and bring it up again. In landscape mode the keyboard is fairly accurate. We made some mistakes, but most of the time Apple’s fantastic auto-correction software fixed it. In portrait mode, however, it is just too cramped. The software did its best, but it can’t make up for poor design. Apple needs to a) give the user the option of messaging in landscape or portrait and b) change the portrait keypad to a predictive text such as SureType or T9, rather than full QWERTY.

The email has been slightly improved, and users can now move or delete multiple emails at a time. Also new is iWork and PowerPoint attachment support. As we mentioned earlier, the new software supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, so those with an Exchange account will get their email pushed to them. MobileMe users will get push from Mail for Mac users or Outlook for PC users. Yahoo still offers push email to the iPhone as well, but interestingly Gmail does not. For accounts that don’t have push you can set it to fetch at different intervals, or manually pull them.


Connectivity and Data:

As the name would imply, the iPhone 3G now features 3G cellular data. Despite its Wi-Fi support, lack of 3G was one of the biggest complaints against the original. This time around Apple has added a tri-band HSDPA 3.6 radio to go along with the quad-band GSM/EDGE one. Apple claims that this doubles the speed, and indeed the iPhone 3G is snappier. The problem is that AT&T’s 3G coverage lags sorely behind 3G EVDO networks. Furthermore, their claimed coverage is not an accurate reflection of true coverage; our neighborhood is listed as a 3G area with AT&T’s “Best” coverage, yet we were unable to pull a 3G signal (inside or out) and as we will discuss later we had reception issues overall.

Lack of network coverage isn’t the phone’s fault, and when we did find a 3G signal web pages loaded quickly and smoothly. We used our Wi-Fi network at home, which was easy to set up. Mobile Safari is as great as ever, and the large, multi-touch display makes browsing the web a truly enjoyable experience. Flash is not supported, but Mobile Safari recognizes a YouTube video and the user can click to watch the video via the YouTube app. In a photo finish, we have to give Opera Mobile 9.5 the edge overall though.

Bluetooth is all but pointless on the iPhone. It only supports the HSP, HFP 1.5 and PBA profiles, which basically means it can only sync with a mono headset or a car’s Bluetooth system. We were able to pair our Samsung WEP500 without issue, but with no voice-dialing software “hands-free” is a misnomer. Despite having Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR (enhanced data rate,) the iPhone 3G can’t actually transfer files or be used as a modem via Bluetooth. It still does not support stereo headsets, an egregious exclusion for a multi-media phone. Apple has opened the phone to an extent, but is still employing their strong-arm tactics in many areas.

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PhoneArena rating:
8Very good
Display3.5 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (165 ppi) LCD
Camera2 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 412 MHz
0.1 GB
Size4.50 x 2.40 x 0.48 inches
(115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm)
4.70 oz  (133 g)
Battery1150 mAh, 10 hours talk time

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