iPhone 3G Thoughts

I’ve had an iPhone 3G 16Gb for about 3 months now, and have been meaning to post about it for ages. Rather than writing a detailed review, which has been done to death, I’m going to focus on my general impressions, and some less obvious points.

Stability: Firmware 2.0 was absolutely terrible, especially if you installed many 3rd party apps. Firmware 2.1 has been rock solid for me. Fingers crossed that 2.2 preserves the stability.

3G: Reception isn’t that great (not as good as my N95), and the handover between 3G and GPRS is slow, so I turn 3G off unless I’m somewhere that I know has a strong 3G signal. Not ideal, but more acceptable than I would have expected

3rd Party Apps: The range, quality and low price of 3rd party iPhone apps has blown me away. Yes, I wish there were less restrictions on the apps, but overall purchase and upgrade experience through the iTunes store, makes every other software purchasing experience look like something from a previous century.

Battery life: Very variable. Can be pretty good when mostly in standby, but heavy app use can kill it. Running the battery flat once a month (before charging) seems to increase the battery life.

Basic phone usage: Unusually (in my experience) for a smartphone, the call quality (at least for the caller) is very good.

Camera: Macro focus would be very helpful. More important than extra megapixels.

Gaming: The iPhone is an absolutely killer games machine. It’s a genuine competitor to the Nintendo DS, but for me, having multiple games on one device, all very cheap or free, and built into my phone, is just amazing. I defy anyone to be bored with an iPhone.

Media Player: It’s great, especially the YouTube integration, but for just playing music, I actually prefer the simpicity and solidity of my old 1G iPod nano.

App management: Not good enough. Both iTunes and the iPhone don’t cope well if you add lots of 3rd party apps. Managing and navigating through tens or hundreds of apps needs to be improved.

Overall: The iPhone 3G is definitely the best phone or PDA I’ve ever owned. I loved my old N95, but the apps on the iPhone take the smartphone experience to a whole new level.

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