Apple iPhone 3GS - 32GB - black (AT&T)
Typical Price: $219.88
CNET Editors' Rating: 4.0 / 5
The good: The iPhone 3GS finally adds common cell phone features like multimedia messaging, video recording, and voice dialing. It runs faster; its promised battery life is longer; and the multimedia quality continues to shine.
The bad: The iPhone 3GS' call quality shows no improvements and the 3G signal reception remains uneven. We still don't get Flash Lite, USB transfer and storage, or multitasking.
The bottom line: The iPhone 3GS doesn't make the same grand leap that the iPhone 3G made from the first-generation model, but the latest Apple handset is still a compelling upgrade for some users. The iPhone 3GS is faster and we appreciate the new features and extended battery life, but call quality and 3G reception still need improvement.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Editors' note: On September 25, 2009, AT&T activated multimedia messaging for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Also, for more on the TomTom Car Kit for iPhone, please see our full review.
On October 24, 2011, we lowered the rating of the iPhone 3Gs following the release of the iPhone 4S.
Design and interface
The iPhone 3GS looks exactly like the previous model. It shares the shape and the same external controls, but the iPhone 3GS is unique in a handful of ways. You can get both memory sizes in white or black, and the iPhone 3GS display sports a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating that is supposed to attract fewer fingerprints and smudges. The new model shares the same dimensions as its predecessor, but it's slightly heavier (4.76 ounces versus 4.7 ounces), a virtually unnoticeable difference.
The menu interface is also the same, but in the past year, as we've added apps to the Home screen, something new has begun to bother us. As intuitive and simple as the interface is, it becomes unwieldy after you get above four menu pages. Swiping through multiple pages is tedious; and it's rather painful to drag applications from page to page if you're an organizational freak. We hate that there's no way to categorize related apps into folders, such as one for news, another for social networking, and so on. Not only would this cut down on menu pages, but you'd also be able to find your app faster. And while we're at it, how about letting us delete some of the native apps we never use?
Since the iPhone 3GS inherits many of the features from the previous model, we'll concentrate on what's different on this device. If you need a refresher on such elements as the clock, YouTube, weather, iPod player, calculator, and e-mail, please see our iPhone 3G review. We'll start off with the new features that only the iPhone 3GS will offer.
Until now, the iPhone's camera has been good, but far from great, with decent photo quality, but no editing features. Apple didn't include options such as white balance, a digital zoom, or a self-timer that come standard on many basic VGA camera phones. The minimalist shooter bothered us so much that we began to worry if Apple was leading a new trend of "dumbing down" cell phone cameras.
The iPhone 3GS puts some of those fears to rest. Apple boosted the camera's resolution to 3 megapixels and added a new "Tap to Focus" feature. As you point the lens toward your subject, a small box appears on the center of the display. Tapping that square focuses the camera automatically on that point and adjusts the white balance, color, contrast, and exposure accordingly. If you'd rather focus on the edge of your shot, just tap the display at your chosen point and the square moves with you. If you don't tap anywhere, the camera will focus the entire frame.
Tap to Focus performs well. For example, if we photographed a book cover sitting on a desk, we were able to get a clear reading on the book's title. If we shifted the focus away from the book, the title became somewhat blurry. Alternatively, if we focused on the brightest part of an image, the entire picture would appear brighter. But if we focused on the darkest part of any image, the photo would darken accordingly. The iPhone still doesn't come with a flash, though, so don't expect miracles.
On the other hand, the new automatic macro setting didn't appear to make much of a difference. Close-up shots looked slightly better on the iPhone 3GS than they did on the iPhone 3G, but we couldn't tell when the macro focus was working and when it wasn't. As with the autofocus feature, the macro setting is a welcome addition, but we'd prefer to have more control over it. In other words, the iPhone 3GS' camera is smarter than those on the earlier iPhones, but the camera, rather than the user, still runs the show.
On the whole, the iPhone 3GS' photo quality looks better than the 3G camera's quality, but it depends on the shot. Outdoor shots and photos taken in natural light looked less blurry in our tests, with brighter colors. Photos taken during cloudy days were less likely to be blown out, and photos in low-light conditions looked brighter and had less of an orange tint. Indoor shots without natural light showed little change, however. The iPhone's camera is not optimized for fluorescent light. For a full gallery of shots taken with the camera, see our iPhone 3GS camera slideshow.
The iPhone 3GS is the first iPhone to offer video recording, another feature other phones have offered for years. Apple makes up for some lost time by offering an easy-to-use video-editing option right on the phone.
Controls for video shooting work just like the still camera's controls, and you can use the Tap to Focus feature here, as well. The quality is just VGA, but the camera shoots at 30 frames per second, so while colors look muted and some videos appear washed out, the iPhone 3GS did better at handling movement than most cell phone cameras. After you're done recording, you can send your clip in an e-mail or upload it directly to your YouTube account. We were able to upload to YouTube and send a video from our synced IMAP4 Exchange account, but when we tried to send a video from a synced Yahoo POP3 account, an error occurred. We're checking with Apple on the discrepancy and will report back.
Watch a video of the iPhone 3GS' video quality.
The phone's video-editing tool is utterly intuitive and fun to use. After loading a previously shot video, you'll see it displayed frame by frame in a linear format along the top of the touch screen. Using your finger, you can slide the cursor to any point in the video and start playing from there. If you care to edit, just touch either end of the border that surrounds your video. When the border turns yellow, you can shorten the clip by dragging either end toward your desired cutoff point (the image on the display will conveniently change as you move along). Once you've made your edits, just hit the "Trim" control.
We liked the video-editing feature a lot, but it's worth noting a couple of small complaints. First off, when you trim a clip, the edited version replaces your original video, rather than saves it as a new file. Also, you can trim only in a linear format--meaning you can't cut out something in the middle and stitch the remaining two ends of the video together.
We also like a new feature that allows you to quickly open a photo or video that you just shot. After taking your snap or video, a small thumbnail will appear on the bottom of the viewfinder next to the shutter control. Tapping that thumbnail takes you to the photo gallery page, from where you can view your work or send it on to a friend.Voice Control
We've long berated Apple for not including voice dialing on previous iPhones, particularly in this age of hands-free driving laws. Overdue as it is, the new Voice Control feature goes far beyond just making calls. To activate it, hold down the home button until the Voice Control feature appears.
As with hundreds of other cell phones, Voice Control lets you make calls by speaking the contact's name or phone number into the receiver. After you say your command, you'll get audio confirmation and the name or number will show on the display. If the iPhone makes a mistake, you can press an "undo" touch control at the bottom of the screen. The feature is speaker-independent, so you won't need to train it to recognize your voice; you'll be ready to go the first time you turn on the phone.
In our tests, the voice dialing performed well. When using names, it understood us accurately most of the time. It made occasional mistakes--for example, it wanted to call "Siemens" instead of "Stephen"--but that's hardly unusual for a voice dialer. Voice Control performed better when using only numbers. We didn't have to speak loudly, except in noisy environments, but it was capable of filtering out most background noise.
If you call a contact with multiple numbers, but don't specify which number you prefer, it will prompt you with "home," "work," etc. If you ask for a name that has multiple listings in your phone book (we know multiple people named Tim, for instance), it will prompt you for your choice, while showing the options on the screen. Alternatively, you can call a contact using his or her company's name, but that company must be in the contact's electronic business card.
Voice Control also interacts with the iPhone's iPod player and the iTunes Genius list. You can ask it to play a song by artist name and album, and you can request an entire playlist. Once music is playing, you can pause, skip to the next song, and go back to the previous track, using your voice. Say "shuffle" and the player skips to a random song. The feature was accurate most of the time, but it occasionally confused some artist names.
Unsure which song is playing? You can find out by asking, "What song is this?" You'll then get audio confirmation of the track name and artist. Like what you're hearing? Say, "Play more songs like this," and the player will use your iTunes Genius list to play a related song. In either case, the music will dim while you speak. They're nifty features, to be sure, and we can't think of another MP3 player or cell phone that offers such capability.
On the other hand, we can't imagine that many people would use it outside of a car. And the iPod Voice Control isn't perfect. It read Pink's name as "P N K" in our tests (Pink spells her name as "P!nk" on her album covers), and it twice tried to call "Annette" when we asked what song was playing. Also, we're not sure how Gwen Stefani would feel about being related to Britney Spears in the Genius list, but there you have it.
You'll find the iPhone 3GS' digital compass option directly on the Home screen; just tap to open. The attractive interface shows a large compass with your bearing and your latitude and longitude. Similar to any other compass, it continues to point true or magnetic north as you turn around. Reception was spotty inside, so you'll need to stay clear of any interference. If it can't get a bearing, you'll be advised to move away from the interference and re-establish the compass' orientation by moving the iPhone in a figure-eight motion.
The compass also interacts with Google Maps to point you in the right direction. To switch to the maps, just press the familiar bull's-eye icon in the bottom-left corner. You'll see your position on the map, and if you tap the bull's-eye again, the map will rotate to show the direction you are facing. It's a nice touch, and we like how the standard Google Maps view now shows the 3D outlines of buildings.
The iPhone 3GS is the first iPhone to offer a full set of accessibility features. Visually impaired people can use Apple's Voice Over to navigate the handset's menus and type messages and e-mails. As you drag your finger around the display and tap a button, the iPhone will read a description of that button. The phone will also read the text of dialog boxes, the time of day, the status and orientation of the display (locked or unlocked, portrait or landscape), and detail information, such as the battery level, Wi-Fi, and cellular network signals. What's more, it speaks each character as you type a message, and it will suggest autocorrection choices. Voice Over can read text messages, e-mails, and even Web pages.
To use Voice Over, you will need to learn a different set of gestures--for example, you'll have to double-tap to open an item--but the feature provides audible instruction. You can set the speaking rate and choose from 21 supported languages. Voice Over works with all of the phone's native applications, but support for third-party apps varies. Though we're sighted and our Voice Over user experience can't compare with someone who is visually impaired, we were impressed by the feature's capabilities. The iPhone 3GS also adds multitouch zoom support for the Home, Unlock, and Spotlight screens for all applications, both native and third-party. Previously, zoom only worked in the photo gallery, e-mail in-boxes, and the Safari browser. You can activate the enhanced zoom in the Settings menu, but you can't use it and Voice Over simultaneously.
You also can reverse the display's contrast to white on black. Menus will show white text on a black background, while the Home screen will change to a white background. Just be aware that the contrast change alters the appearance of photos in the gallery so that they look like negatives. It has a similar effect for app icons on the Home screen.
What else is new?
The iPhone 3GS includes support for Nike + iPod, which integrates your iPod with a sensor that fits inside Nike running shoes. You use it as a pedometer to track your distance traveled and your pace. When you turn on the app in the settings menu, an icon will appear on the Home screen. The headphones included with the iPhone 3GS also show changes. You'll find controls for using the Voice Control feature, adjusting the volume, answering calls, and controlling music and video playback.
iPhone OS 3.0
The iPhone 3GS will support the new iPhone OS 3.0 update from day one. The OS 3.0 is a significant update that promises 100 new features, including such long-awaited gems as multimedia messaging, stereo Bluetooth, a voice recorder, and cut, copy, and paste. Apple has yet to release a fully detailed list--and we've barely scratched the surface in our testing--but we'll continue to report improvements as we find them. First announced in March 2009, it was released June 17, 2009, for the iPhone Classic and the iPhone 3G.
We've ranted endlessly about why it took so long for Apple to achieve multimedia messaging (MMS), so we're glad that it's finally on its way. Besides photos, you'll also be able to send videos, audio files, and map locations. At long last, the iPhone can do something that almost every other cell phone can do, and has done for ages.
But, and this is a big "but," AT&T doesn't have things ready on its end. We don't know the real reason for the annoying delay, nor do we have a timetable for deployment; we just know that AT&T will support MMS "later this summer." (Also, because it wasn't integrated with the proper radio, the iPhone Classic will not support MMS.)
When we first tested the beta version of iPhone OS 3.0, we were able to compose, but not send, a multimedia message in a few quick steps on our iPhone 3G. In subsequent OS 3.0 updates, Apple removed the process for doing this; presumably you'll get it back when MMS goes live.
On the upside, the messaging process was intuitive. When using the text-messaging app, a small camera icon appeared next to the writing area. After tapping it, we had the choice to take a new photo or send an existing shot. If we decided to shoot a new photo, we had the option of retaking it if we wished. Alternatively, we could initiate a picture message from the photo gallery. In either case, the photo appears in the typing area of the message application, and you can delete it if you change your mind.
Cut, copy, and paste
The cut, copy, and paste feature is long overdue. The interface is simple and easy to use, and it works across all applications, including notes, e-mails, messages, and text on Web pages. Developers will even get access to it in applications.
To get started, just double-tap a selection of text and the cut, copy, and paste commands will appear. You then can change the highlighted area by dragging the blue grab points around the page. Once you get to your pasting area, just tap the screen again and select the paste button. If you make a mistake and paste in the incorrect place, you can shake the iPhone to undo your command. When in Notes and e-mail, you also can highlight with a long press (aka holding your finger down). You'll see two options: Select and Select All. The former command highlights just the word that you're touching, while the latter highlights the entire block of text.
Using the feature in the Safari browser takes some acclimation, but even then we needed only a few minutes to get the hang of the process. Because the double-tap motion is also used to zoom in on a Web page, you must use a long press to select text that you want to copy or cut. You then can drag the blue points as normal. Depending on how closely you're zoomed in, you can highlight just one word or an entire block of text.
Formerly--and inexplicably--available only in the Safari browser, the landscape keyboard now works in e-mail, text messaging, and notes. After haranguing Apple over the past two years to get it, we have to admit that it took a second to get accustomed to it. Though the landscape keyboard is much wider, with larger buttons, it's also a lot shorter. It did take us a couple of days to get the hang of it. Don't think that we're complaining, though, as it's quite the opposite. We love being able to use two hands, but we had grown accustomed to the one-finger tap dance on the vertical keyboard.
You can also now view your e-mail in-box, contacts, and text messages in landscape mode. The calendar remains in a portrait orientation, but the changes we received are welcome.
Until now, it's been rather painful to sift through the data to find e-mail or calendar entries on the iPhone. Luckily, iPhone OS 3.0 adds a Spotlight feature that makes the search process vastly easier. Similar to many of the OS 3.0 additions, it took way too long to get here, but we have few complaints about the final product. To get to the Spotlight feature, swipe your finger to the right from the first menu page. You'll then see a keyboard with a typing field above it (this keyboard only works in portrait mode). As you type in a search term, the results appear below the search bar, with results grouped together by category for easy navigation. You can search calendar entries, music, notes, apps, contacts, and e-mail, and you can search within an individual e-mail in-box. For IMAP4 and Exchange accounts, you'll also be able to search messages saved only on the server.
In March, we heard that tethering would be possible with the OS 3.0, but that it would be completely carrier-dependent. Here again, AT&T isn't on the ball. While other iPhone carriers around the world will be ready when the iPhone goes live, AT&T is saying that the carrier will support tethering later this summer. Unfortunately, we don't know the exact reason for the delay, when tethering will actually arrive, or whether AT&T will charge extra for it.
Deleting and forwarding individual messages in a texting thread works just like the e-mail app. When you select the edit button, small dots appear next to each message. Hit the dots for your desired messages before pressing the delete or forward options. Thanks, Apple, but this should have been on the first iPhone.
We were very glad to see a stereo Bluetooth profile arrive with iPhone OS 3.0. We tested it with the LG HBS-250 stereo Bluetooth headset. The pairing process was easy and incident-free. In the music player, a small Bluetooth icon appears next to the player controls. Press it to route audio to the headset; you then can toggle back and forth between the speaker and the headset. Speaking of Bluetooth, the update also adds Bluetooth peer-to-peer networking for gaming. Yet, neither Bluetooth feature is available on the iPhone Classic, even with the OS 3.0 update installed. Apple has a chart with more information.
iPhone OS 3.0 brings support for turn-by-turn directions, making the iPhone a fully functional GPS device. The bad news is that, along with MMS, we'll have to wait until later this summer for complete functionality. Directional services won't come from Apple, but will instead come from third-party apps. TomTom will be one of the first companies to offer an app; a TomTom executive demonstrated it at WWDC 2009. AT&T has built an app for its AT&T Navigator service and we expect that other companies will offer their own apps.
From what we could tell from the brief demo, TomTom's service looks promising. The interface was attractive and the audible directions were clear. TomTom will also offer a car kit that will secure your iPhone to your windshield or dashboard while charging it at the same time. That's good news for a device that sucks up juice quickly.
We're concerned with how much the app will cost. TomTom will offer a "range" of U.S. and international maps, but that's as much as we know. GPS maps are not cheap, so we'll be interested to see how TomTom will package and price the content to make it affordable for consumers and profitable for TomTom.
What's more, we're curious how much memory the maps will consume and how the app will integrate with the iPhone's other features. From what we understand, we'll be able to make hands-free calls and play music on our car's radio while getting directions. Unlike the Palm Pre, however, the iPhone doesn't multitask (we have more to say on that below). If the GPS feature has to suspend because you get a call--just as the iPod player suspends when you take a call--then things could get tricky. We suspect, though, that Apple and TomTom have this covered.
With the software update, your iPhone's iTunes Store experience will change a bit. Now you'll be able to rent and purchase movies, download TV shows and audiobooks, and access iTunes U. You'll also be able to redeem iTunes gift cards on the phone in the iTunes App store. Previously, you could only redeem in the iTunes music store.
Also new is the capability to make purchases while inside apps. For example, you can renew a magazine subscription or buy additional levels of a game. This is a small win, at least for us. Sure, it's nice that you won't have to close the application and return to the iTunes Store, but this is almost one of those "problems I didn't know I had." Just remember to keep a limit on your impulse buying.
Apple promises that free apps will always be free, to avoid a bait-and-switch scenario. While that's great for consumers in that you'll never have to shell out money for an update, even now we see two versions of many apps cluttering the App store. The free app get you hooked, much like a demo version of a game, while the paid app offers the whole experience. As we see it, that's not much better than offering an app for free, but then charging later for an update.
Find My iPhone
If you're prone to losing your iPhone 3GS, OS 3.0 will give you some peace of mind. If your handset goes missing, you can use a computer to find its position on a map. You can then send it a message that instructs anyone who finds your phone to call you. It plays a tone to get a passerby's attention, and it even plays the tone when the sound is off. Presumably, however, it won't play the tone when the phone is
|Cellular technology||WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM|
|Band / mode||WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900|
|Talk time||Up to 300 min|
|Combined with||With digital camera / digital player|
|Included accessories||Stereo headset, Power adapter, USB cable|
Average User Rating: 4.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 218
4 Star: 99
3 Star: 64
2 Star: 32
1 Star: 85
Hype reloaded reloaded: (still) 25 % quality, 75 % hype
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on June 20, 2009
108 out of 173 users found this review helpful
Pros: Design, interface, multimedia capabilities, speed
Cons: 3G signal, business features (lack thereof), call quality, Exchange integration, no Flash, no Java, no multitasking, no USB transfer and storage, Office integration, price, Windows integration.
Summary: Overexpensive, overhyped phone with nice, cool (and also counter-productive) touch-screen interface to show-off. But since when do you call "smartphone" a phone with no Flash, no Java, poor Exchange integration, poor Office integration, poor Windows integration, and no multitasking? If you want a phone to show-off and play with fart apps and you have money to waste, get an iPhone; if you want a serious smartphone, do yourself a favour and get yourself a BlackBerry or a Nokia N97.
PS: The "Abysmal" score is to balance with the childish, inflated scores of the usual Apple sheep.
A Review for 99% of us
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on June 30, 2009
47 out of 62 users found this review helpful
Pros: I too was a little apprehensive about jumping in to the iPhone pool (mainly because of the bad reviews on here) but I'm very glad I did. It really is an exceptional phone.
Cons: Having to pay for Push Notifications
Summary: Judging by most of the bad reviews by 12 year old kids, I doubt most of these people even own the new iPhone. so let me give you the real lowdown from someone who ACTUALLY owns an iPhone 3gs.
Here's what I love.
* It's an Apple product
It just works. No crashes and easy to navigate. You don't have to jump through a lot of submenus to get where you need to go.
* Call quality / Phone / Coverage
Yep I've heard all the negatives about AT&T's service but I simply find these negatives to be unfounded. I haven't seen my bars drop of the phone yet. I've found the call quality on my phone to be excellent; ppl can hear my loud and clear. No dropped calls as of yet. Don't let the rumors put you off. The other feature I like is dialing favorites so you have quick access to the ppl you call often.
Its fast. It's been tested. 5X faster than the G1, 3X faster than the Palm Pre & iPhone 3G. What more do you need?
When the iPhone first came out I can remember friends paying $500. Now you can pick up the new 16gb for $199 or if you really want to go cheap, get the 3g for $99. What a bargain. Yes the monthly service charges are pricey but most cell services are. You just have to bite the bullet and decide if it is worth it for you. Apple sold 1 million units on its first 2 days because it's a bargain.
You don't have to wait for it. Cnet has a video that shows you how to tether now. It works; I've used it. Here's the link http://cnettv.cnet.com/iphone-3gs-speed-racer/9742-1_53-50073679.html?tag=mncol (Jump to 2m 30s in the video)
* Copy / paste
So easy to use, unlike other phones I have owned. Just tap on the words and drag away.
Apple care is like no other. I called last night for help with email issue (my fault), they had me sorted in 5 mins. You will see what I mean if you have to call Apple for help with iPhone features. They are friendly and do whatever it takes to make sure your iPhone is setup the way you want it. Try doing that with Sprint India.
* Web browser
Its the best I've seen. All other companies are trying to duplicate it.
It's quick. That's all there is to it. It will get faster as AT&T rolls out their new network at the end of the year.
* The app store.
Say no more. You can get so many fun apps that either entertain or are actually useful. Windows & Palm will try to catch Apple in this dept but it won't happen since they are too innovative.
* It's an Ipod. (Did we forget about this people?)
* Battery Life
What?? Yes I think the battery life is good. Compared to your old cell phone it will seem short. Yes you will have to charge it every night but my iPhone gets MUCH better battery life than my small laptop. Think about it, this is a mini computer you have in your hands the battery is very small so the fact is can hold a charge for about 24 hours is pretty amazing. We're never far away from a charger so just hop on Ebay buy the USB car charger, wall charger kit and charge whenever you need to. It's just part of having new technology. One thing that does concern me is with batteries, the more you charge them, the less charge they hold. Will this constant charging of the battery lead to quick replacemement? Only time will tell but you do have a 1 yr warranty should this happen.
Super easy to set up and if you use Outlook it will sync right up to your email accounts and sets them up automatically. Exchange server is easy to set up also. Blackberry does have the upper hand with the way it organizes messages into 1 folder and also with Push notifications. Being a business user however, I don't find it unmanageable.
Landscape mode texting is fast and yes MMS is coming but if I need to send a photo, I just email it. I don't use MMS much so lack of it doesn't bother me at all.
* Camera / Video
Again it just works plus once you take a photo it pops up as a small thumbnail right on your lower toolbar for super easy access. I hear video editing is cool but I haven't used it and probably won't.
Very easy to us. I use it along with my Garmin Nuvi in the car. Very cool for hands free driving without having to by one of those expensive and ugly blue tooth headsets (yes people, you look retarded walking around with those things in your ears!)
* There are many many other great features of the iPhone which I haven't played with yet but the above one's are the feature I would want to know about in a review. For instance if you have Sirius you can listen to Howard Stern through your iPhone.
What would I change? Hmm.. I would like to have Push notifications for email without having to pay for Mobile Me. You can only have your email auto check every 15 mins. This is probably to save battery life as each email check uses juice. I would also like to see a removable battery but that probably won't happen for some time.
Negative Reviews CAN'T be from Actual iPhone Users
Rating: 4 / 5
on July 10, 2009
28 out of 36 users found this review helpful
Pros: 1. Speed is Awesome
2. iTunes (being able to download videos
3. Picture and video clarity
5. Text message thread graphics
6. Cool Apps
7. Ease of setting up phone
8. Ease of touchflow
9. Mobile Me
I will explain everything else below
Cons: 1. Lack of MMS
2. Not being able to customize SMS, email, voicemail tones
3. Lack of any call filtering software. I enjoy my privacy
4. Lack of any type of in-store insurance plan like other carriers
5. Battery life
Summary: I don't think I would have liked the iPhone 3G because of lack of copy/paste as well as MMS but I don't understand the negative reviews with the new 3GS. Keep in mind I've only had it for 3 days and now I realize why there was a line wrapped around the mall the day this phone came out. It took me this long because of the negative reviews I've read on this website. But an review I read a few days ago convinced me to buy. It stated that most iPhone reviews are probably from people who don't actually have the phone and just repeat what others have said. Plus everyone that I've physically met who had an iPhone swears by it. So I took the chance and now I realize what all the hype was about. Now let's get down to the basics.
Several reviews have stated that people can't get signals on their phones. Well the representative at the Apple store showed me a digital map of signal strength in the entire US. I was able to view signal strength to all places I go on a regular basis and signal strength was the same on my Verizon phone. Unless one lives out in the country, I don't see people having to drive a mile from their homes to get a signal as some reviews have suggested.
I've downloaded videos, put 16G of music on phone and I haven't had any issues with phone overheating.
The camera takes good photos although it has no flash. I was told that it's the best camera on a phone which it is not. The Samsung Omnia through Verizon has a 5MP camera with a super bright flash. This is the phone I currently have but will be turning off soon. My new iPhone is replacing it. I will keep it for another few days and compare signal strengths in certain areas between the two. Signal strength and call quality (at this point) is the only reason I'd take the iPhone back. But if everything continues to go the way it is now, I AM KEEPING THE IPHONE. No other phone compares.
Using iTunes to download videos, etc is the coolest thing. And the videos are crystal clear as well as the sound quality.
Battery life seems to suck. Using downloaded apps drains the battery extremely fast. Just talking on the phone is ok. I will have to keep a charger at work, home, and in the car. I'm not sure if I can go an entire day without charging the battery.
What phone in 2009 doesn't have have MMS? I mean really. This boggles me. This is something that should have been on the 1G phone. My grandmother's 29 dollar phone can send MMS. Get on the ball AT&T.
Believe what you see on the iPhone commercials. On several other commercials, you'll see small print at the bottom of your TV screen when they show screen images on the phone that says "screen images simulated". They do this to present the appearance of clear pictures and videos. The iPhone commercials are 100% true. The phone does all it claims to do in the manner it claims to do it in. Within 15 seconds, I opened the phone, searched movie times and locations, and was watching a crystal clear preview of the movie (just like watching TV).
The GPS maps are awesome. I can do everything from finding restaurants, to attorney, to police speed traps all from my location INSTANTLY. With my Verizon, they lock these capabilities and you have to use their crappy VZ Navigator. The iPhone is much faster and cooling doing this. Also AT&T doesn't charge an extra $10 a month like Verizon.
Speaking of money. My plan with AT&T is cheaper than with Verizon. I have the same amount of minutes but since Verizon charges that $10 extra to use the GPS on the Samsung Omnia it puts that bill over.
I'm sure I will be able to write more after having the phone longer but after 3 days, the iPhone is worth it all. I'd never thought that I would ever get a way from Windows based phones but so far the iPhone kills everything else. I wrote this review to help people who are on the fence like I was. One of the determining factors was that everyone who I physically talked to who had iPhones, love them. Now I see why. If my opinion changes, I'll come back and revise my review.
Updated on Jul 13, 2009
Improvement(s) -- 1. Camera needs to be able to zoom. 2. Need to be able to customize SMS and email tones. That's all I could find.
Updated on Jul 20, 2009ok. I just spent the weekend at my home in NC. It's out in the suburbs and surprisingly I got 5 bars about 95% of the time. I was on the extended network but there was no difference in call quality. This was the last hurdle for me as far as if I wanted to keep the iPhone compared to my Verizon Samsung Omnia. It's a no-brainer; keep the iPhone. There were pockets down I85 where I got no signal with the iPhone. I picked up my verizon phone and was immediately able to make a call. So thumbs up to verizon on their network. But these 1-2 minute pockets on no signal isn't enough to make me take the iPhone back to the store. The rest of the 98% of the trip, I got good signal strength. In summary, keep the iPhone and don't believe the blogs where people are trashing AT&T's signal strength. Or better yet, get the phone for the trial period (like I did) and test it for yourself because like everything else in the world "results will vary." The iPhone is great for me between VA and NC
Updated on Jul 27, 2009ok, the phone is still the best on the market by far. Now that I've travelled more places, I realize the network isn't as good as Verizon's. I think the motto's of both company's are correct. Verizon has the most reliable network while AT&T has the fastest. If I go down any backroads with too many trees, my calls fail with the iPhone. Also, I signed up for MobileMe which is a great program. It allows my iPhone to sync with my laptop over the air. It also allows me to locate my iPhone through it's GPS in case I lose it. Google MobileMe to learn more. It's cool but there are some snags with the program. There could be actual snags or user-error on my part. I haven't figured it out yet. There is no way I'm getting rid of this phone especially since they can be jailbroken and used with another carrier. I met a guy that had his iPhone on T-Mobile's network.
Updated on Aug 4, 2009ok I'm going to break this update in to two updates because each update is only alllowed 1000 characters. Here it goes. MobileMe is FANTASTIC. I won't type all the details here but google it. I LOVE MobileMe and it works exactly as advertised and it's super fast. I can sync wirelessly and interchangeably between my work computer, home computer, and iPhone instantly. On a more sour note, I just discovered today the iPhone has no type of task manager. Tasks cannot be added or deleted from the phone and have to be typed on the computer and synced to the phone. Also DO NOT get the apple bluetooth earpiece. It's worse that the 1st generation bluetooths back in 2004. This is a music/media/fun phone first and a business phone second. I previously had a windows-based phone which is business first and fun second therefore if you want to manage several tasks and have an extremely busy calendar, this phone is not for you. But there are apps that can be downloaded for your every need.
Updated on Oct 24, 2009This is response to kendrickmeadows. You're right. The iPhone is not a smartphone. You can't customize the iPhone as much as you can a smartphone. I've actually been able to download apps to convert my iPhone to perform some of the capabilities as an iPhone so I'm still happy. Smartphones are business oriented first and fun phones second. The iphone is fun first and business second. Now that I've had the iPhone for a few months now, the only things I can't do with the iPhone as I could with my smartphone is, I can't customize my text message tones and email tones. Other than that, I can do all other things that a smartphone can do. Of course I had to find apps for that but I'm ok with that because now I have the best of both world. I have the fun, easy, user-friendly phone out of the box and (with apps) I have the smart, business-oriented phone. You can't beat it. Apple still needs to drop At&T though. Getting ringback tones on AT&T is so hard compared to Verizon.
Updated on Oct 24, 2009In response to darkcocoa50. To me, to pay the early upgrade fee depends on when you are eligible to upgrade. I would probably wait if I were you because by the time you are eligible to upgrade, there may be a new version of iPhone. It seems Apple is rolling out new versions about every year and a half. Since you "love" your current phone, I'd wait and get the next generation iPhone for a cheaper price (upgrade) than get this one and pay more for it. I hope this helps.
Updated on Oct 24, 2009In my original review, I put battery life as a con. I'd like to retract that now. Battery life has not been a problem. I can't go multiple days without recharging but I can go all day (from about 5:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night when I get home) without recharging. That's pretty good considering I'm looking at videos and doing a lot on the phone throughout the day. I'm actually surprised that I'll still have 30%, 40%, sometimes 50% battery life when I get home, especially since the phone stays connected to the internet.
Updated on Oct 24, 2009Lastly, for those of you who don't have bluetooth, I bought this contraption (don't know the name of it) from the Apple store that allowed me to connect the phone to the speakers of the car which in turn allows to to play the iPod, listen to apps (such as Nav apps turn by turn directions, Trapster, and Pandora, etc.) This is sooooo cool. I no longer need satellite radio. I can listen to internet radio, which unlike satellite radio, is customizable via my iPhone through the speakers of my car. I can also place and receive phone calls through this contraption. If you have auxilary plugs in your car, you should get good sound quality, if you don't then you'll have to get the contraption that's tunes to the FM radio which is still pretty good but can have some rough spots. It's still worth it to me. I don't know the name of it but it costs $99 at the Apple store and all you do is plug it in to your cigarette lighter and you're ready to go.
Apple should leave AT&T
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on June 19, 2009
23 out of 43 users found this review helpful
Pros: nice apps, battery life a little better,lots of memory
Cons: slow, bad reception. no multi-tasking, no turn by turn, dropped calls
Summary: i would of gave it more stars if it apple was with another carrier
Poor quality of a great product
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on June 21, 2009
14 out of 25 users found this review helpful
Pros: Fast phone lots of great features. The camera is good the internet is fast. There are lots of great aps that use the new features well.
Cons: Apple and AT&T are not working together well. If you're in the US you can't use the new picture messaging feature because AT&T is not supporting it. Also I am now going to go on to my 3rd 3g s in two days. My year old original phone is better.
Summary: If apple can ever get this phone to work it will be awesome. If AT&T ever gets with it you'll actually be able use all the features. Don't buy one unless you want a huge headache and an unreliable phone. I've never had 2 phones break on me in 2 days. And apple seems not to care. Their customer service is poor and their product in this case poorer.