28 Jun 11

Apple i-phone 3G – The best cell/mobile phone?

Reviewing an i-phone, of any model, is a difficult task. All phones in the range contains so many features and functions I would be able to write thousands and thousands of words, well I could if I had the patience and inclination and thought all the users of this review would actually read it. Scouring the internet there are hundreds of reviews about the i-phone that range from the very detailed and “techy/geeky” to those of a few lines saying “it’s great”, along with everything in between. During my research I never found a review that covered the “stupid” questions that I daren’t ask the sales staff in the O2 shop or any i-phone owners, so hopefully I have covered most of these “stupid” points that potential consumers may have, within my review. This review is to give a ‘taster’ of living with the i-phone, broadly describing advantages, benefits, key features and problems I have experienced to date. The only way to definitely know if the i-phone is for you is to take the plunge and get one. I admit that I was skeptical at first however I wouldn’t be without mine, even though it is ‘only’ the entry level model of the current range. 

***The model of choice**** 

There are a few models of i-phone currently available including the 8gb 3G, 16gb 3GS and the 32gb 3GS. Whilst the higher level models have more features than the more ‘basic’ models they are all pretty much the same core product. 

After weighing up my needs, finances and information I gathered from the internet I decided the best option for me was the 8gb 3G. In my opinion 16gb, let alone 32gb, is just too much and whilst these 3GS models had additional features of which some, like the video camera (although like most things “There is an app for that”), would be nice there was no way I could justify the additional cost, so I plumped for the 8gb 3G model. 

****In the box**** 

When I was presented with my i-phone box I must admit that I was quite disappointed. The box is very small and contains the i-phone, a plug with a USB slot for wall charging, a USB lead, headphones, the sim card removal tool (ensure you keep this safe), a quick start “finger tips” guide and two Apple stickers. 

Everything to get you started is included but given the value and status of the i-phone I was expecting more. Maybe a bigger box? Maybe a few more user guides? Who knows, I just thought there would be something a bit extra. The small box is good for the environment though so as few trees as possible were harmed in the manufacture of these phones. 


I have to admit that I am a fan of small phones and I always have been. The Motorola Startac, the Samsung GSH600, the Razr were all small phones and I loved them all. They may not have had all the features of other phones during their time but I simply loved the fact that they could be chucked in a pocket of the tightest fitting jeans and they wouldn’t be obtrusive. 

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the i-phone and at around 12cm x 6cm x just under 1cm it is a bit of a beast. Compared to my previous phone, a Blackberry Pearl, it is huge and I did (and still do) notice the difference in size. That said, I think the i-phone is the perfect size for the features it has to offer. Any smaller and many of the features and applications just wouldn’t work. 

Size v features and functionality is a trade off and compromises have to be made, therefore I am more than happy to have a slightly bulkier phone that is packed with features so I am more than happy with my i-phone. 

****Battery life**** 

Whilst in the O2 shop I was treated to a demonstration of the basic features of the i-phone and how to use it. During the demonstration the salesman commented on how poor the battery life of the i-phone was compared to other mobile phones on the market. When he said his friend (being a heavy user) had to charge his phone on a daily basis and the battery went dead twice in a 24 hour period I thought he was exaggerating. 

Watching podcasts or movies, surfing the net and listening to music all depletes the life quickly, which is to be expected really. In addition, if you leave the phone in 3G mode in an area where there is no signal the battery life will also be used up quickly as the phone is constantly looking for a signal (and using its power) that just isn’t there. In order to preserve the battery life it is best to leave the 3G off unless you are actually in a 3G area. 

After owning the i-phone I can confirm that this mobile devours its battery very, very quickly. If the phone is left alone with no use then the battery will last around a day and a half to two days. Compared to my previous phone (a Blackberry Pearl) the battery life is diabolical and I find that I have to charge my i-phone daily.

 Personally, I have no problem with this since the i-phone can be charged via USB, a wall charger, car charger or one of those instant chargers so there are no excuses for not being able to top up the battery. I should also point out that you can even buy a solar charger that plugs in to the bottom of the i-phone so you can even charge it on the beach, by the pool, trekking through the Himalayas or wherever else your travels may take you. 

****Instructions and user guides**** 

Where to start with the instructions and user guide? I can only really describe this as minimalist. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for saving trees, reducing my carbon footprint as far as possible (within reason) etc but I do like to have some form of written instructions when I buy any product, let alone something like the i-phone, which is technologically advanced and requires a bit of getting used to the ‘controls’. 

When I was handed the box I instantly knew there wasn’t going to be a (hard) paper copy as the box was just so small. There is, however, enough room for a CD so I thought there would be a user guide disc lurking somewhere at the bottom, however I was very mistaken. There was a tiny ‘scrap’ of paper, which Apple refers to as a quick user guide, although it is pretty useless and contains information about features that can be worked out within 30 seconds of getting the phone out of the box. Now this user guide, was a total waste of paper. 

The full user guide can be downloaded free of charge from the internet. Just do a Google search and you’ll soon find it for download. Even though the i-phone is easy to use I would highly recommend reading the user guide to get started. 

****The home screen and included features**** 

The i-phone comes preloaded with features including messages, phone, mail, contacts, calendar, camera, youtube, maps, weather, calculator, settings, iTunes, Safari, ipod, stocks, photos, voice memos, clock, App store and notes. 

The above is a good selection to get any i-phone user started, however, I doubt most people are going to use all of the features above. Personally, I will never use the stocks, notes or voice memos and these are icons that are just sat there. One thing that surprises me is the fact that the above features can’t be deleted. It is possible to “get rid of them” by moving them to an additional ‘home screen’ so you can keep all the features and apps you’re going to use together, so all is not lost. 

One thing that surprised me about the i-phone is the limited number of ringtones and message stones that are bundled on it from the factory. I would have thought there would have been much more variety and a greater number of sounds than is actually included, especially given the emphasis that is place on ringtones. This is more of an annoyance than a disadvantage as it is exceptionally quick and easy to seek out tones that say something about you and a five minute internet search will give you access to thousands of ringtones and sounds that can be downloaded for free and uploaded on to your i-phone. I can remember the days when you had to pay a fortune for ringtones and the only way of getting them was to receive them by text, so there was no way of getting them for free, so the modern day MP3 tones (which are limitless and free from most places) are an absolute god send. 

****Navigation and general overview**** 

The i-phone uses touch screen technology. Having had touch screen appliances before, including and Archos MP4 player amongst other things, I was a bit skeptical of how responsive it would be. Not only do I have fat finger syndrome but I also suffer from dry finger tips and rough skin and these are not a good combination for other touch screen products I own as it does affect the responsiveness somewhat. I have to confess that there are no issues over the responsiveness of the touch screen of my i-phone and is both fast and accurate, which makes for an excellent experience. 

Texting and emailing is a pleasure. The i-phone has a full qwerty keyboard that instantly ‘pops up’ when you want to write an email, text, web address etc. Because of the issues I have above I did have some concerns and thought there would be many instances of the i-phone recognising incorrect characters when I typed, however I do have few problems. There are accuracy issues at times, there is with all phones, whether touch screen of the traditional button style, but I have to admit that the touch screen is far more accurate and far more responsive than the qwerty keyboard of my Pearl and my texting speeds, now I am used to the i-phone, are much quicker and contain far fewer errors than ever before. 

****Music/video and podcasts**** 

Even the 8gb i-phone, which is the one with the smallest amount of memory, has enough room to store a few thousand songs, many small video files (or nearly two full

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