1st July 2009 at 8:42 am

iPhone 3GS review

I finally switched to the iPhone when the new model, the 3GS, was released on the 19 June. My main requirement was not the phone but the data capabilities. I also wanted it to replace my existing iPod Classic.

I didn’t buy the first generation because because without 3G if had limited value as a data device. Also to replace my iPod (160GB), 8GB storage was not enough. Then the 3G ticked the data speed box but the largest capacity was still only 16GB. I did replace my iPod Classic though, with an iPod Touch 32GB at the end of last year (In fact I had two iPod Touches – the first suffered an early demise when I trod on it.)

So having set the bar at 32GB as acceptable capacity, the new iPhone 3GS 32GB ticked the final box.

First the out-of-the-box experience. As soon as I plugged it into my Mac – it quickly completed the activation process and within a few minutes O2 were sending me texts confirming activation and also telling me that MMS had been enabled. After that iTunes asked me if I wanted to restore from the backup of my previous iPhone. Of course it was actually referring to my iPod Touch, but I let it go ahead. Around an hour later everything completed and all my Apps, Music, settings etc. had been restored to the new iPhone. Even the save state of the various games was restored. It was ready for action.

So what do I think.

Overall it’s a fantastic device – it’s years ahead of any of the mobile phone I have used. In fact rather than list all the things I like, I will just list few things I don’t.

First the Mail Application – it’s terrible. Apple know how to make a good Mail application – I use it every day on my Mac running OS X Leopard. It was a good application 5 years ago too. So what were they thinking when they designed the iPhone mall application – the iPhone runs OS X too so why did they omit so much.

I want a single unified Inbox – currently the process to check the inboxes of my three email accounts is

  1. Open Mail App
  2. Selected Mail Account
  3. Select Inbox
  4. Read Mail
  5. Press Back
  6. Press Back
  7. Select 2nd Mail Account
  8. Select Inbox
  9. Read Mail
  10. Press Back
  11. Press Back
  12. Select 3rd Mail Account
  13. Select Inbox

Thirteen steps – compare that with the same task on my mac

  1. Open Mail App (Opens showings contents of all the inboxes)

And then managing the mail is also a nightmare – basic functions are just not there, things like:

  • Mark all email as read
  • Select All
  • Delete Selected

And my other gripe is around Apple’s decision to tie the iPhone to a single carrier and then allowing the carrier to abuse their monopoly positions.

As a consequence O2 are able rip the consumer off.

Unlimited Data which is not unlimited data. If you want to use the tethering option, you have to buy a “Bolt On” for 15 per month and limited to 3GBs. Every other phone I have owned for the past 8 years has allowed tethering with no extra cost – this is disgraceful.

Other than that – the iPhone, coupled with the App store, is near perfect.