First impressions of the iPhone 3G

Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:18 pm By BigLig

These were never going to be earth shattering, of course, since I already have a first-gen iPod Touch, so my new 3gs is basically that, with a phone, a microphone, a camera, a GPS, a compass, mobile internet, a fatter bum, a grease-resistant screen, and a faster processor.

Actually when I write it like that it sounds like a lot. Anyhoo, let's begin.

Very easy to set up. I charged it for 3 hours, plugged it into iTunes, answered a few questions, and it started syncing. I immediately stopped it so I could tweak what it was syncing (a while back my music library grew to the point where I have to use a series of interlocked playlists to decide what to sync to the iPod), then started again. 20Gb of data later, and half a dozen text messages from O2 later, it was ready.

Physical impressions: bigger, but this actually makes it more comfortable to hold. It still (just!) fits into an official apple iPod sock, which will be acting as a case until I can find one I like in the shops. I'm not yet decided if I want a slipcase or one with a belt clip. I miss the old Blackberry belt clip cases, but my last two only had a slipcase, and I wonder if I've gotten too used to that way of working.

The screen looks richer, and it does pick up grease less than the Touch did.

The weirdest thing about it, coming from a touch, is that it has a speaker. It keeps giving me unexpected audio feedback. For example, it makes a Wolverine-style "snickt" sound whenever I lock or unlock it.

The second weirdest thing, is the extra buttons for the volume control and ringer switch; followed closely by the headphone jack being at the top.

The headphone controls, and voice command, are cool and work well so far.

Also: the UK charger is impossibly small. I thought the international charger I had for the touch was small, but the iPhone is just a regular plug head with a USB socket in it.

All my apps run well, and the speed increase is noticeable, although I didn't really have any that were too slow on the Touch .

The camera seems to work well, based on a few test shots - I'll take some more and send them to my computer tomorrow and take a good look. I think the fact that I can use applications to process them after taking is going to be significant.

I like how it handles data. It was showing an E when I first turned it on, which is worrying as I should be in good range of a HSPDA/3G signal, but as soon as I configured my WiFi, it stopped that and routes all data thru the WiFi. It turns out that this actually saves battery, as WiFi data needs less juice than 3G data; if the device is going to be out of range of WiFi for a while it;s worth turning off, but otherwise I should have it connected to a LAN as much as possible.

Last thought: I think I'm going to need *another* dock. That will bring me to:

Charging Dock in the bedroom.
Charging Dock in the work office.
Charger + cable in my bag.
Sync cable attached to my Mac.

We'll see: the charger in my bag might do for work, but a dock is so much simpler.