Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So I bought an iPhone 3G S

I'm not one to usually go out and buy the latest gadget on the market. I'm usually one of the last; hell, I don't even have TV at home. So, why did I go out and spend $200+ on the newest iPhone 3G S (16 gig) the first day it was available? And, what do I think of it?

First of all, I didn't really have to waste all day standing in line. The entire process wasn't much longer than it usually takes when I go into an AT&T store for any other transaction. I was there for a total of about 45 minutes. I did get the last available 16 gig black iPhone in the store though.

Back to what I am here to talk about....

I have been looking to upgrade to another phone for a while now. My contract has been up for about 3 weeks and have been seriously looking for a 3G device that is also capable of connecting to a wireless network. My then current phone was a Blackberry Curve (which incidentally I have had mixed feelings about since I have had it -- I may get to those later). Because my Blackberry didn't have either of my above requirements, it was time to trade up.

The showdown was between the newer Blackberry Bold (at the bottom of the list due to my feelings on the problems I had over the past 2 years with the Curve) and the iPhone. Actually, the iPhone had two slots... the 3G version and the 3G S.

The Bold was eliminated quickly. I really wanted a "real" browser. The only pluses I saw were a tactile keyboard and the fact that I was already familiar with the Blackberry interface.

My next dilemma was whether to purchase the new 3G S or the old 3G model. I settled on the 3G S (3rd Gen) after doing more research and determining that the new 3G S would indeed be worth the extra $100 for the speed increase... and that settled it.

So, why rush out... why not wait a while and see if all the hoopla turns out true; would it be as fast as they say?....why should I be the guinea pig?

One reason I wanted to jump in now was because I am already spending a small fortune on the Blackberry data plan which I felt wasn't getting the use it could. Downsizing the current plan was always an option, but having the ability (as slow and tedious as it was) was sometimes still more convenient than not having anything at all (not to mention, I'm an e-mail junkie). I have always felt that if you are going to use e-mail (as it was designed), a prompt answer is expected and I hate sitting around a computer all day.

My thoughts on the iPhone 3G S:

Out of the box, this thing is simple to use. One of my worries was the usability of the touch screen keyboard. It takes some getting used to, but is not a show stopper by any means. I am still having a hard time placing the cursor after typing a word to make a correction. I find it faster to just delete it and type again. The applications that come on the iPhone by default are a great start and some people may not even need to add too much more to get their moneys worth.

The built in mapping application coupled with the compass and traffic reporting (both also built in) makes it more useful than my Garmin Nuvi 350. The only plus of the Garmin is it speaks the directions. I am sure there is (or will be an application that will take advantage of this this). To make this even more convenient, installing "Say Where!" (for free), will allow you to speak your location. I have found that this has been very accurate.

Another appliation that I found to be slick is the "GPS Tracker". But the only reason I'd use this is if I were on a trip I wanted my route tracked or give a map to someone that couldn't be mapped out in the normal manner.

Comparing the 3G S side by side with the 3G... I have a bunch of friends and co-workers that have the 2nd gen iPhone, so we put them to the test. By far, every time, the 3G S was faster at bringing up a web page than the 2nd gen. There was also a noticeable difference in the delay (or lack there of) moving from screen to screen through the menus.

Once you purchase an iPhone you have to make sure you keep it protected. A case of some sort is a must in my opinion. There is no way I'd handle a iPhone without some sort of case to protect it. The iPhone looks and feel extremely fragile (whether it is or not). I purchased an Otter Box for total protection. The Otter Box is a hard case that covers the entire phone including the touch screen with a silicone cover encasing the hard shell. It also comes with a belt clip. This thing is stout.

The fact that none of my USB cables will work with the iPhone is a little annoying, I knew this long ago, but it doesn't make it any easier to get over.

I still hate iTunes with a passion. I think I may be the only one in the civilized world with this opinion, but I guess I am going to get used to it one way or another. The interface to sync to the phone isn't the most intuitive (like everything else Apple). If you sync your contacts from Google and you set iTunes to sync with the phone, you will get duplicate contacts (in a seperate group or two) which is a pain in the ass to correct. I ended up resetting the iPhone to factory to clear up the empty groups after unsuccessfully being able to remove them completely (I was only able to clear the duplicate entries and leave the groups).

Yes, I purchased AppleCare. I haven't opened it yet and still haven't decided if I am going to keep it. If you have any opinions on the matter, I'd love to hear them.

As of now (only playing with it for 10 minutes) I haven't been able to get my Jawbone Prime bluetooth to initiate a voice dial on the iPhone. I am pretty sure I can speak via the Jawbone after initiating the voice dial application from the phone, but everything I am reading is telling me that I won't be able to initiate from the bluetooth.... this kinda sucks, but not too big of a deal for me.

The latest issue I have been having is configuring the iPhone on my home WIFI. I was able to connect to my works WIFI very easily. I use WEP 128bit encryption and the only way I was able to connect was to disable the security altogether. If anyone has any tips or ants more information, I can provide complete details of the issue. It boils down to after connecting, the iPhone gets a bogus IP address (even if I set a static one).

(Update: 6/25/2009 -- I have been able to get the WIFI to work, but I ended up changing the security from WEP to WPA2. Once this change was made, the WIFI worked like a charm.)

Overall, I'm really liking my new phone so far. We'll see how it goes after a few weeks.