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Customer Review

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as a gadget but poor as a phone, 23 Jan. 2011
By 
My black 16G 3GS is now a year old. However, it doesn't look it! The two best features of this phone are its ease of use & the fact the screen is made of GLASS!! A guy at work's son works for HTC so gets a new model every few months but they look so tatty after a few weeks of use - it's those horrid resistive film displays that scratch or mark so easily! The iPhone's screen on mine has a tiny single scratch only. If you hold this phone up to bright light at the right angle, you can just about see the grid of wires that are roughly 2mm apart & are capacitively coupled when a fingertip contacts the screen.
Some may not like being tied to iTunes just to activate the phone but that's how Apple have chosen to do it. This software ends up being an integral part of the 3GS & is required to update the phone's firmware. You also get a 3 month trial of Apple's remote sync'ing software called MobileMe that includes 20GB of storage space that have public folders for anyone to access, with or without password protection. It also comes with an email account. You don't need the iPhone to access MobileMe as it can be from any PC or Mac
One thing Apple have got right is email access. I have 5 accounts that can be accessed simultaneously. Having such a large display that can be viewed horizontally makes reading html messages a pleasure. Text messaging is fairly straightforward, predictive text sort of works but even at the pace I type, the suggestions are a bit slow. The camera is best described as OK rather than best of class. The 3GS allows autofocus to the point in the scene you tap on. Other very well sorted aspects are the ability to listen to music to a high degree of quality on the move after pluging in a decent set of phones. My Jawbone Icon supports the A2DP & with a suitable app, lets me listen to various radio stations, albeit in mono. So, these are some of the good points to the iPhone but it far from perfect. The frustrating thing is that these flaws are seemingly deliberate in that much potential functionality has been withheld.
One fundamental aspect to phones of this level of sophistication is to share stuff with other people. With my previous phone (a Sony Ericsson W890i), it was a simple matter to transfer address book entries, photos, files, etc via Bluetooth. You could also plug in the W890i into a PC via its USB cable & the plug-in memory would be seen as a Mass Storage Device. Sharing anything on an iPhone is so damn difficult as to make it more or less impossible. Another gaping flaw to the iPhone 3GS is the poor RF performance. This phone's ability to make or receive calls is below average despite most so-called smartphones not brilliant in this respect anyhow. Some pundits have argued that modern phones don't need decent RF performance but a phone's a phone & a phone & the core function is to make calls!!! I live in a medium size town & not in the middle of the country but I still see "No Service" far too often on my phone! I can't be the only mobile phone user who wants the best RF performance that modern technology could deliver. What about doctors, the self-employed & others who rely on being able to keep in contact other than by Facebook?
The good:
* Pretty good call audio quality
* Glass screen that doesn't scratch that easily. The capacitive touch control doesn't require (or work with) a stylus
* Nice large screen that can been seen in sunlight
* Very easy to use
* Accessing several email accounts with either POP3 or IMAP protocols just works
* Very well designed user interface. Stuff like Google Maps, compass, calendar, etc work well.
* Optional apps such as Soundhound or Shazam work well & integrate into iTunes well enough to purchase songs you hear within minutes. 1000s of useful apps you can't even imagine are available from the sublime to the ridiculous.
* Games where tilting the phone work well.
* WiFi works well enough
* Internet access & navigation works well enough. 3rd party browsers available
* Bluetooth supports the A2DP profile & shows my Jawbone Icon's battery meter. It is fairly reliable.
* Accepts an ordinary 3.5mm stereo jack & drives a pair of Sennheiser PX200 phones very well. Movie playback is jerk-free & reasonable quality.
* Will sync with Outlook either directly when plugged into iTunes or via MobileMe.
* Is reasonably slim & has loads of 3rd party cases & sleeves.
* Internet radio apps work well when you can get a 3G connection
* The supplied cable allows charging from suitable USB ports
* You can track the location & even remotely disable the 3GS using MobileMe
The poor
* Poor RF performance. The core function of a phone is to make & receive calls. The 3GS is worse than average.
* Expect to charge at least once a day. Cannot swap batteries because they are sealed in.
* The ability to share phonebook entries, songs, photos or files is best described as non-existent
* No plug-in memory slots
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2011 17:54:47 BDT
Steven M says:
Ok you say the the power/battery is an issue with your iphone i disagree but you answer your own problems when it comes to battery use. You say you use 5 email accounts, you no doubt have them set to push or check every 15/30 mins automatically now one does not have to be a maths genius to realize how much background battery use that will generate. My 3gs lasts at least 3 days with heavy use, i just know how to use it properly and understand what pointless battery intensive options to deselect. My advice is simply put your mail fetch on manual you will be shocked at how much battery that will save you and you will suddenly beleive me when i say mine lasts 3 days with heavy use.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2011 20:33:50 BDT
busb says:
Did you get out of the wrong side of the bed when you wrote this very self-righteous & unnecessarily rude post?
I don't think it's for you to presume to tell me how often I should poll for emails - a function that doesn't use a huge amount of power to start with! There are many functions that can increase the standby battery life such as disabling location tracking, WiFi & how long the screen remains active.
Two people with very similar usage patterns may experience very different recharge periods solely due to how near or far they are from a base-station

Posted on 3 Jan 2012 03:03:55 GMT
G Eldridge says:
Thanks for thsi very informative review.. I have read the same problems from many other reviewers.. thanks for saving me from buying this as a phone.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 23:03:40 GMT
busb says:
Thanks. My girlfriend now has it with iOS5 installed. I now have a 4S that's much better in nearly every respect. Perhaps I'll review it soon
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