bit-tech.net

iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet

Posted on 6th Jul 2009 at 10:26 by Antony Leather with 33 comments

Antony Leather
I blogged recently about the fact that while I hate Apple, I was considering acquiring the new iPhone 3GS. The reasons for this was that I wanted something a bit lighter and easier to use than my HTC TyTN II which sported Windows Mobile 6.1. Well, I’ve now owned a 3GS for just over a week and in short, it’s everything I wanted and more.

However I’m not going to jump headfirst into some crazy Apple love-fest spiel and no, it’s not because I still hate Apple (which I do), nor is because I got the phone for free and have been paid to (neither of which are true). It’s because I’ve come from using what was meant to be the pinnacle of the iPhone’s competition and instead I’m left wandering what the hell Microsoft and Nokia for that matter have been doing for the last few years.

Now first I’ll say that most of the things the iPhone can do, other devices can do. In fact the latest HTC handsets such as the HTC Touch HD can do more such as play a greater range of audio and video files as well as sporting higher resolution screens. They can run all manner of applications and until last weekend the iPhone didn’t have a true turn-by-turn sat nav application (it now does with Navigon MobileNavigator) while there were plenty available for Windows Mobile and Symbian, with GPS enabled Nokia handsets even coming with Nokia Maps as standard.

iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet.
The HTC Touch HD is one of the iPhone's main competitors but it doesn't come close to being as slick and easy to use although it does boast a higher resolution screen.

They can also surf the Internet but while Mobile Internet Explorer isn’t worth the storage space it takes up, I’ll cut a little slack here as Opera Mobile improves things no end.

iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet.
Navigon's MobileNavigator is the first true turn by turn sat nav app for the iPhone

So why is the iPhone so good? While it can also do these things it adds one massively important thing to the equation – it does them well. Very well. In fact every task I’ve undertaken from playing videos and music, surfing the Internet to taking photos and video, even using maps, contacts, calculator and a handful of third party apps, has been so perfectly polished and are so easy to use and responsive that I've been able to master the device in a few hours. It’s a pleasure to use when typing, especially with the landscape touchscreen keyboard, miles better than the slide out monstrosity on my TyTN II. Also as it's so popular there are thousands of accessories from slide on extended batteries to docking speaker systems.

Despite having used it solidly for what must be more than 20 hours, it hasn’t crashed or locked up either, something Windows Mobile did frequently on several different custom firmware’s I tried. I would even go as far as saying it feels like using an OS after a fresh install – it responds instantly to commands and clicks.

While I've yet to master iTunes, synchronising hasn’t been too challenging. I’ve even found a brilliant application called iPlayer Downloader that saves BBC iPlayer streams allowing you to simply import the file in iTunes and transfer it

I knew the iPhone was good but I didn't think the 3GS would turn out to be so stageringly useful and easy to use. There is quite literally an application for everything now so whether you want to watch videos, play music, check the tube train arrivals at any station or use it as a Sat Nav or even as a leveller, there are applications for this.

In addition, Apple has added a few things to the 3GS that makes it even better than the 3G including more RAM and a faster CPU that really do make it much nippier. There's also a digital compass which is starting to make a big difference to quite a few applications - Maps for example, rotates the view to the direction you're facing. In addition the touch screen has received a coat of oleophobic polymer which greatly reduces finger print smudging.

iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet iPhone 3GS – the Apple tastes sweet.

I've been after an all-in-one device since before the Nokia N95 was released. The idea of being able to have an MP3 player, video recorder, digital camera and a phone all in one device was a dream. Having given up on this quest, I suddenly realised that at last I have it. The iPhone 3GS does practically everything, and it does it well and every other device is left playing a huge game of catchup in at least one area. The likes of Microsoft, HTC and Nokia have a lot of work to do.

33 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Da_Rude_Baboon 6th July 2009, 12:19 Quote
I'm not an apple fan either, largely due to the overbearing smug **** at work who bang on about maps when they nothing about IT.
But... My fiancée bought a 3GS on Friday and i have been extremely impressed with it. Its very slick and the way it handles the internet and video sources like you tube and iplayer is sublime.
Blademrk 6th July 2009, 14:25 Quote
Got my 3GS week last tuesday, I agree completely, fantastic bit of kit.

I've got TwitterFon, Facebook and a TVGuide app and a couple of games installed on it and the difference compared to my old phone (which I've still got on a 3 Pay £0 contract for Skype and MSN) is staggering.

I looked at a few of the popular phones out there before finaly deciding to get one and really didn't like the feel of the equivelent Nokia/SE/LG models

I'm tempted to get the Cycle Routes app for when I get into cycling properly -which is like a sat nav (with cycle routes) crossed with a cycle computer (judges speed/distance/altitude/calories burned etc...).

Can anyone suggest a good MSN compatible Messenger app?
wuyanxu 6th July 2009, 15:06 Quote
iPhone is sure a great device to use. it's the type of gadget that once you get used to it, you won't want to go without it. it is able to be like an all-in-one gadget that can be used to replace your phone, camera (3GS only though, older model's 2MP are crap), media player, intenet connection and portable gaming.

but im very disappointed at Apple's decision to exclude any bluetooth feature from iPhone 2G even when 2G and 3G's bluetooth hardware is exactly the same.

same goes for MMS on 2G. which i have managed to enable on my 2G.
Paradigm Shifter 6th July 2009, 16:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I've seen reports of the 3GS running rather hot and discolouring the back? Anyone using one had that experience?

I wouldn't mind one, but I'm tied to my contract for another year or so.
mclean007 6th July 2009, 16:08 Quote
I agree wholeheartedly, apart from when you say the words "digital camera" - you really can't argue that the iPhone (even the 3GS) is a suitable substitute for a digital camera. Even an el cheapo compact will give massively better photos, and camera phone offerings from Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson are leagues ahead of the iPhone. That Achilles Heel aside, it is otherwise an astonishingly fantastic piece of equipment.
Combatus 6th July 2009, 16:41 Quote
I haven't had any issues with heat leading to poor battery life or a discolouring of the back fascia. I was on some pretty toasty tube trains last week too and was watching video for an hour on my way home too.

I've also used Maps as a stop gap sat nav for two hours in my car and again it was fine (battery lasted all that time too!) I'm guessing the people who have reported this either have dodgy examples or were using them in rediculous temperatures. After all, how many phones out there can you get in white? Not many so it's difficult to say if this is a 3GS specific issue or whether most phones in it's place would suffer the same issue. Either way, for people in warm countries it's a bit worrying.

@mclean007. I've been really impressed with the camera but agreed it's no way near compact status and most Nokia's etc, especially those with flash are also better. In daylight it's brilliant though - have a look at my flickr account (link in forum signature) - I took some pics last week of my Lian Li V2000 - outside the results are great and in low light it's not too bad either.
Blademrk 6th July 2009, 16:56 Quote
Bluetooth is a disappointment on it (Couldn't sync my watch to it :( ).

So is the inability of being able to use any track you have on it as a ring tone (you can create a ringtone in iTunes from a track you've purchased, but I kept getting an error whenever I tried it, and in any case the track I want to use is not available on iTunes even if I wanted to purchase it).
mclean007 6th July 2009, 18:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
@mclean007. I've been really impressed with the camera but agreed it's no way near compact status and most Nokia's etc, especially those with flash are also better. In daylight it's brilliant though - have a look at my flickr account (link in forum signature) - I took some pics last week of my Lian Li V2000 - outside the results are great and in low light it's not too bad either.
The 3GS is definitely a step up from the previous iPhones, but it is still a long way short of what I would consider a camera replacement. Low light performance especially as you note is crap, which is a shame as (in my experience at least) many spontaneous shots where camera phones are ideal are taken on nights out, when it is likely to be dark!! The quality of images from my N95 is head and shoulders above, as you'd expect given the larger, Carl Zeiss optics, flash and 5MP sensor. That apart, the iPhone is all over it.
nitrous9200 6th July 2009, 21:46 Quote
I would own one except for a few stupid little things that could easily be changed, but probably won't be any time soon:
1) iTunes. Steve Jobs once called iTunes for Windows "A glass of ice water in hell"..Steve, I think you've got it backwards. Your product is one of the slowest and most bloated pieces of software in existence and has caused more problems than I can count on my fingers.
2) Non-removable battery. self-explanatory
3) No multitasking. I don't understand the point of a smartphone that can't run more than one app at once.
4) In the US, AT&T. They're almost universally hated and iPhone owners consider the worst thing about their phone is the carrier. Plus I have Verizon and won't be switching any time soon (also one of the best carriers in the country)
5) Only apps from the app store. I don't need Apple to be my mommy and tell me what's inappropriate, I can do it myself thanks.
It does seem like more issues are fixed with each iPhone revision, but I doubt they'll all ever be fixed. It's too bad because there's lots of developer support behind it.
Combatus 6th July 2009, 23:13 Quote
Multitasking isn't totally abscent, I mean I can use the ipod app while surfing the internet, things like that. It's mainly an issue with games and instant messaging.

Agreed about iTunes though. Such a crock of crap compared to how easy the actual iPhone is to use. I think the answer is to jailbreak the phone because then you can use apps that make syncing much easier and you have access to more apps too.

Apple says the battery isn't replaceable but it is possible to do it and the batteries are available. You just need to know where and how!
Fod 6th July 2009, 23:18 Quote
Final jailbreak should be out in a couple weeks, there is a daemon you can install through Cydia to enable any app to continue running in the background when you hit the home button. Very useful for, er, fring and that's about it.
wuyanxu 7th July 2009, 00:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fod
Final jailbreak should be out in a couple weeks, there is a daemon you can install through Cydia to enable any app to continue running in the background when you hit the home button. Very useful for, er, fring and that's about it.
Backgrounder.

using it on 3GS will be fantastic, the extra free RAM......

it's great for things like: WunderRadio, iPocketTV (downloads TV shows, so background it and go to other stuff), Skype, Palringo (MSN). or any app that you want to quickly switch back to (probably won't be a problem for 3Gspeed)
phuzz 7th July 2009, 10:52 Quote
Just in the process from moving from a BB Storm to a 3GS at work. First reaction?
I bloody hate itunes :(
Combatus 7th July 2009, 11:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
Just in the process from moving from a BB Storm to a 3GS at work. First reaction?
I bloody hate itunes :(

Ditto
rollo 7th July 2009, 11:11 Quote
Own 3gs White never had any heat issues despite playing games whilst charging it in a 35c room it was a little hot but so is a psp even my old Sony erickson got hot after music use
Blademrk 7th July 2009, 17:37 Quote
Apparently if you're not in the U.S. you cannot use the make ringtone command in iTunes, it'll just give you an error. However, I've found a workround for adding ringtunes from either MP3's or tracks purchased from iTunes:
  • Set the import properties of iTunes to AAC.
  • Select the track you want to create a ringtone of and make a note of the start and end time of the section you want to use as a ringtone (30 seconds max).
  • Got to "Get Info" in the context menu and select options.
  • Change the Start & End time to the Start/End time of the section you want to use.
  • Close the properties menu and select create AAC version from the tracks context menu.
  • You should now have a new track where the time is <30 seconds long (you can now reset the start/end time in the original track).
  • Drag the new track to the desktop (or a folder if your going to keep a backup copy your new ringones) and enable viewing file extensions in the explorer window options.
  • Change the file name extension from .m4a to .m4r.
  • Open the Ringtone tab in iTunes and drag & drop the renamed file in to the window.
  • Re-sync and you should have your new ringtone.
mclean007 7th July 2009, 18:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blademrk
Apparently if you're not in the U.S. you cannot use the make ringtone command in iTunes, it'll just give you an error. However, I've found a workround for adding ringtunes from either MP3's or tracks purchased from iTunes:
  • Set the import properties of iTunes to AAC.
  • Select the track you want to create a ringtone of and make a note of the start and end time of the section you want to use as a ringtone (30 seconds max).
  • Got to "Get Info" in the context menu and select options.
  • Change the Start & End time to the Start/End time of the section you want to use.
  • Close the properties menu and select create AAC version from the tracks context menu.
  • You should now have a new track where the time is <30 seconds long (you can now reset the start/end time in the original track).
  • Drag the new track to the desktop (or a folder if your going to keep a backup copy your new ringones) and enable viewing file extensions in the explorer window options.
  • Change the file name extension from .m4a to .m4r.
  • Open the Ringtone tab in iTunes and drag & drop the renamed file in to the window.
  • Re-sync and you should have your new ringtone.
What a huge amount of work for a feature that should be implemented in a user friendly way!!
wuyanxu 7th July 2009, 19:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
What a huge amount of work for a feature that should be implemented in a user friendly way!!
how about
http://i-funbox.com/

iPhone browser without jailbreak!

copy music/video off iphone not possible yet, probably due to itune 8.2's new DLL hooks. but everything else works great.
KayinBlack 14th July 2009, 06:26 Quote
Pah, my wife's G1 with the Cupcake update beats the hell out off that.

I'll go for open source any day. Besides, I have Android on a laptop here, I can try out anything on it too. Now do THAT with your iPhone.
Blademrk 14th July 2009, 11:27 Quote
There was something on Trusted Reviews Twitter feed this morning about Orange and T-Mobile (I think it was) are going to start offering the iPhone 3G (the S will still be exclusive to O2)
wuyanxu 14th July 2009, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
Pah, my wife's G1 with the Cupcake update beats the hell out off that.

I'll go for open source any day. Besides, I have Android on a laptop here, I can try out anything on it too. Now do THAT with your iPhone.
do what? name it and there's a Appstore app or jailbroken app to do it.
KayinBlack 16th July 2009, 05:07 Quote
I was saying that I can run Android on my laptop to independently test any app before my wife takes it out-so there's no "I wish I had known" moments.
looselycoupled 21st July 2009, 02:33 Quote
I'll agree here. I have an iPod Touch and it is fantastic. Compared to the Winmo phone I had when I got the touch, it was like the thing fell out of the sky from the future. Sadly, I'm stuck on Verizon for now and so I'm stuck using a Blackberry Curve + iPod Touch for my "phone".

@KayinBlack

The G1 is nice, but it doesn't even compare to the iPhone 3GS in terms of speed. The 3GS can load webpages from WiFi in less than half the time, and panning and zooming around a large webpage is far easier and faster with the iPhone.

Carriers and availability not considered, the 3GS is a far better device than the G1 for everyone but an open source zealot.

That said, as a developer I love the idea of Android, and I think with some time to mature and better hardware, it will be an excellent system.
ronnie 2nd February 2010, 21:47 Quote
As apple was the first developer of smart-phone that is why it is an expert in the field of touchscreen phones. iPhone 3GS a new generation phone is definitely one of the modern wonders and above all, it’s the best phone among all smart-phones available. it is fast easy to use, reliable and offers iphone accessories to make it more fun to use. The users of iPhone 3G love it because as many windows mobile slows down in operation and has a little battery timing this phone doesn`t this is the very reason this phone is the best.
Regards
Ronnie Williams
Bindibadgi 2nd February 2010, 23:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnie
As apple was the first developer of smart-phone that is why it is an expert in the field of touchscreen phones.

Uh, no.

What about Blackberry, HTC? WinMo phones etc? They pre-date them by many years. It took Apple 18 months before they even had copy and paste. It still doesn't have flash support.
Quote:
iPhone 3GS a new generation phone is definitely one of the modern wonders and above all, it’s the best phone among all smart-phones available.

"The Best Phone"? I think you'll find that, as a phone for making and receiving phone calls, it's one of the worst. As a piece of mobile-computing hardware, it's pretty good at best. It's biggest feather in its cap is that it's well supported.
Quote:
it is fast easy to use, reliable and offers iphone accessories to make it more fun to use. The users of iPhone 3G love it because as many windows mobile slows down in operation and has a little battery timing this phone doesn`t this is the very reason this phone is the best.
Regards
Ronnie Williams

At this point, Ronnie, the holes in your wet "argument" are so big it creates its own gravitational vacuum. I'm branding this one "beware of the supermassive black hole".
gavomatic57 3rd February 2010, 09:26 Quote
Having just aquired one myself, I concur. I too hated Apple and had many an argument with mac fanbois on the PC Pro forums (they were shared at the time with MacUser), but my love of linux opened my eyes to other UNIX-like systems - the mac was like having linux/unix with 3rd party software support (besides Google!) I have a macbook pro now and it is very impressive and no doubt worth the money I paid for it. OSX is a nice OS to use too.

The 3gs is by far the most fun phone I've had and the unlimited data built into the tariff is excellent too. Battery life is shocking, but I've just got into the habit of charging it overnight.

I'm in danger of turning into a fanboi myself. Oops.
mclean007 3rd February 2010, 12:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Uh, no.

What about Blackberry, HTC? WinMo phones etc? They pre-date them by many years. It took Apple 18 months before they even had copy and paste. It still doesn't have flash support.

"The Best Phone"? I think you'll find that, as a phone for making and receiving phone calls, it's one of the worst. As a piece of mobile-computing hardware, it's pretty good at best. It's biggest feather in its cap is that it's well supported.

At this point, Ronnie, the holes in your wet "argument" are so big it creates its own gravitational vacuum. I'm branding this one "beware of the supermassive black hole".
Bindi, Bindi, Bindi, what has the internet taught us? Don't feed the trolls, especially when they resurrect a six month old thread to post some incoherent, barely comprehensible and horribly punctuated ramblings with no basis in fact. It is better just to let them get their inane outbursts off their chests and then shuffle back off under their bridges with a copy of the Daily Mail and a six pack of super strength lager.
Bindibadgi 3rd February 2010, 12:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Bindi, Bindi, Bindi, what has the internet taught us? Don't feed the trolls, especially when they resurrect a six month old thread to post some incoherent, barely comprehensible and horribly punctuated ramblings with no basis in fact. It is better just to let them get their inane outbursts off their chests and then shuffle back off under their bridges with a copy of the Daily Mail and a six pack of super strength lager.

I know, I just felt like putting one down yesterday. Unfortunately he didn't reply so I didn't get to use my hammer to do the humane thing.
Nexxo 3rd February 2010, 13:32 Quote
Actually, SquareTrade (a mobile and laptop insurance company) rates the iPhone as one of the best smartphones out there, with lower failure rates than the Blackberry or Treo. :p Concerns about the battery and quality of calls was found to be unfounded.
Stewb 3rd February 2010, 13:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Actually, SquareTrade (a mobile and laptop insurance company) rates the iPhone as one of the best smartphones out there, with lower failure rates than the Blackberry or Treo. :p Concerns about the battery and quality of calls was found to be unfounded.

Personally I wouldn't call haveing to charge my phone battery every day without fail "unfounded", but hey, what do I know :p
Bindibadgi 3rd February 2010, 13:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Concerns about the battery and quality of calls was found to be unfounded.

I've missed 3 phone calls just this morning alone on my 3GS. Their testing is flawed or they are incredibly lucky, because it's renowned as a poor phone.
gavomatic57 3rd February 2010, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I've missed 3 phone calls just this morning alone on my 3GS. Their testing is flawed or they are incredibly lucky, because it's renowned as a poor phone.

I've missed calls on every phone I've had - answerphone messages pop up, but the phone never rings - network trouble generally. Tends to happen on Orange quite a lot, not so much on O2 (in my experience)
ronnie 4th February 2010, 16:38 Quote
Apple designed iPhone basically for people who are unable to cut any time for recreation. With iPhone 3G users can store emence amount of data including pictures, music, notes and can even creat their own to-do list. With all these feautures an ultimate variety of iphone accessories is also available to the users to enhance the functionality of their iphone. The most useful and handy iphone accessory includes Apple iphone 3G 10-in-1 accessory kit offering 5 silicon cases, screen protector, sports armband, audio cable and car and home chargers, this seems to be a complete package for your iphone.
http://www.wirelessphonegallery.com/apple.aspx
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums