The iPhone 3G is only the second mobile phone handset to be produced by Apple, and has without doubt secured their place in the top-end of the mobile phone market.
Their new incarnation comes hot off the heels of its predecessor (the iPhone), combined with 3G functionality and speed. The first iPhone re-invented the standard mobile-phone into a fully touch-screen tablet combining the market leading iPod software with what we all come to expect from a handset.
The iPhone stood alone stylistically and became the must-have gadget for the western world back in 2006, however those who used it found that its functionality left a lot to be desired compared to its competition from Blackberry and Nokia in particular and with Apple’s promise of addressing these issues for their latest handset, many avid users are hoping that their prayers have been answered.
From the outset, it is worth noting that Apple have decided to stay with O2 as the sole network provider for the iPhone 3G, so you should only consider this phone if O2 offer great signal coverage in your area.
The design is curvier and lighter than the previous model, choosing to use a black plastic backing instead of solid brushed metal. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and keypad lock button at the top of the handset. Compared to the competition, the iPhone 3G is the most desirable handset on the market and still retains its originality and oozes style.
In short, the iPhone 3G is a phone, web browser, video player, iPod, GPS navigation tool camera and email device and so could mark the end for any additional multimedia gadgets you may carry on your person.
The iPhone harbours a 3.5 inch screen with only one button situated at the centre bottom which will always take you back to the “home” screen if required. The screen can be used in a landscape and portrait perspective by just twisting the device in the required mode, perfect for mobile browsing and video playback. The image produced is high quality and the screen itself is bright and crisp, perfect for viewing both indoors and outdoors.
The screen also enhances the user’s experience when looking at photos. Combined with touch-screen technology you can literally flick through a photo album with your finger, zooming in at will using a “pinching” motion to move you closer to the image which is responsive and effortless. The phone also has a 2MP camera and although the images that are produced are satisfactory, it seems Apple has missed an opportunity to truly wipe out the competition. Other handsets on the market offer far higher spec camera options, many over 5MP.
When typing a text or email, a touch-screen QWERTY keyboard is displayed. Although the keys look small, they are very forgiving and after a few days practice you become well versed at sending quick and detailed messages. Where the iPhone truly excels is its usage of “push email” which was missing from its predecessor. This enables you to use your outlook account from work and also a web based account such as hotmail and yahoo. Blackberry (RIM) have been offering this service for many years and users can now have an alternative product.
Web browsing and downloading is now faster with this 3G model and utilises faster streaming and a great example of this is the You Tube application offering video streaming with limited buffering.
The Maps function is also amazingly well executed. It combines GPS software with various other applications on the iPhone. For example, if you have an album in your iPod application, you can view listings for any of their upcoming gigs using the web browser and then use the GPS to locate the venue and create directions to help you get there!
As with any handset, there are good and bad points and having been on the market for some time, there are some gripes and concerns about the iPhone that are worth mentioning.
The camera is poor in comparison to the rest of the market and offers no flash or zoom functions. Bluetooth is non-existent (presumably due to copyright issues with the iPod app) The built-in speaker quality is ropey and you cannot use your music stored on the phone as a ringtone. The battery is fully integrated, irreplaceable and can be drained significantly when using video and web browsing functions. Finally, although the phone comes in both 8GB and 16GB options, other handsets on the market have expandable memory using SD and microSD formats.