Monday, June 22, 2009

First Few Days with iPhone 3G S

I didn't initially plan to upgrade my 3G to 3G S but my wonderful wife surprised me with the upgrade as a birthday present last week. Even though I'd only had my 3G phone for less than 8 months I managed to get the 32 Gig 3G S for $299 as an upgrade to an eligible slot we have in a separate family plan. Here are a few of my initial observations after using the phone the past 3 days...

Speed. When I got my 3G S I asked the AT&T rep I'd really notice much of a speed improvement vs. my 3G phone. He said the only difference would probably be when I'm browsing the web. I've done a lot of web browsing the past few days and it seems just like my old 3G. Strike 1.

Battery life. Apple has been touting the improved battery life on the 3G S but there again, I'm having a hard time noticing a difference. In fact, I'm plugged in at an airport right now, hoping to get a full charge before I get on the next leg of my journey. I even turned 3G service off in the hopes that it would extend the battery life but the meter still seems to drop at the same rate my 3G did. Strike 2.

Voice Control. I initially considered this a gimmick that I'd rarely, if ever, use. Boy, was I wrong. I may never look up another contact in my address book. The darned thing is not only handy but it's also incredibly accurate. It's successfully retrieved every number I've asked for. That takes away 1 strike.

Compass. This is another gimmicky service I figured I'd never use. Wrong again. I've shown this one to 3 other people now and every one of them simply said, "wow." Like Voice Control, it's been extremely accurate for me. I can't wait to find myself in a location where I can really use it. Another strike disappears.

Video camera. I was really looking forward to this feature and so far, it hasn't disappointed. Like pretty much every other Apple tool, it works like you'd expect it to. Simple but effective. My only gripe is that there's still no zoom capability. As I mentioned in an earlier Tweet, this feature obviates the need for a separate quick-and-dirty video camera. (I wonder if Cisco is starting to regret their recent purchase of the makers of the RIP, er, Flip camera.) Seriously, if other cell phone makers copy Apple and start integrating a camera this good, well, why would you bother with a separate device?

The bottom line is a mixed bag. I'm thrilled that my wife got me a 3G S and, I suppose if you can also score one for $299 it's worth the price. And while I'd say the phone is as "insanely great" as most other Apple products, paying the non-upgrade price of $699 would simply be insane.