Saturday, November 3, 2007

iPhone Review

Well, I've had my iPhone for almost two months now. (Wow, it's been that long?!) The novelty of it has (mostly) worn off, so it's about time for me to review it.

First of all, a preface about my phone usage. Different people need and want different things from their phones, so I'll try to help you understand where I'm coming from. I don't talk much on my phone. Not much at all. Which is to say that I only have a handful of calls per day. I also avoid text messaging. I'm not the type of person who constantly has his phone out.

I'll start with the battery life. So far I have found it to be really good. But again, I'm not talking on it all the time. Nevertheless, I still do use it a decent amount each day (look at web pages, use the iPod part of it, calendar, etc.) and I typically only charge it every other day.

The screen is amazing. I still love the touch screen, although on occasion it can be slightly annoying. Usually because I accidentally tap something, or because I'm too impatient for web pages to load. Usually my issue is that I want to enlarge/shrink something via a 2-finger touch, but a tap gets registered. But this is not a very big deal.

As a phone, it's great. Contacts are neatly organized and easy to access. There are some nice touches there too. For example, if you enter a web page for a contact, you can just touch that to jump right to that page. If you put in an address, just touch it to bring up a Google Map! Also, the visual voicemail is awesome. Perfect even.

The email client is easy to set up. Although I don't send a ton of email from the iPhone directly, I really enjoy getting them on the phone. Email right to my pocket. That's convenient.

Safari is great. I really love to be able to pull up web pages on it. Mostly I browse when at home, so I am connected over my wi-fi. But sometimes it's nice to get a map or web page while on the go. I also enjoy browsing from my couch. No need to get up or turn on my computer. I can quickly access whatever I was thinking of and then go back to XBox or movie or girlfriend.

There are some issues with Safari though. One of the biggest is that there isn't a Flash player for it. So there are a lot of sites which can't be viewed, or at least parts of them. Having said that though, a lot of Flash out there on the web is annoying (like advertisements. Ugh). So it's not a complete disadvantage. I suspect that Adobe will eventually get a Flash player on the iPhone though. They've always had a pretty good relationship with Apple.

The iPod part of the iPhone is excellent. It's only got 8 GB unlike my 15 GB 3rd-generation iPod. So I don't have all my music on it. But that's okay for me since my old iPod lives in my car anyway. The screen is awesome for my They Might Be Giants videos which I put on.

Some of the apps are pretty convenient: weather, maps, calculator, and notes. I really like being able to jot down some notes.

Speaking of jotting down notes, the virtual keyboard is great. Once you get used to it, it's pretty easy to type. Not as fast as a standard, physical one of course, but still much better than most phones in my opinion. The spell check is pretty good too. Occasionally it fights with me because I wanted something it didn't know, but you can add to it's dictionary.

The calendar is one of the reasons I used to justify getting the iPhone. And it is good. I'm enjoying having a calendar on-hand which is easy to use. On my old phone I only ever used the calendar to see the layout of the days (i.e. the 5th is a Monday or something). But this one I use quite frequently.

I don't do much in the way of syncing data with my iPhone, but I imagine that once that was set up it would also be pretty convenient.

The camera takes pretty good pictures. It does a great job of sharpening up any blurry images, but you still have to try to hold it pretty still. It's really fun to flick through pictures.

If you do get an iPhone, make sure to spend some time to learn some of the little features and details. For example, how to turn on the "airplane mode". Or how to turn it off completely. Be careful of international travel and all that.

Another issue that I have with the iPhone is that the battery is not replaceable. Personally, for my use that's not an issue until the battery dies someday in the far future (knock on wood). But I can totally see how that could be a problem for some people.

I do have one big issue with the iPhone however. Ringtones. I'm not happy about that. I want to be able to put anything I want as a ringtone. I don't want to pay for ringtones. Now perhaps I'm spoiled because my RAZR would take any mp3 or midi. Perhaps because my friend's Nokia will take any mp3. But I think the current way it works is retarded. I'm really hoping that Apple will loosen the grip on the whole ringtone issue. Just open it up, please! Besides not wanting to pay for it, I can't use iTunes to put on what I want right now anyway. The iTunes Music Store doesn't have any Bleach music. It doesn't even allow ringtones for some of the songs I bought from there. And a lot of my ringtones would be other non-music sounds anyway.

Oh well, that's my one issue and rant. But in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. The ringtones which come with the phone are much better overall than ones I've heard on other phones, so I'm content with my Sonar. For now.

So in conclusion, I really like my iPhone. It's not for everybody, but it's great for me.