Wednesday, September 17, 2008

iPhone 3G

I went to Globe telecoms SM Fairview after the day iPhone3G was launch. I am expecting that the price is affordable for consumers but it is not. As far as I could remember, the price range of iPhone3G here in the Philippines is 37k-43k for Post paid, Pre paid plans, Cash basis and 0% installments are also available.

My friend Kamille Alberto bought a 16gb worth 43k cash last week Sept. 10. I ask her if the phone is worth to buy, but you know what she said? "I dont think its worth it, sayang lang.."


Product summary

The goodThe good: The Apple iPhone 3G offers critical new features including support for high-speed 3G networks, third-party applications, and expanded e-mail. Its call quality is improved and it continues to deliver an excellent music and video experience.

The badThe bad: The iPhone 3G continues to lack some basic features that are available on even the simplest cell phone. Battery life was uneven, and the 3G connection tended to be shaky. Also, the e-mail syncing is not without its faults.

The bottom lineThe bottom line: The iPhone 3G delivers on its promises by adding critical features and sharper call quality. The iTunes App Store is pretty amazing, and the 3G support is more than welcome. Critical features still are missing, and the battery depletes quickly under heavy use, but the iPhone 3G is a big improvement over the original model.

Specifications: OS provided: Apple MacOS X; Band / mode: WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900; Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0;

Camera
We were hoping that the iPhone 3G would throw in an improved camera, but we got the same 2-megapixel shooter as in the original model, although with a slight improvement in the photo quality. Colors looked natural, there was little image noise, and interior shots had enough light. The camera's white balance can't handle bright sunlight, but that's not unusual for a camera phone. See our iPhone 3G camera slide show for a full gallery of shots. Camera features remain equally minimal, and the blatant lack of multimedia messaging and video recording continue to rub us the wrong way.

The iPhone 3G has improved photo quality .

Contacts search
A search bar now appears above your contacts list. Typing in any portion of the name will take you immediately to that person.

iWork documents and PowerPoint
We haven't tried iWork documents, but we were able to view PowerPoint e-mail attachments. The attachment was rather large (1.3MB), but it didn't take very long to download. Keep in mind that as with other Office documents, the iPhone does not allow you to edit attachments.

Bulk delete and move
This works in your e-mail boxes only. In your in-box you'll see a small "edit" button at the top right-hand corner. When you press the button, a small circle will appear next to each e-mail. Touch the circle to highlight as many messages as you like and then select the "delete" or "move" options.

Scientific calculator
As Steve Jobs said in his WWDC keynote, you'll now get a scientific calculator when you turn the phone on its side. You'll see a lot more buttons that will set a mathematician's heart aflutter.

Parental controls
You now will find a "Restrictions" selection under the General tab of the main Settings menu. There you can restrict access to the Safari browser, explicit songs, YouTube, and the iTunes and iTunes App Stores. You can select as many restrictions as you like.


Choose a language.

Language support
The iPhone 3G also brings language support and typing keyboards in French, Canadian French, U.K. English, German, Japanese (QWERTY and Kana), Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, and Polish. You can select as many languages you want by opening the "International" selection under the General tab of the main Settings menu. For Chinese, you choose from Pinyin or a graffiti-style application for writing characters. As you enter characters, suggestions will appear to the right. To change between menus, choose from the small globe icon next to the space bar.

What else is new?
The IPhone 3G offers a host of additional new features, from the noteworthy to the trivial. For the enterprise, there's remote wipe (to erase data in case of a stolen or lost phone) and integration with Cisco IPSec VPN for remote network access. You'll also find calendar colors and a new interface for entering passwords. (Now the screen temporarily displays the last character you entered so you can verify that you haven't mistyped.) We found the new ability to take screen captures (by holding the Home button and pressing the power/sleep key) especially useful. Screenshots end up in the camera's photo gallery.

What's missing?
We've mentioned already that Apple has stubbornly left out multimedia messaging, stereo Bluetooth, and video recording. But we also wish we'd gotten a landscape keyboard for messaging, cut and paste, voice dialing, Flash support for the Web browser, tactile feedback for the touch screen and a memory card (or at least a 32GB model). Hopefully, Apple will add these features in time. True, they might also come as third-party applications, but Apple should really be the source for them. We'd also like the capability to send calendar appointments to contacts and an easier way to transfer files to the iPhone. Because there's no way to transfer them via iTunes, you'll have to e-mail files to yourself to access them on the iPhone. And even then, there's no accessible mass file storage.

Call quality
When we reviewed the original iPhone, we withheld our Editors' Choice Award largely over middling call quality because of low volume and a slight background hum. The iPhone 3G corrects most of these problems--our tests revealed louder volume and clearer audio. We also noticed that we could hear better at a variety of angles, whereas the first iPhone had a sensitive sweet spot. Also, while it was difficult to hear the original iPhone in noisy environments, we had better luck with this model. Reception didn't vary between GSM and HSDPA calls. We've heard a lot of reports that iPhone 3G users are experiencing a lot of dropped calls. Though we haven't experienced any issues on our review phone thus far, we have been on the receiving end of dropped calls while talking on a landline to an iPhone 3G owner.

We also tested the phone in a rural part of Sonoma County, California. Not surprisingly, our 3G connection was nonexistent, but we managed to keep a basic EDGE connection most of the time. We found that by turning off the 3G feature the phone stopped trying to find a high-speed connection, which resulted in a more reliable signal.

iPhone 3G also improves speakerphone calls. The phone's external speaker creates louder output, and callers said they can hear us better. Voices don't sound quite as natural, but that's typical on a speakerphone. Automated calling systems could understand us via regular or speakerphone calls. We also tested the iPhone 3G with the Aliph Jawbone 2 and enjoyed good audio quality. What's more, the handset autopairs with the Jawbone 2 so you don't need a passcode. As previously mentioned, iPhone 3G's lack of a stereo Bluetooth profile is disappointing.

The AT&T signal remained strong during much of our testing, though the 3G connection wavered in buildings. We have heard of some users complaining of poor 3G reception, even in urban areas. We noticed a few problems during our testing, specifically with the iPhone 3G's ability to switch back and forth between 3G and EDGE. The hand-off was sloppy at times, as the iPhone 3G continued trying to connect to the 3G network even when the signal was too low. But on the flip side, it was quicker about jumping back onto 3G when that network became available. According to FCC radiation tests, the iPhone 3G's highest digital SAR is 1.38 watts per kilogram.

Battery life
Apple rates the iPhone 3G's battery at 5 hours of talk time over 3G and 10 hours over AT&T's standard cellular network; 6 hours of Internet time on Wi-Fi, or 5 hours over 3G; 7 hours of video playback; 24 hours of music playback; and a standby time of 12.5 days. In our first round of testing we were able to squeeze 4.95 hours of 3G talk time and 8.75 hours talk time over EDGE. We'll continue to run further tests over the next few days.

For music and video playback, our CNET Labs testing found the iPhone 3G's battery capable of 25.5 hours of audio playback and 2.7 hours of video playback, with 3G set to active. By comparison, the first-generation iPhone achieved 31.4 hours of music playback and 6 hours of video, although it didn't have the strain of 3G to contend with. A comparable 3G multimedia phone, like the Samsung Instinct, scored only 18 hours of audio playback, but eked out an impressive 4.3 hours of video playback. We suspect further testing will show that the iPhone 3G is capable of longer video playback when its 3G connection is switched off.

Lab tests have also revealed improvements to the iPhone's file transfer speed. A single 500MB file that once took the iPhone 1.6 minutes to transfer now takes the iPhone 3G just 1.4 minutes. The same test run on the Samsung Instinct took 4.28 minutes.

Though our official lab tests aren't bad so far, real-world use will be a better judge of the iPhone 3G's endurance. And on that front, we've noticed that the iPhone 3G's battery life does seem to drop faster than on the original model, particularly while using the 3G network or GPS. That's to be expected, but we noticed that after a couple hours of use, the battery life dropped by about 30 percent. Large color displays like the iPhone's tend to be battery drainers as well, so you should expect to use more juice when you're constantly switching between applications.

Activation
Unlike the original iPhone, you cannot activate the iPhone 3G via iTunes. Instead, you will have to activate the phone and sign your new contract in either an AT&T store or an Apple store. Though we understand the motivation behind this move--AT&T is trying to ensure every iPhone sold is activated on its own network--the experience isn't as nice as sitting in the comfort of your home. Once you have your phone out of the store, you will need to sync it with your iTunes account after first downloading the latest iTunes 7.7 update (download for Windows or Mac) first. That took us a long time on the iPhone 3G's first day on sale but hopefully those glitches will subside over the next few days. If you're replacing an original iPhone, make sure you back up your data from the old iPhone first; you'll then be able to transfer it to your new handset. As before, you can sync multiple iPhones to a single iTunes account.

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