iPhone 3GS impressions

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 10:59 AM | comments: 0

I've had the new phone for a little over a week now, and feel like I've used it enough to have some solid opinions about it. The biggest physical change from the old one is the more tapered edges. It also feels lighter, perhaps because the backing is plastic. The vibrate switch feels a lot more solid. And thank God they did away with that stupid recessed headphone jack.

In terms of new features, the GPS functionality is the shit. I kept reading about the "blue dot trance" on the map, where the blue dot moves around and the map rotates around it as you move, and I totally get what people mean. I don't know what that's so fascinating. Last weekend, we used it to find a graduation party in Sandusky, and a Dairy Queen on the way home (Diana wanted a Mr. Misty, which is now apparently an Arctic Blast). It's very awesome.

I've only used 3G data a few times, because the truth is, there seems to be Wi-Fi in most of the places I frequent. Sandusky is still Edge, so that was no help. I did try it the other day down in the park after my bike ride, and CB seemed to load pretty fast.

The most obvious thing is that the CPU and graphics processing got a boost. The checkerboard that appeared as you scrolled through a Web page and it redrew the screen is gone. Animations are all smoother. Even the cards on Sol Free move with more fluidity.

The camera is still not spectacular, but it's a little cleaner in outdoor light. The focus targeting is cool too. The video recording is actually better than I expected. There's a mindset change that comes with enabling technology. When I got my first phone with a camera, I never thought much to take pictures. Now I suspect there's some of that with video. I just have to resist making it all cat video.

Battery life is not as good as my first gen phone, which was about three days without a charge, but it's not much lower than that. Video and GPS are the big battery suckers. In fact, recording video zaps the battery at a rate of 1% per minute, not that anyone will be shooting a movie trilogy with it. After two days, I'm usually down around 50%, so I could go longer. Maybe three days isn't out of the question. One thing I did twice, right out of the box, is charge and completely drain the battery. It seems that devices with "smart" charging hardware benefit from this to calibrate the battery now and then, where as short drain/charge cycles trick it into thinking the battery's capacity isn't that high. Not sure if that's the case here, but it the battery life is longer now, as it was on my 17" MacBook Pro (still getting 8 hours).

The biggest excitement is having all of my music on there, so I don't have to choose. That alone is worth it to me. I also can have all 1,000 wedding photos and 700 honeymoon photos, because you never know when someone will ask about it.

It was absolutely a worthy upgrade.

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