The iPhone 3G has 3G speed with Wi-Fi (to connect, for example, to the Internet at coffee shops), Bluetooth (to communicate with short-range devices such as earpieces), a 3.5-inch multi-touch screen, maps with GPS (satellites above the Earth to give you precise location data) and rich HTML e-mailing.
The iPhone 3G also features a wealth of excellent software applications and visual voicemail.
The device also flaunts an “accelerometer”. The accelerometer allows the iPhone 3G to respond to motion. When you rotate the phone from portrait to landscape (or vertical to horizontal), the iPhone 3G senses it and changes your display accordingly.
The accelerometer is made possible by three elements: a silicon mass, a set of silicon springs and an electrical current.
The iPhone 3G also exploits environmentally intelligent “smart sensors”. These pick up cues from the environment and adjust the screen accordingly.
An ambient light sensor automatically brightens the display when you’re in sunlight or a bright place and dims it in darker areas.
When you lift the iPhone 3G to your ear, a second sensor – a proximity sensor – immediately turns off the display to save power and thwart accidental touches.
The full keyboard, which is only there when you need it, can be displayed in 21 languages. It also adapts to the application you’re in at the time.
You may find the digital keys to be somewhat small, but when you tap each letter, the letters become larger. While typing quickly is possible, it may take some getting used to.
MobileMe is an interesting, subscription-based service that’s $99.99 per year (or $69.99 with the purchase of an iPhone 3G). It automatically syncs various applications to the iPhone 3G from the Internet and vice versa. These applications “push” data in near real-time mode (approximately 10 seconds in testing) between a calendar, contacts, etc.
This, of course, is a clever way for Apple to offer you a useful feature but also receive additional money from you on a regular basis after your initial purchase of the device.
The iPhone 3G’s battery life is a significant factor to keep in mind. In initial testing at the Apple store in downtown Chicago, many of the iPhone 3G devices were dead or nearly dead from so many people experiencing them. While the battery life shouldn’t pose an issue with regular usage, heavy users may sometimes find their phones dead prematurely.
The iPhone 3G is rated at five hours of talk time in 3G mode or 10 hours of talk time in 2G (depending on what network is available at the time) and five hours of Internet usage in 3G mode or six hours of Internet usage on Wi-Fi. Video playback runs up to seven hours, audio playback runs up to 24 hours and standby time can last up to 300 hours.
When snapping photos with the 2-megapixel camera – good quality for a cell phone today but quality that pales in comparison to today’s digital point-and-shoot cameras – hold the single button on the iPhone 3G, release it when you want to snap your photo and then swipe your finger from one direction to another to browse through your art.
While you might experience some brief software delays when the phone’s technology is “thinking,” this doesn’t pose too great of a problem too often and can be considered tolerable. The phone’s contact manager is large, easy to read and personalized for each person with their photo and detailed contact information.
The icons on the home screen are customizable. To change icons, tap and hold your finger on the home screen. The icons will appear as if they’re cold and will shake – as if they’re anxious to move – and you can then move them around. Touch the iPhone 3G’s only button to set them in stone.
E-mailing is relatively intuitive, effortless and easy to do once you get iPhone 3G typing down pat. You can have multiple e-mail accounts set up on the iPhone 3G simultaneously so you can send and receive e-mail from various addresses.
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