First iPhone 3G reviews via the WSJ, USA Today and NY Times

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Three of Apple's favorite journalists have weighed in on iPhone 3G and reckon the device to be a major -- though not perfect -- improvement on its predecessor. We break down the highlights of each review.



Walt Mossberg | The Wall Street Journal

iPhone 3G "is much, much faster at fetching data over cellphone networks" than the original version.

Overall, the new phone "mostly keeps its promises."

Surfing the net was typically between three and five times as fast on AT&T's 3G network. In Washington and New York, 3G speeds ranged between 200 and 500 kilobits per second compared to 70 and 150 kbps on EDGE.

With 3G enabled, the iPhone 3G's battery drained much more quickly in a typical day of use than the battery on the original iPhone.

Apple has greatly improved the iPhone's audio. The built in speaker is much louder for music and speakerphone conversations, but the phone produced an echo when used with the built-in Bluetooth system in Walt's car.

Exchange ActiveSync works well and setup takes just minutes. Any changes made on the iPhone are reflected instantly in Microsoft Outlook. Email is also pushed to the phone instantly.

While iPhone Software v2.0 allows for both personal and Exchange email accounts to function simultaneously, synching Exchange calendars and contacts will erase any personal calendars and contacts.

A side benefit to 3G coverage is that it improves voice coverage: "At my neighborhood shopping center, where the first iPhone got little or no AT&T service, the iPhone 3G registered strong coverage."

AT&T, however, still has spotty network coverage in major metropolitan areas: "In New York City, riding in a taxi along the Hudson, one important call was dropped three times on the new iPhone. Finally, I borrowed a cheap Verizon phone and got perfect reception."

Edward Baig | USA Today

"No equal among consumer-oriented smartphones."

Baig's corporate data (through Exchange) was a "relative cinch" to setup and works well.

3G isn't accessible in parts of northern New Jersey, highlighting the at times spotty coverage of the faster network.

Most websites take 10 to 30 seconds to load through 3G, which is a lot faster than on EDGE (which often takes an extra 30 seconds or more).

The phone feels "perfectly comfortable" in the hand courtesy of the plastic back.

Apple confirms that the plastic should improve reception versus the original's aluminum.

The journalist is "impressed" by the accuracy of GPS, but says the phone begs for voiced turn-by-turn directions.

Audio quality is better overall, particularly the speakerphone; headphones are of course still better.

Parental controls actually remove icons outright from the home screen; they don't just block access.

You'll still want to charge the phone about once a day if used regularly.

Old iPod accessories meant to charge over Firewire circuitry (such as a Belkin car kit) don't work; iPhone 3G still only recognizes USB.

Overall: an "enthusiastic thumbs up."

David Pogue | The New York Times

The "gracefully curved" back feels better in the hand than the original iPhone.

Call quality takes a "gigantic leap forward" and is "crystal clear" on either end of the call; few other phones rival it.

Apple: the GPS receiver's antenna is too small to replicate turn-by-turn navigation of a full unit.

Like with most GPS devices, a 'canyon' effect from downtown buildings can block reception.

Battery replacement will still cost $86.

Examples of third-party apps: iCall for VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, G-Park for position-based parking, and Urbanspoon for picking a random nearby restaurant by shaking the phone.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 87
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Zero comments? I guess nobody cares about the iPhone after all...
  • Reply 2 of 87
    w1n78w1n78 Posts: 26member
    "While iPhone Software v2.0 allows for both personal and Exchange email accounts to function simultaneously, synching Exchange calendars and contacts will erase any personal calendars and contacts."



    well, that sucks \
  • Reply 3 of 87
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elroth View Post


    Zero comments? I guess nobody cares about the iPhone after all...



    We didn't see the article until now.



    We're in line at the Apple store in anticipation of getting iPhones, Friday morning!
  • Reply 4 of 87
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    4 things....MMS, copy/paste, landscape keyboard in all applicable features (SMS, notes, e-mail), better camera with zoom/flash. That would be the perfect phone I think. Yet somehow people will still complain about something...probably lack of tethering, locked to a carrier and monthly rates.
  • Reply 5 of 87
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The GPS receiver's antenna is too small to replicate turn-by-turn navigation of a full unit.



    Too small? I wasn't aware these were particularly large anymore. In all honesty, I don't know very much about the subject -- any resident experts willing to clear this up?
  • Reply 6 of 87
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    The calendars/contact syncing issue is a huge disappointment.
  • Reply 7 of 87
    heyjpheyjp Posts: 39member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kcmac View Post


    The calendars/contact syncing issue is a huge disappointment.



    I've been wondering about syncing in 2.0. So, you can sync your calendar/contacts either to Exchange Server or to local iCal/Address Book, but not both. I had hoped (probably lamely) that my iPhone could be the "go between" sync-er for iCal to Exchange.



    I would like to sync my contacts between Address Book and iPhone. But sync my iCal to iPhone and to Exchange to share calendars with work compadres.



    Hmm.

    Jim
  • Reply 8 of 87
    8corewhore8corewhore Posts: 833member
    I take it Pogue saw those two little screws on the bottom - yet, he doesn't mention them. He adds that you'll still have to buy a new battery from Apple in a couple of years. Damn.
  • Reply 9 of 87
    ckipelckipel Posts: 5member
    I was simply hoping the iPhone would know the difference between syncing to Exchange and syncing to MobileMe.. have everything sync with each other so that you know what time frame you need to dedicate to work and another time frame you can dedicate to personal time.. and also be able to keep work contacts separate from your personal contacts. I left the blackberry behind in hopes of this but it turns out to be exactly the same thing.
  • Reply 10 of 87
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,737member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ckipel View Post


    I was simply hoping the iPhone would know the difference between syncing to Exchange and syncing to MobileMe.. have everything sync with each other so that you know what time frame you need to dedicate to work and another time frame you can dedicate to personal time.. and also be able to keep work contacts separate from your personal contacts. I left the blackberry behind in hopes of this but it turns out to be exactly the same thing.



    If the same is true for both, there is likely a good reason why. It's probably not nearly as easy as some think.
  • Reply 11 of 87
    ksecksec Posts: 1,563member
    Nice to hear about Call Quality. Which is the most important improvement i think.



    Although i wonder if it was because of the 3G Network using better codec and bandwidth or a Motorola Crystal Talk Smilar technology.



    If it was the later then i would buy one immediately.
  • Reply 12 of 87
    robmackrobmack Posts: 10member
    Hi All, I think the new features of the iPhone 3G are great, based on the reviews. But does anyone have any concern about the back of the phone being made out of plastic? I thought the build quality of the original iPhone was awesome and exactly what I would expect from Apple.



    The reviewers comment on how good the new phone feels in the hand but I wonder how the plastic will stand up to day to day use.



    Thoughts...
  • Reply 13 of 87
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,737member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robmack View Post


    Hi All, I think the new features of the iPhone 3G are great, based on the reviews. But does anyone have any concern about the back of the phone being made out of plastic? I thought the build quality of the original iPhone was awesome and exactly what I would expect from Apple.



    The reviewers comment on how good the new phone feels in the hand but I wonder how the plastic will stand up to day to day use.



    Thoughts...



    I wouldn't worry about its holding up. Plastic is stronger than aluminum when hit. The aluminum will dent, but the plastic will pop back.



    But, by the time a blow is strong enough to damage either, the insides are mashed, so it won't matter.



    A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.
  • Reply 14 of 87
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I wouldn't worry about its holding up. Plastic is stronger than aluminum when hit. The aluminum will dent, but the plastic will pop back.



    But, by the time a blow is strong enough to damage either, the insides are mashed, so it won't matter.



    A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.





    not to mention that most people will put them in cases (like the InCase rubber cases) anyway. I love my InCase rubber protector, and I'll certainly be buying one once they're available for the iPhone 3G. The added protection and grip is a huge plus.
  • Reply 15 of 87
    foferfofer Posts: 18member
    TYPO:



    Quote:

    Examples of third-party apps: iCall for VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, G-Park for position-based parking, and Urbanspoon for picking a random nearby restaurant by sharing the phone.



    That should read SHAKING, not SHARING.
  • Reply 16 of 87
    ktappektappe Posts: 769member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    somehow people will still complain about something...probably lack of tethering, locked to a carrier and monthly rates.



    You make it sound as if those 3 things are not worthy of complaining about. The best proof that they are worthy of mentioning is that other phones (*cough* T95-3 *cough) do not suffer from similar problems. It seems to me that we could accept Apple only adding a few features to the iPhone at the same rates *or* we could accept AT&T raising rates in return for lots of new functionality. Not both. The bloom, I fear, is off the rose.
  • Reply 17 of 87
    smokeonitsmokeonit Posts: 268member
    what about the missing bluetooth stack for external GPS for the "old" iphone 2G???



    i hope we iphone 2G owners can use our bluetooth GPS mouse!!!



    if not i'm really pissed, really really pissed!!!
  • Reply 18 of 87
    smokeonitsmokeonit Posts: 268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Animal Farm View Post


    Too small? I wasn't aware these were particularly large anymore. In all honesty, I don't know very much about the subject -- any resident experts willing to clear this up?



    and this would speak for an external GPS bluetooth stack even more!!!
  • Reply 19 of 87
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.



    thats not right

    plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter

    if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case



    Quote:

    i hope we iphone 2G owners can use our bluetooth GPS mouse!!!



    if not i'm really pissed, really really pissed!!!



    why do you need a mouse? you cant do multitouch, and you would have to hold the phone tosee it, and may as well touch it
  • Reply 20 of 87
    smokeonitsmokeonit Posts: 268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post


    thats not right

    plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter

    if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case





    why do you need a mouse? you cant do multitouch, and you would have to hold the phone tosee it, and may as well touch it



    i have to agree!!!



    impact wise the old iphone 2G has an advantage ove rthe plastic iphone 3G..!
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