My iPhone 3G Review

by Charles Miller on July 28, 2008

I'll keep this short, because I'm late to the party and by now everyone and his dog has gone over the subject in excruciating detail.

Buy the iPhone if:

  • You are a gadget freak, and
  • You don't really care about your cell phone embracing Freedom 0

Matt Ryall's summary of the iPhone -- "it's a bit like living in the future" -- hits the nail on the head. It really gives you the sense that this is the true beginning of ubiquitous, always-connected networked living. If you're like me, you'll want to experience that now.

If you're not like me, then you're probably not reading my blog. But you may want to pass this advice on to your friend who really just wants a phone that works: don't buy the iPhone 3G. You'll love it right up to the first time your battery runs down.

Out of the box, my iPhone 3G runs out of juice depressingly quickly. You get in the habit of dotting chargers around your life -- in the study, at work, by the bed -- so whenever you're at rest you can plug it in and recharge. Otherwise you're down into the red zone and wondering if you should just turn the phone off in case you need to call a taxi at the end of the evening.

And this is on a brand new phone. In a year's time when the battery starts to wear out, it will really start to bite. In eighteen months I'll have the choice of sending it back for a replacement battery or being near-permanently attached to a charger.

Apparently the iPhone still has a better battery life than most comparable 3G smart-phones. It's not like Apple are making a sub-standard device, they're just doing the best they can under the constraint of current technology. But that is sort of like saying that at least Syphilis isn't the worst STD you could have caught.

While the battery life bothers me, it's not a deal breaker because I'm a nerd, and the sense of childlike wonder I get from the device is enough to compensate for always having to remember if I've charged it lately. For anyone else, though, I'd recommend waiting a year or so for the power consumption issues to be sorted out.

The future will still be there.

Previously: A Public Service for the FSF

Next: Cuil, a mini-review