08 January 2008

an iPhone review


I admit it. I am a gadget freak. When the Matrix movie featured this Nokia phone with a sliding keypad cover, I got myself the closest thing: a Nokia 7110. And I had to wait for 3 months for my order to come in. When the first ever Nokia phone with polyphonic tones came out (the 7650), I lined up for one. When Siemens came up with a small phone that can display 7 lines of text, I got one for myself. And I also went through the gaming console phase.

Those were my gadget freak days. When I got married, priorities changed. I skipped PSP, the WII, the iPods. Rather than buying something for myself, I'd rather get something for my wife or son. And - dare I say it? - I was ready to settle for a phone with just SMS and call features!

And then came the online video of Steve Jobs' launching of the iPhone. I watched mesmerized. I simply got to have it! The last couple of months was enamoured with looking for an iPhone. I practically gave up on it and left the searching to my good buddy Harry.

And he finally found one! One morning he dropped it off my room. I took one look at it and felt that I really didn't want such a phone, even if it was going to be my holiday present for myself. But I decided to just take a little peep into what it can do...

Whoops, look at what we have here. I brought home the Powerbook! Hmm... let's see what will happen if I sync it with iTunes...

I spent the next few hours transferring photos, songs, and music videos, and configuring the device for my preferences. So much for losing my gadget freakness! I spent a couple of nights converting a couple of movie favorites into iPhone format. I was hooked.

So how is the iPhone like?
As an iPod, it's simply amazing. I love the coverflow which enables you to visually flick through your album and song selections. I love the huge screen and the crisp images! I love the music output.

As a WiFi device, I love it. The pages load and display nicely. Controls are so easy to use!

The camera captures really nice images even in low light conditions. Which I cant say the same for the Nokia N80, with its 3Mpixel camera. And you get the entire screen as your viewfinder when you take photos! Nice.

The interface is so simple you don't need a manual to familiarize yourself with it.

As a phone...
It's a cinch to make calls! And you get a full screen photo of the person you're talking to. And the screen turns off when you press it to your ear.

As an SMS device, that's where most of my expectations fall short. In a country where we send and receive SMS and MMS like we have meals 5 times a day, the features of the iPhone fall short. Imagine, you cannot forward messages! The horror! And you cannot send a single message to multiple recipients! Unspeakable!

Typing your messages also takes a lot of getting used to. Of course, we send more messages in Filipino than English but the dictionary kept substituting words. In fairness, the dictionary is also trying to learn some of the Filipino terms but typing can be frustrating sometimes. I thus try to send messages in English, which the dictionary is built for, and that's where I can see the dictionary working out. You don't have to accurately press on the right letters; the dictionary will help you get the right words in.

But still... I wonder why they didn't at least include message forwarding and sending to multiple recipients. It's as if the developers or the beta testers have never tried SMS and MMS before.

Darn.

So right now, I find myself smiling when I use the iPod features and surf on it, but get frustrated at times when I send text messages. It's a love-hate relationship.

Jan 09 update:
A colleague who also has an iphone dropped by my place awhile ago. He took a look at my phone and wondered how come I did not have some features which his phone has. Such as sending to multiple recipients and forwarding messages. Whaaaaatttt! And installing games and applications. WHAAAATTTT!!! My phone is running version 1.1.1 and his is running version 1.1.2. So I thought it was a matter of upgrading the version. I googled for upgrade procedures and found this one at Finance Manila. But it called for a PC and I had a PowerPC Mac so while contemplating on that, I came across the fact that I had to have a file called Oktoprep in order to start the upgrade process. I didn't have this in my Installer section so I googled for this file and landed on tuaw.com which provided for an instant jailbreak procedure which will allow you to install applications on your iPhone! Nice! So I wifi'ed my way to jailbreakme.com and soon I was installing eBooks, Dictionaries, and games on the iPhone! And then my colleague also instructed me to install WeTool so I can forward messages and send to multiple recipients. I was able to go to the iPhonesTalk site and got the WeTool app. And now I can do the SMS functions I wanted to do! Wow! Thanks guys!
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