When you think of some the top smartphones out there, you perhaps don’t consider the iPhone 3G to be one, more probably you think of a Blackberry — something with a little hard to use QWERTY keyboard that is able to do anything and everything that a phone could do. Whilst that idea is slightly outdated (they do not all have QWERTY keyboards, and they are not all hard to use) the idea that smartphones are super-phones is not far off the truth. They are the rung on the ladder between a standard mobile phone which allows you to communicate and a laptop that allows you to do work on the move.
But in the last few years, the market has been thrust into the modern age, and many of the leading companies have found that they have a lot of catching up to do as they try to match what is now the benchmark for all smartphones — the iPhone. But is that really the best you can get? Have Blackberry, HTC and the like managed to cut back the gap and have they taken the prestigious top spot? There is only one way to find out and we will do this by looking at the top 6 smartphones you can get and seeing which tops our top smartphones list!
I think that it is apt that we start with the iPhone 3G, the phone that started this whole revolution of phone design. Known for its flashy touch screen and its characteristic clinical Apple look it is a big hit with those who love aesthetics, but does it cut the grade elsewhere? We will be looking at how it performs over several categories so we can easily compare to the others in this Guide — Ease of use, Features, Design, Price and Battery. All of these are important features when it comes to smartphones, so let’s have a look at how the iPhone does.
Ease Of Use
Smartphones that rely solely on touchscreens have been avoided in the past because of how temperamental they are, and how fiddly Windows Mobile is to use, so styluses were often used. However the iPhone has been built with the sole intention of using the touchscreen which means that the UI is very easy to navigate, ‘gestures’ can be used to make full use of the web and even the typing is relatively easy to use – you can even get a Windows Mobile iPhone theme now to try to emulate the successful iPhone interface, surely that just proves the point! Therefore the interface really is one of the high points of this mobile phone, and it is something that the majority of the games and apps that you can get through the Apple App Store use to full effect.
The iPhone has an interesting blend here of the great and the downright frustrating, which will cause you to love and despise the phone within the space of a few minutes. You could be listening to music through the wonderful iPod style music facility, flicking through albums whilst using the accelerometer or looking at the very functional maps application; or maybe using the impressive HSDPA or GPS.
But come to doing anything work related then you do have a few problems — you can’t download files off Safari and store them locally in any way that could be described as simple, if a file type is not supported by the phone then you cannot download them from email attachments and you can’t edit Microsoft Office documents. The last is a massive blow, and to rub salt into the wounds you can’t copy and paste!
Undoubtedly a good looking phone, the screen is impeccably sleek and the single button is both minimalistic and functional. The curved back makes it great for sliding into a pocket and although the camera (which at 2megapixels isn’t the best) is exposed it is fairly robust. Typing isn’t bad for a touchscreen, but it takes some getting used to and the lack of any response (like a click or the feeling of a button moving) is mildly irritating. But apart from that this phone is a dream and is great to use.
Comparing costs of smartphones is not an easy thing as many do not come on PAYG so you have to negotiate the sometimes confusing contract system but for the basis of comparison, I will be using the 18-month cost of these phones including VAT. In this case, the iPhone will set you back £639, which although is at the top end of the price range is by no means extortionate and if you decide to hack it after your contract has run out then it is definitely a great multifunctional multimedia phone. However, you can now also get a PAYG iPhone 3G starting at around £350.
The battery life for the iPhone is quite impressive as you can expect to get around 96 hours from it which is easily enough for even a weekend away from any type of charger. Initially the iPhone 3G had complaints of poor battery usage, however, these were fixed by Apple in an update that they rolled out soon after release which just goes to show their commitment to updating and improving their mobile phone even after release.
The iPhone 3G really is a great phone and it is clear to see why it has become the benchmark for all other mobile phones, but it does have some irritating limitations for anyone who wants to do some serious work on it. It is also not much of an improvement on the previous iPhone and apart from the notable features (GPS, 3G and the camera) they haven’t ironed out these little niggles that make it difficult to use. But if you want an all-singing-all-dancing phone, and you are not all that bothered about the business aspect then this is definitely for you.