First Impressions: iPhone 3G S [Verdict: Worth My Wait]


Say what you will about the 3G S &mdash that it seems more like version 2.5, instead of 3.0; that it looks exactly like the 3G and, at the very least, should have featured some design tweaks (like new colors); that you're crazy to spend $200-$300 on a phone in this economy.

Fair enough, but whatever... it's a NEW iPHONE.

I awoke at 4:45 am PST today to stand in line among all the fanboys (and girls) jonesing to get their hands on the latest piece of gadget goodness descended from Mount Appleympus.

In short, I'm STOKED with the hardware bequeathed to us from Apple. A big part of that, however, is the fact this is my very first iPhone*. For two years, I've listened to all of you brag about the updates, flex those apps, and bitch about AT&T &mdash which, in and of itself, seems like a right of passage into the iClub. Well, I have my first semi-rant:

I experienced mega-issues porting my T-Mobile number to AT&T. This was complicated by the fact one port got started, did not go through, and was supposedly canceled by AT&T, but was never actually canceled. Thus, each subsequent attempted port never went through. In the end, I spent TWO hours in the Apple Store. I can't believe it took that long, but I will say Apple customer service was truly fantastic. They allowed me to purchase two phones (one for my wife), despite the fact I only reserved one.

Never mind the bollocks, here's those quick, first impressions

I've had my phone for a little over four hours, and while I haven't put it to the paces with speed tests and other comparisons, I'll go out on a limb, joining my pals at Gizmodo and other writers &mdash some of whom have had this thing for some time now &mdash and declare this iteration to be a solid buy.

• The auto focus works tremendously well for still and video. A simple tap and you're not only there, but the picture re-focuses in a fraction of a section. A simple, tiny slide of the finger lets you toggle between still and video, too. Not instantly, but the minor lag is maybe 2-3 seconds. It's also interesting to see when and where Apple decides to incorporate all the gestures in its arsenal (pinch, tap, double tap, slide, etc.). In this case, sliding works rather well, since two separate buttons simply wouldn't fit the space as comfortably.

• The video quality is pretty damn good (30fps). From a cursory glance, I'd say it looks as good if not superior optics to what I've been getting from the Nokia N97 (i.e. the video I shot this morning of an eager-beaver fanboy bum rushing the Apple Store).

• The processor is noticeably awesome. Again I haven't done any side by sides, but it just feels fast, particularly when you're working between multiple applications, switching from phone to video, etc. You could argue that's my wallet talking. Then again, you can't shake a stick at that added MHz.

• Voice Control is solid, not amazing. It did not recognize my mother's name on the first try, but did when I slowed down (pretty good considering how much Google Voice mangled my last name*). When I requested my phone to play music from Department of Eagles, it did it immediately.

• I can't say much for the battery just yet. But so far so decent. I fully-charged mine and have had it unplugged the last hour during some light usage (Twitterific, texting, maps, camera/video), and only a tiny sliver of the battery icon's disappeared.

• I haven't used the compass.

Now I just need a good case.

*I tested the 3G for Wired's 2008 Test issue. I liked it. But a contract from T-Mobile kept me from making the switch. I've known for 12+ months that I'd be making the switch. My contract literally expired this week. So really, even if they hadn't released a new iteration, it's safe to say I would have bought the 3G.

**To be perfectly fair, I do realize it's significantly easier to recognize a name than it is to translate it to text.

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