If the unboxing photos weren’t enough for you, the usual trio of pre-release reviews for the iPhone 3G are finally out. Walt Mossberg, Ed Baig and David Pogue have all been playing with Apple’s much-anticipated cellphone update, and while there are still areas which fall short of rivals – notably video recording and MMS messaging – the consensus is that the 3G data speeds keep the iPhone ahead of the game.
Although there are points untouched by each review, particularly the new Apple App Store, each reviewer concentrates on a mostly different area. Mossberg is heavy on the new data functionality, with the 3G connection boasting speeds between three and five times that of the original iPhone. In his own battery tests, he got 4 hours 27 minutes talktime (actually three hours less than the first Apple handset managed) and 5 hours 49 minutes on 3G.
Baig, however, had no 3G coverage in New Jersey, and as such focused more on the new GPS functionality. Accuracy is praised, especially when driving, which he found made it all the more frustrating that Apple didn’t supply native live directions. Maybe a little more cynical than Walt, Ed criticised some lack of backward compatibility with accessories made for the previous iPhone.
Finally, Pogue concentrates more on the iPhone 2.0 software and on how it makes the handset more complete. That Apple still avoids some “standard cellphone features” remains a frustration; like his fellow reviewers, David found that audio quality of the handset is much improved. This seems to hold true both for incoming and outgoing voice calls, as well as the speakerphone.
Do Mossberg, Baig and Pogue think you should buy an iPhone 3G? It seems very much a case of how decent the 3G coverage is in your area as to how impressed you’ll actually be. Battery fluctuations aside, the data capabilities are finally – network depending – able to live up to what Safari on the cellphone can handle. However the software updates will be available to existing iPhone users, and given the rising costs of AT&T service you could be forgiven for not immediately spurning your original.
iPhone Buzz will be at the launch of the iPhone 3G this Friday, bringing you our own thoughts and opinions as soon as we have the cellphone in our hands. See you then!