All Geek to Me

October 30, 2007

iPhone Review Part 2 (iPhone as a Phone)

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 3:34 am

If all you need is a mobile phone, the iPhone is obviously too expensive a device. However, if the phone functionality is deficient then all of the other coolness is irrelevant. I have found the phone functionality of the iPhone to be solid. The calls are clear, finding a contact is straightforward, dialing a number is very easy as the on screen number pad is larger than any conventional mobile phone.

The contacts sync via iTunes to Outlook.

The Bluetooth pairing with my in-car hands-free system was painless. Unfortunately, there is no way to send contacts via Bluetooth which means that any new contacts need to be manually entered. This is less of a problem than it might be as my old Nokia would only set one contact at a time and it took almost as much time as typing them into the car. The car also displays the signal strength and the battery charge; information it could not obtain from my Nokia.

One major advance over my old Nokia is that I can flick an external switch to move the phone into silent mode; very useful if you forget before going into a meeting.

All of your recent calls made and received are in a single list, with a filter to just list those that you missed. I have seen people complain about the inability to just show calls made or calls received, but I find this quick access to be more helpful than the Nokia model.

I use SMS frequently, especially in communicating with friends in the UK. The iPhone excels in this area. The full on screen keyboard makes typing a lot quicker, no need to use that awful text speak. (It may be quicker for the sender to type, but figuring out what is meant means that the time burden is switched to the reader.) The spell check seems to do a good job of picking up typing errors. I have few problems with the size of the on screen keys, but I would not like to try it if I had stubby fingers. The way in which messages are shown on screen as a conversation is very helpful, as you can look back to your previous text message to which you have just received a response.

You can assign different ring tones to a specific contact. This works better for me than my Nokia, which assigned numbers to a group, so I had to create a group for a contact. However, I can imagine if you did want one ring tone for family and one for work colleagues that the Nokia model might be better. The downside is that the iPhone will not allow you to assign any mp3/aac file as a ringtone. You have to use a piece of music purchased from the iTunes store and you are charged again when you do the editing and conversion to a ringtone. On the positive side, the tool in iTunes client for editing the portion of the track you need to create the ringtone are simple and effective. Unfortunately, custom ringtones are not available for text messages; no more TARDIS noises when I get an SMS.

The headphones that one uses to listen to the unit in iPod mode have a microphone built into the lead. If the phone rings while listening to the iPod, you can press the microphone and which switches off the iPod and answers the phone. Unfortunately, through the headphones I find the person calling to be too faint to make out their end of the conversation.

Overall, I would say the iPhone is an A- class phone, the annoyances just enough to prevent it being a perfect phone.

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