iPhone 3G: Faster, cheaper but still not perfect

The handful of lucky reviewers to have early access to the iPhone 3G have revealed their analysis of the new device, which goes on sale Friday, July 11.  The conclusion: the iPhone 3G is cheaper and faster (if you're lucky enough to be in one of AT&T's HSPA markets) but it still has some issues such as battery life (higher power demands from the 3G network cause the battery to drain quicker) and there's no Bluetooth or video capabilities. Here's a snapshot of the reviews:

  • Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. Pro: The new iPhone is much, much faster at fetching data over cell phone networks because it uses a speedy cellular technology called 3G. And it now sports a GPS chip for better location sensing.  Con: The iPhone 3G's battery was drained much more quickly in a typical day of use than the battery on the original iPhone, due to the higher power demands of 3G networks. This is an especially significant problem because, unlike most other smart phones, the iPhone has a sealed battery that can't be replaced with a spare.  For more, read the article or watch this video of Mossberg's review.
  • David Pogue of The New York Times. Pro: The audio quality of the iPhone 3G has taken a gigantic step forward. "You sound crystal clear to your callers, and they sound crystal clear to you. Few cell phones are this good." Plus, Pogue praises the iPhone App Store, which he says is a central, complete, drop-dead simple online catalog of new programs for the iPhone. Con: AT&T's 3G coverage is spotty. A coverage map reveals that in 16 states, only three cities or fewer are covered. In 10 states there is no coverage at all.  For more, read the review here.
  • Edward Baig of USA Today. Pro: Messages and calendar entries are "pushed" to the device, so they show up right away, just as they do on other computers. Set-up is a cinch. Con: You still cannot shoot video or take advantage of Bluetooth stereo or dial with a voice command. For more, see the full review.

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