The whole set (so far): Houston: The Drive
The whole set (so far): Houston: The Drive
So I upgraded to the 3GS on release day.
You may have seen my E71 vs. iPhone review last October. Well, the 3GS pretty much reverses that conclusion, and then some. Here are some of the topics, revisited:
Voice quality: Shockingly, iPhone 3GS. I was very surprised, but the 3GS voice quality (compared to the original) is much better, and the radio works far better in our house than the original did. I think I prefer the equalization on the E71, but that's only when comparing a tinny-sounding source in strong signal.
Responsiveness: iPhone 3GS, by far. The speed boost and 3.0 did the trick. It's fast, and typing is fantastic.
Email: iPhone 3GS. The better UI, now with plenty of speed, server-side search, fantastic Exchange support, etc.
Cellular/3G data: iPhone 3GS. I had an original iPhone before, of course, but the 3G on the iPhone 3GS is great, and probably in part due to the processor bump, things just go more quickly.
Maps: Tie. Again, responsiveness has made up the difference. I still love physical keys here, but the iPhone has other features that make up the gap, so I'd say this is a tie now.
Home Screen: iPhone 3GS. The bugs in the E71 have bitten me lately, and with the processor bump, the iPhone is more responsive and I get to things quickly. Amazing what a little speed will do for your user experience.
Contacts: iPhone 3GS. Again, processor and OS bump made search fast and easy. Very nice now.
Typing: iPhone 3GS. Typing is now very fast and responsive. I'm MUCH faster on the 3GS than on the E71.
Local connectivity: Tie. iPhone supports stereo bluetooth now and some interesting Wi-Fi stuff.
Tethering: Tie, once ATT turns it on. iPhone has this, just needs the bloody carrier to support it.
Camera: iPhone 3GS, by far. MUCH better photos and video, autofocus, etc. And no pathetic "flash" which ruins every picture.
Battery Life: E71, because it doesn't get used. The iPhone 3GS does suck down the battery if you use it a lot, but that's true of anything. The fact is, you want to use it a lot. Not so much with the E71.
Search: iPhone 3GS. E71 doesn't have it, or it's application-specific.
I'm no longer "bi-phonal". I carry the 3GS only. It does Exchange better, it does phone better, it does Internet WAY better, it has orders of magnitude more and better applications, it has a coherent platform, the UI is great, and so on.
[UPDATE: also read my updated post on the iPhone 3GS]
I spent the week in Silicon Valley for a bunch of meetings, and I've been disappointed with the voice quality of the iPhone (esp. recently), so I decided to carry both it and my E71. In addition, I now have my work email, contacts, calendar, and corporate directory on the E71. For a bit of history, I've been using the iPhone for more than a year, and haven't used the E71 seriously until now.
What follows are a bunch of rough categories and a "winner" in each, followed by thoughts and opinions.
Voice quality: E71, by far. This is the iPhone's primary achilles heel, the voice quality is brittle and irritating, to the point that I cannot listen to it for any length of time. Worse, people frequently have a hard time understanding me. The phone simply needs EQ and a mic sensitivity adjustment, preferably exposed to the user (in some idiot-proof way). In contrast, the E71 has probably the best voice quality of any mobile I've used (and I've used quite a few). At least on par with the best. I have no problem listening to the other party for significant lengths of time, and I have yet to encounter irritating sound, even from an iPhone on the other end.
Responsiveness: E71. iPhone 2.0 came with a lot of new features, but also what comes across as a fair bit of heft. Everything is slower, ranging from just a little in many instances to quite a lot in a few (the keyboard is VERY slow now, almost without exception). Even the "just a little slower" instances are significant, though, because of the nature of the UI. If you touch a button and can't feel a response, the way you know it worked is because it does what you told it immediately. Apple has broken that in iPhone 2.0 and thus the gorgeous UI feels sluggish and buggy. Again, the E71 is a marked contrast, being one of the most responsive phones I've used and by far the most responsive S60 Nokia I've ever seen.
Web: iPhone. The iPhone browser is beautiful, very easy to use, and its understanding of column layouts and zooming is excellent. Touch dragging, rubber banding, etc. all contribute to a fabulous user experience. The E71 browser is based around the same engine (though probably a little older), but without the touch UI it just isn't the same thing. Having to "fly" the cursor around just sucks.
Email: iPhone, by a little. iPhone's email UI is far superior to the E71 native or Mail for Exchange UIs. However, typing an email on the iPhone is less of a win, and I probably prefer the E71 there (tough choice). The E71's responsiveness is a win here, so iPhone wins by only a little.
Wi-Fi: iPhone. It just works. E71 has the bass-ackwards Access Point system which sucked five years ago and is now totally unacceptable. S60 should be ashamed. Having said that, the 3/3.5G connectivity on E71 is so good, I basically don't use Wi-Fi at all. One ubiquitous data pipe FTW!
Cellular/3G data: E71. 3/3.5G data is fast and responsive on the E71, and the general responsiveness of the device adds to that impression. I have the original iPhone, so I haven't spent a lot of time using the 3G version, but enough to say that I don't find it as reliable and responsive as the E71. Plus the sluggish iPhone UI detracts from the whole experience. Another thing I notice: I always have data on E71, when I may not even have signal on iPhone. Both are on AT&T.
Maps: E71, by far. Strange, huh? I love the iPhone Google Maps app, don't get me wrong, Touching and pinching and all. And Nokia Maps is a suck-fest to put it kindly. But, much to my surprise, Google Maps on the E71 is fantastic! The phone's GPS is extremely responsive and accurate and the Google Maps app ties into it perfectly. Zooming in and out is very fast (just hit 1 or 3) and much more usable while driving (did I say that?) than iPhone's. Perhaps because of the speedy 3G data, the search function seems blazing fast, and very accurate.
Home Screen: E71. It's customizable, with fast access to common features, email summary, broken out "recents" like voicemail, SMS, and missed calls, etc. iPhone is nice, but I get to things I need more quickly on E71.
Contacts: A tossup. iPhone's UI is prettier and easier to manage, by far. Adding contact info is very obvious. E71's UI is more bare-bones and editing contacts is somewhat painful. However, contact search is SO MUCH BETTER on E71. iPhone's search is dreadfully slow, mostly because it takes 5-10 seconds for the keyboard to function. E71's is immediate, and search is available full-time, you don't have to do anything for it to come up. MobileMe syncing is nice on iPhone, though. I have E71 syncing to my MacBook Pro and to Ovi (ovi.com), and it works fine, but it's not as "invisible" as MobileMe, for better or worse.
Calendar: E71, by a little. iPhone is prettier and easier to look at, but otherwise is somewhat sucky. I can create/find/edit meetings and reminders on E71 much more quickly. Defaults are better on E71 too. Again, MobileMe is nice on iPhone.
Typing: A tossup. I type faster on the iPhone, even though its keyboard isn't real. However, sometimes it takes so long for the keyboard to function that I would have been done already on the E71. E71 is fast and consistent, and then there is that thing of having real keys. So it's hard to pick a winner here. If iPhone was as responsive as the E71, it would win hands down.
Local connectivity: E71, by far. Bluetooth 2.0 w/ EDR and a pile of profiles. iPhone supports mono Bluetooth headsets and that's it (um, Apple?).
Tethering: E71, by far. iPhone doesn't tether. Thanks, Apple. E71's excellent 3/3.5G data speed makes this very attractive.
SMS iPhone. iPhone's chat-style SMS interface is truly brilliant. It's SO much better than the traditional one-message-at-a-time interface. MUCH better. Nokia, please copy this, right now. :)
Form factor: A tossup. iPhone is a great fit-in-your-pocket size, has a gorgeous screen, feels good to hold, etc. E71 fits even better, feels equally good to me (except for touching the screen of course, since you don't do that), but has a much smaller screen.
In-call features (e.g. mute): iPhone. Nokia loves to bury these, grrrrr. iPhone wins here. iPhone conferencing works well (if you can stand the voice quality to begin with). In-call keypad is nice, Nokia still keeps the in-call keypress backlog in a dial bubble, which is annoying.
Camera: E71. 3.2MP gives you a lot more blurry pixels than iPhone's 2.0. But the real win here is video, on both sides of the phone! iPhone 3G should've had video. Bleh. E71 wins. Video also means apps like Qik which is very cool IMO.
UPDATED: turns out you have to autofocus the camera manually! Press the '2' button and it will focus, THEN take your pic! Much less blurry!
Media: iPhone, by far. Ummm, ok the Nokia sucks at media. Really, really sucks. iPhone is the best iPod ever (really, not just b/c Steve says so). E71 is pathetic in this category, sorry. iPhone's screen and touch UI just make the difference even more glaring. No contest. iPhone also excels at displaying photos, even if it can't take a decent one on its own.
Applications: iPhone. The iPhone SDK is a joy, lots of good applications exist, they blow away the equivalents on S60 in most cases (Twitter client, for example). Some S60/E71 apps are outstanding (Google Maps), but most are not. The Apple/iTunes ecosystem is very good for applications.
Games: iPhone, by far. Yeah... the iPhone is a standout game platform. Accelerometers plus beautiful 2D plus beautiful 3D plus great SDK => lots of fun games, for cheap. Great game device.
VoIP: E71. iPhone doesn't have it, and won't have it, given the current SDK restrictions. No background apps => no listening for incoming SIP calls. E71 VoIP works well, once configured, but configuring it does suck quite a bit.
It's very hard for me to pick one. I love, almost adore, the iPhone. It has revolutionized the mobile industry. The UI is brilliant and easy. Many things just work. However, it has some very big warts, particularly since the 2.0 release. The #1 problem is voice quality... it's just terrible, worst I've ever heard on a mobile phone. A close second is the very sluggish UI, especially the keyboard. Many times it is nearly unusable, which is shocking considering the iPhone's bread and butter is usability. This is a new "feature" since 2.0, 1.x was much more responsive.
E71 is very fast and very utilitarian. I can get a lot done quickly once I know how. It has much better connectivity than iPhone (the lack of full Bluetooth 2.0 and tethering is ridiculous), it has video, it has a real keyboard (for better or worse), a great home screen, etc. Finally, the E71 is hands down the winner in the "just a phone" category. Contact searching is very fast, voice quality is excellent.
So here's what I want: toss the iPhone, get an iPod touch, use Bluetooth to the E71 to connect anywhere. Oh wait, Apple doesn't do that on iPod touch. GRRRRRR. Thanks, Apple.
I guess if pressed, I would have to take the E71 over the iPhone, as a phone, because it does the basics really well, and I can stand to talk on it for hours. I can sync it, search my contacts very quickly, etc. Texting is more of a chore, but the keyboard is nice, so the actual typing part is good. Everything is anywhere from a little to a lot uglier, but it really works, and the thing is so very responsive. But there's no chance there wouldn't be a least an iPod touch in my other pocket. :) The combo of the two (iPhone and E71) is hard to beat. I basically treat the iPhone as a touch with data.
My last conclusion: Apple must fix their OS. The iPhone would've won out in many categories if it wasn't sluggish and unreliable, especially where the keyboard is concerned. Very frustrating. Apple, fix your phone.
UPDATED: my really last conclusion, I meant to say this in the original post - E71 is definitely more oriented towards phone/mobility geeks than towards the average "just make it work" user. Advanced users will make use of the additional features and will appreciate the snappy UI, and will be better able to overlook or work with the cumbersome S60 OS.
I'm working with a friend on an iPhone game for toddlers (he's doing the graphics, I'm writing the code). I've learned a ton about the iPhone SDK over the past week and the game is coming along very nicely. I love the iPhone SDK. It's a dream.
Here's the splash screen, FWIW (running in the simulator):
This is my second post on iPhone 2.0, because the first was after not having used it for much time.
So read the first post first, as this is the "yeah, but..." post.
It's buggy. REALLY buggy. And VERY slow after having been on for a while (a while meaning a couple of hours, since I have to recharge about twice a day if I actually use it for anything).
As mentioned, battery life is not just bad, it's atrocious. Most days I need to FULLY charge TWICE. And I'm not using it THAT much. The battery life is so bad that it really negates the benefit of all these cool apps... and since in every other way 2.0 is a significant usability downgrade, there really is nothing good to say about 2.0 on the whole. It sucks.
So back to the buggy part... my iPhone has spontaneously rebooted more times in the past 2 weeks than in the entire year of 1.0. Some apps work all the time, but most only launch some of the time. Super Monkey Ball launches maybe 50% of the time (it's the worst). No errors, no explanations, no diagnostics, nothing.
So the 2.0 UI is much slower than 1.0, to the point that all of the sweet usability is gone. Sweet finger scrolling? Nope... slow and jittery. Touch interface? Nope... takes so long to react that I end up thinking I flubbed it, and then it gets all my touch events at once. The applications are very cool, except using them drains the battery at an astonishing rate (and I'm not talking games here). Oh and they're only cool when they don't crash at launch. And then there are the reboots.
Since I write software for a living, and have for a long time, I know this software. This is software that just barely worked one time when they declared "ship it". This is software put out on a release date whether it's ready or not (and it's not, not even close). Bad Apple!
Of course, then there are the NDA issues for developers. Bad Apple!
So I got in on the "hey the 2.0 bundle is out early!!!" download-yer-own iPhone OS 2.0 upgrade thing on Thursday (which turned out to be a good thing b/c the 2.0 upgrade didn't go smoothly for most of the world yesterday). I love it. The big reason I love it: apps! Surprising, I know. The basic OS has some improvements, but the big deal is third party apps.
Of which I have 10 or so installed already... love Twitterrific and NetNewsWire... I use both on the desktop and the iPhone versions are excellent. Especially love synced RSS feeds. The Facebook app is nice, but missing some things. Exposure is awesome for Flickr users. Pay Fraser money! It's worth it.
But biggest of all: games. The games are fantastic... Super Monkey Ball, Chopper, and Cro-Mag Rally are all very, very fun and perfect for mobile gaming. Of course, we need multi-player Cro-Mag now. It's like a Wii remote... with the Wii and the TV embedded in it.
I was pretty surprised that playing a game as a caveman driving a cavecar was fun, but it was. The ridiculousness of that concept adds something to the fun, I think (suspension upgrades for a car made out of logs and nearly square stone wheels? nice).
The only problem with the games? Battery life. That may make me upgrade to the new hardware sooner than I expected. The new battery has maybe twice (?) the life of the 1st gen hardware... Super Monkey Ball is death to my battery.
Oh I almost forgot... a very close 2nd to games... Remote! Apple built a full-featured iTunes remote app (which is free). It works over Wi-Fi, you can browse your library, playlists, control Airtunes destination, etc. It's exactly what I was looking for a couple days ago on twitter.
I'm super happy with 2.0, and especially given that it's free! Now if only all the games were free... sigh... :)
P.S. screenshots are really cool... hold the home button and press the lock button once, voilá. Email to yourself. Post on blog. Eat, drink, and be merry.
iPhone 2.0 up and running, downloaded TypePad, posting... awesome!
I love the famous Mark Twain quote, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics."
TUAW seems to have forgotten that in a pretty pathetic post about the Japanese not wanting the iPhone. Or maybe they're just groping for traffic. Or maybe they're just parroting the news article without thinking about it.
The title of the article is "Survey: 91% of Japanese don't want an iPhone". Assuming that's true, that would be almost as many iPhones sold in Japan as sold in the US in its entire first year (roughly 11 million and 14 million, respectively). 95% of US Americans (snicker) didn't want an iPhone either.
Here's a hint... it's not the feature list...
Though, I have to say, I'm about as geek as one gets in many ways, and I love my iPhone too... for the same reason. My "other" phones are broken in so many ways I can't count. They're frustrating. The iPhone is almost never frustrating.
Take GPS for example... I have three phones with GPS in them... however, the GPS apps are so poorly written that I couldn't figure out how to use them, and to get real benefit, you have to subscribe to yet another service from some company I've never heard of. So do I use the GPS? Nope, never. Will I use the GPS in the iPhone 3G? Almost certainly.