iPhone 3GS Review By Beginner For Beginners

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With the recent release of the shiny new iPhone 3G S, there are probably lots of new iPhone users out there, who haven’t the slightest clue about what the iPhone world is all about. Before you iPhone newbies get to jailbreaking, customizing, and optimizing your iPhones, you need to talk about the basics. 

One of our readers, a mother of two and a self-employed businesswoman, purchased the iPhone 3G S less than a week ago, and it was her first iPhone ever. She wrote the following review, and it details the chronicles of an iPhone amateur. 

And for you iPhone pros, perhaps you’ll just want to remember what it felt like when you first bought the magical rectangle. 

the last few months
, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Apple‚Äôs latest release so I could finally own an iPhone. After all the anticipation, excitement
and agony over deciding if I’d go with the 16 GB or spring for the 32 GB, was
it all worth it?

I’ve never owned a smartphone before. I’ve always gotten the basic phone that
came free with my AT&T contract, upgrading when the old phone crapped out,
always to the latest model that had the basics, but no more. But lately, I’ve found
myself out and about, feeling naked without access to the Internet, or Twitter,
or e-mail.

Even though I wasn’t eligible for the cheapest upgrade price until October, I
went for it now, and I’m already glad I did.

The setup:
I had a heckuva time figuring out how to get the SIM card out. It was sent to
me with the SIM card already installed, but when we called AT&T to activate
the phone, they asked for the SIM card number.
The main fault here is mine, actually ‚Äî I’m really bad at reading instruction manuals.
I don’t remember the last time I opened one before trying to figure out what I
needed to do on any electronic device. I finally saw the little metal key
thingy, and the light bulb in my brain went off. I looked at all the edges of
the phone quickly and found a teeny hole at the top. Sure enough, the key fit

Of course, I could have just looked at the manual online and found this:

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, 3gs_rev_1
The one fault I
found with AT&T regarding this is that the woman helping out my husband didn’t know that either,
and couldn’t tell him where I could find the SIM card.

However, this woman redeemed herself entirely after being disconnected from my
husband when she was transferring him for the final activation. She called us
back about 15 minutes later, apologizing for having taken so long to call us
back. She’d been bombarded by calls after getting disconnected. But she
actually called us back. I’ve never encountered any customer service rep who
cared enough to do that.

So, despite all the problems everyone’s been having with getting their phones
activated, it not only was not a big problem, it was activated within minutes.
As the new customer service rep was telling me how it might take up to 30
minutes to activate, the message popped up on my phone telling me it was done.

I have two small children. I take lots of pictures. But I often forget to bring
my digital camera with me and my old phone had such poor picture quality that I
hardly ever bothered.

Those days are over.

I took many photos of my sons, even e-mailing some directly to my father, who
was thrilled to get ’em. He remarked to me that he wouldn’t have even been able
to tell they were taken on a phone if I hadn’t told him. Sure, they weren’t
quite as large as typical digital camera pictures I’ve sent him, but the 3 megapixels give you a pretty
good picture quality.

Of course, if you have very active little ones, you’re bound to get action
shots like this one:

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, Rev_2

I took a short video, too, and it was quite good quality. I can see myself
filling it up rather quickly with the kidlets, so I’m going to have to watch

My main issue? No zoom. But you can take photos and videos in either upright or
landscape mode, and the camera knows the difference when you go to look at

It was exceptionally easy to take any photo and set it as the wallpaper, assign
it to a contact or e-mail it. I just had to simply tap on the photo, hit the
forward button and:

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, Rev_3

I made my
father, who lives in California, very happy on Father’s Day with my new iPhone.

Downloading apps:
I had a spot of trouble because I didn’t have some information I needed for
downloading stuff from the App Store when I was up in the mountains this
weekend. But as soon as I got home, I got it all cleared up and I was able to
download TweetDeck and WordWarp, both of which are free.

Here’s the irony – the TweetDeck app for the iPhone has greater functionality
than the desktop app. At least, that’s what I thought, so I sent a tweet out
into the Twittersphere and heard back from others who thought the same thing.
The only issue I had was that when I went to landscape mode, it landscaped the
notifications, but not TweetDeck itself. That, however, is a function of the
app, not the iPhone.

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, Tweetdeck

Downloads took a little longer than I expected, but I probably had unrealistic

Browsing the ‘net:
Have to admit, this takes a little getting used to. I like that it opens new
windows in new windows, however, rather than having to hit “back” all
the time. I’m a big tabbed browser
, so that’s important to me. As you can see from the
attached, I already have seven pages open (see the bottom right corner):

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, Rev_5

Very easy
to navigate, just takes some getting used to viewing in the small windows.

However, I like that there are options for enlarging. I could tap twice on the
screen to get a column to come up to the same width as my iPhone screen or
untweeze – take my two fingers, put them
together, and slowly spread them apart on the screen until
I get to the desired size. Both have their uses.

When I was in the mountains and could only get 2-3 bars on my phone, connecting
to the Internet and sending and receiving e-mail took a bit longer. Once we got
closer to civilization and I had 5 bars, the speeds picked up.

I have DSL at home, so that’s my only comparison, too. Of course, one could
argue that the 3GS is its own sort of DSL anyhow. Kinda.

I got my two google e-mail addresses set up on my phone within minutes of its
activation. The coolest part was that on one Gmail address, I have three or
four other e-mail addresses that are forwarded to it. No worries, they all were
there, as envelopes, on my iPhone and I could download the folders I needed, or

As I said earlier, e-mailing a photo from the camera was easy as pie. Well,
it’s just as easy to e-mail a link. After hitting the + button at the bottom of
the screen, you get this window:

This image described by iPhone news, iphone 3g s, iphone beginner, iphone 3g s review, Rev_6
That’s pretty simple. I tried it while I was out and about, in our car, on the
way home.

I must admit, I’m disappointed that after years with AT&T, they wouldn’t
give me the cheapest upgrade price (which would have been $199) until October.
I work for myself now and almost completely on the Internet, so I need to be
plugged in most of the time now. So waiting ’til then was just not going to

AT&T made such a huge deal out of the cheap prices this go-round, they were just rubbing it in the noses of people like

Battery life:
I’ve been told it’s better than before. If that’s the case, then: Wow. Glad I
waited until now.

That said, it’s being asked to be a phone, an iPod, a computer, a text messeger and all sorts of
other things phones weren’t asked to be until recently. I guess I’ll cut the
phone some slack. After a day of me fiddling with it all day long, it was down
to about 12 percent of power. I guess I shouldn’t be too picky.

If I think about it, if I’d been using my old phone for as much stuff as the
iPhone (not even possible, but play along), its battery would have died within
an hour, I’d think.

So long as I’m paying attention and make sure it doesn’t run out when I need to
be sure I have a phone for emergency calling, I should be OK. Now I just have
to get a case.

Am I glad I broke down and got my iPhone now instead of waiting for October?
Heck yeah.

I’ve already downloaded the free TweetDeck app (which lets you sign in to
multiple accounts) and tweeted my way through an interesting panel discussion
Monday night.

I was able to check my Gmail throughout the night, so I didn’t come home to a
huge pile of e-mails I had to plow through.

I already know I’m not going to be able to remember what life was like
pre-iPhone. I’m already having a bit of trouble with the recollections.

It’s become an indispensable tool as a mommy for picture-taking and -sharing;
as a self-employed woman for enabling me to stay connected any and everywhere.
And that’s just after 4 days.


please share  your experience in comments

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