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iPhone Hardware and Accessories Discuss iPhone hardware

iPhone - Overall experience


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Zanthe

 
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Was wondering if people would be willing to share their overall experience with their new iPhone now that they have been out for a while?

It would be interesting to hear about:

Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
Ease of setup and overall operation
Quality of support from AT&T
Experience with the phone's email function
Are you happy you did it?
Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?

Any other overall experience good or bad would be interesting to me and I'm sure to everybody!
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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanthe View Post
Was wondering if people would be willing to share their overall experience with their new iPhone now that they have been out for a while?

It would be interesting to hear about:

Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
Ease of setup and overall operation
Quality of support from AT&T
Experience with the phone's email function
Are you happy you did it?
Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?

Any other overall experience good or bad would be interesting to me and I'm sure to everybody!
Sure:

Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
My previous carrier was Verizon (CDMA) and my wife and I had a Motorola V710, Q, and Razr. I was very pleased with Verizon's service overall. The call quality on my Q was as good as a landline. The V710, while older, also had excellent reception. The Razr was kind of spotty because it didn't have as good of an antenna as the V710 or Q, I guess. Enter the iPhone. First of all, the earpiece & mic are good but not great. The earpiece doesn't get as loud as I would like; for example, I used it to make a call to AT&T while in a crowded Apple Store and I had a very difficult time hearing the rep even on full blast. Next, the speakerphone: completely useless. Absolutely, completely useless. I hope that Apple fixes this in a future update. Sometimes I'm too lazy to use my Bluetooth headset and so I just put it on speakerphone in my car. I have a fairly quiet car, but the speakerphone just doesn't cut it. Third, AT&T's service is borderline good. Not great. Not horrible. Between "okay" and "good". If I walk more than 5 or 10 feet into a structure, I cannot get reception. Here at my computer desk, 15 feet from sliding glass doors, I cannot get reception. Even with 5 bars, the voice quality is not always that great. Sometimes it is has a fair amount of static. I am not pleased with AT&T; it feels like I got thrown into the past 5 or 10 years ago when cell phones were still like the commercials, "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?". This is an annoyance, but not a showstopper. The rest of the phone makes up for it, fortunately. I'm hoping that by merging with AT&T, Cingular's service will improve over time.

Ease of setup and overall operation
Overall setup was very easy. I ran into two issues: the first one was that Verizon took a good 24 hours to transfer our numbers, the second that AT&T fried one of our SIM cards through activation somehow and we had to swap iPhones. Aside from that, fairly painless. It's all iTunes-based and is laid out pretty well. Syncing is very simple, you just check a few boxes (all checked automatically when you first set it up) to decide what to sync. My one gripe is that you cannot add individual songs to the iPhone; you can only copy playlists. I have a playlist folder called "iPhone" that I update with the songs I want, then set iTunes to automatically sync that folder whenever I plug in the iPhone. Kind of annoying but not the end of the world. Picasa even reads the iPhone as a picture drive and can import your photos directly from it, which is super-nice. I just got a Mac laptop, so I'm looking forward to setting up with iCal, Contacts, and all the other goodies that the iPhone will really shine with. It works flawlessly with my wife's iMac - automatically did everything from her Calender to her Mail.

Quality of support from AT&T
Excellent. Their reception might not be great, but they were super helpful when I had problems. Overall I spent 2 hours with tech support the first night I got my phones, trying to see why Verizon was taking so long to transfer the numbers (supposed to be 6 hours max) and why one of the SIM cards wasn't reading. They also have close connections with iPhone tech support and can transfer you over quickly if you have any special questions about the phone. I was very impressed; I spoke with Americans every single time I called, I could understand all of them clearly, and they were all very polite and helpful. I had good experiences with Verizon as well, but when they ran into an unsolvable problem they stopped helping me. For example, my wife and I had separate accounts at Verizon for a long time and we wanted to merge, but my wife was not the primary on her account (she had gotten it ages ago before she had credit and a friend had co-signed for her.). Her friend had essentially disappeared and we couldn't do anything to the account without her info (social security # and whatnot). If we stopped paying bills on the account, her credit would get bad ratings because of us. Verizon was completely unhelpful and after many months of searching we finally found my wife's friend and got it sorted out. So AT&T's service has been leaps and bounds beyond AT&T - they stuck with me through all of the problems and made sure that I was all set before hanging up or transferring me to someone else.

Experience with the phone's email function
In a word, awesome. They nailed it! I have my Yahoo and my Gmail account set up on my iPhone. It vibrates whenever a new email arrives. I love it! It does folders, replies, photos, all of the basic functions that you want to do from your phone. Far better than any of the Windows Mobile software I've used. I am very happy with the phone's email function. I don't really know what else to say; it's the best implementation of email on a portable device I've ever seen. Nothing to complain about, just works great!

Are you happy you did it?
Yes! The iPhone is absolutely the coolest thing I've ever owned. It crashes and freezes far, far less than my other phones have; in fact, it hardly crashes at all. If a programs crashes, it simply kills the program and goes back to the main menu instead of locking up the whole phone, like Motorola and Microsoft products would. However this is a rare thing, it hardly ever crashes. The first time was right out of the box; it froze on a webpage and I had to do a hard reset. It hasn't done that since I got it synced with my computer. The second time was on the Google Maps app; my friend was zooming around a lot in satellite mode and I think it was eating too much data because it kept crashing. Other than that it's really great. Things I love: the iPod (I LOVE the Coverflow feature; I thought it would be useless!), the Calendar, the Alarm system, the Timer, Google Maps, Safari (yay, real Internet!), a pretty decent camera, the Photo Album system, the Weather widget, Email (which is awesome and painless), Visual Voicemail...I could go on and on. It's really a fantastic piece of hardware. Battery lasts all day too!

Again I am not pleased with AT&T's, but it's not so terrible that I would take the phone back. I knew exactly what I was getting into with Cingular because some of my friends have Cingular and I am familiar with the voice quality. I do get frustrated sometimes with the service; if I am only getting a couple bars indoors I often get the "Dropped Call" message which I NEVER got with Verizon. So it's not a walk in the park with AT&T. I am considering getting one of those indoor cell phone repeater-amps to extend the signal at my place. I hope AT&T updates their network soon! The iPhone is cool enough that the rest of the features overshadow the rather poor service, however. Oh and the phone is very scratch-proof. I keep it in my front pocket with my wallet all day long and there's not a scratch on it. I did get the PowerSupport Crystal Film screen protector; I would highly recommend that to both protect the (glass) screen and so that you can wipe off the screen with a shirt instead of having to use the special microfiber cloth.

Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?
My brother used to have a Treo (700wx I think) and I had a black Motorola Q. Let me start out by saying that the iPhone is no way, shape, or form a business phone. It is purely a consumer phone right now. Even many of the fun consumer-oriented features on other smart phones are not available on the iPhone. For example: no games (at all), no A2DP (that means no Bluetooth stereo headphones), no tethering (for use as a wireless modem for your laptop; at least, not without hacks), no custom ringtones (without hacks), no Flash/Java/WMP (makes the Internet not quite as much fun), no custom programs (aside from websites), no other advanced Bluetooth features (just the Headset profile for now), etc.

If you look at all the drawbacks - poor AT&T service, useless speakerphone, tons of missing features - it's easy to get turned off by it. I'm just trying to clear the way for you so that you understand the pros and cons. If you absolutely, positively need the best cellular service, do not get AT&T, period. If you want some of the more advanced features that phones like the Blackberry, Treo, or Q have to offer, do not get an iPhone. Do your homework, decide if it works for you, and get it. I decided that AT&T's average reception was not a showstopper for me, and while I'm not pleased with it, I am very, very happy with the phone. It's awesome - it's fun to play with, I love showing it off, and it's just really, really cool. The iPhone doesn't do a whole lot (yet), but what it does do it does extremely well. It does Contacts really well. It does Internet really well. It does Email really well. It does iPod really well. It has a really neat phone system. It has lots of fun little widgets to play with. Overall I love it and I'm keeping it. Apple did a great job; most of my complaints can be fixed with future software updates from Apple, so I'm not too worried about them.

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Zanthe

 
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Thank you kaidomac.

I have to say that was the most information well thought out post I have seen here. It really gives a snap shot of the iPhone and the pros and cons.

Unfortunately for me I use my phone for business and reception is the #1 most important priority for me with a cellular phone. So the AT&T connection really blows it up for me I'm afraid. I was hoping not to hear that but was a afraid I would. But I asked anyway.

I'm still going to keep my eye on this iPhone and see if things improve to the point where I might take a chance. Right now doesn't seem to be the optimal time for me considering my needs. I'm wondering if later on Apple with make a deal with other carriers to diversity their market share with iPhone. I hope so but I'm not seeing that happening any time soon.

Thanks again. Very helpful.
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MinaMACMan

 
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Kaidomac... Great Post +Rep to you sir.


EDIT: Will I guess the +REP will have to wait till I spread it around...
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diesel828

 
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Quality of reception, other than the RF quality on the phone, really depends on a carrier's coverage of a particular area. Check your area for who might have the best coverage. Most wireless mobile sites have coverage maps with signal strength in certain areas.

Best of luck!

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bryphotoguy

 
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i havent had any at&t related issues with my iphone. Reception is great in chicago. Same compared to t-mobile. Quality is good. My last phone was junk, a samsung super slim candy bar phone.
with the new firmware update edge seems to work a ton faster, no too much slower than my network wifi setup at home.
its appeal has worn off after a month and it price tag isn't worth it. Good thing i stumbled into it. Cool though


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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanthe View Post
Thank you kaidomac.

I have to say that was the most information well thought out post I have seen here. It really gives a snap shot of the iPhone and the pros and cons.

Unfortunately for me I use my phone for business and reception is the #1 most important priority for me with a cellular phone. So the AT&T connection really blows it up for me I'm afraid. I was hoping not to hear that but was a afraid I would. But I asked anyway.

I'm still going to keep my eye on this iPhone and see if things improve to the point where I might take a chance. Right now doesn't seem to be the optimal time for me considering my needs. I'm wondering if later on Apple with make a deal with other carriers to diversity their market share with iPhone. I hope so but I'm not seeing that happening any time soon.

Thanks again. Very helpful.
Well before you dismiss the iPhone, talk to other AT&T/Cingular customers in your area. I was whining about the reception over at Howard Forums and many people said that they were getting excellent service and reception. It really just depends on where you live because carrier coverage varies so much. Here's the thread if you're interested:

http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1215008

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Zanthe

 
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I have talked to a number of folks that have AT&T service and some that had Cingular and now have AT&T by default. Almost universally they told me it was the worst signal service they have had in spite of Cingular's "the fewest dropped calls" proclamation. So in my area I'm thinking AT&T wouldn't do the trick.

Seems like service from the various carriers does fluctuate depending on the city and coverage area. I guess I could move to Chicago. But seriously, I like the idea of the iPhone and it's compatibility with all that is mac but this isn't a toy for me but rather a very important business tool. So reception is paramount. Thanks for all the input on the subject. Have to keep my eye on this and see how it develops down the line.
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balzanto

 
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I am returning the iPhone 3G and going back to Sprint on a Blackberry. I love the iPhone but the service in the south suburbs of Chicago is so bad I had to turn off 3G just to make and receive calls. Talk to iPhone owners in your area and make sure it will work where you live, work and play.

I agree with all the above posts. The device itself is way cool. I'll miss it. But if network quality and reliability is your #1 concern, double check AT&T in your area.
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Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
I switched from Verizon to AT&T to buy an iPhone. Overall AT&Ts service in my area of Southern California has been fair bordering on good. I don't feel the network is reliable as Verizons was and coverage seemed much better and more reliable with Verizon. I don't use some of the functions mentioned earlier (speaker phone for example) too much so I have no real opinion. I do use the included ear buds since they also double as a wired hands free device (as well as a remote for the iPod side) and have been very pleased with them for general purpose use.

Ease of setup and overall operation
Setup was a snap and the iPhone simply synced with my exiting iTunes app and hooked right to my existing MobileMe service. No set up issues that I can
recall at all.

Quality of support from AT&T
I really have not had to call on AT&T support as yet with the exception of an initial billing issue. They resolved it promptly and courteously.

Experience with the phone's email function
Fantastic! I have 3 separate accounts (MobileMe, GMail and my private home e-mail) set up and I have had zero issues. My personal and GMail are both "pull" and Mobile Me is "Push" (MobileMe actually pushes my personal e-mail as well).

Are you happy you did it?
Most certainly. I do miss the reliability of Verizon, but the phone is fantastic.

Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?
Yep. I cam off of a Palm Treo 700P and the iPhone is the better device. The Palm was nice but the browser was a POS so internet was a joke. The Palm regularly locked up on SMS and MMS if the chain of texts became to long and I had issues with what Palm based Apps worked with my Treo's software. The problem with the Treo was that if an App didn't work, it often put the device in a terminal reset and it would never fully boot before it reset itself. That was bad enough but the only way to clear it was to zap the phone back to it's out of the box condition. That's fine if you are at home, but on the road it was a nightmare to lose all of your contacts and wait to be able to sync it again. This happened on multiple occasions and made wary of installing ANY new software of the device unless I could verify that it actually worked with other 700P devices.

I also always had issues with syncing the Palm with my Mac. Even "The Missing Sync" while good, left much to be desired and Palm never really had their heart in making their OS play nice with the Mac.

Any other overall experience good or bad would be interesting to me and I'm sure to everybody!
Overall my experience has been quite positive. I've only seen a little of the contact lag issue and none of the keyboard lag issue. Lots of folks complain about the lack of MMS, but if I want to sent I use e-mail although receiving can be a pain. Fortunately I don't do much MMS (lots of SMS though).

Other folks gripe about the lack of Bluetooth (BT) for anything other than hands free, but I rarely if ever used my Palms BT for anything else so I may not have the best perspective on that. My iPhone hooks up with my TomTom 720 GPS unit (for hands free) much more reliably than my Palm ever did.


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Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
I work in a hanger so there aren't many phones that work inside. Outside I have had little issues with reception other then being out of a service area.

Ease of setup and overall operation
Couldn't of been simpler. Its through iTunes. From what I have heard Apple is making you activate the new 3G models at the store or sign a letter of intent or so I'm told.

Quality of support from AT&T
No issues as of yet.

Experience with the phone's email function
Amazing, a single vibrate lets you know when you have new email, although on silent you don't know if its an SMS or email. Not a con for me but might be for others.

Are you happy you did it?
I love how simple Apple makes everything. Setup, ease of use, everything.

Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?
My last phone was a Nokia N73... cant really compare the two.

Over all I have no regrets with the iPhone, I probably wont be upgrading to a 3G model since I don't have the need. (I have a Garmin in the car so no need for GPS, and the cell tower triangulation works well enough for me and I dont have a need for 3G speeds...if I'm in a 3G area...)
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• Quality of reception (compared to your old cell phone for example)
I think the clarity of the calls is much better than my Blackjack I had previously. I work in a all metal framed and covered building in a town with Edge Service....no 3G. I get 2-3 bars in my corner office of the metal building but once I step out the door of the building I get five full bars on Edge.

• Ease of setup and overall operation
Awesome! The only setup issue I had was getting my GMail account set up. I called Apple iPhone Support and they walked me through it in less than five minutes. As far as overall operation it has been pretty darned good. I have only had to do a hard reset (home and power) twice since I got the phone on July 18th. Both times were when Safari locked up in areas with shaky coverage and I got impatient....which I have a tendency to do.

• Quality of support from AT&T
I haven't had to have any interaction with AT&T since I purchased the phone. The Direct Fulfillment order I placed on the afternoon of launch day went smoothly and picking it up one week later went smoothly as well. I had to wait a short while to do the transaction with the CSR that I had to order the phone through....but it was Friday and I was getting my new iPhone and I really didn't care. Once I got in front of the CSR it almost went too fast. I was done in less than 5 minutes and out the door playing with my new toy....I mean tool. :-)

• Experience with the phone's email function
Pretty good! I currently have my Charter home Email, my personal GMail account and my work Exchange account set up on the phone. I have issues with the POP Charter account when I am traveling being able to send....but I have the same issues with my Macbook. Haven't taken the time to work out the issue.

I have all three accounts set to manually fetch....no push on the exchange account. I'm not one of those people who feel they need to have their e-mail the microsecond it comes in. I just check it quite often during the day....but on my schedule.

• Are you happy you did it?
I am completely and utterly happy that I did it. I wanted the first generation when it came out but was patient and waited for the 3G. Since I live in an area with good 3G service it didn't make sense to go from my Blackjack with 3G to an Edge iPHone.

• Anybody comparing it to a previously owned Treo or other "smart phone" devices?
Comparing my 3G to my old Blackjack is comparing apples to oranges. The only thing I will admit my Blackjack did better has to do with the camera features. The Blackjack's camera had a lot more features...zoom, cropping and such. Other than that the iPhone kicks it's but pretty handily up and down the street.

Steve
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