Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes I know I suck (again)

That makes 6 weeks without an original content update. I've started working on something, I promise. I've just been playing a lot of Warhammer (and a little Far Cry 2), and really all the other PC games that have come out recently sound so "bleah" that I can't even drum up the initiative to even install them, much less play them, much less write a witty and acerbic review of them.

But there will be something else besides me mooching content off Zero Punctuation soon.


DimentoGraven said...

Then how about a random review?!?! I'll do it!

Um... Wait... [shuffling around my desk] Oh wait, here! Let's review the iPhone!

Somewhat recently my wife purchased an iPhone 3G 16gb for me, mainly because I'd finally blown up my beloved Tilt.

Those of you who know me also know that I'm pretty much anti-Apple. I feel that while Steve Jobs has been a great boon to that company, but his insistance on keeping almost everything hardware related to his company as 'proprietary' just pisses me off.

I loved the clone era of PC's and I think everyone can agree it's what turned computers into something that almost every person can afford now days, anyway, let's see if I can't fit this review into the Gas Bandit's template:

Graphics -
The screen on my iPhone is nearly 4 inches of diagonal viewing area, which is quite a lot really, comperable to my Microsoft Zune, and considering that my next favorite hand held device, the Sony PSP gives you damn near 5.5 inches of diagonal viewing area.

The resolution is pretty good, I could look it all up, but that would defeat the 'off the cuff' nature of this review now wouldn't it, but needless to say, one of the applets I have on my iPhone is "Astronomy Pic of the Day" and I have to say the pictures view very well.

I've seen YouTube video's playing on my wife's iPhone (I bought her 3G 8gb model about 2 days before I broke my tilt), and they come in as clear as they were originally recorded.

The various games I've downloaded all seem to have "reasonable" graphics capabilities considering the format.

The main complaint on graphics is what is now considered teeny tiny camera resolution, I think it's 1.3 mega pixels. My Tilt was 3 mega pixels, and OH YEAH, no goddamn video recordings, you're stuck with still pictures.

Sound -
The sound is fairly good. It only has one speaker, but when playing music through it, or one of my custom ring tones, they sound quite good.

I hate to admit but the speaker phone on this is better than on my old Tilt, though I have issues sometimes when connecting my iPhone to my stereo via CD/Cassette converter, sometimes the microphone won't work properly and I have to switch back and forth from speaker to phone when speaking, which makes 'hands free' a bit of an issue.

My biggest sound complaint is that the iPhone doesn't support the stereo blue tooth protocol. So my previous investment in a motorolla stereo blue tooth headset was an effective waste now that I can't listen to music without some sort of additional hardware.

Another thing I've noticed is the sound quality difference when playing musing between the Zune and the iPhone. The Zune's equalizer blows the shit out of anything Apple EVER put in any other device.

It's kind of annoying not being able to listen to my music the way I want to, but a semi decent pair of over the ear head phones diminishes the harshness of the shitty EQ on the iPhone.

Another feature lacking on this phone is the lack of ability to record phone calls. The Tilt could do it, albiet clumsily, and I thought it was a nifty feature because so often I'd get on calls with customer service reps, or coworkers that would be HILARIOUS to play back...

Control -
Well... What can I say, it's touch screen, that means if you can see it, you can touch it to click.

Controlling the thing is pretty intuitive, however, if you have big (or fat) fingers thumb typing on this fucker will give you fits.

The only other controls are the switch to turn on "movie mode", volume "up/down" a button on the top I never use, and the main button on the front you use to wake it up and bounce to main app window/favorites for dialing.

There's no native handwriting recognition in the Tilt for some reason, maybe the resoluton of the touch screen isn't fine enough to do so, that'd be my first guess, considering the stylus my wife bought for me has a quarter inch diameter and nothing smaller than that seems to be "noticed" by the iPhone.

Story -
You're cool if you bought one of these, and everyone else is envious of your newly purchased 'epeen'. Um, no REAL story here, sorry guys.

Gameplay -
Hmmm... Um, it's a good phone. So far I haven't had that many dropped calls on it. The sound quality is good. The requirement for a data plan is a MAJOR pain in the ass, though, admitedly, it's kind of nice being able to get my personal email while at work (damn bank won't let us access non-bank email services).

There's a SHIT TON of apps, and quite a few of them are 'free'. I've found applets that help me 'troubleshoot' wireless networks, locate free wireless, a compass, that damn level you see in the adds, a specific app for my bank account, various camera apps, etc. etc. etc.. You can almost endlessly download crap to your iPhone and play with it.

However, the biggest detriment to the iPhone experience in my mind is that fucking piece of shit iTunes. You HAVE to install iTunes to activate your phone, and synchronize your phone, and put music on your phone.

I'm sorry, but I think Apple purposely wrote it to be constantly f'd up on the PC in the hopes that it would be the 'killer app' that gets everyone to switch to Mac. Trust me, it won't be iTunes that does it.

My wife has had an iPod for a year or two now, and STILL didn't know how to really use iTunes to synchronize music across her devices. In my Zune version of Windows Media player ALL that was required was a 'right click' and single left click to get any album or song synched to my Zune. Any time I added new songs, WMP figured out it was there automatically, no effort on my part.

For me to deal with this iPhone I first had to setup an empty play list, then drag and drop all the music I wanted to the play list, THEN synch the play list to the iPhone.

To get iTunes to use my existing library required 15 minutes of searching for the obscure location of where it needed to look, and then any time I drop new music into it through any process not involving iTunes, I have to manually update iTunes.

Also, my Zune was ultimately better at synching because I could synch up via Wireless, where as I've yet to figure out if that's possible on the iPhone.

Still there are some damn cool applets out there, my favorite being the Remote applet, which lets me control music on a designated PC. I have a setup where one of my PC's acts as a jukebox. It required installing [shudder] iTunes on it, but now, from anywhere in my house, I can change the song, and/or turn the volume up or down on my iPhone. I find that very nifty considering my PC plays music for much of my house (garage, pool room, back yard) and so when entertaining there's no longer a fast dash out to the garage to adjust the volume, I simply whip out the iPhone and do it.

Another fairly major drawback to the iPhone is the shitty Samsung processor Apple put in it. The processor is so weak that iPhone was forced to limit multi tasking on the device. You can't have multiple apps running on the iPhone, other than some of the base apps (I think the phone and GPS might be workable together, not sure), and the processor is a serious power hog, which can require very frequent recharges, potentially causing sitauations where even you're plugged into a powersource, you're STILL going to drain the battery.

Conclusion -
For an all around hand held device that can do a whole lot of things at least at a mediocre level, it's a damn fine device.

However, if you're looking for a specific feature to be all inclusive, the iPhone definitely fits the 'jack of all trades, master of none' description.

If you're looking for a phone with a really good GPS and higher res camera, the iPhone isn't for you. If you're looking for a phone that you'll be able to use damn near anywhere, to be able to at least function at a basic level for still pictures, basic directions, limited browsing capabilities (Safari sucks guys, sorry), and provide some basic entertainment, the iPhone will work well.

Two weeks had you asked me if I'd give you my iPhone for a working Tilt, you'd have had yourself an iPhone, three or four months later though, hmmm..., I'd have to think about it for a while.

Once you get used to the 'pants on head retardedness' of the things that are just not 'quite' what they should be it actually ends up being pretty cute.

Grade: B-, with the option to push the grade up on 'extra credit' projects that may come up.

There's some great potential. Maybe updated OS's will resolve some of these, but, considering the trade buzz that's going on, I'm thinking Apple realizes they're going to have to beef up the base hardware of the system a bit to 'catch up' to include a lot of the features now standard on other phones.

Gas Bandit said...

Maybe you should look at jailbreaking your iphone. There's video recorders and such if you do so.

DimentoGraven said...

I suffer from a deep dark paranoia about such things these days.

I'll be that fucker they catch doing it, and the one they decide to "make an example of"...

I don't need AT&T pushing the big red button making the fucker explode upside my head the next time I'm calling home to the wife...

Besides that, why should I have to go through such bullshit to get what is now a defacto "standard feature" on all 'good' mobile phones these days?

Again, that goes into the 'pants on head retarded' category.

PPMcBiggs said...

My daughter jailbroke her phone all by herself. (Impressive) The video recorder app you reference GB really just takes pictures as fast as possible while recording audio. Sure, its "video", but about 2fps at most.

As much as I hate apple I am considering getting one of these only to see how hard it is to write apps for it. There is a lot of money to be made writing iPhone apps.

GravenImage said...

Yeah, I'd been looking into it, but it requires me using the Apple OS.

While I can be as 'metro sexual' as the next guy by having just a little bit of the Mac experienced contained in a communications device, but to open my eAnus to the whole Mac OS...

Nuh uh, no thank you. I just can't swing being THAT gay...