I’ve had an iPhone 3G for about 2.5 years, and although I’ve found it good in most respects, the camera was really not very good – when I bought it, it was inferior to the camera of my older, cheaper, Sony phone! Also, some newer apps won’t run on the old 3G, and operating system updates are no longer available. I was just waiting for this year’s iPhone before updating it.
I can’t say I was especially excited by the spec of the new iPhone 4S, but my old 3G really did need an update, not really as a phone, but to give me something which had a (relatively!) decent camera, so that I could dispense with a compact camera which I usually carry as well as the phone ‘just in case’. I wasn’t planning to get one immediately, but initial reports suggested that there might be a 2 week (or perhaps more) wait as they were selling out on pre-prders, so I did something I have never done before – I joined a queue at O2 in Wolverhampton on the first day they were on sale. I must say that O2 did quite a good job of checking the queue v stock, served cakes and drinks etc, but after 1.5 hours I was seriously cold, and not feeling at all well, not to mention back pain, and it looked as though it would still take 45 minutes to ah hour to get served (and probably even 30-45 minutes to get INTO the shop, so I gave up. I did a bit more shopping indoors nearby, then looked into the Orange shop – no queues, and they had a 32G 4S, though white, while I would have preferred black. Anyway, I bought it (quite a long-drawn out process as their computers, internet etc were down, and working with paper was evidently an unfamiliar experience to most of the younger staff! Actually the salesman (very helpful) was most upset that he could not demonstrate the 4S to me, as he really wanted to try one! A demo would not really have been necessary anyway for me. I have to say that compared with when I bought the 3G from O2, Orange actually inserted the SIM card into the phone, and if it had not been for their connectivity problems they would have activated it too, which O2 did not do. The main problem is that I now have a different phone number, which I have to remember, and I have to sort out cancelling the O2 contract.
So how does it perform? Well, early days, and I’m still learning the new features. I’ve really been more interested in trying out the camera than the phone! Speed is a huge improvement (camera and phone) over the old 3G, and a quick test of Siri to ask about the weather was quite impressive. I went to the Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) yesterday, to try out both the iPhone camera and to investigate the E-P3 lock-up problem. The weather was great, and the light was such that I ‘found’ some ‘new’ subjects, despite having been there a hundred or more times before! I find holding the iPhone as a camera awkward, and I worry about dropping it (especially when I was holding it over the canal!). The new shutter release (+ volume button) is very useful, but only seems to work in the iPhone camera mode (i.e. not Camera+ or Hipstamatic). Actually, because I was using the E-P3 as well, and there did not seem much point in shooting exactly the same thing with both, I used the iPhone mainly with Hipstamatic, for effect (if I did not have another excellent camera with me, I’d hesitate to use Hipsamatic as the the effects are applied at the time of taking the photo, so you have no opportunity to try other, or no, effects). As a result, I can’t really comment yet on the full potential of the camera, but I am very pleased with the results so far.
So overall I’m very happy with the 4S, at least as an upgrade from a 3G, though anyone with a 4 or even a 3GS would probably have less justification for changing. One thing that I’m a bit disappointed in though is battery life – after 2 hours at the BCLM using the 4S as a camera (fully charged before I started), the battery indicator showed it was almost dead, and, after recharging, a bit more use this morning has also made inroads on the battery (according to the indicator).