★ iPhone

Here is my quick, if not unorganized, review of the iPhone. Before buying the iPhone, I was using a Sidekick 3 on T-Mobile. When the SK3 first came out, it was one of the cooler phones available. The SK3 was finally in a form factor small enough that didn’t make it look like you were carrying a brick in your pants. The full keyboard, internet over GPRS and AIM made it for me, the best phone I had ever owned. But only after a year it came out, it quickly grew old for me and after being promoted to my new position, the SK3 wasn’t cutting it as a mobile version of my computer. And it looked more like a kid’s toy. I bought my iPhone right after the $200 price drop. $400 was a little bit easier to swallow than $600. I justified the purchase of the phone by convincing myself that I was spending $200 on a new iPod and $200 on a new phone. After I bought it, I was ready to cancel my T-Mobile acccount and switch back to AT&T. As soon as I tried to activate my phone, I was told that my number, for whatever reason couldn’t be ported over. It was important that I keep my old phone number for work purposes. And since the help center at AT&T was closed for the evening and I couldn’t wait until the morning to call, I decided to unlock my phone to use on T-Mobile’s network. After an hour and half total time of researching and actually going through the unlock process, I was able to successfully unlock the phone from AT&T and was making calls using my T-Mobile SIM. After changing my data plan, I was able to get every aspect of my iPhone working on T-Mobile. Youtube, Google Maps, email, and Safari all worked perfectly once added T-Mobile’s Total Internet plan. As an added bonus, I also have access to T-Mobile hotpots at Starbucks and Border’s on my phone and my laptop. As for my voiceplan, I even successfully signed up on their myFaves plan. I have to admit that using it on T-Mobile is even better than using it on AT&T. The only thing that doesn’t work is the Visual Voicemail feature which is network specific to AT&T.

After using the iPhone for 2 months, I can’t imagine using any other phone and I can’t believe how I got by without it. If I really wanted to, I could get by using just my iPhone and leave my laptop at home. I have access to the Internet and email. I can carry music and movies. Whenever I visit Crystal or go down to San Diego, I really could get by with just this device. Oh yea, it makes phone calls too.

Of course, nothing is perfect and neither is this phone. First off, I wish the battery life was just a little bit longer. I’m a heavy user of using the Edge network for internet, email and Google maps so on a typical workday, I can barely get it to last longer than 7pm assuming I start work at 8am. Using it strictly as a phone, I have used it for 2 full days without charging but where’s the fun in that? The onscreen keyboard is surprisingly accurate and it’s probably the best implementation of having a full keyboard without physical buttons, but on my SK3 and it’s physical keyboard, I was able to type just as fast as on a real keyboard. But still, the keyboard is fine and the auto correction really saves this phone from being a total flop. And being the IM junkie that I am, I was real disappointed to find out there was no native IM client for the phone. I’ve used Apollo IM and several web based clients but I always get logged off. I’ve resorted to using IM forwarding which uses SMS to chat with people. So far it’s the best option short of a native IM client from Apple.

Even with those minor flaws, I still feel my iPhone is the best mobile phone I’ve used so far. And unlocking it to use on T-Mobile and still being able to use all the functions saved me $200 in cancellation fees and, in my opinion, gives it more functionality than being locked into AT&T.;