Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bye bye iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S is my new phone


Last week, I bought an iPhone 4S. I was very excited to see how (well) the 4S performed compared to my old iPhone 3GS. For some reason, my old phone was performing really slow. It did not happen suddenly. It felt as if the phone was getting old by the day. It lost part of its “young age” when I upgraded it to iOS4.0. It wasn't as bad as on the iPhone 3G, but it wasn't as snappier as it used to be with iOS3 (but it wasn’t called iOS back then). It could possibly be that I had gotten used to the performance of 3GS, that I needed something faster to keep the wheel of happiness spinning. At first I might have been amazed by the performance after using a Samsung Omnia and a Sony Ericsson K700 soon afterwards. Anyways, I get fed up when I don't see a regular progression in performance, so I need to upgrade to faster stuff on a regular basis. The 3GS getting slower by the day (if it really was slowing down) was making me insane. The biggest performance hit was with iOS 4.2 iirc. It became as if they disabled half of the RAM, under clocked the CPU to 200MHz and cursed it with “you need to buy the iPhone 4 or you’ll be rotten with an old phone for the next couple of years”. Not to mention, how unlucky I was when I was forced to buy the 3GS when iPhone 4 was right around the corner. (In fact, it came about a month afterwards).

Then there was the issue with the home button. It is not really broken, but it is not working as it used to. A simple click wouldn’t work. It was as if the phone somehow figured out that I started going to the gym! (I tell you, these devices DO observe.) Some say it is a software issue, maybe the slow responsiveness of the phone is the indirect culprit (again, if it was really slow). But there was no way to tell if it was a software issue, I would hope they would have fixed it in iOS5. But not to be. Who cares about the old people? In this case, a 2 generations old Phone. Funny thing is, now with the iPhone 4S, I still tend to press the home button quite heavily. I was worried that I would break it too, so this time I went for the full Apple Care 2-year warranty. Yes, I had to pay about JPY7,000, but it was better than losing part of the phone after a year, just when the basic 1 year warranty ran out. Either way, now I am very careful to press the home button softly.

But wait…this is not right. Me, buying yet another iPhone? Well, TBH I wasn't going to get an iPhone this time round. But SoftBank came up with a great campaign which I could not resist. They would wave off the remaining potion of phone's value which is otherwise discounted (i.e. when you use the phone for the entire 2 years). Basically, if this campaign wasn't there, I would have to pay 1920x10 additionally. It would have been cheaper in the long run if I bought an unlocked phone (I think…hmmm), but the iPhone was the safer option. The carrier officially supports the phone so there cannot be a massive data usage bill (heard about those $10000 phone bills?) if they locked the connection to the IMEI.

Anyways, enough jibber jabber… I got the phone and came home and straightaway applied the protector shields and the transparent cover in. I had them bought in advance. Without the cover, it felt weird. Slippery and small. Last thing I would want is to drop it. I prefer the shape of the 3GS in the hand. Anyways, I'm pretty happy with the cover and the shield. I applied both the shields, that is on the screen as well as on the back, because with the 3GS I got the case to scratch the back of the phone. Even though this one was rubber like, I didn’t want to take any chance. Besides, the only thing that adds to the phone is a back cover weighing less than a few milligrams and even that is not visible because of the cover.
 
 IMG_1523IMG_1524
I did not want to restore from a backup. I wanted to start fresh. So I configured everything manually. For the first time I was able to sync through WI-FI. Weird how it didn't work before. It was as if iTunes got turned on after seeing the new comer. (Or maybe it was because I didn’t give iTunes enough time – and always kept the 3GS plugged into USB whenever I was home.)
 
I did the usual performance checking. Indeed it was quite snappier than the 3GS. “My 3GS”, that is. Because I still believe there is a problem with the phone itself as I hear no such complains from others.

Then I checked features specific to 4S. Siri! Isn't she an arrogant b*tch. She hardly listens to me. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my stupid accent, but how hard is it to figure out simple words where pronunciation or accent hardly plays a role? I ended up yelling at her and stopped fooling around. Keyboard is easier. But it does work at times. Setting the reminders with Siri is kind of fun.

For the first time, I got to use Facetime – with my girlfriend of course. The audio quality is amazing, waaaay better than Skype even on the PC. However, the video is stuttery, thanks to the pathetic internet speed in SL. Another plus point of Facetime is that you don’t have to run a client all the time like in the case of a VoIP client. However, it is not to say it is perfect. Apple, with their infinite wisdom (*sarcasm*) thought you would only wanna do Facetime when you are connected to Wi-Fi. Come on…if I am using Wi-Fi, I’m probably at home and I will have a PC. Why on earth would I wanna use Facetime on the phone. Of course, Facetime is only available on the Mac, so…
 
Anyways, the phone is great, very fast, very snappy….but there is a problem. There is a BIG problem. The battery life. It just die so fast and it makes me wonder, the “S” in “4S” actually is an indication of the “speed” the battery dies. Overnight, it drops by 10%. The 3GS would drop only 3-4%, with everything running. When I get home from work, I usually would have about 50% of battery on the 3GS, while with the 4S I would only have like 20%. Remember, my iPhone is 18 months old, so the battery should be degraded by some amount. Apple is saying there is a problem with the iOS5 and that they are rolling out an update soon. (They already have rolled out a beta firmware for the developers which is supposed to fix this.) We’ll see how it goes.
 
I didn’t get to try out the camera much, because it was always dark when I came home from work. I took a few shots on the way. But they are not conclusive. I’ll update this post with a few shots when I take them.
 
Besides, if you really wanna check out some reviews, this is not the place. Check out the following from Anandtech.
 
 
And to the inevitable truth. It’s a great phone, but it is not fun. There is nothing really new about the phone. Sure there is a new camera, facetime that the 3GS didn’t have, the retina display, the gyroscope, the dual core CPU, more RAM (well, spec wise, it is a huge upgrade from the 3GS)…but it still runs the OS that came with the original iPhone 4 years ago. Nothing really is new on that front. Apple will definitely argue that since it is the best, there is no need to change it. Well, we all know it is not. It is boring. But no choice.
 
Now it is time to unlock the 3GS and take it back home. ;)
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