Justice League of Journalists take on the iPhone 3G

JusticeleagueMere mortals have around 48 hours to wait for their iPhone 3G, but the Justice League of Journalists have been using the device for a few weeks. This morning debuts their mission debriefs and there’s not much here that you didn’t know. They’re all still worth the read, so I’ll pass the links with the basic premise followed by the few scant tidbits that are new to me:

  • Walt Mossberg found the battery to drain much faster (around 30% from the first-gen model) due to the 3G usage and explains the added costs of data and text messaging. He also notes that the speaker sounds louder. One interesting bit: Walt says that if you configure your iPhone for Exchange, it will wipe out your personal contacts and calendar.
  • David Pogue cautions folks about AT&T’s limited 3G coverage areas and also covers the "half the price" marketing lingo of a subsidized phone with higher plan pricing. He too is very impressed by the speaker and call quality. Concerning to me (and possibly solidifying my rationale not to upgrade my iPhone) is this quote on the GPS: "According to Apple, the iPhone’s G.P.S. antenna is much too smallto emulate the turn-by-turn navigation of a G.P.S. unit for a vehicle,for example.Instead, all it can do at this point is track yourposition as you drive along, representing you as a blue dot slidingalong the roads of the map." I still believe that LBS or Location Based Services will find the GPS very handy, however. 
  • Ed Baig quickly found holes in AT&T’s 3G coverage in his North Jersey neighborhood, reiterating the fact that you should check your area for coverage before upgrading. Most of his review is more of a device capability description, but one interesting note: he couldn’t charge the iPhone 3G in his Bose SoundDock or Belkin car kit; I’m assuming he mentions this because he was able to charge the first-gen iPhone with these devices. That’s speculation on my part though.

In the end, I believe that the App Store and the 2.0 firmware are the much bigger story here. Not to say that the iPhone 3G isn’t an improvement or worth the money for some. After all, I love me some 3G on a daily basis too. But the semi-opening of the iPhone platform and the feature upgrades for the older phone are pretty compelling too.