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iPhone 3G S to the test: Macitynet tests it on the road

Never change a winning team. You take it out of the box, prepare it, turn it on the first time and you cannot give yourself peace: in fact completely identical to its predecessor and that iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are the same in appearance, clear for those who actually have the possibility of use them both. Whatever the logic of this new product that, in fact, has a completely identical aspect, it is not understood on paper (or on the web) but only by holding the device in hand as we did and trying it as we did: team that wins, does not change, at best touches up. And so did Apple.

THE ROAD TESTWhat you're going to read is not a review, a thorough test or a detailed list of new features; it is rather a collection of impressions collected in recent days with a pre-production copy of Apple. To get the most faithful opinion possible, we write it after keeping religiously away from the use of the new iPhone 3.0 features, which we installed on the old iPhone 3G but only when it appeared regularly, yesterday evening. The impressions are therefore linked to what the genuine experience of those who find themselves using both the device and the new version of the operating system for the first time. The second, of course, also available to iPhone 3G and iPod touch users of the first and second generation, but with some limitations that we will see anyway.

THE FIRST FACE TO FACEThe first approach with the appliance is also the one that remains most clearly in the conclusions of this test: the hardware and system innovations mix well with each other and allow you to make an informed choice to those who want to buy it, while those who already have the first appliance can serenely wait for the end of its contract period. Now the first buyers of the old model are about a year away, so there are still a few months to wait. Do not run.

SPEED AT FULL LOADSpeaking of running, the higher processor speed is not particularly relevant when the device is "empty" of data and information. But you just need to install a few applications to immediately find a lot of news in runtime. Games that previously took several tens of seconds to load (one above all: X-Plane) now start with unusual speed. There is not only the processor, but also a more performing data bus and memory behind it, to "trigger" the code executed on the device. Unfortunately we do not yet have software available that makes an intensive use of the new graphic support in order to be able to account for the progress of the graphic part. The impression on the display, however, is that of greater brightness and a reasonable response time in all conditions.

UNTO STOP DISPLAYSpeaking of brightness and display: during the presentation the functionality of the new "anti-greasy" glass of the fingers had been so boasted by the Apple engineers. A system that had left enough perplexed in the stalls at Moscone West in San Francisco: who knows what will be able to do so special, was the classic question asked by the skeptical journalist. In fact, it turned out to be an incredible surprise, which over time to be believed to become increasingly important. As if by magic, in fact, now the iPhone glass does not get dirty. And if it happens, while it is heavily manipulated, just a pass, for example, on a shirt hem, to quickly return immaculate. With the previous version, however, numerous and robust wipes were needed. This too, one of those things that must be tried to be able to say that it happens.

EARN THE COMPASSLet's get to the heart. You have to get used to the presence of new icons for a moment. The compass stands out, which as we know one of the peculiarities of the iPhone 3GS. By clicking, the direction rose appears and the compass indicates magnetic or geographical north. Now everything is even simpler: from the compass a click on the bottom left and you go directly to Google Maps, and then you tap with your finger on the bottom left and activate the GPS location. A second shot and the orientation of the maps starts: depending on where the phone's head "looks", the maps rotate. Ideal for understanding how the orientation of a path to follow on foot works, for example. The problems are a certain hyper-sensitivity of the new electromagnetic component that acts as a compass: very sensitive to electromagnetic interference (returning to a city like Milan, for example, the impact with the wires of the tram is rather choccant) and has a signal of " alarm ”that informs there are interferences and it is necessary to go away or to make a“ dance ”road in the shape of eight, which reminds that of the bees in front of the honeycomb when they have to inform their companions of where the flowers to suck are. Maybe a next version of Os 3.0 will solve or mitigate this problem.

TALK TO MEGo with the voice commands then, even these like the compass not present in the old models (for TomTom and the other navigators they will work with both iPhone models on the market in Italy, fortunately). In this case, you can choose the language you want to work with, thanks to an "international" preference that now allows you to select the language of the phone, the keyboard language, the language of the voice commands and the "language" of the date format independently: in theory they can be four different. The commands work very well: in the quick tests they understood the most complex names in the phone book on the fly (the system allows you to immediately say name and surname also indicating the type of phone number if you want to call it multiple, or he asks us to ). The relationship with the iPod part of the voice commands is more laborious, since the pronunciation of the names of the singers and of the songs in English is likely to be more ambiguous for non-native speakers.

THUS THE OLD BECOMES NEWThe new operating system gives a new aspect also for functions that will then change also for normal users of the old phone. We have seen that Mail at this stage has finally become a mature program, with a quick download of emails from a Gmail address and a MobileMe address, that the push mode with MobileMe works very well and quickly, even if it comes at the expense of the batteries in very decisive manner. On this, we are not yet able to make an acceptable test of how long the batteries of the device can last because the times are still too premature. Welcome to the new Voice Memo, which for without a suitable microphone has practically toy value: we will see later, with some third party accessories, if it can also be used for more complex recordings.

ACTIONOne of the strong points is the new photo-video block. The microscopic 3 megapixel sensor now and next to him there is a mini-mechanic that allows you to make a discreet leap forward. Not only because you shoot videos (attention, it must be in horizontal mode, the horrible vertical one!) And to focus more appropriately, but because finally you can quickly share both via MobileMe and Mms that YouTube (for video) everything you shoot or turn. If only it were possible to send to Flickr, probably the most used system on the planet for photos, it would be perfect.

MULTITASKING (ALMOST)Notifications finally appear, that system promised a year ago and not yet ready. The most powerful iPhone but not yet multitasking from the user's point of view (as for system). So, the possibility of receiving warnings both with badges and with sounds and text screens very useful, as well as useful the Find My Phone system that the editorial staff has already tried (both features also available for old 3G series phones).

SEARCH AND FINDStill in the context of what makes the 3GS experience pleasant because of the new operating system, and which is also compatible with the old phone, the search functionality with spotlight in the new "all left" screen. This radically revolutionizes life for those who want to use the iPhone for business purposes, which moreover (as a spotlight) allows you to determine fine-grained in which areas the information must be searched, to avoid, for example, that the results also appear among the results. song titles etc.

Many other small goodies (such as information management on incoming and outgoing calls, minutes and successful) brighten the life of the user of the third version of the iPhone. For, how can we fail to underline a certain sense of technological superiority in being able to operate this new version, whose greater amount of memory – reaches up to 32 gigabytes, even if the prices on the market are frankly prohibitive, thanks to our usual greedy phenomena that manage the mobile phone networks – still remarkable.

ALL-GAS INTERNETThe possibility of using Tethering, that is to connect with the computer to the phone to use it as an internet modem allowed in Italy by both Tim and Vodafone. It was not possible to try it with Vodafone because, as we had previously written, the carrier has encountered technical difficulties and has not yet started it in our country. Instead, Tim works very well and you notice the speed superiority of the iPhone 3GS with its 7.2 Megabits per second baseband: just press the button in the preferences, specifying if you want to connect via Bluetooth or cable (recommended, recharge also the phone) and then on the Mac a new Network Interface port appears, with which you set the normal automatic Dhcp and think about everything. There is no "official" information on how much data consumption is, which could create some problems for those with severely limited usage plans (for example, 50 megabytes per day can leave in a few hours of web browsing or in a few minutes download of the latest Linux distribution).

IN CONCLUSIONThe judgment with the phone still warm for the thousand tests and experiments to which we have subjected it strongly positive. There are really a lot of new features that even the most savvy Apple user will find surprising, wondering if it really is not facing a completely new world, despite the continuity that makes the iPhone experience similar to the iPod and Mac experience extraordinary and easy. New users find it even easier to use iPhone 3.0 and understand all the possibilities offered by the new device, without problems: we have "tested" various friends and acquaintances, as "end users" (therefore not guilty) and we have all had a summary but decided positive judgment.

Now the word to habit. From our point of view, the new compass needs some adjustments, because in the city it gets a little confused by the interferences, the performance of the new graphics engine also for the web, combined with the greater data access with the 7.2 Hdspa allows you to have excellent performance with Safari (which already improves significantly even for old iPhones thanks to 3.0) and also the download of Mail decidedly improved, always for the speed and greater processor power. Useful camcorder, much improved camera (although miracles I can never do) and a couple of ingenious features. Voice control would be perfect if it were also integrated with facilitated access for disabled people (excellent function, unfortunately only on iPhone 3GS), a tip that we gladly give to Apple. The Find My Phone is simply brilliant, as is the anti-fingerprint screen. We said it at the beginning: from the little things you see the Apple class, a real lady of computer science. The new iPhone 3GS is the ripe fruit: change in continuity.