The first iPhone 3G reviews have just hit, from Walt Mossberg of the WSJ and All Things D, Ed Baig from USA Today and David Pogue from the NYTimes. No one goes deep into the app store but here's what they think:
Walt Mossberg of the WSJ has been testing it "for a couple of weeks" and sees that surfing on the faster 3G is between three and five times the speed of the original iPhone. However, Moss found that browsing on the 3G network drained his battery much faster than browsing on the original. Externally, he says the speaker was "much louder" (YES!) for both music and speakerphone, but otherwise pretty much the same as the original. One bug/feature he ran into was that you can only sync your calendar and contacts with either Exchange or your personal accounts, not both.
In Mossberg's own battery tests, he got 4 hours and 27 minutes (short of 5 hours) of talk time, which is three hours less than his test on the original iPhone. Using 3G, he got 5 hours and 49 minutes, which is slightly better than Apple's own claim. He couldn't test any apps on his iPhone 3G, but did on his old iPhone-they worked pretty much as advertised. He concludes with pretty much what we've all known: it's slightly more expensive on AT&T due to the higher price plan, but satisfies people who really need that 3G speed. What's weird is that Mossberg didn't test the GPS functionality at all, so we're left wondering how that is. [All Things D]
Ed Baig of USA Today also tested the iPhone 3G and claims both that it was worth the wait, but still not perfect. His complaints of the first one-no video capture, no Bluetooth stereo and no voice dialing-are still there. Also, AT&T's 3G coverage was nonexistent in his New Jersey home, which kinda negates the whole "iPhone 3G" thing. He notes that the new plastic backing helps reception, and the new flush headphone jack is "a welcome development." Unlike Mossberg, Baig does have something to note on the GPS. He says he was quite impressed by its accuracy when searching for pizza places while driving, and hopes that there will be a third-party add-on for turn-by-turn live directions.
Baig also says that the speaker is improved, but notes strangely that you can't directly charge the new iPhone 3G in some old accessories, such as a Bose SoundDock or a Belkin car kit. There's actually an adapter coming that will enable charging on those. Weird. He finishes up with his wishes for the next generation: Flash, Java and WMV support, removable battery and an expandable memory slot. All in all, a pretty positive review. [USA Today]
David Pogue of the NYT says that the audio quality is much improved, and notes that both incoming and outgoing sound is better than before. "In fact, few cellphones sound this good." The curved back makes the phone feel better in your hand, which is a definite plus. However, he says, the missing "standard cellphone features" from the first generation are also missing from this one. He hopes that the third-party Apps from the iPhone App Store will help fill in the gaps, but some of the ones we've seen-finding parking spots, free phone calls at Wi-Fi hotspots, random restaurant recommender, expense tracker, Etch-a-Sketch and tip calculator-don't exactly make up for the missing MMS, video recording and cut and paste features. Pogue also noticed the GPS does not support turn-by-turn navigation.
Pogue doesn't have much else in the way of benchmarks or impressions, but comes off seeming like he really likes the phone because of the iPhone 2.0 software; something old iPhone owners will be able to get for free. [NYT]
Notes: We have to say that Mossberg's review was the best in terms of completeness (save for the GPS omission). Normally, Newsweek would have a review up for the iPhone along with these three guys, but both they and Wired don't have an early review. This, we think, is because Steven Levy (the old Newsweek guy) at Wired, and Fake Steve Jobs (who hasn't quite started at Newsweek) didn't get the nod from Apple. We had our own hands on with the phone back at WWDC, which covers a lot of the exterior hardware elements as well as some of the software details.