Opinion: 8 Reasons to Avoid the iPhone 3G

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have noticed that the new iPhone 3G from Apple came out almost two months ago. The new iPhone has been warmly received by consumers and critics alike. It has eliminated many of the glitches that plagued the original, and has opened an interesting new pathway for outside developers, thanks to its App Store.

Having tested the original iPhone, we were naturally curious to discover what was in store for us this time around. What we found was this: despite all of its good qualities and new bells and whistles, the phone has let us down—simply put, this thing is a tease.

Apple could have fixed ALL of the errors that it made with the previous iPhone V1, yet many still persist. Thus, rather than do an exhaustive test, we’ve chosen to present you with eight glitches that Apple has yet to remedy—our reasons why NOT to buy the iPhone 3G... and why you should really wait for the next version to come out instead!

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Anonymous
    First touchscreen mobile device? Please! What about Psion, Nokia and Handspring Treo's which have been using touchscreens for years. Um. Decades.
    And as for Intel coming up with mobile computing? Look at above brand names please.
    There's your reference point from which flows the iphone and htc touches and all the rest of the bunch.
  • Anonymous
    My idea. Shitting on the iPhone can't conceal you're a fanboy. Best mobile internet device... I suggest you try the new opera. About it being cheaper than the 1st gen: I saw plenty of people (I think even on toms) claiming the opposite. But what bothers me most: it seems almost impossible to find just a normal, unbiased review of the damn thing.
  • nobrainer
    Inneandar: Maybe you can't find any unbiased reviews is because the moment anybody says something positive or negative about a product there is always someone who thinks they are a 'fanboy'.

    Not just the iphone, but the snagit article earlier, any other website on any other product... the review is always considered a fan boy.


    Otherwise, good article!
  • Anonymous
    Interesting article...however on page 4...“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Okay, but it wouldn’t have cost Apple anything to modify certain parts of the interface.

    Have you done any software development? Every change costs money...design, specification, development, testing, implementation...
  • les_garten
    I didn't buy the V1 because it just doesn't serve my Smartphone/PDA functions I need. Most of which were mentioned in this review. The 3G Phone I have looked at and it just doesn't hack it either. I bought a Treo 680 in the meantime. Windows based phones I don't want either. The interface is just a mess to me. I was hoping the fact that you could do 3rd party appz would solve the iPhone issues I have, but it does not seem so at present.

    My current strategy is to hope Symbian and Android merge, come out with a Nice OS that is user modifiable and open sourced. The iPhone is an Ipod with a small capacity, and a Flashy phone interface, but it ain't no PDA, and that's what I need. It's so pretty tho! I would class it as a Toy and not a Tool.
  • Anonymous
    The iPhone is the first phone I've owned in 8 years that I haven't been thinking about replacing after 6 months. I have the original and, overall, it's been a great phone for me. I have little desire to "upgrade" to the current version as it doesn't offer remotely enough features to justify the increase in price of the data plan, plus the cost of the phone itself. Android is the only thing out there that looks like it has a chance to gain my interest, but I doubt Android will be ready for prime time for at least a year.
  • clarkbark
    I agree with most of your reasons not to get an iPhone. For anyone who has not had a smartphone and is just getting the iPhone because its the new apple product really shouldn't get this phone. I'm kind of upset at the fact that in your 8 reasons why not to get one you listed "This isn't a gaming console". It's a phone with phone games just like all other phones out there. No one is mistaking this device as a console or a portable one at that. In this area you explain that its not as good as the PSP. What kind of reason is that? Its not as good as AN ACTUAL gaming device so don't get it? You are right all the games out for the iPhone just don't compare to the games on the PSP but to list it as a reason not to get the phone? what are you smoking?
  • Anonymous
    I was thinking of buying this new way-cool computer, but when I found out it wouldn't fold my laundry & wipe my a--, I decided it just wouldn't cut it. This is what this article sounds like. I agree with ALL of the points listed, but does this mean people shouldn't buy the iPhone? Get over it. The article should make people THINK about whether the iPhone's shortcomings are enough to warrant dismissing it as a potential purchase, & not to unequivocally label it as "STAY AWAY". A few rants..

    1) most PHONE users don't really care if they can play game console-quality games on their phone. We simply want something to pass the time for a few minutes on the bus or in a waiting room.

    2) the interface is slick, but of course it could be better. The alternative? Wade through endless pages of icons on menus on a conventional cell phone or PDA.

    3) a better camera would be nice, especially for those times when I NEED my phone to take that photo I'm hoping ends up on the cover of National Geographic. Having a cell phone camera with a higher MPX count or a flash doesn't make it take better pictures...these dinky little "cameras" on phones will always be severely limited by the optics of such small lens systems.

    Fact of the matter is it's still lacking in some areas, but pretty darn cool nonetheless. Back in the late '90s, many friends/family would ask me if they "should buy a computer now or wait until the next better & cheaper one came out". If I recommended the latter, they'd still be waiting for their first PC 10 years from now.
  • Anonymous
    I find all of the negatives listed to be very interesting.

    Mentioning that a lot of games don't run at more than 20 FPS is also interesting. I have an HTC Tytn2 (AT&T Tilt). It runs WM 6.1 and play my SNES emulator on it at ~ 40 FPS. Emulator ... 40 FPS ... If the native games on the iPhone can't even match what my WM 6.1 phone can do with an emulator, it is a pretty weak device.
  • Anonymous
    The biggest thing that annoys me about the iPhone, (I don't care about it's lack of functionality, since i will never buy one anyway), is that it's not new technology. Like the iPod, it has taken existing technology, packaged it within some shiny plastic and clever marketing and called it brand new. aahh... sorry Apple. but the Blackberry has been out for a long time. as has the O2 Atom. As has the Dopod. all of which are smart phones. all of which work wonderfully well.
  • Anonymous
    The iPhone is not as good at gaming as the PSP? Really?? That's funny. The PSP gets really lousy cell reception, my calls never complete and the GPS never works on the PSP either. :-P These devices are purposed for two completely different things. Compare phones to phones. The iPhone is the best phone that also is a music and video player. It kills every other phone I've used in that area. Some of the apps are fantastic. The games available, as far as a cell phone go are WAY better than the crap I could get on my older Motorola Razr.

    There are some very basic things I think they need to add. Most importantly which I haven't seen many people mention, is there is no option to audibly notify you of a missed call or new voicemail repeatedly. I ALWAYS get calls when I step away from my iPhone (plugged into my computer) and never realize it unless I actually check the screen. Yes, I know it's a cell phone and I can take it with me, but if it's always with me, it doesn't ever charge and is useless when I have to go somewhere and can't charge it. Every cell phone I've had will let you know you missed a call until you acknowledge it. Hey Apple, how about voice activated dialing of your contacts? I've had this in phones that are years older than the 3G. Dialing with blue tooth is a PITA if you have to look at the phone while trying to drive (and dangerous)! Cut and paste... yes, I know it is coming soon, so that will be a welcomed relief. How about implementing more ActiveSync features with Exchange? The Windows Mobile devices still do better in this area. Wireless syncing to my PC or Mac? Yes, I agree on this one!! Why do I need a cable? I've heard of 3rd party GPS manufacturers writing real software for the 3G's GPS. I can't wait for this. The GPS is just a toy. It's completely frustrating trying to navigate using it so I definitely agree with this point as well. It also has an extremely hard time finding me in many areas where my Motorola phone's GPS would work practically instantly and be very accurate with turn by turn directions spoken to you, plus the ability to give you a new route to your destination on the fly should you miss a turn. The 3G GPS a lot of times takes forever to show you where you are and often times just says, "You're somewhere in this circle which encompasses several square miles. Good luck."

    Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of my 3G. I don't even have 3G anywhere near my home or job, but the phone features just make it far too useful to pass up even with just EDGE. It's made me so much more productive having Internet access and all my email and appointments pushed to me no matter where I am. I use close to every business feature they've added, minus maybe 802.1x support. The Cisco VPN client is great as well, especially coupled with an SSH client or RDP client. I can literally do anything from anywhere.

    So I still love the device due to all the features overall. As a simple phone, or GPS, I sometimes wish I had my old Motorola. On the plus side, the GPS is free on the iPhone (at least with Google Maps) where Verizon charged for it... however their program was far more useful in navigating. I still would never give up my 3G though. It's one of the best tech gadgets I've purchased in a long time.
  • Anonymous
    I like you could only find 8 reasons Vs. the hundreds of good reason to actually buy an iPhone :)
    That's probably why you are running ads to buy iPhones on your site... Gotta make a buck ah!
  • Anonymous
    What?!? You marked down a smartphone for having games because it is not a gaming console?!? That's the point! It's a phone. The fact that it has gaming capability that approaches the quality of actual gaming devices is a very impressive bonus. That a strong point FOR buying the phone, not against it.
  • Anonymous
    Interesting article, and I agree on many points, but some of the issues you bring up do have a reasonable explanations.

    First off, I agree with limit of 2 megapixel for a camera, but disagree about the zoom. Many phone cameras use a digital zoom as opposed to an optical zoom. Digital zoom just cuts the pixels in half and interpolates the difference - and get poor quality images for your trouble. As for dropping your vacations shots on the phone, just get more cards. They are cheap and don't take up that much room and there is plenty of places you can go to get the images off without resorting to a laptop (even WalMart can burn a CD for a couple of bucks while you wait and where can you go without tripping over a WalMart?)

    As for the App Store/iTunes business, not every country has unlimited internet (450 megs per month in Canada). Apps are small files where movies and songs are not. By limiting downloading of media to a wifi connection, Apple is saving less savvy users from using up all their data time. Would it be great to override this option? Yes, and it may be implemented down the line if enough people gripe about it.

    In comparing a PSP to an iPhone, IMHO the iPhone can do all the PSP can do without the bulk of the media disk and the mechanical infrastructure to support it. I also believe we have only seen the vanguard of future gaming possibilities.

    There is some functionality that an ipod has that the iphone does not (like being able to access in disk mode) but I assume this is to keep the less than honest from mucking about with the inside. I also think you will see a greater conductivity between desktop and iphone apps in future versions of itunes which I am looking forward to (after being a slave to Palm's conduits for years)
  • Anonymous
    Yup, you're a fanboy. You fall in line with all the other fanboys spewing the crap about Apple bringing forth new tech. I'll give them the iPod, but not the smart phone or even so much as touchscreen. DagonM is right, they have had touch screens for years (pre y2k)... they have had "smartphones" for years as well. All apple did was make one that looks nice and all the apple fanboys ate it up, crap and all. Then, as they usually do, couldn't shut up about their great new toy... because it got some attention, a bunch of new fanboys bought the damn thing. Then apple changes a few things and releases another which, guess what?, fanboys bought despite knowing Apple made no effort to fix problems that pissed people off. *Note that most phones have detachable batteries, don't act like they are doing something new.

    Want an awesome "smart phone"? Don't get an iPhone! Get a PDA, "pocket" PC, or one of the alternative "smart phones" that are much better (and cheaper in some cases). Most will have things like touch screen, replaceable batteries, built in memory, external memory slots, tons of apps, a real keyboard, large choice in service providers, internet access (including e-mail), music, vids, camera option, wireless connections, and crash free!

    BTW fanboy, Mac = PC... pc only means "personal computer" it was a term made to explain the difference between the computers with multiple users that only companies/universities could afford and a single computer for just one user. Second, windows XP usually only crashes due to hardware problems (you know... since you have a choice of hardware) or it may crash because the makers of your app were crappy programmers. Linux... never crashes (never crashed on me before anyway). Macs, Despite having a fixed hardware setup, apps still crash (try using Apple Motion and you'll know what I mean). Note that I'm not saying Mac's are bad (I use them sometimes), but I'm sick and tired of Mac fanatics spewing the crap Apple and other fanatics make up like it is fact.

    Another term for you! A "podcast" is specifically made to be distributed to mobile devises. Don't confuse it with "webcast" which the maker couldn't care less if it was being viewed by a person with a blackberry or their desktop computer.
  • BeAuMaN
    Interesting article, I'll keep this in mind. I have an aging Cingular 8525 PocketPC Phone based off of the HTC Tytan, and was curious about the new iPhone, of which I heard mixed results...

    Fact is, y'know what -really- keeps me away from the iPhone? Lack of keyboard and stylus. Try out the keyboard on the Cingular 8525 and its successors sometime, it's awesome. When it comes down to it, I'm fat, and so are my fingers. I tried typing on the iPhone, and as described in the V1 iPhone article, I kept hitting all the wrong keys. There's also nothing wrong with a stylus for us fat-fingered people. Sure, I do touch-screening with my fingers, but sometimes, when you get to the tiny stuff, I like the exactness of a stylus. Also makes for a good gaming accessory, note the Nintendo DS.

    That's just my random ranting take on it though. I'm waiting for a PocketPC that can compete... I think the companies are holding off because they're trying to milk profitability of their current designs before they just jump on the bandwagon. Also, my pocketPC phone needs to be reset about every... somewhere between 4-5 days and 15 days, depending on how much I use the programs and what not, because eventually it will freeze or lock up... going into Task Manager and emptying all the background running programs though helps.
  • Anonymous
    The Sprint Instinct runs rings around the iphone, GPS that works, email, removable data card, Built in TV, up to date sports scores, Great Camera, Video camcorder, Online sync for backup for free. The best voice recognition do things button. Two weeks running without locking up. Battery life is not great however you get two of them in the box. 10 minute charge time for a quick boost. Price for service on a shared plan of 3000 minutes for 3 phones averages 50-70 dollars a month, with unlimited Data, Text, TV, GPS etc. Sprint roams on Verizon & Alltel, so the coverage is great. Visual Voicemail that lets you skip messages and forward them to anyone.

    Now that Sprint has lost a lot of customers, their support has been great.

    No I am not a sprint salesman. We tested 3 phones and plans when we decided on the instinct. Blackberry would have been our 2nd choice, but the plans cost more.
  • Anonymous
    I can't believe you think at $199 makes getting one much more reasonable. What!!!
    The new contract is $10 per month more and no text msging. You are a fanboy.
    $240+199=$439 DUH

    People asked about a honest no biased review. You can find them out there and they all say the same thing. New software rev didn't help much, abysmal battery life on 3g. This country is so far behind. Japan has been on fully implemented 3g since 2006 and are already rolling out 3.5g and 4.0. How many iphones were sold in Japan? They laugh at it. I'll never buy one. Overpriced hype.
  • Anonymous
    I've read multiple reviews of the phone and one constant seems to keep surfacing in my mind. Apple and several others appear to have made such good products that (especially Apple) they have to spend all their time limiting its ability. ...Apple:
    "We can't let the Iphone FULLY sync with computers because...(people will use the hard drive as a transportation device, without having to use the Itunes, and sync with everyone else's computers and share what we are supposed to be selling).
    "We can't let the Iphone WiFi be used on our music store because....(WiFi is not secure and people will use it to share what we are supposed to be selling)
    "We can't let the Iphone bluetooth share files because....(people will share all the stuff we're supposed to be selling too...etc).
    "We can't let the Iphone have REAL GPS because we'd have to charge more than our already expensive plan like other companies do."
    "We can't let the Iphone take too good of a picture or have video because ....(people will use the Iphone to(you fill in the blank)
    "We can't let the Iphone have memory slots because... (people could use the cards to share what we are supposed to be selling to other computers where it is very easy to decrypt or file convert).
    "We also can't let the Iphone have a memory card that can be taken from a camera for temporary storage and viewing picturess because...(we cannot make a replacement for our laptop)
    And the list goes on..etc..etc...ect

    I really do like the Ipnone. I've played with the one at the ATT store for quite a while.
    Apple has ALMOST created a replacement for everyone's computer and current cell phone (if they would enable everything)...considering the "average" computer user surfs the net, plays a few simple games & basically uses their computer to buy music, vids & sync their ipods.

    When the software comes out the secure the Ipnone "the apple way" then the Iphone will be a spectacular piece of hardware to own & will replace many people's computers.
  • Anonymous
    "Finally, the iPhone heralds the beginning of another personal technology revolution: touchscreens."

    "We’ve saved the best for last: on the lower side of the iPhone 3G, next to the loudspeakers and microphone, there are two tiny screws. They’re Philips T0s, and they make it possible to dismantle the iPhone. Added to this is the fact that the battery is no longer welded to the memory card memory card of the iPhone, so it has become conceivable to replace it with another one if it ever malfunctions. This is very rare to find in a cell phone cell phone !"

    WTF? Has this guy been living under a rock or something? It's either that, or the only phone he's seen is the iPhone (or he's a fanboy, but won't admit it). Ancient Handspring Treo's already sport a touchscreen. And finding detachable batteries as a rarity on cellphones? Please... ALL cellphones I know (apart from iPhone and some ancient Treo series) have detachable batteries. Even my old Nokia 5110 (which came out a decade before this Jesus Phone) had a detachable battery. In fact, I won't ever buy or even recommend a phone if you can't change its battery easily by yourself. There is no way I would send back my phone to Nokia/Motorola/Sony Ericsson/anyone else just to get the battery replaced.