The Best 5 Gadgets: #1 iPhone 4

Good times
  • It really is a computer in your hand
  • That screen really pops
  • Apps really are useful
  • You just want to use it all the time
Bad times
  • It seems fragile without a case
  • I am not a massive fan of the manner in which multi-tasking is implemented
  • It is a cliché to like the iPhone this much
I also considered
  • Palm Pre. And, at a stretch, the HTC Desire running Android
When my hairdresser described her purchase of an iPhone as her joining the iBorg, I thought it was hilarious and insightful all at the same time. Clearly, I am that kind of geek.

I'd held off from buying an iPhone. I am not sure why. It may have been the battery life. It may have been the contract lock-ins. It may have been the price. Anyhoo, when I moved back to Australia from the UK I took advantage of the contract-less iPhones here and bought my first iPhone when it had reached its fourth incarnation.

And what an incarnation it is. It is the first time I have felt like I have have held a full blown computer in my hand. It just does so many things. Lost - use maps. Need to send an email - use mail. And the apps allow me to check tram and train departure times, book cabs, have - literally - a photographic memory (hello, Evernote) and even locate the nearest public toilet (and rank them ... how very George Costanza).

It looks great. The screen sometimes looks like it is an acetate cutout that is stuck on the phone - it looks fantastic in all but the brightest light and is eminently readable. iBooks on the iPhone 4 is more useable than I thought it wold be.  

It is not perfect. All that glass feels fragile, so my iPhone wears a bumper. It feels much more robust but compromises the aesthetics of the phone. And the multitasking implementation means that I will often have 20 apps open at one time. I don't know what the solution to that is, but I do know that it must affect phone performance.

Oddly, the first touchy-screeny smartphone I had my eye on was the Palm Pre. I have a history with Palm and have liked most of their products. And their Web OS seems to me like a greater leap forward than iOS is. iOS reminds me very much of the old Palm OS with its static icons and return-to-home-page to launch new apps approach. Web OS just seemed - and continues to seem - both more advanced and elegant. Alas, now that I know what know about apps and their importance, I could not settle on the anaemic collection that the Pre has access to. I considered an Android phone as well, but to me they have not quite moved from the geeky gadget to the accessible device that the iPhone 4 represents.

As an aside, I have not experienced any of the reception issues that were reported in the States prior to its launch here in Oz. Neither has anybody I have spoken to that owns the iPhone 4. Perhaps network coverage is a very different deal here in the wide, brown land.

I totally dig the iPhone 4.

The best five gadgets
  1. iPhone 4 smartphone
  2. Sagem PVR6240T PVR (as buggy as it is ...)
  3. Logitech diNovo Mini miniature QWERTY keyboard
  4. Logitech X-230 speakers
  5. Lacie iamaKey USB memory key
The worst five gadgets
  1. One For All URC-9900 Director (Mosaic) universal remote control
  2. Nokia N800 internet tablet
  3. Sony Playstation 3 (slim) games console
  4. Asus EeeBox PC EB1501 nettop
  5. Aliph Jawbone bluetooth headset