HiTek Review

A tons of reviews and tips about technology product, software and hardware.

Monthly Archives: July 2009

iPhone 3G S review – Hardware

Does it really need one?
No not really, the iPhone is a proven device since the start but, there has been some little changes since the release of the first iPhone 2 years ago. It is the first time two iPhones generation live together in the stores. You now not only have to choose how much space you want. If you’re planing on getting an iPhone and you’re not sure which one you want, this review is for you.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…
First of all, the 3G S is not only about having a compass in a phone. Even if many people only see that in the 3G S, there’s so much more. In fact, it was enough for me to get one at full price! Yup, no one is sending me hardware for review. I do this all on my own! At least, for now… Anyway, back to the iPhone. Well go through some specs comparisons and well talk about software features after that.

Component iPhone 3G iPhone 3G S
Core
CPU ARM 1176JS(F)-S v1.0 @ 412 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 @ 600 MHz
RAM DRAM, 128 MB DRAM 256 MB
GPU PowerVR MBX Lite 3D PowerVR SGX
Storage NAND Flash, 8 or 16 GB NAND Flash, 16 or 32 GB
Connectivity
Wifi 802.11 b/g 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth 2.0+EDR 2.1+EDR
Cellular GSM 850 900 1800 1900
GPRS/EDGE
UMST/HSDPA 850 1900 2100
GSM 850 900 1800 1900
GPRS/EDGE
UMST/HSDPA 850 1900 2100
7.2 Mbps HSDPA
Navigation
GPS A-GPS A-GPS
Compass No Yes
Others
Ear-Phone Stereo ear-phone
Microphone
Basic remote
Stereo ear-phone
Microphone
Advanced remote with volume control
Voice Control No Yes
Screen 3.5″
320×480 px
18 bit colors
Scratch resistant glass
Two fingers touch-screen1
3.5″
320×480 px
18 bit colors
Scratch resistant glass
Three fingers touch-screen
Oilophobic coating1
Camera 2 megapixel still 3 megapixel still
640×480 30 fps video
Auto-focus
Automatic macro mode

Majors changes
The iPhone 3G S was advertised as a very fast iPhone and there is specs to back those claim up. The Cortex-A8 is between 2 and 4 times faster than the older one. This make your web-browsing faster, your games smoother, and since the CPU is the bottle neck of that device, even data transfer is getting faster. Believe it or not but the iPhone 3G S sync 80% faster than the iPhone 3G.

With more memory, you can now run bigger and more complex applications without continuously getting interrupted by low memory warnings. With the iPhone 3G, applications had about 40 MB of free memory to run2. This is not very much when the interface itself is using a lot of graphical elements. OS 3.0 doesn’t eat very much RAM than OS 2.2.1 so if you choose the 3G S, you will literally get 128 MB of unused memory over what there already is. This is a real plus since, even with all that RAM, you’ll often run around 25% of free memory. But this time, no app will fill it up. At least, none that I know of!

The GPU also got a bit refit. The SGX is up to 4 times faster than the MBX Lite. This means better frame rates in games, smaller CPU usage when playing videos because of it’s wider support for hardware decoding codecs and more complex animations with support for Open GL ES 2.0.

Limited world
If you’re beginning to see my point you’ve probably stop reading here and got the iPhone 3G S. It’s not like the iPhone was a closed platform with very little developers. They will use those new technologies at their full potential. They will not cut features just to support the old 3G. If you don’t upgrade to the 3G S, you will see more and more of those low memory warnings and softwares that can’t keep up with the old CPU and GPU.

If you are using the iPhone solely for business purpose and can wait 2 or 3 seconds for your apps to load then the 3G is for you. On the other side, if you PLAN on using the iPhone only with business software, then there’s 90% you’re wrong and you’ll want to try that last game. If that happen, you might suffer a big deception.

Minor changes
The rest is pretty much minor. They are just add-ons that might be nice to have. First there is that support for 7.2 MB HSDPA which is nice but the iPhone can’t process data at that kind of speed anyway and there is no support for HSUPA which limit the 3G upload speed to 384 kbps. The new ear-phone are nice, specially if you own an iSkin Revo for the iSkin Solo. As this belt clip block the volume control, it’s nice to still have them on the ear-phone. There’s also a pretty nice new camera (which I use a lot by the way) which is nice addition and already well implemented. On the other side, there’s been report of issues with the oilophobic coating which loose grip with time and let marks on the screen under very high température.

Conclusion
That’s it! If you already own a 3G and feel that the app you use are a bit slow, you might love the speed boost the 3G S can give you as it make it feel just like if you had multi-tasking. See you next week with the iPhone OS 3.0 software review!

1: This data is not official but it would match the accessibility feature set, only available in the iPhone 3G S.
2: This is a best case scenario. There’s about 44 MB of available RAM when the device is rebooted. After 3 days, there’s generally less than 20 MB of free RAM remaining.

Windows 7 just hit RTM… and P2P

Not even one day after Windows 7 was officially released as RTM with build 7600 , it is now easier to find on P2P network than Windows Vista. Many people already installed it and every one, and I mean every one, can’t be more happy with this release. It seams that Windows 7 will be a very big seller on October 22th when it will get in store. Who knows, it might even be a bigger release than the iPhone 3G S gave us not even two months ago.

For the record, RTM stand for Release To Manufacturing which means that the actual version is the one who is currently being burned to disks. This version is 100% identical to the one you’ll get on the official release. You might wonder why they are waiting so long for this? Well it is because hardware makers are slow to react and need time to write drivers because they generally ignore the time where given on the beta version.

Link to the original article: http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/07/22/windows-7-has-been-released-to-manufacturing.aspx

Little found that you might LOVE!

iPhone/iPod goes well with MacBook’s
Today, I just discovered something very interesting about the MacBook Pro I used in the recent benchmarks I did. Every one that use an iPod or specially an iPhone knows how well it goes with a Mac. It would seem that the match is even more interesting since the release of the iPHone 3G S, the iPod classic 7G, the iPod nano 4G and the iPod shuffle 3G. What do they all have in common is the new ear-phone set which come with remote and microphone that work with all those devices. And I mean ALL of them, including the late 2008 MacBook Pro!

There is absolutely no trace of that feature in any document apple provide for the MacBook Pro nor any iPhone or iPod but it work; And not just the play/pause button, all of it. You’ve got volume control, play/pause next/previous track working AND the mic! Just plug it in your MacBook, play a track in iTunes and you’ll see. For the microphone part, open “System Preferences”, go to the Sounds panel and then in the Input tab, watch for the “External Microphone” source and rub the microphone with your fingers. You’ll see the VU meter responding instantly, confirming my saying.

Now, if you have a MacBook with an iPhone 3G S or recent iPod, you can have a private conversation, on the go, with iChat using those favorite ear-phone of yours.

Have a good week!

MSN is CRAP

Windows Live Messenger is CRAP!
You got it? Ok here’s why.

Closed
MSN is a closed and proprietary protocol. As a result, you can’t use an other client than the official one without getting various issue. For instance, no third-party client will offer audio or video chat. They can also experience “network outage” because of an update on the servers that render them incompatible.

Official is bad
Even the Windows Live Messenger client is badly done. It can eat up 80 MB or memory without any reasons, it’s full of ads and worst than all, is not even cross-platform yet! Ho yes, there is a Messenger:mac client which doesn’t support audio and video chat and use a incredible 250 MB or RAM! An other thing, since it’s widely use, there’s viruses for it. Did you never received strange message from an other contact? Now you’re starting to see the wide picture.

Privacy free
Most people believe that the MSN network is secure and censor free. This is a very wrong belief. First of all, if you want to talk securely you need encryption which is only supported on third-party MSN client. Since over 80% of the MSN users depend on the official client, they simply can’t use encryption. And to add up to the so called privacy, every thing is monitored. Yes it is just software but we don’t know if the servers write communications logs. And one this is certain: there is a software that read every message sent since they are censored! Try to send a link with download.php in it. You’ll find it very difficult. did you ever saw something like “There was a problem in delivering the last message.”? That’s probably our censor friend working.

Never trust those who you don’t know
Here’s a little solution, if you can live without audio chat and video chat then third-party clients is the way to go. If you miss them too much, then be prepared to live with a RAM eater, a privacy sniffer and a virus friend. Or not? There is other solutions out there. MSN is not the only IM network out there. I’d recommend AIM since it’s probably the only one which is at complete opposite from MSN. It is an open source 100% cross-platform protocol with very light weight clients which doesn’t censor its users. And an other time, there’s nothing that force you to use the official client.

I hope some people will do the switch for their own benefit. Have a nice week.