iPhone 2.1 first impressions: So far, so good

Now that I've finally got the 2.1 upgrade installed, I must say, the early returns are looking promising.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Now that I've finally got the 2.1 upgrade installed, I must say, the early returns are looking promising.

Up until now when friends and family have asked me whether or not I thought they should get an iPhone, I've been unable to say yes for one reason: the ridiculously poor battery life. I tend to be pretty anal about keeping an eye on my battery indicator on all of my devices - be it my phone, camera, Kindle, etc. - yet, I've managed to leave myself with a dead iPhone on multiple occasions over the past few months.

And it's not like I had unrealistic expectations. I had been using the Samsung BlackJack 2, which like many 3G phones, is hardly a battery-power workhorse, but it still put the iPhone 3G to shame.

The only way I could even manage to get through a day was by turning off 3G, turning off location services, and by decreasing the frequency of e-mail checks on my personal account (my primary account is on an Exchange server, which is set to push mail automatically). And while I appreciated the irony of having to turn off the main selling point of the iPhone 3G - the 3G functionality, natch - in reality, it didn't make much of a difference, as I often had a WiFi network at my disposal.

That all said, it's now been close to 4 hours since my update to the 2.1 software, and my battery indicator is still showing full, whereas pre-update, I would have been looking at somewhere between 50- and 75-percent. About 20 minutes ago I got so cocky that I even turned on 3G, and so far, so good. Clearly it's going to take a few days of round-the-clock use, but we'll see. [I should point out that my division's senior management team is at an offsite today, which means there's a lot less e-mail for my phone to download...]

Other early impressions... I love having Genius playlist functionality on the phone, and I concur with other early reviewers that contact searching is much smoother, and I haven't seen any text lag issues thus far. As far as phone reliability, I never suffered from many dropped calls in the first place, so I can't speak to improvements on that end (and I still don't have particularly great 3G coverage around my house, but that's not Apple's fault). Lastly, updating applications is significantly faster, and best of all, after the update is done, the application's icon stays exactly where you had it in the first place, so you're not forced to constantly reorganize your screens.

Unfortunately, I join the communal commiseration over the continued lack of copy and paste - while the rumors that it would be a surprise inclusion in 2.1 were a nice idea, it's hard to imagine that Apple wouldn't have made a bigger deal about it when they announced the update on Tuesday.

And hey, I just checked once more before publishing this post, and yup, battery life finally dropped a bit, but is still roughly 90%. At this rate, I may just find myself recommending this thing by the time the weekend is over.

Stay tuned.

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