Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I say, this just won't do!

TWO months into using the iPhone, I find myself spending more and more time on it.

These days, I'd say half of my online time is spent on the iPhone. The other half on my laptop.

In fact, I rarely Facebook or email on my laptop anymore. The iPhone has replaced it as my primary device for these tasks.

Why? Because it's so darn convenient. You pick up your phone from the coffee table, wake it up and it's instantly online as it recognises your home network.

You tap on the Facebook icon. And since you keep your Facebook and email accounts logged in all the time, any new messages can be seen on the iPhone in an instant.

The concept of logging in and logging out is no longer a hard and fast rule.

It gets better. Wi-Fi introduced us to the concept of surfing the Internet in your living room or bedroom but with smartphones like the iPhone, you can walk around the house or lie down while you're at it. How comfortable is that?

And your addiction gets worse if you have a good 3G plan. Not only do you tap away on your phone indoors, you also do the same outdoors. Because you know those few minutes on the Internet won't cost you much.

So you find yourself blogging, Facebooking and emailing while you are out and about, standing in line at the cinemas or waiting for food at some roadside stall.

Recently while on assignment camping in front of the Kamunting detention centre waiting for the release of the ISA 13, guess what I did? Yup, I Facebooked.

Yes, you really can become addicted to the Internet on the mobile. You have been warned.

But then, therein lies the problem. As you spend more time on your mobile device, you start noticing its shortcomings.

On the iPhone, frankly there are not many. Just the battery life.

Prior to buying my iPhone, I had been warned about its lousy battery life. I refused to listen then, because I had already set my mind on buying it.

The first few weeks of usage was fine. I found the criticism to be unfounded. My phone could last two days on a full charge, which wasn't bad at all.

But once I started Facebooking, emailing, surfing the Internet and playing game after game of Bejeweled on it, the battery life was just good for one day.

Now, I have to charge my phone every night.

And if you have to be online for an extended period, the battery life may not last you through the day.

Based on my two-day experience at Kamunting, after waiting from 7am to around 1pm, I had to start looking for a place to charge my phone.

Why is it like that? It's the screen.

The iPhone's screen is both its best feature and its curse. At 3.5-inch, it's one of the largest you can get on today's mobile devices.

Together with the Multi-Touch gestures it supports, the screen makes surfing the Net on the iPhone a less painful proposition compared to other mobile devices.

However, this large display is also the biggest culprit behind the iPhone's `paltry' battery life. As a rule, the larger the screen is, the faster it drains the device's battery.

You have better luck at night, as you can reduce the brightness of the screen to the absolute minimum, thereby extending the battery life considerably. But under the sun like in Kamunting, I had to keep the brightness at a minimum of 50 per cent.