“In this review, we take a long, hard look at the iPhone 3G, both as a consumer device and as an enterprise device. After all, part of the appeal of the new device is that a number of software improvements have finally made it enterprise-ready, or so claims Apple’s marketing. From a business user’s point of view, however, if you think that the iPhone is a drop-in BlackBerry replacement, think again,” Jacqui Cheng, David Chartier and Clint Ecker report for Ars Technica.
“In our testing, we found iPhone 2.0’s initial Exchange support to be a mixed bag. E-mail performance was on par with the BlackBerry, though the iPhone did seem to update our inbox faster than a BlackBerry Pearl. Reconciliation was far superior on the iPhone, as we routinely had stranded messages on the Pearl after moving or deleting from Outlook. So far, our iPhone 3G’s ActiveSync is keeping messages 100 percent in sync,” Cheng, Chartier and Ecker report.
“The iPhone’s Exchange support loses some of its shiny appeal, however, when you branch out from basic mobile e-mail synchronization. As mentioned elsewhere in this review, Mail’s UI for navigating between accounts and mailboxes hasn’t improved, and you need to tap a frustratingly excessive amount of times just to move between messages in business and personal accounts,” Cheng, Chartier and Ecker report.
“Even worse, there’s still no search. That’s right: after a year of complaints from consumers and getting slammed by the business sector for this, Apple answers this issue with… nothing. No external Spotlight app (as many hoped for searching across other types of data on the iPhone), and no search box like the Address Book received in the iPhone 2.0 update,” Cheng, Chartier and Ecker report.
“Are 3G, the louder speaker, and GPS worth at least $200 plus $10 more per month for two years? Remember that you can get the iPhone 2.0 firmware and the App Store on an older iPhone as well. For us reviewers who are using the iPhone 3G as a personal phone, we feel happy with the decision to purchase it,” Cheng, Chartier and Ecker report. “If you’re a business user, then we feel the answer is no, it’s not worth it. The original iPhone was not made to be an enterprise device, and the new iPhone isn’t either. Although some baby steps have been made, BlackBerry users will find themselves frustrated with the lack of complete Exchange support and may even end up returning their devices, or at least carrying an iPhone alongside a BlackBerry. We already know several who have done this, and it will happen to many more.”
“It’s great as a consumer device, but with enterprise users’ expectations having been raised this time around, we feel it still has quite a ways to go,” Cheng, Chartier and Ecker report.
Read the full extremely detailed and comprehensive review – highly recommended – here.