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06. 30. 2007

iPhone: Initial Thoughts

iPhone_5up.jpg

As the first Popgadget-er to get their hands on an iPhone, the duty of writing a hands-on review has befallen me. (Yes, Mia got one, too, but I beat her by at least an hour!) So, here goes...

Because of traffic, the original AT&T store I planned to visit got bumped for a less obscure one. I got there right about 4:30 and had the fortune to get in line next to two very sweet women: one a college-aged fashionista who was moving to Mexico, the other a middle-aged, gadget-obsessed mother of three children and two large and two small dogs. About 50 people were in line at the time the store opened. They started letting folks in promptly at 6:00PM. First a group of about ten, then a new person for each one that exited the store. Several television stations were there covering the event, as well as some 'leafletting' Comunication Workers of America representatives.

My purchase was made swiftly, efficiently, and very pleasantly. I then ran to my waiting car as if I had just effected a bank heist. I gently tore through the shrinkwrap so as not to damage the beautifully crafted box (would you expect anything less from Apple?). And there it was. Much smaller and thinner than I expected. I gingerly lifted it from the cradled packaging and pressed the on switch. Although all I saw was the activation screen, I was in awe. This thing is HOT! I hadn't even used it yet and every reason to not get an iPhone melted away in that moment.

Fast forward three hours later (after a leisurely dinner with friends at a favorite sushi restaurant - I know! How could I think of food at a time like this!). I'm now home and have prepped my MacBook Pro by updating my contacts in Entourage and downloading iTunes 7.3. The activation happened without a hitch.

PLUSES:

- Beautifully crafted, very substantial feel
- Overall user interface is nothing short of sublime
- Large keys on the dialpad makes the lack of hard buttons a non-issue
- Touch screen is everything it's promised to be - works very smoothly
- The gyroscope that auto-rotates the screen is just plain cool
- Google maps satellite views on a phone is also just plain cool
- iChat style word bubbles and messaging threads for SMS makes texting so much more sensible
- Visual voice-mail is not just innovative, it really makes things so efficient

MINUSES:

- EDGE is too slow, WiFi makes browsing speeds much more bearable
- The screen is riddled with fingerprints (I know - what was I expecting?) five minutes in, though a nifty little cleaning cloth is included - how very Apple
- Apple Bluetooth headset delayed
- No voice dial (I'm very used to this from all my other phones, so it's probably what I'll miss the most)
- Can't erase multiple messages at once
- Can't customize home screen
- Bluetooth seems limited to headset - can't import pics or contact info from another phone or from a computer, only via iTunes

So, on a scale of 1 - 10, I'm giving it a 12 for coolness and an 8.5 for functionality (primarily due to EDGE and lack of voice recognition). It's a keeper, for sure. I'll be updating my list of positives and negatives over the next few days as I spend more time with it, so check back. Mia will also be posting a review, so it will be interesting to compare notes (even though we were already on the phone last night discussing it for hours - yes, we're both big geeks).

Posted by Brian    Category: cell phones | highlights
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