iPhone: After 1 Week

Posted: July 9, 2007 in iPhone, iPhone user review accessories

So it’s been a little over a week since standing in the iLine for iDay, and honestly, inspite of the hype dying down and some of the iBacklash, I am still very much enamored with my iPhone.  This is a very good sign, as generally my excitement for a new device dies down after a few days.      During this week I’ve taken it to work and on a small trip out of town, and really got a nice sense of overall performance.

Phone:  I’m really liking the contacts/favorites system for quick calling.  A few clicks and you’re good to go.  People complain a lot about the lack of voice dialing but I think the solid interface is actually more useful.  The keypress system is so smooth and easy I think I’d trust it more than a halfbaked voice recognition system.  As for calls, I’ve tested on bluetooth (sounded OK) and speakerphone (sounded good) as well as regular calls and thus far have been very happy with the quality and performance.

Reception and EDGE:  Thus far I’ve had good to great reception everywhere I’ve been.  For whatever reason my office in a basement level only gets AT&T so that worked out well.  Home reception is as good as I had from Verizon.  I haven’t tested at the beach yet.  I did check periodically while on travel in a variety of different areas, and never had any signal issues.  I was always able to check email and use Google maps on the EDGE network, though a bit slower in some areas.  Speaking of EDGE, I’ve been moderately impressed with the speeds particularly for email and maps.  Basic browsing of forums and searches are pretty good as well.  The only thing that’s really bogged it down is trying to get YouTube on the go.  Demoing YouTube has been hit or miss for me, sometimes it just freezes up.  Kind of a bummer.

Google Maps: I realize other units have it, but it is quickly standing out as a very useful tool.  The zooming and panning interface through your fingers is a much more visceral experience (I think that’s the word I want) and mapping on the go has never been more fun or easy.  I’ve used it multiple occasions to find and map local theater locations, then pop to Safari to get show times.  It’s great.

Safari: The stand-out app for me has been the browsing.  As mentioned in my earlier post, this came as a bit of a surprise to me.  I really wanted it originally for the widescreen iPod functionality, but what I’ve ended up using it for the most has been “on the go” browsing.  At home when I don’t feel like turning the 
computer on, I can, for instance,  quickly check for an actor’s name 
or a movie time.  There are times when I just want to pop on and off for a few seconds and not deal with the extra minutes to go to my room, boot up, load broswer, check, then shut down.  It just seems like too much effort for some little things.  But more than that, I can actually do full browsing of my favorite sites and forums, and even post halfway articulate comments.  No other portable device I’ve owned (and trust me I’ve tried a bunch) has come close to this, and frankly it’s amazing to me.  I’d actually kind of given up on the desire to have a truly portable interface to the internet because every one I tried ended up disappointing me in some way (again this is regardless of connection speed).  The interface in this case has truly overcome the basic problem of starting with a small screen size.  I don’t know if others are enjoying it as much for this feature as I am, but I’d definitely say it is the killer app for me.

Keyboard: one of my early concern is the typing and if you happened to see the little discovery comment I noted on my last post, that’s mostly been addressed.  The auto correction really works, you just have to trust it.  There are obviously cases when a real keyboard would still be preferable (and I’d still like landscape mode for texting and email) but for the most part, they’ve succeeded in their software approach.

Messaging: some negatives have arisen.  First, it appears you can’t send the same message to multiple recipients.  No idea how that got through testing but that’s how it currently works.  Also it apparently doesn’t support MMS so you can’t send or receive photos through the messaging system.  Could be a big deal for some people.  For me, it’s just a bit annoying.

Camera: I tested the camera out a bit this weekend and for the most part I’m really liking the quality of the photos.  Strangely there are just about zero options thus far, it’s just a button to turn on the camera and a button to take your shot.  I’ll have to see what they look like after downloading, but the images look very sharp on the camera itself, much better than any of the cameras on my prior phones have taken.  It’s also nice to take photos with the big screen, you really get a strong sense of how a photo is going to look.  I know it’s not that much bigger than a lot of newer camera screens, but it’s enough to make a difference.  Given that I had no expectations for the camera, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.

Other: just a quick note that I also used the calendar and alarm functions and both came in handy during my trip.  I used the alarm 2 mornings in a row and it just worked so easily it’s almost an afterthought.  For reference I have 
*never* used an alarm function on a phone before.  I only mention this to 
emphasize that the true beauty of the interface is that it makes you naturally want to use all of the phone’s functions.  I can’t really describe it better than that.  Other devices have provided all the same (and more) functions, but just haven’t motivated meto use them regularly because there’s always just some little thing that’s a deterrent.  

Accessories: I’m still in a semi-paranoid state of taking care of the phone, constantly nervous it will scratch or get stolen or something bad will happen.  My present configuration is a protective screen, and then a rubberized case around the main unit, then I drop the whole thing in my old leather Blackberry case and stick it in my pocket.  Hopefully I’ll come up with something better eventually.  I just got the ClearTouch Antiglare cover and so far it works great.  Sacrificing a bit in the shiny screen department, 
I really like the feel of this covering and it works great with the touch 
interface.  It also seems to prevent the constant fingerprint smudgies I 
tend to make with my greasy fingers, which is a great feature.  
Boxwave is supposedly sending out an improved version to me 
but I’m already pretty happy with this one. 

All in all I’m just having a great time with the phone – it’s not just fun, it’s the most functional and useful “smartphone” I’ve had to date.  Clearly there are some features I wouldn’t mind having (and should be easily fixed in software patches or additions) but the feature set even as it stands is truly remarkable.  You’ll notice I didn’t even comment on the iPod functions.  The truth is aside from showing them off to people (I particularly love popping into Terminator 2 for my demos), I haven’t used it much as an iPod.  It’s like I’m just taking the iPod stuff for granted, but really those functions alone are a wonderful improvement in terms of interface.

  1. Matthew says:

    So, when are you getting a Mac? 😛

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