Apple iPhone - 8GB (AT&T)
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Apple iPhone has a stunning display, a sleek design, and an innovative multitouch user interface. Its Safari browser makes for a superb Web surfing experience, and it offers easy-to-use apps. As an iPod, it shines.
The bad: The Apple iPhone has variable call quality and lacks some basic features found in many cell phones, including stereo Bluetooth support and 3G compatibility. Integrated memory is stingy for an iPod, and you have to sync the iPhone to manage music content.
The bottom line: Despite some important missing features, a slow data network, and call quality that doesn't always deliver, the Apple iPhone sets a new benchmark for an integrated cell phone and MP3 player.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Editors' note, July 11, 2008: This is the review of the original first-generation iPhone model, released June 2007. Coverage of the 3G iPhone model released July 11, 2008 is available here.
Editors' note, July 16, 2009: We have lowered the rating of this product from 8.0 to 7.6 in the wake of the release of the iPhone 3G S. For a full analysis of the iPhone OS 3.0 software update, please see our iPhone 3G S review. For ongoing coverage, please see our full coverage of the Apple iPhone.
From the moment Apple announced its iPhone at Macworld 2007, the tech world hasn't stopped asking questions. Because Apple has kept many iPhone details under wraps until very recently, we've been forced to speculate. Until now. Is the iPhone pretty? Absolutely. Is it easy to use? Certainly. Does it live up to the stratospheric hype? Not so much. Don't get us wrong, the iPhone is a lovely device with a sleek interface, top-notch music and video features, and innovative design touches. The touch screen is easier to use than we expected, and the multimedia performs well. But a host of missing features, a dependency on a sluggish EDGE network, and variable call quality--it is a phone after all--left us wanting more. For those reasons, the iPhone is noteworthy not for what it does, but how it does it. If you want an iPhone badly, you probably already have one. But if you're on the fence, we suggest waiting for the second-generation handset. Even with the new $399 price for the 8GB model (down from an original price of $599) and $499 for the 16GB model, it's still a lot to ask for a phone that lacks so many features and locks you into an iPhone-specific two-year contract with AT&T. We'll be more excited once we see a version with--at the very least--multimedia messaging and 3G.
On with the review: the iPhone boasts a brilliant display, trim profile, and clean lines (no external antenna of course), and its lack of buttons puts it in a design class that even the LG Prada and the HTC Touch can't match. You'll win envious looks on the street toting the iPhone, and we're sure that would be true even if the phone hadn't received as much media attention as it has. We knew that it measures 4.5 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.46 inch deep, but it still felt smaller than we expected when we finally held it. In comparison, it's about as tall and as wide as a Palm Treo 755p, but it manages to be thinner than even the trend-setting Motorola Razr. It fits comfortably in the hand and when held to the ear, and its 4.8 ounces give it a solid, if perhaps weighty, feel. We also like that the display is glass rather than plastic.
The iPhone's display is the handset's design showpiece and is noteworthy for not only what it shows, but also how you use it. We'll start off with its design. At a generous 3.5 inches, the display takes full advantage of the phone's size, while its 480x320 pixel resolution (160 dots per inch) translates into brilliant colors, sharp graphics, and fluid movements.
In true Apple style, the iPhone's menu interface is attractive, intuitive, and easy to use. In the main menu, a series of colored icons call out the main functions. Icons for the phone menu, the mail folder, the Safari Web browser, and the iPod player sit at the bottom of the screen, while other features such as the camera, the calendar, and the settings are displayed above. It's easy to find all features, and we like that essential features aren't buried under random menus. Fluid animation takes you between different functions, and you can zip around rather quickly.
Much has been made of the iPhone's touch screen, and rightfully so. Though the Apple handset is not the first cell phone to rely solely on a touch screen, it is the first phone to get so much attention and come with so many expectations. Depending on what you're doing, the touch screen serves as your dialpad, your keyboard, your Safari browser, and your music and video player. Like many others, we were skeptical of how effectively the touch screen would handle all those functions.
Fortunately, we can report that on the whole, the touch screen and software interface are easier to use than expected. What's more, we didn't miss a stylus in the least. Despite a lack of tactile feedback on the keypad, we had no trouble tapping our fingers to activate functions and interact with the main menu. As with any touch screen, the display attracts its share of smudges, but they never distracted us from what we were viewing. The onscreen dialpad took little acclimation, and even the onscreen keyboard fared rather well. Tapping out messages was relatively quick, and we could tap the correct letter, even with big fingers. The integrated correction software helped minimize errors by suggesting words ahead of time. It was accurate for the most part.
Still, the interface and keyboard have a long way to go to achieve greatness. For starters, when typing an e-mail or text message the keyboard is displayed only when you hold the iPhone vertically. As a result, we could only type comfortably with one finger, which cut down on our typing speed. Using two hands is possible, but we found it pretty crowded to type with both thumbs while holding the iPhone at the same time. What's more, basic punctuation such as periods or commas lives in a secondary keyboard--annoying. If you're a frequent texter or an e-mail maven, we suggest a test-drive first.
We also found it somewhat tedious to scroll through long lists, such as the phone book or music playlists. Flicking your finger in an up or down motion will move you partway through a list, but you can't move directly to the bottom or top by swiping and holding your finger. On the other hand, the letters of the alphabet are displayed on the right side of the screen. By pressing a letter you can go directly to any songs or contacts beginning with that letter. But the lack of buttons requires a lot of tapping to move about the interface. For example, the Talk and End buttons are only displayed when the phone is in call mode. And since there are no dedicated Talk and End buttons, you must use a few taps to find these features. That also means you cannot just start dialing a number; you must open the dialpad first, which adds clicks to the process. The same goes for the music player: since there are no external buttons, you must call up the player interface to control your tunes. For some people, the switching back and forth may be a nonissue. But for mutlitaskers, it can grow wearisome.
Criticisms aside, the iPhone display is remarkable for its multitouch technology, which allows you to move your finger in a variety of ways to manipulate what's on the screen. When in a message, you can magnify the text by pressing and holding over a selected area. And as long as you don't lift your finger, you can move your "magnifying glass" around the text. You can zoom in by pinching your fingers apart; to zoom out you just do the opposite. In the Web browser, you can move around the Web page by sliding your finger, or you can zoom in by a double tap. And when looking at your message list, you can delete items by swiping your finger from left to right across the message. At that point, a Delete button will appear.
Thanks to the handset's accelerometer (a fancy word for motion sensor), the iPhone's display orientation will adjust automatically when you flip the iPhone on its side while using the music and video players and the Internet browser. Also, a proximity sensor turns off the display automatically when you lift the iPhone to your ear for a conversation. All three are very cool.
The January 2008 update added new customization options for the iPhone's home screen. By pressing and holding any icon, all of the icons on the display will start to wiggle. You then can move the icons around and rearrange them at will. By moving them to the right, you can also access a second menu page, and you can add or remove on the "dock" at the bottom of the display. It's clear that with this new feature, Apple is readying the iPhone for more applications, particularly as the company prepares for the upcoming SDK. To stop the icons from wiggling, just press the Home button.
The iPhone's only hardware menu button is set directly below the display. It takes you instantly back to the home screen no matter what application you're using. The single button is nice to have, since it saves you a series of menu taps if you're buried in a secondary menu. On the top of the iPhone is a multifunction button for controlling calls and the phone's power. If a call comes in at an inopportune time, just press the button once to silence the ringer, or press it twice to send the call to voice mail. Otherwise, you can use this top control to put the phone asleep and wake it up again. You can turn the iPhone off by pressing and holding the button.
Located on the left spine are a volume rocker and a nifty ringer mute switch, something all cell phones should have and which is a popular feature of Palm Treos. On the bottom end, you'll find the speaker, a microphone, and the jack for the syncing dock and the charger cord. Unfortunately, the headset jack on the top end is deeply recessed, which means you will need an adapter for any headphones with a chubby plug. Is this customer-friendly? No.
Unfortunately, the Phone does not have a battery that a user can replace. That means you have to send the iPhone to Apple to replace the battery after it's spent (Apple is estimating one battery will keep its full strength for 400 charges--probably about three years' worth of use). The cost of the replacement is $79 plus $6.95 shipping. No, you don't really need a removable battery in a cell phone, but like many things missing on the iPhone, it would be nice to have, especially for such an expensive phone. And just what are you supposed to without a cell phone during the replacement period? Contrary to earlier reports, the SIM card is removable via a small drawer on the top of the iPhone, but other AT&T SIM cards will not work in the iPhone. That's especially troubling, as it completely defeats the biggest advantage of using a GSM phone with a SIM card. Some people have multiple phones and like to change the SIM card between their different handsets. Also, you can't use the SIM card to import contact information from another handset.
The iPhone's phone book is limited only by the phone's available memory. Each contact holds eight phone numbers; e-mail, Web site, and street addresses; a job title and department; a nickname; a birthday; and notes. You can't save callers to groups, but you can store your preferred friends to a favorites menu for easy access. You can assign contacts a photo for caller ID and assign them one of 25 polyphonic ringtones. We should note, however, that there's no voice dialing and you can't use MP3 files as ringtones. Other basic features include an alarm clock, a calculator, a world clock, a stopwatch, a timer and a notepad. There's a vibrate mode but it's a tad light.
The calendar offers day and month views, and you can use the calendar as an event reminder or a to-do list as well. The interface is clean and simple, though inputting new appointments involves a lot of tapping. There's no Week view, however. We were able to sync our Outlook contacts and calendar and our Yahoo! e-mail address book with no problems.
Bluetooth and wireless
The iPhone offers a full range of wireless functionality with support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The Wi-Fi compatibility is especially welcome, and a feature that's absent on far too many smart phones. When you're browsing the Web, the iPhone automatically searches for the nearest Internet hot spot. Bluetooth 2.0 is also on board, which delivers faster transmission and a longer range than Bluetooth 1.2. You can use Bluetooth for voice calls, but you don't get an A2dP stereo Bluetooth profile--another item that's not necessary but would be nice to have.
Though Apple CEO Steve Jobs has explained the iPhone's lack of 3G support by saying the chipsets take up too much room and drain too much battery, we'd like the option anyway. Yes, the Wi-Fi network is great when you can get it, but AT&T's EDGE network just doesn't cut it for all other surfing. EDGE Web browsing is so slow, it almost ruins the pretty Web interface. More on this in the Performance section.
Messaging and e-mail
For your messaging needs, the iPhone offers text messaging and e-mail. As on many smart phones, a text message thread is displayed as one long conversation--a useful arrangement that allows you to pick which messages you'd like to answer. The January 2008 update added the ability to send a text message to multiple recipients. It was a welcome addition, but truly, that capability should have been there from the start. If you use another function while messaging, you can return to pick up that message where you left off. We just don't understand, however, why Apple doesn't include multimedia messaging. Sure, you can use e-mail to send photos, but without multimedia messaging you can't send photos to other cell phones--pretty much the entire point of a camera phone.
The iPhone's e-mail menu includes integrated support for Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, and Mac accounts. You can set up the phone to receive messages from other IMAP4 and POP3 systems, but you'll need to sweet-talk your IT department into syncing with your corporate exchange server. It's rumored that Apple will update the iPhone to support ActiveSync but Apple hasn't confirmed that as of this writing. Yet the iPhone does offer a way to connect with your VPN. You can read--but not edit--PDF, JPEG, Word, and Excel documents. Worse: you can't cut and paste text when composing messages.
Sandwiched between all the iPhone's features lives Apple's most amazing iPod yet. The display, interface, video quality, audio quality--all of it is meticulously refined and beautiful. Unfortunately, it's trapped within a device that will cost you more than $1,000 a year just to own. CNET recently reviewed a Rolls-Royce that had a top-notch umbrella hidden inside its passenger door. Buying the iPhone for its iPod feature is a lot like buying that Rolls-Royce for its umbrella. Regardless, the iPhone is an exciting glimpse into what Apple hopefully has planned for its sixth-generation iPod. Apple has redeemed itself following the Motorola Rokr E1 debacle.
On paper, the iPhone's iPod doesn't offer any features not already on a fifth-generation iPod: podcasts, videos, music, and playlists are all here, and content management with iTunes is identical. The difference rests entirely in the iPhone's interface. We've used other MP3 players that use touch interfaces, such as the Archos 704, iRiver Clix and Cowon D2, but the iPhone's unique integration of multitouch technology and a graphic user interface put it in a category all its own.
From an iPod perspective, Apple's biggest triumph with the iPhone is the fact that it has returned album artwork back into the music experience in a way that goes beyond a token thumbnail graphic. Physically flipping through your music collection in the iPhone's Cover Flow mode really brings back the visceral feel of digging through a CD or record bin. It's a tough feeling to quantify, but the real music lovers out there will appreciate how well the iPhone reconnects their digital music to a form that is both visually and physically more vivid. Even iTunes users who may already be jaded about using the Cover Flow mode on their personal computer will be surprised at how the experience is changed by using the iPhone's intuitive touch screen.
Truth be told, there is one feature that is new to the iPhone's iPod--the integrated speaker. While the iPhone's speaker sounds thin and is prone to distortion, it works in a pinch for sharing a song with a friend. Apple was also smart enough to manage its speaker volume independent of the headphone volume, so if you're listening to the speaker full-blast and then decide to plug in your headphones, you won't be deafened.
The bad news is that the iPhone's iPod leaves out the ability to manually manage the transfer of music and video content. Unlike any previous iPod, the iPhone does not allow an option for manually dragging and dropping content from an iTunes library directly to the iPhone device icon. Instead, the iPhone strictly uses defined library syncing options for collecting and syncing content from your iTunes library to the device. This should work out fine for most people, but for a device with limited memory the inability to manually manage content seems like a misstep. Our 8GB iPhone was already a quarter full after only a few hours of testing, giving us the impression that users will need to be vigilant at grooming their iPhone library. An external memory card slot is another one of those "nice to have" features.
The iPhone's music sound quality seems right in line with our experience using the 5G iPod. All the same EQ presets are available, only now they are found on the iPhone's main Settings tab. The included iPhone earbuds did a passable job for casual listening in a quiet environment. Unfortunately, the iPhone's recessed headphone jack prevented us from using many of the test headphones we're familiar with. We were just barely able to squeeze the plug of our Etymotic ER6i earphones into the jack to do the comparison.
Watching video on the iPhone is not quite as luxurious as a Creative Zen Vision: W or Archos 504, but its wide screen and bright contrast beat the fifth-generation iPod by a mile. As with previous iPods, video playback is automatically bookmarked so that playback resumes where you left off. And because the iPhone is a phone, it includes an airplane mode that will keep the music player activated while turning off the call transmitter. Thanks to the January 2008 update, you can also browse movies by chapter as well as view subtitles. Other changes include the lyric overlays on music tracks, support for the new iTunes movie rentals, and the ability to redeem iPhone gift cards from the device using the wireless iTunes store.
The Safari browser really sets the iPhone apart from the cell phone crowd. Rather than trudging through stripped-down WAP pages with limited text and graphics, the browser displays Web pages in their true form. It's a completely and surprisingly satisfying experience to see real Web pages on a screen of this size. Our only regret is that the browser does not support Flash or Java. To pan around a page, just swipe your finger across the display, and the page moves accordingly. Tap your finger on a link to open a new page and double-tap your finger to zoom in and zoom back out. You can use the arrows on the bottom of the display to move back and forth, while a multifunction button at the bottom of the display lets you open new pages and flick among them.
Google search is the iPhone's default search tool, but you can use Yahoo search as well. When searching for information or typing URLs, you use the onscreen keyboard. It's just like typing an e-mail except that the spacebar is replaced with Web-appropriate language like ".com" and a slash. That's a nice touch.
The January 2008 update brought the ability to add bookmarks to the home screen in the form of icons. The process is easy enough--when viewing your favorite site, just tap the bookmark icon and you'll find an "add to home screen" option. You can add multiple icons (thanks to the new second menu page), move them around, and delete then. It's useful as it will save you a few clicks later.
Thanks to the accelerometer, you can tip the phone on its side for a more comfortable landscape view. It doesn't matter which direction you rotate the phone, as it will work either way. It's also nice that the onscreen keyboard appears in landscape mode when using the browser. Most Web pages looked great on the screen, but visually busy pages like CNN.com can be too crowded. And because you can zoom in only a set amount, some text can still be too small to read clearly. You can store bookmarks and sync your favorite pages from your PC, but it works only for Internet Explorer and not Firefox.
You can activate the iPhone's integrated YouTube player straight from the main menu via a colored icon. Videos are organized using many of the same criteria as on the YouTube site, including Featured Clips, Most Viewed, Top Rated, and Most Recent. You can read the information attached to a video, such as the date posted and the poster's name, but you can't read comments. It doesn't appear, however, that the YouTube connection updates in real time. We uploaded a video of our own, and it didn't show up until a few hours later.
The iPhone has a widget for accessing Google Maps. You can see the satellite view--nice--and get turn-by-turn directions between two points, with traffic information. We tried mapping routes from CNET's offices to various places and received accurate directions. As the iPhone lacks standard GPS, it couldn't provide location information for the first six months of its life. But with the January 2008 update, it gained the ability to tell you approximately where you are. When you tap the new icon in the lower-left corner of the touch screen, a circle will show where you should be on the map. But rather than connecting to a satellite, it finds you by connecting to nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers and pinpointing their location (sort of a backdoor locater). You then can find directions using your pinpointed location.
When I gave it a go, the location service was off by several blocks on my first attempt. Though even standard GPS systems aren't perfect, the margin of error was still too big. Also, the area that the circle covered was much too expansive (when I tried to zoom in, the circle disappeared). Fortunately, the second time I tried the location service it was much more accurate. Also, I like that the circle covered a smaller area. Yet it's worth noting that the functionality won't work when you're away from wireless civilization, which typically is a time when location services come in really handy. Also, the lack of audio instructions will limit its usability while driving.
The next mapping feature is pretty cool. By pressing the new icon on the lower-right corner of the touch screen, you can drop a pin wherever you like on the map. You can move the pin around, save it as a bookmark, and use it as a location for determining directions. The map interacts well with the calling functions; you can find a point of interest and ring it in just a few taps.
Additional widgets point to stock information and weather reports. You can program your own tickers and get information like a share gain or loss and see the chart of a share price over time. The weather function gives you a six-day forecast for your choice of cities. For more options, there is already a selection of third-party iPhone apps. No games are included on the handset
Visual voice mail
One of the most intriguing features on the iPhone is the much-touted visual voice mail. iPhone's voice mail works much like a text-message folder in that it displays the caller's name or phone number and the time. What's even more fantastic, however, is that you can listen to the message instantly by pressing the individual message--you don't have to call your voice mail first.
The iPhone's 2-megapixel camera offers a spiffy interface with a graphic that resembles a camera shutter. You're offered no camera editing options, which we didn't expect. That means you can't change the resolution, choose a color or quality setting, or select a night mode. There's no flash either, and with no self-portrait mirror, those vanity shots are going to be tricky. The camera performed well in our tests, however. Photo quality was excellent with rich, bright colors and distinct object outlines. White looked a bit too soft, but we approve overall. On the downside, you can't shoot your own video, which is disappointing on a phone at this price.
As we said earlier, the photo menu is attractive and easy to use, particularly due to the pinching motion. You can also flip between photos by swiping your finger across the display. When selecting a photo, you're given the option of assigning it to a contact, using it as wallpaper, or e-mailing it to a friend.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Apple iPhone in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was good for the most part, but it wasn't dependable. Though voices sounded natural, the volume was often too low, and the microphone has a sensitive sweet spot. When we moved the phone away from our ears ever so slightly, the volume diminished noticeably and we had to move the phone back to just the right place to hear clearly. The volume wasn't so bad that we weren't able to hear a friend who was in a crowded bar, but it just could be better. The speakerphone was also too quiet though conversations weren't too muffled.
CNET users have also reported volume problems, and a few people we called said they heard a slight background hiss. We didn't hear the hiss on our end, but more than one of our friends said they noticed it. Automated calling systems were able to understand us, but only if we were in a quiet room. On the whole, the call quality stayed the same in most environments.
Our first test with the Safari browser was over CNET's internal Wi-Fi network. Web pages loaded in 5 to 10 seconds, though sites with heavy graphics took longer. It was a smooth experience overall, though it not quite as zippy as we had hoped. We thought that could be due to CNET's network, but it seemed to be more or less the standard. Pages took about the same time to load on a home network and just a couple seconds longer in a cafe. When not using Wi-Fi, you're stuck with AT&T's EDGE network, which is just too slow to render the lovely Safari interface enjoyably. With speeds in the 50-to-90Kbps range, it reminded us of a dial-up browser. In other words, it's pretty intolerable. CNET Labs tested the speed of the EDGE network against the Wi-Fi connection by comparing repeated results of the download time for a 9.4MB file. After two days of testing, EDGE resulted in an average download time of 15 minutes, 41 seconds for the file; Wi-Fi on average required a mere 1 minute, 11 seconds. In the end, our test results indicate that the iPhone's Wi-Fi connection is 13 times faster than using EDGE, although results will vary depending on location. We can only hope Apple adds 3G soon, especially since AT&T has a robust UMTS/HSDPA network.
We tried purchasing music through the wireless iTunes store, which was announced in September 2007 (originally we knocked the iPhone for not allowing wireless downloads). You'll need Wi-Fi to use it (sorry, EDGE isn't sufficient), but on the whole it was a satisfying experience. You can view featured songs and the top 10 tracks by genre. If you have specific music in mind, you also can search by song name. We found our track quickly, and we liked that results surface as you're typing. Once we selected our chosen song, it downloaded in less than a minute, and it appeared directly in our iTunes folder.
|Band / mode||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband)|
|Talk time||Up to 480 min|
|OS provided||OS X|
|Included accessories||Hands-free headset, Power adapter, USB cable, Phone charging stand, Cleaning cloth|
|Service & support details type||1-year warranty|
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 396
4 Star: 139
3 Star: 84
2 Star: 95
1 Star: 89
Far too many issues
Rating: 3 / 5
on June 30, 2007
136 out of 186 users found this review helpful
Pros: Great apprearance, status symbol, maybe
Cons: Call quality, no bluetooth modem, no gps
Summary: This might not be to pleasant for serious proponents of Apple and the iPhone.
While the iPhone has a wonderful design, serious flaws keep this from being what a smartphone is supposed to be. We are talking about a smartphone here, not a regular cellphone to which everyone seems to use as comparisons.
Why is it that anytime the iPhone has a fault, it is said that other cell phones don't have the feature either? That is like comparing a pda to a laptop. Compare the iPhone to other PDA phones and then make the comparisons okay?
For example, almost every pda/phone from Verizon or Sprint has WiFi. Why is this never pointed out? Compared to a Samsung 730 from Verizon, the iPhone is seriously lacking. Not only does the Samsung browse much faster due to it's 3g network, it goes on to do everything the iPhone does and then some.
With a small software hack, you can use the Samsung as a bluetooth model for connecting your laptop to the data network. All the other smart phone pda phones will also do this and when a cable is used, they get the full speed of 3g which now rivals and for Verizon surpasses even most enhanced DSL.
While the interface is nice, no hardware scroll button makes you completely defendant upon the touchscreen. That simply doesn't work. Sometimes you need to write something down with one had while scrolling for information with the other. Impossible to do with the iPhone, sorry. That brings us back to typing messages or email. Again, one handed is impossible so you can't stand in a bus, subway car or anything else and replay to a message or email. It takes two hands.
Apple could have easily designed in a slider keyboard and then, instead of making the primary keys tiny like everyone else, make them larger although many smartphone pda phones are already using larger keys.
The most serious flaw is the lack of application support. When I bought a Palm, or Windows Mobile phone, within minutes I could download and install or load from CD, any number of programs to suit my individual needs. When did a smartphone become the exclusive domain of the manufacturer or phone company? What happened to making something personal. As it is, one iPhone will be exactly like every other iPhone, except for different cases and covers. Those by the way, make stuffing the iPhone into your pocket a hassle. From slim to thick in no time at all.
Now we get to the battery. While I agree that for a regular phone, you usually don't need to swap batteries, anyone using a camera phone knows that taking video or pictures can quickly drain the battery. So does using WiFi and Bluetooth at the same time and turning them on or off all the time isn't the answer. Besides, Apple and AT&T expect you to use WiFi for browsing although that is tough in you are really mobile and sitting in a coffee shop all the time.
Being able to replace a battery on a smartphone is almost a requirement. It will only take you one time with a dead battery to realize just how important that is. If your iPhone goes dead, you can't access the phone book or other information period, even if you have access to another phone.
If the battery goes dead in other smartphones, you can even go to a store and in an emergency swap a battery for a few minutes to access your address book. No dice with the iPhone. Where are you going to go since it must be an AT&T store or apple store and even then, they can't just pop out the battery and let you use one of their tech batteries for a few seconds.
Now I will say that the iPhone is a marvel in appearance. It looks absolutely fabulous. But like many things, beauty is only skin deep. It takes a lot more than a pretty skin to make a great phone. Phones are very personal things and being forced to do as Apple and AT&T says is too much.
If I can't load a simple mapping program and use GPS, what good is a smartphone? being forced to use Google maps isn't my idea of owning the phone, I'm merely renting it.
The market for the iPhone is iPod users who once in a while might make a phone call. It isn't for anyone that is on the go and needs reliable communications and the ability to work the way they want to work. Now you'll have to do as Apple and AT&T dictate.
Sorry but there are too many failing in the first design. I'm sure the next version will address these issues but by that time, the new generation of pda phones will have hit the market and the choices will be many.
If you want a music player first and a casual use cell phone, this is fine and will meet your needs. If you use a mobile phone for work and play and do more than play music, there are far better choices to buy without all the compromises.
I'm hoping for a Google phone.
After 3 days of use, returning to the store
Rating: 1.5 / 5
on July 2, 2007
54 out of 79 users found this review helpful
Pros: beautiful design, smart UI
Cons: AT&T, Wifi spotty, battery life poort
Summary: Contrary to a lot of opinion-posters on this site, I've actually been using the iPhone (8GB) since Friday evening. I must say i'm pretty disappointed. The design of course is flawless and the phone itself is beautiful. However, the major issues thus far have been:
1) battery life - I've gotten about 2 hours of actual use and maybe 60 mins of talktime out of one charge - by far below the advertised length. The phone also seems to get very hot after longer use
2) Wifi - Wifi is spotty at best, so far, I've only gotten a couple of pages to load completely
3) EDGE - enough said, it's poor speed and especially for the full browser it's not fast enough. Once you get the websites up, of course they're nice to look at.
4) Keyboard - it's clear that this is not an email device - you can type short sentences using two-finger pecking with a lot of typos or backspacing but nowhere near the Treo or Blackberry speed (i have both)
5) Phone - call volume on the handset itself is too low in noisy envirnments. Once you use a bluetooth headset (Jawbone) the volume is fine. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn off the screen without ending a call when you use a bluetooth headset, which makes it hard to put the phone in you pocket and walk around with the call on your headset. NB the jawbone headset rocks! noise reduction and volume is fantastic, people can not tell your're in a car or outside.
6) AT&T service - unless you've tried to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before, AT&T will be a new experience in travelling to the dark side of corporate customer abuse. While the itunes activation went smoothly (and much more pleasant than dealing with some pimply punk trying to upsell you on the "Family Share plan" or some such bogus in the store), the thing that AT&T forgot to mention is that you CAN NOT CALL ANYONE OUTSIDE THE US OR CANADA on the iPhone for the first 90 days. Mind you, this is for a $600 phone, with a $129/month plan for someone with stellar credit score. In order to turn on international dialling, I have to talk to "international provisioning" - which happens to be one guy who is currently on vacation (i guess that's why they call it "international" provisioning)... After three hours on hold with AT&T between Saturday, Sunday, and today, I still can't dial anyone outside of North America. Maybe the White House would like this phone?? Maybe AT&T could come up with a plan that only allows you to call registered Republicans?
Anyway, I'm returning the iPhone to the Apple store tomorrow.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on June 30, 2007
38 out of 48 users found this review helpful
Pros: safari, awesome screen, wifi
Cons: Can't copy contacts from SIM, battery???
Summary: So I've been playing with my iphone since last night, and here's what I've found so far:
WiFi works great - no problems connecting or switching between networks - and very fast
EDGE is not so bad - EDGE is all I can get at work, and its not nearly as slow as I thought it might be. The pages I've looked up all opened within a few seconds - definitely no 2 minute waits so far (as had been mentioned in some reviews)
Safari is much better than I thought it would be - especially since I don't use it on my MacBook. But I imported my bookmarks into Safari, and they synced automatically with the iphone - very nice.
I know the CNET review said you couldn't manually manage videos, but I could - I had the option to add any of several movies in my list, and just checked the ones i wanted - very nice, since that way you can control how much memory video takes up. and videos look AMAZING.
So it only holds 8GB. ok, its not the same as my 80GB ipod, but isn't that what smart playlists are for? It is as much as a Nano, only with video.
Very fast, very easy. My phone was activated in about 5 minutes from start to finish. I didn't get my employer's discount, but I already knew that was going to happen, and I didn't get it before.
very responsive, menus are very clear and easy to use. The keyboard is easy to get used to, and much easier then texting with T9 - and I have pretty fat fingers. Also, I haven't had any problems operating one handed - very easy, at least in iPod and Safari modes.
So the downside?
Can't copy contacts from old SIM to iPhone SIM. What's up with that? AT&T offered to sell me a flash drive for ~$20 so I could transfer them to my computer then to iPhone. Crazy.
No Flash -
I didn't think this would be an issue. But it would be nice to have. FYI, you can't see the weather.com radar in motion.
Non-Issues (for me)
AT&T service -
I already had AT&T service, so I know what to expect, and here in the middle of fly-over country, AT&T has good coverage. Much better than sprint, who I had before.
No voice dialing-
I had it before, never used it. Never found it useful, since it would never recognize the name I was saying (like Al, or MOM).
The only time I've ever replaced a batter is when I dropped my phone in water (a lot of water). So for me, another non-issue.
Don't trust the 6.4- these people don't even own one
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on June 30, 2007
25 out of 33 users found this review helpful
Pros: Simple and un-problematic calling, great internet communication, "visual voicemail" is very useful, iPod controls are wonderful & easy, entire OS with great display is beautiful, headphones w/ mic
Cons: no 3G, camera settings are strict, prone to scratches, no voice control
Summary: The iPhone is one of the only phones you can say you have fun and love to use. The innovative sync between the multi touch screen and OS X is magnificent: and allows for a lot of innovative ways to use the device.
In phone mode, iPhone is simple and as you would expect: with voice quality that I can't complain about, and the included proximity sensor shuts off the iPhone's screen when it's close to your face (to avoid unwanted touches)
Mail mode is as you would expect. I have no problem not having push, because it checks my GMail inbox every 15 minutes. Reading through messages is just like on a PC, and deleting a message is as easy as swiping your finger over it!
In Safari: I'll admit I'll be upset next time I use the EDGE network. My home/school/and alot of town is a WiFi blanket, but that may not be the case for everyone. Surfing in WiFi is great and presents the web exactly how you'd like it (no re-configuring of text and space), but in EDGE mode... don't even bother. It's almost as bad as dial up. Incidentally, Youtube is also a waste of time on EDGE.
iPod mode is amazing. It works just like a normal 5G iPod, but the controls are so sleek and advanced its just fun! The quick menus on the bottom can, thankfully, be changed by clicking the ". . ." (more button), and that makes navigation in some ways quicker than the click wheel. I was hoping, though, that I'd be able to select songs or albums with voice.
The other features of the phone- widgets and google maps and such, are great as well. The phone is truly the best phone out there, and as for the keyboard.. Well I played with mine for hours: and on the 2nd day I feel comfortable to type almost as fast as I could on a numeric keypad.
I'd give the iPhone a ten if it just included a couple basic cell features (3G, different filters/settings for camera, voice dialing (even though I don't use that), and one or two others).
Phone? AT&T Business No Account Forget It
Rating: 1.5 / 5
on June 29, 2007
39 out of 74 users found this review helpful
Pros: Not known as yet
Cons: AT&T No Business Accounts
Summary: Tried to activate online and have been on the phone 2 hours. AT&T (Cingular) will not let you move your phone and data plan if you are a BUSINESS customer...You HAVE to sign up for a personal account using your own ssn, credit, etc. Even though I already have a phone and data plan for the Blackberry as 6 others in the office. They admit this was not pre-advertised...What a rip.
Phone is probably OK, status post 4 hours off and on phone with AT&T since last night, can't get my business plan transferred, need new Personal account, take phone back, 10% restrock charge, then calls from AT&T they can give me my number but it has to be a separate account seperate from Business, OK, they connect me, office is close at AT&T 3:00 PM in San Francisco, sorry but they are on the east coast, call back tomorrow. I am taking the phone back, not paying a restrocking fee, will notify AMEX of the scam between Iphone and ATT