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- Multi-touch navigation, fantastic display, great handheld video player, impressive browser, durability and build quality
- Lack of 3G/HSDPA, no instant messaging/office applications, gets warm with constant use, iffy text entry
If you want to love this much-hyped gadget, you'll find plenty to drool over. The iPhone is expensive and comes with some major drawbacks, but it's hard to be patient once you've seen one - the future of mobile devices is here and it's called an iPhone.
Dialling on the touch screen is easy enough for small hands, although we aren't convinced we'd be able to successfully dial one-handed, without looking at the screen - as you can when pressing tactile keys on an ordinary mobile phone. We found call quality mixed in our initial sample of calls. Most calls sounded good, with just an occasional hiss to remind us that we were on a mobile.
We love how the screen darkens while on a call, and the internal sensors reactivate it when its moved from your head. We also loved the visual voicemail feature. It is a pleasure to pick and choose which voicemails to listen to first (you either see the number, or the contact's name if he or she is entered in your address book) or to switch among voicemails with a click of the finger.
The speakerphone seemed inadequate though. Even on maximum volume, our callers sound faint, and had difficulty hearing clearly.
The 2-megapixel camera lacks any adjustments and has no zoom. Shutter lag is longer than a dedicated digital camera, or even the better camera phones we've seen. Synchronising nearly 258MB of images (approximately 392 JPEG photos) took a little over five minutes.
Photos look eye-popping on the bright, brilliant screen. Colours closely matched the originals, and we saw no issues with images being cropped to fit the screen. Most of the time, we felt the images were sharp and faithfully reproduced, but occasionally, high-resolution images lost some clarity in the conversion to the iPhone's format.
Software Keyboard and Predictive Text Entry
We found the keyboard and predictive text entry solid. It's still no match for the type of good hardware keyboard you get on a BlackBerry or Palm Treo, but it's not unbearable to use, and certainly beats any standard phone keypad. (If only Apple bundled the big instant messaging services.)
The predictive text entry works differently than it does on a BlackBerry, where you see a list of words that might be the one you're trying to type. The iPhone shows one option at a time, which changes as you enter different characters.
Sometimes the software is amazingly good at figuring out your intentions, even with a couple of mistyped characters: For example, it correctly ascertained that we were trying to type the word "predictive" even though a couple of letters came up wrong as we entered them. Other times, it just can't figure out what we wanted (when trying to type the word "company," it proposed "Compaq"). If you do see the word you want, just hit the space key and the iPhone will use it and move on.
When we first started typing on the iPhone, we thought there was no good way to move the cursor around, but we were wrong. With the software keyboard active, pressing down on the text entry area produces a bubble-like circle that magnifies the text around the cursor. Moving it with your fingertip repositions the cursor precisely where you want it and this is a very cool feature.
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