Initial iPhone impressions

Aug 23, 2007

I've been on iPhone for a week now. While I don't have the time right now to do any sort of scientific in-depth comprehensive review of the UI, I thought I'd put some blurbs here.

Like I said before, and as I often say about things, it's not a device to save the world. It has some good things about it and also some bugs. Nevertheless, there's nothing that would be so serious that I'd consider taking it back to the store or anything like that.

Good

First what's good about it.

Size. It's damn small. Looking at all the hype about features, I imagined it would be bigger. It's actually thinner than my old SonyEricsson T610 (even with protective casing that you'll most likely want to get), and it's about 1.5 cm wider and taller. And doesn't weigh too much -- fine to carry around in pocket.

Screen. The screen is truly the best that I've ever seen on flatscreen devices. It's readable even in direct sunlight. I haven't ever seen any other flatscreen device that's readable in sunlight. My MacBook Pro certainly isn't.

Applications. Not much to say, they all just work great. Calendar, contacts, maps, browser, e-mail are the ones that I use most.

Touchscreen. Works great, both one-and two finger motions. "Pinching" (zooming with two fingers) is cool.

Not sure

Keyboard. I'm not sure if the keyboard is good or bad. I can type with it, but it's not too convenient and I haven't fully gotten used to it. Then again, I've never used any Blackberries or Windows Mobile devices with "real" keyboards. With my bulky fingers, those wouldn't probably be any better.

Bad

Can't use it as Bluetooth modem for computer. What's up with that? I would like to use it as a modem and "dial up" to the EVDO data network. Even my old SonyEricsson could do it with GPRS. I understand that it maybe doesn't fit with AT&T's "unlimited" data plan that people would then "abuse" this way, but come on. This is a step back comparing to my old phone and thus sucks.

"Regular" headphone connector is ugly. There's some special headphone connector that only takes iPhone's own headphones. To plug in regular 3.5mm, you have to connect them through some 3rd party chamaching that just looks plain ugly (too long). At least the one they sold to me.

US-only, no international characters. I sometimes like to send mails or textmessages in Estonian that has those "funny" characters. There's no way that I can enter them with iPhone today. It will be interesting to see what happens when the device rolls out to Europe. My guess would be that there will be a software update that lets me activate different keyboard layouts -- fortunately, since the keyboard is implemented fully in software, that will be easy to do, comparing to hardware where you're just stuck with one layout (or you can remap the keys so that the labels don't fit the strokes any more).

Battery life. With heavy use of EVDO for browsing and mail, I can easily drain the battery from 100% to 0% in two days. That's quite little. I'm not sure what's the standby time, haven't yet had it on standby much.

No "loudening" ringtone. I want my phone to ring quietly at first and then become louder if you don't pick up. This was a great option on T610. I don't have this on iPhone -- I can go with either full volume or quiet/no-sound, but I'd like to have this third option inbetween.

Was it worth it?

For me personally, it has already paid off. I don't yet have a permanent Internet connection at home, but with this thing, I can still stay in touch with people by e-mail and do some essential browsing if I have to. I would have missed some parties and outings and essential info if I hadn't used the iPhone.