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Review: iPhone

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Browsing

The pain of browsing over EDGE is greatly exaggerated. It doesn't take Phone Scoop noticeably longer to load in Safari over EDGE than it did to load on the Sprint Mogul over EV-DO. Browsing using Wi-Fi is just as fast as on your PC.

Using Safari makes mobile browsing into a completely new experience. It's true there are a number of other browsers for phones that can navigate to desktop websites and even reformat them for the phone's screen, but nothing works as well Safari does. At times it has literally left me speechless. Although it does not support Flash, or some advanced dynamic web 2.0 technologies, Safari still provides an excellent mobile browsing experience.

Bookmarks are synced from your desktop computer and as you start to enter a URL in the title bar they are filtered so you can quickly select one. (Why doesn't contacts work this way?) You can have multiple windows open, each displayed as a flickable preview on the the tabs screen. This is similar to how the history browser works on the S60 browser.

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When Safari loads a page, it draws as much as will fit on the screen at once, as we said earlier, scrolling to another part of the page may take a few seconds to draw. When you pinch or tap to zoom in, the zoomed in area is instantly drawn at the current (zoomed out) resolution, so text and images are blurry, but then it is replaced with sharp versions in a second or two.

While pinching is certainly a fun way to zoom, it's usually faster to just double-tap, which intelligently zooms in or out to exactly the zoom level you want (it's like it reads your mind; it's almost spooky.) Between that, flicking to scroll, and being able to flip to landscape mode with a turn of the wrist, mobile browsing that would be painful on other devices is downright fun on the iPhone.

While Safari works perfectly well with mobile formatted sites that you can go to directly, most sites that auto-detect mobile browsers will serve you up the desktop version. In most cases this isn't a problem, since Safari handles desktop sites so well. But sometimes, for instance with Gmail, we would have preferred a small-screen formatted version and had no way to switch to it.

Customization

As we said earlier, you don't see the home screen very often, but you can customize the photo background on it, selecting from pre-loaded pictures or any shot you've taken or loaded from your computer in the photo gallery.

You can load your own wallpapers, but you cannot load your own ringtones. You are limited to the 25 or so ringtones that come stock on the phone. These tunes range from sound effects to musical snippets. These are also used for alarms as well. There are sound effects for new SMS, email, voicemail and more, however those are not even changeable. You can only turn the default sound off or on.

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