Home  ›  Reviews  ›

Review: iPhone

Article Comments  88  

Jul 2, 2007, 4:36 PM   by Eric Lin, Eric Zeman & Rich Brome   @zeman_e

Phone Scoop takes an in-depth look at Apple's iPhone. Is it the Swiss Army knife of cell phones that Steve Jobs promised? (with video tour)

AD       article continues below...


Is It For You? 

It has been impossible for anyone in America with a TV or internet access to avoid news of the iPhone for the past 6 months. It is easily the most talked-about phone ever, even more so than the RAZR. So much hype creates high expectations, so does the iPhone live up to them?

Editor's Note: because demand for an iPhone review was so high, this review is formatted slightly different in that all three Phone Scoop editors tested the iPhone simultaneously and have pooled their results into this one review. We could not have reviewed every feature in such depth otherwise.


After being exposed to hundreds of pictures, commercials, and videos - probably more than most people - we thought we had a good idea what the iPhone looked like. From the front, the iPhone matched our expectations fairly accurately. The face is a smooth dark sheet of glass with a cut out at top for the speaker and the bottom for the main menu button. This button is a physical key with a nice click to it, and not simply a touch sensitive area below the screen. Because it is narrower and thinner than most QWERTY smartphones, the iPhone gives the illusion that it is longer than your average Treo or E61, but it is the same length (not including the extra length of older Treos' antennas).


All the pictures and videos you see don't really show how narrow or, more surprisingly, how thin the iPhone is. Calling it the nano of QWERTY phones would not be an exaggeration. The totally rounded edges makes the iPhone look and feel even thinner as your hand wraps tightly around its ultra slim profile.


The sleep button at the top, the volume keys and the silence switch on the left each have hard edges that make them easy to feel against the otherwise smooth profile. Each sticks out just enough that they are equally easy to operate. However it is not easy to tell by looking that the silence switch is just that - a switch - and moves towards the front or back of the phone.

There is one flaw to the body design - the headphone port. Apple was smart enough to put a 3.5mm headset jack on the iPhone, which should work with regular headphones in addition to the included headset. However the plug is recessed in a very narrow hole - too narrow to fit any headphone jack we tried into it. Eric L wound up shaving the protective rubber away from his favorite pair of Ultimate Ears with a knife just so that they could fit.

Touch Screen 

The first time I saw the screen I swore it was fake. I asked the Apple Store employee to show me a working one and not a dummy. Although it is very high resolution (160 pixels per inch), the iPhone does not exhibit any of the graininess common to small, high-resolution screens we've seen on previous generations of Japanese mobile phones.

With the brightness set to its default of 50% and the light sensor activated, the screen is plenty bright for use - even in the California summer sun.


The touch part of the screen is surprisingly sensitive. The less there is to touch on a screen, the more sensitive and responsive it becomes. For example, the camera only has two small on-screen buttons and the rest of the screen is a viewfinder. In this case just the slightest touch triggers a button press. In cases where there is more on the screen, a normal amount of pressure - about the same or just less than you might use to press a key on another phone - is enough. The press is very intuitive, and animations and sound provide feedback in place of a physical click, the same way the click of an iPod scroll wheel tricks you into believing you're moving something.

We were immediately able to accomplish most tasks from dialing to "pinch" zooming with no problems. But the question in most peoples' minds is: what about entering text? There is definitely a learning curve to entering text. Despite the suggestion of Apple and early reviews, I had been using two thumb texting for too long to start with one index finger. The first 10 times I tried to tap out anything, it was frustrating at best. I cursed and screamed in pain. Entering text that can't take advantage of error correction like URLs or city names in the weather widget was especially difficult at this stage.


(There are more photos of the keyboard in action when we get to text messaging.)

In Safari, you can switch to landscape view, and then enter text using a much larger keyboard, but - surprisingly - we didn't find it any easier to use, especially at this early stage familiarity.

However things improved quickly. After about 10 text messages, we started to trust the automatic error correction. And even though we were flailing all over the small keyboard, our text messages looked surprisingly accurate. Only rarely did we have to tap and hold on the text to bring up the magnifying glass that lets you move the cursor to make edits. After using the iPhone for the first night, using the keyboard was no longer a challenge. Sure it was a bit slower than the phones we were accustomed to using, but it was still faster than most T9 users. And our speed and accuracy continues to improve. One thing Eric L noticed is that you will wind up using the side or tip of your thumb instead of the flat pad of it once you realize how much this improves your accuracy.

After using the iPhone for less than 48 hours, none of us feel slow on it, and all of us are sending long texts and short emails on it with no problems. URLs, proper names, and passwords are still a pain to enter, though.

Many commentators have noted that the glossy glass screen attracts finger oil smudges. While technically true, we found it to be a complete non-issue for us. You only notice the smudges when under bright light and the screen is completely off. If you're holding the iPhone and looking at it, you almost certainly have the screen on, because otherwise you're just staring a big black slab of nothing. When the screen is on, it's bright enough that you never notice smudges, even after a full day of use. You might want to wipe it off once a day, but that's about all we found we needed. Unless you plan on displaying it on a pedestal under direct sunlight, you probably won't notice any smudges unless you inspect for them.

It took quite a bit of fiddling with our studio lights to get just the right angle to take a photo that shows any smudges at all; normally they are very difficult to see. Once the screen is on, the smudges all but disappear. You can still make them out, but only because we still have the carefully-placed studio light at just the "wrong" angle, which isn't normal lighting for most situations. In fact, we didn't even need to wipe the screen before taking any of the other screen shots in this whole article.


Two S's 


The iPhone passed Eric L's vault test with flying colors. He was able to make very clear voice calls as well as use a data connection in the farthest corners of the vault and the iPhone never lost the signal. It always had at least 1 bar, if not 3 or 4. It did not fare so well in Eric Z's usual test, dropping his call a few times.

One thing we did notice is that signal strength is easily affected by whether the antenna is covered by your hand. If the antenna (the black plastic at the bottom of the back) is covered, voice quality seems to fade. As usual with GSM phones, this phenomenon is even more dramatic for the other party, so if the person on the other end complains that you're breaking up, check your hand position.


Neither the loudspeaker or the ear-piece are very loud. If either is set below 50%, they will be difficult to hear. The ear-piece was loud enough to hear conversations in most busy environments at just about 50%. The ringer and loudspeaker requires a much higher setting, especially if you're using a ringtone that's not very loud. The ringtones are of varying volume - about half of them are easy to hear and the other half would sound great if they were louder. Sound clarity and volume appears to vary from phone to phone, as the Erics and Rich each reported different experiences. In no case was quality or volume awful, but rather ranged from "good" to just "acceptable".

The iPhone has vibrating alert as well, but it is as soft as the ringer. Fortunately, the two together provide enough of an alert that we haven't missed any calls yet.


It is impossible to have run a full battery test in just 2 days. Eric Z saw his 20% warning after 48 hours of use including checking email every 15 minutes, calling and iPod use. Eric L used the residual charge of the battery out of the box instead of fully charging it and received a 20% warning after about 24 hours with lots of iPod, Wi-Fi and texting use. Rich's experience was in that same range. It appears as though you can go two days between charges if you use the iPhone as your only phone and iPod and still do quite a bit of surfing with it. The battery life is impressive for something with such a huge-bright display. The automatic brightness control seems to do its job in that department.


Syncing / SIM 

The iPhone is useless without first syncing it. Syncing (and activation) is done using iTunes whether you're on a PC or Mac. Your music and videos are synced from iTunes no matter which platform you are using. Because the iPhone works like an iPod, it syncs the same way. Music, Video, and Podcasts are moved to iPhone from playlists that you tell iTunes to sync. If you don't select any playlist and your library is smaller than the size of your iPhone, it's no problem. If your library is bigger than your iPhone's capacity, iTunes will ask if you want to create a magical playlist that will sync some tunes and video for you.


Contacts, calendar appointments, browser bookmarks and photos are also synced though iTunes from most popular applications on the Mac or PC. There is no other way to get data on or off your iPhone (save for emailing it, which is an option in nearly every application) nor can you transfer data from one application to another. For instance you cannot save a picture you receive by email into your iPhone photo gallery.

The exception is getting camera photos off your phone. That is done via camera software instead of iTunes. On a Mac, it's iPhoto, and works just as you'd expect. In Windows Vista, we used the standard "Import pictures" option, and it also worked great. Under Windows XP, however, the "Scanner and Camera Wizard" imported photos completely out of order and didn't import the orientation info, so half of our photos were sideways.


Unlike other iPods, the iPhone does not support standard USB mass storage for storing or backing up other files from your computer on Macs or Windows XP. In Windows Vista, you can pull up an "internal storage" drive when the iPhone is connected, although it only shows photos from the camera and nothing else.

The SIM Situation

Like every other phone sold at carrier stores in the US, the iPhone is locked to a network. It is SIM locked so that it can only use AT&T SIM cards in it. The iPhone comes pre-loaded with a SIM that is activated when you register the phone. This is a standard SIM card that can be removed and used in other AT&T or unlocked phones, just like normal. If you insert another AT&T or Cingular SIM that is not activated for an iPhone, you will be prompted to connect to iTunes activate that SIM card. If you insert a SIM card from another carrier into an activated iPhone, you will not be able to make calls or use any cellular data functions, however you will be able to launch applications and use anything that doesn't require a network connection.



If you have seen any iPhone commercials or videos, you may still be surprised to learn that it is just as responsive as shown. Almost everything occurs instantly, and if it doesn't, it's usually because of network lag. Hit the home key, touch the screen, turn the phone and it responds right away.

The iPhone does not have much of a traditional home screen. There is one, but you rarely see it. The phone will only display the home screen when it is woken from sleep after a long period of inactivity. Nothing is displayed on this screen except for the time and your wallpaper (or cover art if music is playing). (The only other place you see your wallpaper is during a call, so you don't see it much.)


The main menu is much more of a home screen as the home button takes you there and it serves as the launcher for every application. You cannot move the applicaton icons around on the main menu. This is also where all your new messages and missed events are summarized as red numbers on the icon of each application.

Most applications "maintain state" so that if you do something else and then come back, you're right where you left off. This is true for SMS, Phone, Mail, Safari, and even widgets like Clock, Maps, Stocks and YouTube. The camera is an exception, but it makes sense; hitting the camera icon always starts the viewfinder so you can take a spur-of-the-moment photo right away. There are a couple of oddball exceptions, though: Photos and Weather. They always take you to their default screen, not the last photo or city you were on.

Another way of thinking about it is that most applications keep running in the background even after you go to the main menu and do something else. The iPod application, for example, keeps playing music flawlessly in the background while you do other things. It doesn't miss a beat while browsing the web or even taking photos, something we've never seen before. Since pressing the home button doesn't "quit" the application you're in, the main menu effectively serves as an application switcher for multi-tasking. Hitting the "sleep" button on top of the iPhone is the same way. Everything stays exactly where you left it; even the music keeps playing.

You can even do other things while you're on a call, unless they require a data connection.


Notifications such as incoming texts, missed calls and alarms are also displayed in a blue box that floats over the current screen when they come in. So you can see them from the home screen (or any other screen) if you wake the phone up to use it or check the time. When the screen is off, there is no way to tell you have missed messages as there are no indicator lights on the iPhone at all.

It takes about a day to get used to hitting the home key to exit out of an application and return to the main menu. It's similar enough to hitting the end key on most phones that you can adapt to it. There is a back button in the upper left hand corner of certain applications to take you one step further up. Most applications also have some sort of edit or option button in the upper right corner and a row of icons on the bottom to navigate to important screens. These change from application to application but are all easy enough to figure out. There's also often a second row of entry fields and and buttons at the top of each application. Sometimes buttons look like buttons, other times they just look like icons on a navigation bar. Although it sounds like a bit of a jumble, we haven't yet found ourselves thinking "darn, where is that button."

Calls / Contacts 

The phone is reached from the Phone icon in the main menu. Your contacts are also part of the phone application. Dialing a number with the keypad is easy as the number keys are each huge. We'll discuss calling your contacts below. Once in a call, the on screen menu allows you to switch to speakerphone, mute, or manage calls with well-labeled and large keys. If a Bluetooth headset is connected, a set of buttons is displayed below this allowing you to choose where you'll take the call.


If a call comes in when the iPhone is sleeping, you are shown the caller ID and a slider gadget. If you slide the gadget, the call is answered and the iPhone is unlocked. If you want to reject the call, you do so by pressing the sleep wake button.

Visual Voicemail is a bit of an adventure. Instead of calling in to set up or hear your messages, it is all done right from the phone. Unfortunately, at no point during the activation or setup process are you prompted to hit the voicemail icon on your iPhone and set it up. Eric L just figured it was automatically set up and felt like an idiot after missing some calls and contacting AT&T customer support only to find he had to do it himself from the iPhone. One you know it needs to be done, the iPhone walks you through a very simple setup process.


Visual voicemail is a massive leap forward in voicemail usability. Everything is literally right at your fingertips with instant access to messages and your greeting. It looks like it should let you record several greetings and switch between them, but it doesn't. All the same, it's so easy to change your greeting that it wouldn't be tedious to record a new one several times per day (explaining that you're in a meeting until 5 PM, etc.)

Contacts can be sorted as well as displayed by either first or last name, but not by company. You can flick through the list (flicking is a motion you quickly learn to fine tune, and quickly grow to love) or use the index of letter down the right side like an old fashioned rolodex. You cannot use the keyboard to search for a name.


Contact entries hold a large number of phone numbers and email addresses, which initiate a call or mail by simply tapping on them. It also holds street addresses, birthdays, notes and other data. You can also customize the photo caller ID or ringtone for each contact from the edit screen.


Like the Treo, the iPhone has separate applications for SMS and email; and like the Treo, the SMS application displays messages in a threaded conversation like an instant message.

The list view of both application displays messages with the sender in bold and the first 10 words or so from the message below. Unread messages have a blue dot next to them. If you click on a message, that is where the two applications differ.

The SMS application displays incoming and outgoing texts in speech bubbles. Your messages are on the right and in a green bubble, senders' messages are on the left in a white bubble. The iPhone makes every attempt to keep all messages from a single sender in one thread.


The email application is more like a traditional inbox. Messages are listed from newest to oldest and selecting a message displays just that one. Plain text messages are displayed instantly, however HTML formatted messages take longer to display - up to about 5 seconds depending on how complex their formatting is.


Viewing an HTML message works exactly like viewing a web page. You can tap or pinch to zoom in and out. Scrolling also produces the same strange behavior in both applications. The part of the page displayed on screen is rendered first, so if you quickly scroll down (or over, or up) you'll sometimes see the checkerboard empty page while the iPhone works to draw what should be in that area.

The mail application supports multiple accounts, with a separate inbox for each one.

Although many people complain about the lack of Exchange support in the mail client, it's clear that the iPhone is not meant as a corporate mail device. It does not have any way to deal with a number of messages in bulk nor does it really have any means of triaging messages like road warriors do.



Even old iPod owners will need to get used the iPhone interface. It bears no resemblance to any player before it. That being said I watched two iPod users in addition to the Phone Scoop team - as well as two users who never owned an iPod - instantly grasp the system. Although music can be sorted in any way that iTunes allows, it is most compelling to sort music by album or playlist. The iPod allows you to select 4 of your favorite ways to sort music as favorites at the bottom of the application.

When held in portrait orientation, songs are sorted by your currently selected method in a list that you can flick through the same way you move through contacts or any other list. When you turn the iPhone sideways, you automatically enter coverflow mode, which sorts your music by artist name, then album. In coverflow mode, tapping on an album spins it around to reveal a track list, tapping a track starts it playing. In any of the list modes, tapping on a selection keeps pushing to the right, as it would on an iPod, and when you finally select a song, tapping it starts playback.


When playing back music, the main playback screen replaces the home screen as the one displayed when you wake the iPhone. You can control playback from the included headset, so you don't need to wake the iPhone too often. Clicking the answer button on the headphones once pauses or resumes play, while clicking it twice skips to the next track quickly.

Playing back video on the iPhone is normally a smooth and quite a pleasant experience. However we did notice a bug where the iPhone will sync videos to the iPhone from iTunes even if they aren't encoded in H.264. These videos can't be played back at all, which creates some frustration.

The iPhone also gets noticeably warm after playing videos for an extended period of time, especially if it's doing other things like fetching your mail and other tasks in the background. It's not warm enough to scare you, but it is warm enough to make your hands happy on a chilly day.


It would be difficult to talk about video playback without talking about the YouTube application. Apple is clearly working tightly with the video giant to integrate users' videos into their products. The YouTube application has a number of tabs for featured videos, most played videos, as well as your own bookmarks and selections. You can also search through the library of videos that have been re-encoded for playback on the iPhone (and Apple TV).

There are two versions of each video, one for streaming over the EDGE network, and another for streaming over Wi-Fi. The EDGE versions are blocky and choppy, much like the bulk of streaming video available for phones today, no matter what network they're streaming over. Playing these videos back on the iPhone's high resolution screen only amplifies their low quality. However the Wi-Fi version of each video is amazingly clear and smooth. So much so, in fact, that these look better than what you see played back on you PC.


It's difficult to estimate what percentage of YouTube videos can be accessed through the iPhone. Apple says over 10,000 were ready on launch day. That only includes two Phone Scoop videos, but it does include many entertaining clips including podcasts and commercials that you've been dying to show your friends.

The YouTube application lets you bookmark videos you want to save as well as email links to them.


We have not gushed about anything up until now, but never has there been such a simple, fast, intuitive camera application in a phone. Hitting the camera icon launches the viewfinder immediately. There are only two buttons: a fairly large shutter key, and a much smaller button to take you to the "camera roll" (photo gallery of camera snapshots).


The viewfinder is smooth and updates constantly. It uses the orientation sensor to automatically figure out which way the phone is being held and rotate the photo to the correct orientation when the photo is saved. The iPhone subtly lets you know it is aware of this by rotating the camera icon on the shutter button. The sensor is used for both taking and viewing photos, so no matter how you hold it, your photos are always right-side-up, even if you took them upside-down.

When you hit the shutter button, the picture is snapped and saved immediately as long as there is ample light. It is so fast that the only explanation we can come up with is that the iPhone is actually caching the image from the viewfinder waiting for you to snap a picture. When using the camera in low light, there's a delay of a little over a second before the picture is snapped, however it is saved immediately.

Once a picture is saved you are immediately returned to the viewfinder. If you are taking lots of pictures but want to save battery power between shots, you can use the sleep button to suspend the camera, and return to it by waking the iPhone back up with little to no delay.

Pictures taken in daylight are remarkably bright and accurate in most cases. Pictures taken in low light are a little hit-or-miss, but surprisingly good considering the iPhone has a fixed-focus lens and lacks any sort of flash. See sample photos below.


The automatic exposure (brightness) control works quickly and accurately, but you're at its mercy if the scene includes both very bright objects (like the sky) plus areas in shadow. It has no way of knowing which should be exposed properly, so it averages. This means you can only control brightness by how you frame the shot. Once you realize this, it's pretty easy to just move it around until it looks right. You can always crop it later on your PC. See the examples below where a too-dark shot was corrected by aiming so the area in shadow filled more of the screen:


The iPhone camera has a fixed-focus lens and no macro switch, so close-up shots are always out-of-focus.


Like exposure, the white balance is completely automatic. The vast majority of the photos we took had excellent white balance - some of the best we've seen from a camera phone. It didn't get it right 100% of the time, though. See the example shots below, taken 30 seconds apart, just before sunset:


We also ran into a definite bug of some sort. Shooting through a dirty glass window on the top floor of a nearby high-rise, the camera basically went beserk and starting taking psychedelic photos and even some upside-down. Everything looked fine in the live viewfinder, but the automatic brief review between shots showed us that we were taking bad photos. Turning the iPhone off and on again fixed the problem easily enough.



The photo gallery offers a list of photo albums both taken by the phone as well as synced from your computer. Each album displays its pictures as a grid of thumbnails. You can view a single picture individually and manually move forward or back just by "flicking" to the left or right, or you can play an album as a slide show, complete with transitions.


You can email a picture, but they are downsized to VGA when mailed off. You can also set a picture to your wallpaper or assign it to a contact.

Browse / Customize 


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.

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.



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.



If the screen is off, a quick press of the sleep wake button or the home key will turn the iPhone on and show the home screen, which has a huge clock on it. The iPhone remains locked until you slide the unlock gadget on the screen. When the iPhone is active, the time is displayed at center of the status along the very top of the screen.


Never has Bluetooth been so easy to use and such torture at the same time. Bluetooth is easy because of the brilliantly simple pairing process. In the settings menu, turn Bluetooth on. While in the Bluetooth setting screen, the iPhone is discoverable so other devices can pair to it, and it constantly searches for discoverable devices. Simply tap on one in the list to pair to it. Leave the Bluetooth settings screen and the iPhone is no longer discoverable and it stops searching for devices. There has never been a simpler way to find and pair with Bluetooth accessories. Leaving Bluetooth on does not significantly degrade battery performance.


The torture starts when you realize that the iPhone can only be used with headsets (and NOT stereo headsets) or basic car handsfree units (nothing fancy). That's it. You can technically pair with some computers or other devices, but we're not sure why, since you cannot exchange data or do anything useful. Literally the only way to get data on or off of the iPhone is through a sync with iTunes.

Even more frustrating is Apple's lack of support for A2DP, or stereo Bluetooth. Music (and video) is central to the iPhone, but being forced to enjoy it with wires seems so backwards for such a futuristic device. The only possible excuse we can think of is that Apple claims to have made many decisions based on battery life, and A2DP is battery life killer. We've used up 50% or more of a many phones' charge playing back less than an hour of music in our review tests.


The iPhone can be set to search for open Wi-Fi access points, and can prompt you to join them. For iPhone owners who use Apple's Airport base stations, the iPhone can join your secured network with no problems as well. However the iPhone appears to have problems joining WPA networks on other manufacturer's base stations or ones that are set up for Windows machines. We couldn't find a way to enter the key those networks require. You can use WEP instead, but that's essentially like using no security at all.

As with laptops, leaving Wi-Fi on all the time significantly reduces battery life. It is easy enough to turn on when you want to surf at higher speeds, with a quick trip to the settings screen. (See below for a full tour of all the settings screens, including Wi-Fi.)


Because it uses the whole screen, the calculator is used just like a real-world one, and is quite pretty to boot. The stocks and weather widgets are even slicker.


The clock application has a world clock, a stopwatch, and multiple alarms, and a countdown alarm timer, both of which are set by flicking hour and minute dials. The countdown timer can be used to put the iPhone to sleep if you're using it to play music in bed.


There is also a simple written notes application with all-too-slick animation effects:


As the Lonely Island said in Lazy Sunday "Google Maps is the best. True that. Double true." The Google Maps application looks great on the iPhone's huge screen - it's so easy to see where you are and where you're going.


The interface is far easier to use than Helio's Google Map application - our previous favorite - and it loads nearly as fast. Again, EDGE does not hold the iPhone back significantly. However the iPhone does lack GPS found in Helio's version, meaning if you want directions to somewhere, you have to know where you are starting from. It's not a deal breaker, but it definitely adds extra steps that Apple has worked so hard to eliminate in so many other instances.


The calendar is well-implemented and slick, but probably too basic for most business users.

Below is a gallery of all of the various settings screens. At first it's a little disorienting that all of the settings are here, instead of in each application. Many users wanting to set up a new mail account will probably look in the Mail application, but no - that's done in Settings. It's easy to get used to, though. Once you do, you realize that putting all of the infrequently-changed options in Settings keeps the main applications simple and clutter-free.



Here is Phone Scoop's video review of the Apple iPhone. Rather than show you the same videos you've probably seen on the Apple Web site, such as how to make a phone call, or cover flow, we take a look at some of the other applications on the iPhone. You can watch it here:

Or visit YouTube for more viewing and sharing options.

Wrap Up 

Chances are you've already made up your mind whether you're going to get an iPhone or not. Within minutes of touching ours, various friends and strangers either immediately wanted one or had already decided they didn't.

Power users who buy phones based on feature lists and specs are going to be disappointed. Even if EDGE is fast enough for them, the lack of GPS, A2DP, a higher resolution camera or some other feature will likely keep them away. Likewise, the iPhone's tenuous Exchange support and lack of features to deal with large volumes of email will also be a disappointment to road warriors and other email addicts.

With the iPhone, Apple didn't set out to create something that would match existing smartphones feature-for-feature. Rather, they set out to re-invent the whole idea of a mobile phone, and they succeeded. You can easily imagine what features might be added in the next model, but everything that's in the current model is executed very well. Apple has laid a rock-solid foundation for a whole new paradigm in how we interact with our personal electronics.

For people who primarily want a multimedia and internet friendly phone with remarkably easy to use features, the iPhone stands out in front.

view article organized across multiple pages

About the author, Eric Lin, Eric Zeman & Rich Brome:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

more news about:



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Jul 11, 2007, 1:16 PM


I finally got an iPhone yesterday and boy am I disapointed. Here's a few reasons why.

1. No 3G. You would expect 3G from the best phone ever developed, and from AT&T.
2. No personalized ringtones? Ok, this is just sick. Damn apple, they just wanna pickpocket you in the future when they start selling ringtones on iTunes.
3. No games? I was pretty sad when I realized this lol. "Revolutionized touchscreen" and no games, not even Bejewel, not even a damn demo. Another way Apple's gonna rob you later when they start selling games on iTunes.
4. Ok, the internet, yeah it's pretty nice, but it's kinda 1994 if there's no Flash Player. So this will limit you a lot of things on the net. Also, without Flash, it will limit you to a lot of videos as...
write a review...
Are you kidding me? You got an i-Phone 2 weeks after they came out and didn't know all these things? And, let me guess, you just happened upom this web-site and decided to write on it, right?
My god, you Verizon people kill me! Just let the people wh...

Jul 3, 2007, 4:01 PM

Thanks for a VALUABLE review ... won't buy iPhone

Phonescoop writers:

My deepest thanks for your review of the iPhone.

Right now I use an LG Prada phone under TMO, and I'm NOT under contract with TMO (contract ended in April). I was seriously thinking about buying an iPhone at the end of the month.

Your review did dispel rumors, biggest of which was that the ATT SIM card COULD NOT be removed and used in another phone.

But I am VERY GRATEFUL that your review revealed one thing: that the user cannot install ringtones; and that you're limited to the 25 or so preloaded ring sounds.

My feeling is that for a $500 phone with song capability, it's odd that the iPhone doesn't allow you to assign an uploaded MP3 as a ringer when a certain contact calls.

As innocuous a feature as it ...
The lack of changable ringtones struck me as odd, too... doesn't seem like a difficult thing for Apple to implement, especially compared to the other features found on this phone.

While it doesn't sound like the iPhone has everything you want righ...

Jul 3, 2007, 2:24 PM

Unlocked - Europe?

The review is VERY well done - thanks much!

I assume the iPhone is or will be available in Europe. If that's the case, has anybody read anything that tells whether there will be an unlocked version available there, or does one of the major European carriers have exclusivity there like ATT does in the US for a period of time? Is it two years, or just one, of exclusivity?

I want one, of course; question is whether to wait until the next revision which will undoubtedly add more features, fix bugs, and add capacity (and when my Verizon contract is out of the penalty phase - counting the months 🙂 )

I heard at&t is the only major carrier to offer the iPhone for 10 years. However, I'm not sure if it will be available unlocked.
ya 10 years makes no sense at all. wireless is a fast paced, quickly evolving technology. 10 year exclusive to att? lol they cant even keep a name for more than a couple years haha. what happens if att is no more? a year of two max!

Jul 3, 2007, 9:39 PM

iPHone Gets Off Easy

While I applaud the level of detail in this review, I have to say I am somewhat dissappointed in the fact that the significant shortcomings of this 1st generation device are just glossed over in favor of the slick interface. I read this forum quite frequently but post rarely. However I just had to point out some observations:

Any other device, from any other manufacturer with this appalling lack of features retailing for $500-$600 would ordinarily get creamed in this forum. Some of these missing features are as follows:
1.) No UMTS or HSDPA support, EDGE only.
2.) "Crippled Bluetooth" I believe the only services supported are Handsfree and Headset. No OBEX! Lack of this service in particular seems to always bring accusations of fascist ...
You made alot of great points in your post and this is why I'm waiting for the next version to come out, which I heard will be out in 9 months, but somewhere else I read 7 months.

Now that Apple has jumped into the cell phone industry, I'm sure the...
We were sure to mention the lack of stereo Bluetooth, since that's the most puzzling to us.

Regardless, we felt that most people already know what it's "missing". We weren't trying to "gloss over" those things, we just wanted to focus on the subjec...
Interesting comments babydoc. However, I think you are way off-base on the assessment of the Iphone review.

I feel the review was one of the most thorough, objective, and qualitative reviews I've seen on the Iphone. As a result of reading it, I f...
I found babydoc's comments very insightful and beautifully articulated. I wonder if babydoc had a chance to actually hold and play around with an iphone before bashing the way the folks at phonescoop reviewed it? I agree with the main point babydoc ...

Jul 10, 2007, 5:09 PM

2 Important questions

A. Does anyone know, since apparently you cant download ringtones, can you at least use a song off the hard drive as a ringtone?
B. There seemed to be no mention of a zoom on the camera. Is there one and how strong is it?
Ohh and one more thing. Does the camera support Video or just pics?

Jul 7, 2007, 4:38 PM

i-Phone on Verizon

In these posts, I've often seen the "Verizon was offerd the i-Phone first" line to "prove" the superiority of Verizon. Now we are saying it was offered to Verizon twice!! Well let me add to that, Steve Jobs himself came crawling on his knees to the CEO of Verizon and offered him 50% of the APPLE Corp. if he would only allow APPLE to become a part of "THE GREATEST CELL PHONE NETWORK IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND" (Steve Jobs words, not mine). Obviously, the head of Verizon kicked Jobs in the face and said "we have chocolates, why would we want you!", and sent Steve Jobs off to the hinterlands of ATT, where the phone will obviously not sell at all. I keep walking through the mall, and the ATT reps are handing them out for free w/ the purchase of a...
Dude, do you not even know how many iPhone's have been sold!? Do your research. At one point most all locations locations were sold out nationwide. Estimates are around 500,000 to even over 700,000 units moved since the 29th of June. Good try thou...
🙄 wow, someone needs to lay off the hoho's and cough syrup. First off, verizons network is the same size as cingulars, + or - a few towers in varying locations. Secondly, all phones run on the same kind of towers, the only things thats differen...

Jul 4, 2007, 7:44 PM

Apple can add features via software updates

Don't forget that since the iPhone's interface is almost entirely software based, a lot of the missing features that people complain about can and probably will be added via software updates. Voice dialing, ringtones, and Bluetooth enhancements are three that quickly come to mind. Ringtones is almost a certainty since it was shown on one of the iTunes tabs in Apple images related to the iPhone. Apple probably had a number of additional features in mind but not enough time to get them in before their ship date.
I would add video capture to that list. I can't say for certain, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to video capture added in a future software update.

Jul 2, 2007, 10:56 PM


Kudos on the review: it was the best I've read so far. First, I must give you props for having Beyonce in your iPhone. Secondly, how easy did you find setting up email? Also, I am still on the fence about getting the phone, I peg you all as the type to have many phone, do you find it to be a big problem swapping between phones? I know one cannot put a normal AT&T sim in the iPhone, but can one put an "iSim" in a non-iPhone?
dahottest_1 said:
Kudos on the review: it was the best I've read so far. First, I must give you props for having Beyonce in your iPhone.

Thanks and thanks. 🙂

Secondly, how easy did you find setting up

Jul 2, 2007, 5:45 PM


Excellent review fellas. I just wish you guys had the chance to review the device prior to launch day. I sell these things and honestly, it takes alot to blow me away, but the the iPhone floored me on a lot of levels. This device has already laid the ground work for mobile entertainment for years to come. I just wish there weren't so many Verizon and Sprint fanboys hating on in the Forums and Review sections of the iPhones Phonescoop page. Thanks again for giving another, unbiased, in depth review.
Thanks! 🙂
Did it ever occur to you that maybe... just maybe a few people out there might not genuinely like the iPhone?

Jul 3, 2007, 11:27 AM

Fonts in the Iphone Review

Is it me or do some of the screens show different type font for notes and other screens?

I thought there was only 1 font in th iphone.

yeah i think i saw comic sans ms when they were testing the notepad.

Jul 4, 2007, 9:41 PM

Accessing WiFi

Great review... I noticed that you guys were having trouble accessing the Windows-based Wifi. I was trying to figure this out the first 24 hours I had the phone and I figured out my problem.

When a new network is discovered your are by default asked for a PASSWORD for a secure network. Our Wifi router has a 10 digit key. You have to change the "enter password" menu to show "enter key" instead. Obviously this applies to those of us who did not bother to create a new or different password other than the 10-digit encryption key that is the default for routers. Hope this helps out.

Jul 3, 2007, 11:11 PM

Possible Correction re: WPA Access

Great review. I bought an iPhone on Friday, half figuring that I'd end up returning it, but I've really enjoyed it so far.

You mentioned having trouble accessing Wi-Fi hotspots that weren't Apple... well, I've figured it out, but it seems to be the quirkiest aspect of using this phone. FIRST, go to Settings... Wi-Fi. Look at the name of the secured network you want to join, but don't click on it!

Now, click "Other" at the bottom of the list of Wi-Fi spots. Type the name exactly as you saw it on the last screen (including capital letters, etc.), then click "Security" and choose the correct method. Now your password will be accepted, be it WPA, WEP, ASCII, Hex, etc.

This sounds hard when typed out, but once you've done it once it is e...
Rich Brome

Jul 3, 2007, 5:38 PM

New photos added: YouTube, outdoors, photo offloading

I wanted to point out that we added a few photos since we first published the review.

Most interesting is the side-by-side comparison of YouTube over EDGE vs. YouTube over Wi-Fi:

https://www.phonescoop.com/articles/review_iphone/in ... »

It's pretty dramatic! Clearly they encode the streams at wildly different bit-rates in order to get smooth playback over the very different speed connections. You can even see the texture of the white paper in the background in the Wi-Fi version, while over EDGE even Eric's thumb is just a blur.

We also added a couple of photos showing how great the display looks outdoors, even in direct sunlight:

https://www.phonescoop.com/articles/review_iphone/in ... »...

Jul 3, 2007, 4:30 PM

I pod and accessories

Can u use the existing car accessories with the iphone Ex: i have a alpine and the adapter for the ipod will that still work and can you make a call with a bluetooth while it is connect to the radio. i hope so!!!

Wireless Buddy

Jul 2, 2007, 10:03 PM

Browser comment/GoPhone

In response to your comment about Safari always going to the desktop version, it does that on my Samsung i730 too using Picsel Browser. I wanted the Gmail App so I went to gmail.com/app and it took me to the desktop version in which it said to go to gmail.com/app on my mobile browser! 👿 Frustrating!


In the activation section you have a picture with a GoPhone SIM, can you use prepaid on the iPhone? How would data work?
You can activate iPhone on a Go Phone Pick Your Plan but not Pay as you go. PYP has the $20 iPhone feature that isn't available on PYG. However, you can only activate on PYP if credit issues arise during the initial activation (i.e. deposit). Also, yo...

Jul 3, 2007, 9:31 AM

Well done guy's..

I agree with everything noted. Especially the volume.

Jul 2, 2007, 8:30 PM

minor issue...

There's problem in the part where you perform a speed test streaming a YouTube video over Wi-Fi after having loaded it over the EDGE connection. You loaded the same video.

Thats was an innacurate speed when it loaded. Since the video had previously loaded over EDGE, it stayed on your browsing history, and so when you streamed it over Wi-Fi it didn't take long because it was already loaded and played to begin with.
No, it's different video stream.

You can't see it very well in the video, (a web video of a web video doesn't usually look that great,) but what Eric is trying to explain in the audio at that part is when you stream YouTube over Wi-Fi, it senses th...

Jul 2, 2007, 4:58 PM

Great review

And a great phone for Apple-philes...
Page  1  of 1

Subscribe to news & reviews with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Phone Scoop on Facebook Subscribe to Phone Scoop on YouTube Follow on Instagram


All content Copyright 2001-2020 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.