Pulling its Weight

In preparing for this review I spent quite a bit of time with Samsung's Blackjack, and honestly it still takes the cake as far as form factor and weight are concerned.  Apple's iPhone is slightly thinner (-0.4mm) and 1mm longer/wider than the Blackjack, making it pretty darn close to what felt to me like the perfect smartphone form factor.  Where the iPhone falls short is in its weight; while the Blackjack weighs in at 3.5 oz (99g), the iPhone is a hefty 4.8 oz (135g).  While we're talking fairly small numbers here, the difference is noticeable.  The added weight is by no means a deal breaker, but keep in mind that the iPhone is heavier than the Blackberry Curve in a device that's about the same size as the Blackjack; in other words, it's dense.


From left to right: Apple iPhone, Samsung Blackjack, Blackberry Curve

The heft of the device makes one handed operation difficult, something that is made even tougher by the touch-screen interface.  In comparison, the Blackjack feels far more natural with only a single hand, just like a plain old cell phone. 


From front to back: Apple iPhone, Samsung Blackjack, Blackberry Curve

Thankfully Apple went with a brushed aluminum exterior for the back of the iPhone, meaning we don't get the fingerprint ridden mess that has plagued some of the flashier iPods.  The shiny metal rim around the glass screen does collect its fair share of grease, nicks and scratches, but there's not much you can do about that. 


From Top to Bottom: Apple iPhone, Samsung Blackjack, Blackberry Curve

The device itself looks quite stylish, making even recently released smartphones and Blackberries seem archaic by comparison.  A perfect marriage of a gorgeous screen and great industrial design, the iPhone is the first mobile phone I've used that feels like it was truly designed for 2007. 

An Ode to the Screen Simplicity Perfected
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  • Shimmishim - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Yes. It was a good read. One of the best reviews of any piece of hardware (computer or consumer related) I've read in a long time. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Thanks guys :)

    And no, zero poop-pictures from AT staff.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    While not perfect as a product either, Anandtech completely skipped any Palm Treo devices for this comparison. The Treo has done SMS by contact for some time now, just as you have mentioned the iPhone does (I've had it on both the 650p and 750p; I'm sure the new 755p does as well). While I have some issues with Palm support as far as their product goes, I still haven't seen a smartphone that can do better --I blame this at least in part due to carrier wars and desire for control (i.e., crippled Bluetooth, not adding WiFi, so carriers can make you pay for everything through them), rather than blaming cell phone manufacturers. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    There were a number of products I would've liked to have included, but I was very limited by time so I tried to shoot for two of the most popular: the Curve and the Blackjack. I've already dropped Nokia an email but I'll do the same for Palm and see what comes of it :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Ya, quite alot of things like that the Treo has done, and done well for a long time now, all that and an open platform. The issue is the latest Treo is, 4 years later, still the same repackaged Treo, with a few minor upgrades. The iPhone is by far the best UI, and that alone will be its saving grace, and its legacy on the industry. A few years from now, REAL smartphone manufacturers will copy the UI and improve everything, and do it cheaply, and on all carriers. That is the best thing about the iPhone. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Actually, in 4 years, the Treo added Bluetooth (the first 600p didn't have it), EVDO (the iPhone has only EDGE, which has been rated far slower, and slowest when provided by AT&T/Cingular, the single carrier of the iPhone), an SD card slot (600p didn't have one), and several other features.

    As I said, the Treo isn't perfect. And I think the UI of the iPhone is pretty spiffy, plus I'll bet it has the best web browser of any phone on the market. But I don't think I could do without a real (by real I mean tactile) QWERTY keyboard (I rely on text messages for work, since cell reception can be spotty in a reinforced concrete building), I like having EVDO support, and I like the fact that I can choose from Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel, Verizon, or AT&T Cingular for a Treo (AT&T/Cingular has little or no reception in my work area, so it nixes any thought of an iPhone, and by my understanding, they have a five-year exclusive agreement with Apple). And I can get a Treo for a few hundred less as well.

    I want to like the iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple set conditions of pricing and carrier that mean I'll never find out how good a phone it might really be.
    Reply
  • sviola - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Not only the Palm Treo, but the Nokia N95, which is just awesome:

    In-built GPS and Navigation Program (over 100+ countries maps)
    5 MP Camera with Zeiss Lens and Optical Zoom, and Video Recording
    Symbian OS
    Plays MP3, video, etc
    Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, TV out
    Quadriband GSM/WCDMA (3G)
    MicroSD Card Reader

    Among many other features.
    Reply
  • rowcroft - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    The iPhone looks great, but the big gotcha for me is that I routinely use my 8525 to access the internet on my laptop. Can't do that with the iPhone from what I understand.

    As for all the comparisons to Verizon & such, if you look at the total cost of ownership (Verizon's data plan is significantly more expensive), the iPhone is just a few dollars cheaper than the Blackjack w/Verizon.
    Reply
  • Locutus465 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    I've got a Samsung i720 with verizon... For a "last gen" PDA phone priced at just $100 brand new from verizon when I got it, it's pretty sweet. Admitingly the display isn't quite as good as apples, but as far as functionality it does everything the iPhone does and more. I also appriciate the sliding screen with which reveals a keyboard. There's also the other advanatages I mentioned earlier, i.e. Windows Mobile being open to 3rd party development etc. Reply
  • jay401 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    quote:

    About the only thing that's missing is the ability to assign your MP3 files as ringtones.


    Now that's practically an unpardonable sin, given that it's such a basic request and something absent from most phones because most providers think people are dumb enough to pay money to download a ringtone (like hell would I ever do that nonsense).

    So why not just let people use their mp3s? I already do that on my cellphone but since I can't do it directly I do it in a round-about way by sending myself the mp3 clips as attachments to messages sent to my phone, which I can then download and assign as a ringtone.

    Why not just make it straightforward and easy? You'd think this is one thing Apple could do right. :(
    Reply

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