An Ode to the Screen

While I was writing this review, Derek Wilson, our resident GPU guru gave me a call to chat about his upcoming DirectX 10 performance piece.  Inevitably he snuck in some questions about the iPhone, but the thing he wanted to know the most was "is the screen as good as it looks in the commercials?"


It looks that good

The answer is unequivocally yes.  In fact, in taking pictures for this article I had to redo a number of shots because the camera would pick out details in the LCD display that simply weren't visible to the naked eye.  Capturing the beauty of the screen is really a tough job, but it really does look just as good in person as it does in Apple's own commercials/videos. 

The screen also gets every bit as nasty as you'd expect it to, given that the iPhone works by rubbing your fingers all over it.  The unexpected part of it all is that with the backlight on, you can't tell that smudges from three different people are all over the 3.5" screen.  The only time you really notice how disgusting the screen has gotten is when the device is asleep, unfortunately it'll take more than just a wipe of the cleaning cloth to get all the grease off of it.  Apple recommends turning the unit off and using a slightly damp cloth, while avoiding all harsh cleaners/abrasives. 


Uh, ew?

At the same time, the device doesn't feel like a fragile jewel, it feels like what a modern day smartphone should feel like.  It feels like something straight out of Star Trek.  Videos cropped up over the weekend showing all the things you could do to the iPhone without scratching the screen, and honestly when using it you get the impression that you'd really have to try to damage this thing. 

By default the iPhone's brightness is adjusted by an ambient light sensor similar to what's in Apple's MacBook Pro line.  Indoors the display is absolutely beautiful, but obviously things change once you head outdoors.  Outside the display isn't nearly as bad as the Samsung Blackjack, but it gets more difficult to see.  Thankfully it's still usable, despite being washed out. 

Index Pulling its Weight
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  • tuteja1986 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    alot of features are missing :!
    Bluetooth is crippled
    Virtual keyboard onlys works good with Web browser since its horizontal. keyboard sucks
    Does not have 3G
    battery life is 4hrs talk time.. unable to change battery. black berry 8800 can do 10hrs+
    Digital camera is very basic compared to high quality camera used in phone like Nokia N95.
    No support for 3rd party application
    Its has edge connection which sucks
    no support for HDSPA
    No GPS
    No IM program
    No widget support
    Not able to abstract the image anywhere.. sending image through email reduces it low res which sucks :(

    The only awesome thing about iphone i think its interface , the screen and the ipod video/music feature which works. The phone is certinaly not worth $600 and can be sold for $350 and apple can still make a decent profit.
    Reply
  • plinden - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    quote:

    battery life is 4hrs talk time.

    Where is 4 hour talk time mentioned. Anand didn't mention talk time, did he? He did get 6-7 hours with wifi.

    Just about every other reviewer got 7 hours or more talk time, close to what Apple claims.
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    Comfired by latest TWIT episode :! TWIT networks has the biggest apple fanboys ever :)
    http://www.twit.tv/TWiT">http://www.twit.tv/TWiT

    but I sorry to burst you bubble but read the review by mobile phone professionals.
    http://www.wirelessinfo.com/content/Apple-iPhone-C...">http://www.wirelessinfo.com/content/App...one-Cell...

    Also ain't a anti apple but people buying it for so many reason as its calling the revolutionary phone which is not in tech wise , features but is revolution in only in UI design.
    Reply
  • sviola - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    YEah, the Nokia N95 is an excelent phone, here are some of it's features.

    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

    I would like to see an anand review on it and a comparative against the iPhone.
    Reply
  • vectersmith - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    I have enjoyed the iPhone thoroughly and agree that while it is not perfect, for what it does do it does better far and above anything else.

    Edge speed is slow, but bearable (barely). Wi-Fi is must better, although I still have sites that just hang and I have to hit the X button and reload.

    The UI is breathtaking, earth shattering, and will revolutionize the smartphone industry. It has too, once you use the iPhone everything else seems like fruitcake for Christmas (no offense intended to those that enjoy fruitcake on Christmas). I find myself just taking it out of my pocket to slide the unlock and see if anything is new :)

    Also I will agree with Anand about the SMS, you really have to watch out what you are doing as having a conversation is just painless which causes those SMS message count the fly up :)
    Reply
  • kilkennycat - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    ....how long did you take to compose the review and how much sleep did you get in the process? Did you work from a pre-written plan? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Thanks :)

    I wrote the whole thing in about 24 hours, but the testing took a lot longer obviously. As with all my articles I have a very high level outline, but what ended up being written was significantly larger than even I expected it to be. My initial outline had something around 10 - 15 pages long, then by 3AM Monday morning I estimated it would be around 20 pages and by the time it published I realized it was going to be just shy of 30.

    I had to cut out a lot of additional material from the review just in the interest of time, and I took another 6 or 7 hours working on it to try and make sure I was keeping the attention of the reader throughout the piece (hopefully it worked :)...). There's enough extra content that I didn't use for at least two more articles, but I'm not sure what the demand will be for that so who knows if it'll ever get used.

    As far as sleep goes, I don't sleep much in general when I'm working but the iPhone weekend was ridiculous. I went to bed Saturday night, woke up Sunday and didn't get to bed again until 4AM Tuesday morning. Needless to say, sleeping last night was the most amazing thing ever.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • oopyseohs - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    This is definitely the best article I have ever read on AnandTech or on anything technology related in general. Also, it is nice to see that someone else exhibits the same behavior I do when writing major articles! Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    I'm sure Anand is finally getting some sleep after a grueling weekend with the iPhone, taking only the occasional nap so as not to die.

    And a pre-written plan? naah, Anand's just that good :-)
    Reply
  • ninjit - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    Argh, looks like everyone bogged down the image server.

    I just happened to hit refresh right when the article went live, and was happily reading it for the first 10 pages, but now none of the images are load for page 10 onwards.

    grrrr
    Reply

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