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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  • goinginstyle - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    I just finished it, took a minute for the last two images to show up. Great article by the way and now I know what to get the wife for her birthday next week. Reply
  • ButterFlyEffect78 - Monday, July 02, 2007 - link

    I love my iPhone. I love texting all my friends and showing them my poop. Its great. Thank you Apple. Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    This phone is horrible.

    My needs e.g. are much higher than those offered by $500-600 dumbphone with Apple logo on it.. There are dumbphones on the market for $0 - 29.95, that can do more than iPhone. Take any Nokia phone (and they have MMS, voice dial, and record video)... And there are also many $199 smarpthones with Windows Mobile and/or Symbian UIQ that can install 10,000+ apps, many of them being freeware.

    No need to lock yourself in Apple overpriced monopoly with little functionality.

    If your needs are simple, and you value Apple logo above all, iPhone may still appeal to you. Why not. But "dumbphones" with many lacking features sold for $500-600 with 2 year contract most certainly do NOT appeal to smart and advanced users.

    In fact, biggest disadvantage of iPhone is not even missing features like voice dial, MMS, HW keyboard and/or GPS, but completely missing SDK. Developing SDK and giving it for free to developers is a major expense, and even companies like Nokia or SonyEricsson, which are on the market for "centuries", had problems with it. Microsoft has excellent SDK for Windows Mobile.

    Apple has no development platform / SDK. They try to hide this huge shortcomming by saying "Safari is your SDK". Hehe. They can fool "sheeps" that JavaScripts widgets running under Safari are real apps, but not tech people and business people. You cannot code (e.g.) GPS navigation handling 1GB maps, or advanced IM client under JavaScript/HTML/CSS.

    Thus their phone is basically a "dumbphone", not a smartphone, as installing native apps is a primary thing that distinguishes dumbphones for smart ones.

    Why devote 50+ pages review to something dumb? "Sponzored" by Apple?
    Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    You have to use it to understand, I think.

    You talk about features, but as the review mentions explicitly, it's the interface, a feature in it's own right, that sells the iPhone. Does any 0-$29.95 have a touchscreen as nice as the iPhones? You kind of have to compare it to other touch screen phones to "get it".
    Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Exactly. The strength of the iPhone is that it DOESNT have hundreds of features tacked onto it, all done, but none done well. The iPhone does what 95% of the phone buying public wants to do with a phone, and does those functions better than any other phone produced today. That is it strength. That is why its bound to change the way cellphones are made and sold.

    The reason smartphones havent taken off for a vast majority of the public was that they were simply too dificult to use, big, ugly, and counterintuitive. They were systems of endless ugly windows, with terrible fonts, on grainy screens. They were huge fields of buttons with multiple functions for each key. They tried to do everything. Thats NOT what the majority of phone buyers want in a phone. They want something functional, useable, and enjoyable.

    To put it simply, the iPhone does what nearly everyone wants to do on a phone better than anyone else. Anyone who touches it and slides that unlock bar over for the first time has fallen in love. I personally wont be purchasing one for another year, while i wait for my contract with Sprint to expire, and i hope that the second gen has arrived by that time.

    How can you justify spending $600 on a phone that doesnt do everything? The average american spends an ABSURD amount of time with their phone, doing standard phone things. Calls, Alarms, Texts. If i can make those hours of my day far more enjoyable for barely the cost of 2 car payments? I would say thats worth it.
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Well, iPhone SW is poorly done IMHO, e.g. not being able to search through contacts by typing is major drawback. I cannot imagine having to scroll through my 1000 contacts...

    There are e.g. great Samsung and/or Nokia phones sold for $0-50 (with contract) that are better "dumbphones" than iPhone, have 3G, MMS, can record video, play music on stereo BT headset, etc.

    iPhone does lack some very basic features, and I consider it to be hype only. Apple has brilliant advertising and "wow" factor, but this will wear-off within next few weeks.
    Reply
  • dborod - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    There is an onscreen alphabet that lets you easily jump to contacts starting with that letter so you don't have to scroll all the way. Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Yes, but that is only single letter. WM5/6 devices can do initial search (multiple letters) or even sequantial search, see e.g. http://www.sbsh.net/products/contactbreeze/">http://www.sbsh.net/products/contactbreeze/

    If you have like 100 contacts beginning with "K", it will be very hard to use iPhone to find and dial the right contact. And voice dial will not hell either.
    Reply
  • michael2k - Sunday, July 08, 2007 - link

    You make it sound like Apple won't be adding search.

    To my knowledge Apple has updated/upgraded via firmware every single one of it's iPods.

    Why do you think the software on an iPhone is "stuck" the way it is now? I imagine within a month of use, with feedback and real world experience, Apple will release an updated browser, mail client, media client, and text interface.

    Then what about your complaints?

    The iPhone is, for Apple, a miniature computer, and as such can be updated with fixes and software.
    Reply
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