Floorpie’s Mostly-Unbiased iPhone Review

iPhoneI have a confession to make:

I have an iPhone.

OK, it’s not my iPhone, it’s my company’s; and it’s not even mine to keep, it’s my department’s and we use it for research and development…BUT, I have and have had an iPhone for the last week or so. My rating?

C+…maybe B-

Let me explain.

I think it’s first important to note that I didn’t actually buy this iPhone, the company did, and it wasn’t even me who stood in line for it. I am positive that if I had paid for it with my own money, and spent my time standing in a several hours long line that I would love the iPhone. I would adore it. I would treasure it. Hell, I would have sex with it if I could, because anything you spend $600 on and wait weeks for has to exceed your expectations…or you have to admit that you got a little too excited about a little too little. And that just ain’t the way I roll.

But like I said, it wasn’t my money or my time, so I’m fairly clear-headed about all of this.

First, the good. It’s gorgeous. I mean, it’s really gorgeous. The screen is bright and clear, and just moving around from iPod to phone to calendar to notes for chrissakes is an absolutely transcendent experience. Even after a week when the most amazing things start to become blasé, this thing is still really really cool.

The problem for me, though, is that’s kind of ALL it is.

The iPod part Undeniably awesome. Watching videos in widescreen format, flipping through cover flow, all of that is really cool. But, I only have 8GB to play around with? My iTunes collection is nearing 20GB and getting bigger all the time. Now I have to make ever-changing playlists just to accommodate my iPhone? I don’t even have the option to sync like the Shuffle does and use let it randomly decide on some songs based on the amount of space I choose to be available. So, out of laziness I just chose the “Top 25 Most Played” and “My Top Rated” playlists thinking that this would capture the bulk of my favorites. Unfortunately, I’m not terribly diligent in rating my music, and the list is a sparse sampling at best.

The web part. Pretty cool how you can surf the web (very quickly over wi-fi, excruciatingly slow over EDGE), zoom in and out, move around, etc. I find though, that it’s cool for coolness sake. Or, it’s cool because you’re able to do so much on such a small device. It does not replace surfing the web the usual way on a laptop/desktop, however. If given the choice to spend 3 hours surfing on a laptop or an iPhone, I would definitely choose the laptop. Even with the zooming, it’s just. so. small.

The e-mail part Look. It’s just crap, OK? It’s not crap because of the functionality, it’s not crap because of the interface, it’s crap because it doesn’t push exchange server mail like a BlackBerry. I (theoretically) paid $600 for a device that doesn’t do as much as something that costs half as much? I can get my floorpie.net mail there, and that’s cool, but if I want to access my work e-mail, I need to do it through the web, and that’s just an all around pain in the ass (not the iPhone’s fault, that one is Outlook’s).

The pictures part …is amazing! Just incredible. It’s exactly like you’re in Minority Report only perhaps a bit more advanced because it’s in the palm of your hand. It’s just super cool and there’s nothing to complain about. The camera is even kind of nice, with the pictures being displayed full-screen while you take them. No video mode, though? No zoom? No flash? $600 remember?

The phone part I almost forgot to write about this…and that should tell you how important it is. The phone is just a phone. I know it’s called iPhone. I know it’s the amalgamation of everything you ever wanted in life: an iPod, the internet, a phone, etc etc. But the phone is just a phone. The visual voicemail is definitely a fantastic feature, no question. But the phone is just a phone and has the same spotty service as every other cell phone in the world. You can’t do voice dialing, you can’t customize ringtones with your iTunes songs, and the speakerphone is surprisingly underpowered.

SO. My C+ maybe B-. What’s that all about? Again, this thing is incredible, awesome, cool, etc. The experience is amazing. It’s everything I would ever want…in an iPod; but, as an iPhone, where it’s supposed to be the next best thing since sliced-bread, and I’d hoped was a Blackberry killer…well, I just expected more for my $600. I expected push e-mail to work, I expected voice dialing, I expected IM chats, I expected greater than EDGE speeds, and I just didn’t get it. Take the phone out, lose the e-mail and web, bump up the memory to 60GB, and charge $350 for it and I’m right there in line with you..because the fact is, in the last week, all I’ve really used it for is all the stuff you’d do on an iPod. I’ve watched a ton of videos (and they look fantastic), I’ve scrolled through bunches of pictures, and I’ve played a bunch of music. I’ve only sporadically used the phone (finding my pocket-size one much more convenient), e-mail is a novelty, and the web is much more convenient from the computer right in front of me.

For the Apple fanboys, which I’m not quite one of despite my 2 iPods, this is definitely a must buy. For the corporate user, not so much until push e-mail becomes a reality. For Joe Consumer…I say wait until iPhone 2.0, that’s what I’m gonna do.

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