Why I didn't buy an iPhone

Why I didn't buy an iPhone

Summary: Over the past few weeks my trust Motorola RAZR V3 has become well, not so trusty. The three batteries I have for it have worn out, and the phone itself will switch off randomly when it's tapped or hit (even gently). It's also developed some sort of rattle (I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the random switch-offs or not). The RAZR is, without a doubt, past its best. This means that I've been on the lookout for a new cellphone.


Over the past few weeks my trust Motorola RAZR V3 has become well, not so trusty. The three batteries I have for it have worn out, and the phone itself will switch off randomly when it's tapped or hit (even gently). It's also developed some sort of rattle (I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the random switch-offs or not). The RAZR is, without a doubt, past its best. This means that I've been on the lookout for a new cellphone.

On my list of possible replacements was, of course, Apple's iPhone. I have an iPod touch so I'm familiar with many of the iPhone's features, and I've had plenty of hands-on time with a number of iPhones. Also, part of the reason that the iPhone was on my list was the fact that, overall, I quite like my iPod touch. Music quality is good, video playback is excellent, the touch-screen is amazing (both to look at and to use), and the interface relatively unambiguous and quite easy to use.

But, there are downsides. For example, take the keyboard. Despite all of Steve Jobs' reassurances that the keyboard will work just fine if you have faith in it, I've not found this to be the case. If I had to pick a single word to describe my months using this keyboard, it would be "frustrating." The keyboard is slightly less frustrating in landscape mode than in portrait, but not hugely so. I find typing simple web addresses to be a pain and composing even the shortest email takes too much time and is far too exasperating. Put simply, the keyboard sucks. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it's the suckiest input system I've used. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or maybe is my sausage-like fingers, but either way, try as I might, the keyboard for me is a huge let down.

My hatred of the keyboard on one side, I quite like the apps on the iPod touch - the email client, while basic, is functional, and the notes program is ideal for jotting down lists and ideas. But what I can't shake off is how the iPod touch (and the iPhone) feels like a data black hole. I can download emails but my ability to handle attachments is limited. I can surf the web but I can't save any information or bring in downloads. While third-party apps are coming, it's hard to know what these will be, how much they will cost or how good they will be. That's just too much of a gamble.

M800So, what did I get in the end? A Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone. An E-Ten M800 Glofiish. While I'm happy to admit that I'm not a huge Windows Mobile fan, this device so far is working out well. The main feature that sold this device to me was the slide-out keyboard. Within minutes of getting my hands on the M800 I found the keyboard to be much easier to use, quicker and more responsive than the one on the iPod touch. It just works without having to hope that the zen/jedi stuff that Jobs was talking about will kick in.

The handset has a load of features such as twin camera and GPS (an excellent SiRF Star III chipset) which is debatable whether I will use or not. The complement of software is the predictable Windows Mobile stuff, it works but hardly earth shattering. While the same could be said of the iPhone, at least there more room to do stuff on the Windows Mobile platform. And if I don't like the software, I can always install something better. Storage on the M800 is small compared to the iPhone but since I'm not planning on loading it with music isn't a problem. If I want more storage, I can add a microSD card.

Oh, and the M800 comes with a replaceable battery ...

Maybe when this phone is due for a replacement (I usually get a couple of years from a handset, at which point I pass them along if they are still functional) the iPhone will be a more mature platform and many of the 1st generation issues will ahve been ironed out.


Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Windows

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  • Goody for you...

    I have the iPhone and love it. Does anyone really care?
    • You know what they say ....

      ... about fools and thier money! The author wrote an artcle about the reasons he did not buy an iPhone. You wrote a very childish response.
      • Not Buying Things

        If I had a nickel for everything I didn't buy...

        It's unusual to hear things framed in terms of what wasn't
        chosen isn't it. Adrian has joined the ranks of those who
        have not only "not bought" the iPhone, but vigorously,
        vocally, and emphatically not bought it. If he could not
        buy it any more, I'm sure he would.

        This article wasn't "why I didn't buy a Nokia" or "Why I
        bought Windows Mobile".

        It's a competitive phone market, and we all have choices,
        and that's good. But it's also clear that the iPhone has
        reframed that market, and the discussions and introduced
        a viable choice that competes well, broadens the sector,
        and stimulates innovation. In a word, it's influential. If you
        have a problem with any of that, I'd love to know what it is.
        Harry Bardal
        • Blogging and sensationalism and an obvious admiration of the iPhone

          "Why I chose a Windows mobile" as a title clearly wouldn't
          have attracted as many visitors as "Why I didn't buy an
          iPhone", it's at least the motivation I think. ZDNet needs
          visitors to click on the ads.

          It's indeed a hint of what they think about the iPhone, the
          hottest smartphone available, obviously. Great marketing for
          Apple in other words, even if the article(s) sometimes is/are
        • I suspect that if the title was ....

          ... "why I didn't buy Vista" you would have a totally different response. It seems your hypocrisy knows no bounds!
    • Well, I care...

      not so much that you love your iPhone, but that Mr. K-H didn't care for it. He chronicled exactly what it was he didn't like, and he did start out with the expectation to like it, given that he has had good experiences with similary products. The things he listed that he didn't like were similar to my own experiences with similar devices, and if I were inclined to buy an iPhone, after reading Mr. KH's article, I would want to give it a serious try before I committed to it. This is a service to consumers that these columnists provide, and if we didn't care, we wouldn't bother to read them. So you love your iPhone--good for you. Your message leads me to believe that you loved it before it was off the drawing board, just because Jobs said it'd be fabulous.
  • Almost in agreement... apart from the substitute!

    I also chose not to go for an iPhone, but for an entirely different set of reasons.

    First; cost. Why pay ?280 for the handset when I could get a fully featured, top-of-the-line handset from another manufacturer and have ?280 in my back pocket to spend on any number of products - AppleTV, an iPod Touch, a Playstation 3, etc, etc, etc!

    Second; network. In the UK, for some reason known only to Apple, the iPhone is tied to O2, with the most stingey contract ever! ?35 a month (in addition to the ?280 for the handset!!!!) for 600 minutes and 500 texts. My new phone contract is with Vodafone, and for ?25 a month I got a free pair of ?80 Bose headphones, a free handset (which I'll get to in a minute), unlimited monthly texts and 500 minutes. For ?25!!! Also, where I work, O2 has no reception.

    So, what handset did I opt for? A Samsung F700. Now, before Apple fanboys start raving about how much better the iPhone is, for ?280 it should be MUCH better than the Samsung F700. But I don't think it is THAT much better. The Samsung has a graceful, usable, and highly responsive interface that vibrates when you touch the screen. It has a 3 megapixel camera, 3G (ouch, Apple), and an MP3 player. AND a QWERTY keyboard (although as yet I've enjoyed the touchscreen keyboard so much, I've not used the QWERTY one once).

    So, there we have it. An iPhone-a-like for free with some awesome headphones and a much better contract.
    • I like the F700

      I agree. I like the look of the iPhone, but Vodafone UK were offering me a phone upgrade to make me keep my contrct. Samsung F700 free !
      I also have a Toshiba G500 Windows Mobile, which is nice but does not have the slide out full keyboard. The only thing I miss on the F700 is the WiFi link I use in the office for web browsing and WAP sessions 'cos its then free.
  • RE: Why I didn't buy an iPhone

    "And if I don???t like the software, I can always install something better." I've played that game way too many times over the years with Palms and Windows Mobile devices. Just because choice exists doesn't guarantee there's going to be anything great. That's the beauty of the iPhone. Sure, you only get what Steve gives you. But guess what - it works. And it works well.

    I deal exclusively with PCs -- had a Titanium PowerBook, but never cared for it. I'd rather have a PC-based device. But I didn't want to play the app-chasing, waiting-for-Windows-Mobile-to-do-every-blessed-thing game anymore. After 5 minutes with the iPhone in the AT&T store, it was easy to see why the hype is deserved.
  • Anything but Apple

    There are dozens of alternatives to Apple's silly " i " line of overpriced, so-so products. It's good to know not everyone is a sheep and realizes with a little homework you can buy something as good, if not better, that costs less.
    • All subjective statements.....

      As good? Better? Costs less? Sheep? Opinion only. Like
      Adrian's experience with the keyboard mine was quite
      different on my iTouch. Perhaps it's because I NEVER used
      a keyboard on a mobile device before so I had not habits
      to re-learn? Perhaps it's because my hands are small not
      sausage like..:P I just don't know but it just goes too show
      that opinions while true for the individual is hardly
      justifiable for the whole. You don't find Apple's way of
      doing things to your liking and there for don't see "value"
      in it. So you judge their products to be too costly.
      However one who does not share your view very well might
      not. Perhaps Adrian will find the iPhone 2.0 a better value
      especially once third party apps become more readily
      available. Time will tell.....

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • Yeah, that's the ticket...

      ...everyone who disagrees with you is a 'sheep'.
  • Shheeesh

    Just migrated to an iPhone after several years of Windows Mobile. The iPhone is faster, doenst crash and is sooo easy to use. Yes, its expensive, but its got 16GB of storage. There are hundreds of third party apps for it and I do use it for business because unlike Mr Vodafone I get UNLIMITED DATA!!!
  • RE: Why I didn't buy an iPhone

    Why I didn't buy an iPhone... because my current phone does most of what the iPhone can do. Web, email, pictures, video, txt msg, real keyboard, not AT&T, and 1/6th the price. I laughed at all the people waiting in lines for a iPhone when mine was just as capable.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Tis a pity

      all the people clamoring over a phone, eh?

      Also, you just contradicted yourself. First you say your phone does <b>most</b> of what the iPhone can do and then you say you were laughing because your phone was <b>just as capable</b> as the iPhone.

      Which is it?

      Did you even buy a phone or were you just stalking the people standing in line buying iPhones? Lurking in the shadows, wishing...hoping...dreaming....?
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Nothing to pity

        Like I said, my phone does most of what the iphone can do. For most things its just as capable as the iphone for what users will be using it for.
        Loverock Davidson
        • And you are qualified...

          ...to speak for all users?
  • I'm still waiting to buy one

    While I like the design of an iPhone my
    first impression was that it ran OS X and,
    in time, there were going to be a lot of
    interesting apps for it. So many, in fact,
    that 8 or 16 gigs of memory won't be
    enough. With 100,000 SDKs downloaded
    in the first week I believe that a few
    developers will come out with something

    So I'm waiting for a reasonable price on a
    32 gig version, hopefully with an iSight camera added to the front and a list of
    apps that, in themselves, make the
    purchase worthwhile.

    Let's face it - we're still in the first year of
    the iPhone. Things are only going to get
    • I download the sdk

      And find "a bit angry" to find that runs only on osx. OSX is a operating system with a lack of serious developers but artisan and typewriters.

      Anyways it is the "first generation", an Apple nomenclature of generation:

      1st generation :big screw on every aspect.

      2nd generation :a little step ahead, weight less but cost more that the first generation.

      3rd generation:real changes but for some reason Apple will remove a worthy functionality (sadism or what?).
  • Keyboard is user preference

    Personally, I can type just as fast on the iPhones virtualkeyboard as I can on a real keyboard. I have never had an issue with it.

    Its not a phone for everybody, so its good you found one that suits your needs.