iPhone reviews: Not perfect, but worthy of the hype

Yesterday I wrote about Steve Jobs making an all-in bet on the iPhone. Now the first reviews are in from those seeded by Jobs with the device.

Yesterday I wrote about Steve Jobs making an all-in bet on the iPhone. Now the first reviews are in from those seeded by Jobs with the device. The verdict was universal, at least among the three reviewers (who don't want to be viewed as contributing to the hype, but were clearly enamored of Jobs' latest creation)--not perfect, but a breakthrough product.

It now looks like Jobs' bet will pay off.

David Pogue, New York Times: Revolutionary and flawed

As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it’s flawed. It’s substance; it’s style. It does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phones.

AT&T's network comes in for criticism. It's signal strength isn't strong in some cities and the EDGE cellular network is "excruciatingly slow," Pogue said. He also dings the virtual keyboard: "Even so, text entry is not the iPhone’s strong suit. The BlackBerry won’t be going away anytime soon."

Pogue concludes:

But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles.

Ed Baig, USA Today: Not perfect, but worthy of the hype

Even a prodigy needs to grow up. I'd love iPhone to deliver my company mail, tap into a faster data network and provide expandable memory, instant messaging and GPS. The price could be lower, too. My wish list aside, iPhone's splash of a debut is worthy of the attention it is receiving.

Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, Wall Street Journal: On balance, beautiful and breakthrough

We have been testing the iPhone for two weeks, in multiple usage scenarios, in cities across the country. Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.

Expectations for the iPhone have been so high that it can't possibly meet them all. It isn't for the average person who just wants a cheap, small phone for calling and texting. But, despite its network limitations, the iPhone is a whole new experience and a pleasure to use.

Walt was able to conquer the keyboard:

After five days of use, Walt -- who did most of the testing for this review -- was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years. This was partly because of smart software that corrects typing errors on the fly.

Steven Levy, Newsweek: ...one of the most hyped consumer products ever comes pretty close to justifying the bombast.

....the bottom line is that the iPhone is a significant leap. It’s a superbly engineered, cleverly designed and imaginatively implemented approach to a problem that no one has cracked to date: merging a phone handset, an Internet navigator and a media player in a package where every component shines, and the features are welcoming rather than foreboding. The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge.

Certainly all those people lining up to buy iPhones will find their investment worthwhile, if only for the delight they get from dazzling their friends. They will surely appreciate the iPhone’s features and the way they are intertwined to present a unified experience. But in the future—when the iPhone has more applications and offers more performance, with a lower price—buyers will find even more value. So smart consumers may well wait for that day. But meanwhile they can only look with envy as the person sitting next to them to them on the subway, or standing ahead of them in the Whole Foods line, is enjoying the phone that finally fulfills the promise of people-friendly palm-top communication and computing.