More iPhone reviews: Newsweek and USA Today

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On the heels of reviews from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, Newsweek's Steve Levy and USA Today's Edward Baig have also weighed in on their official two-week iPhone experiences with a pair of reviews from their respective publications.

"If you're looking for quibbles, flaws and omissions, you'll certainly find them in this first version of the iPhone," Levy wrote for Newsweek." But 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."

Meanwhile, USA Today's Baig says: "After months of hype, Apple has delivered a prodigy — a slender fashion phone, a slick iPod and an Internet experience unlike any before it on a mobile handset. [...] Still, iPhone isn't perfect, or even the most ideal smartphone for every user. It's pricey. It lacks certain features found on some rival devices. AT&T's coverage was spotty in some areas I tested over the past two weeks."

Points of interest (Newsweek's Steve Levy)

  • "One of the most hyped consumer products ever comes pretty close to justifying the bombast."
  • iPhone comes in a "snugly fit black box."
  • "When the phone is at your cheek, the screen goes dormant. But when you lower the phone to tap in some numbers in a voice mail system, the screen reappears to take in your input."
  • "Learning to type on the iPhone requires some concentration."
  • "You can also play with other applications while you talk."
  • "If you've been using the iPhone a lot it feels warm on your cheek."
  • "E-mail looks more like you're working on a computer than a clunky phone."
  • "Workout lovers will want to keep their Nanos and Shuffles for the gym."
  • "Web-browsing is where the iPhone leaves competitors in the dust."
  • "Simply typing 'yo' qualifies as one of the 200 SMS messages that come with your plan."
  • iPhone allows you to merge up to five conversations into a conference.
  • "It will expertly route a trip for you and even clue you in on the traffic density."
  • "The specially formatted YouTube videos work great on Wi-Fi, but can display in a lower quality when you're not at a hotspot and are using AT&T's EDGE network."
  • "The calendar works as you'd hope, with a charming odometer-style way of setting the time of appointments."
  • "The EDGE network actually has two speeds, and when you're on the slower one, Web pages load up with what feels like dial-up speed."
  • "As for wear and tear, I've been jamming it in my pocket with keyrings, coins and pens, and so far it's nearly as good as new."
  • During Levy's iPhone conversation with Steve Jobs, the Apple boss professed that he wasn't concerned about inflated hopes, and certainly not whether he would meet his own projections of 10 million sold in 2008. “I think we're going to blow away the expectations," Jobs said.

Check out Steve's complete iPhone review over at Newsweek.

Points of interest (USA Today's Edward Baig)

  • "The scratch-resistant glass-top surface protects iPhone's gorgeous 3.5-inch touch-screen display, which I found visible even in direct sun."
  • "Finger-tapping takes getting used to."
  • "This is the closest thing to the real-deal Internet that I've seen on a pocket-size device — but there are limits."
  • "On the data side, it works through AT&T's Edge network, which is pokey compared with third-generation, or 3G, data networks used with other phones. At times, I fell off the Edge and lost coverage. Even at its best, Edge never felt close to the broadband-type speeds I experience on my home network."
  • "Apple CEO Steve Jobs has called iPhone the best iPod that Apple has ever made. I agree, unless you want to carry a music library larger than either the 4- or 8-gigabyte iPhone can hold."
  • "I experienced one snag playing music. A song wound up in an endless loop. I had to turn iPhone off to restore order."
  • "Lots of people (me included) eschew iPod earbuds in favor of their own headphones. Now the bad news: They may not work. Because of how the connector is designed on the Shure headphones I use, I could not fit them into the iPhone headphone jack. Shure is readying a $40 accessory that would let you plug in its headphones and use them for voice."
  • "Though iPhone has Bluetooth capabilities for connecting to hands-free headphones, it does not support wireless Bluetooth stereo."
  • "Movies can eat up a lot of space. When I finished watching A Bug's Life, iPhone offered to remove it from the device to free up some."
  • "Pictures look fabulous on iPhone."
  • "I expected to miss the tactile feel that a physical keyboard provides. I didn't."
  • "Once you get the hang of its "multitouch" interface — give it a few days — you won't have to schlep a separate iPod and cellphone in your pocket."
  • "Battery life didn't prove to be a big problem in my unscientific tests — a mix of calling, surfing, listening and watching. Still, it's a good idea to charge it overnight. You receive warnings when you have just 20%, 15%, 10% and 5% of power remaining."

Check out Edward's official iPhone review over at USA Today.