Apple's first cell phone received mostly positive reviews from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Tuesday afternoon, although both pointed out several flaws with the device.
Walt Mossberg and David Pogue, of the Journal and the Times, respectively, posted their reviews Tuesday afternoon. Mossberg's original headline was "The iPhone is breakthrough handheld computer," but it was later changed to "Testing out the iPhone." Pogue went with a slightly more nuanced "The iPhone matches most of its hype." Both reviewers had the iPhone for two weeks, and Mossberg noted he used it in multiple cities.
"Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer," Mossberg wrote in what we in the business call the nut graph. Pogue wrote, "As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it's flawed."
The iPhone's user interface received high marks. Both gentlemen thought the finger-driven scrolling interface worked very well and dismissed concerns over possible scratches or smudges on the large touch screen. The Safari browser also received high praise from each reviewer.
Mossberg thought the touch-screen keyboard was fine after a period of getting used to the new input method. Pogue was less convinced that the keyboard entry would be a hit, noting "Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first," and "The BlackBerry won't be going away anytime soon." Mossberg noted that there's no way to cut, copy or paste text, which struck me as a bit odd.
The biggest problem is the one that most predicted: the EDGE network Apple chose for the first iPhone. Unless you're in a Wi-Fi hot spot, Internet browsing is going to be painful, Pogue said. "The New York Times's home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo, two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem," he wrote.
Mossberg also confirmed what ZDnet.com's Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today, that the iPhone will connect directly to Microsoft Exchange servers. He also said there will be no way to upgrade the first-generation iPhone to faster networks, however, so any e-mail with attachments might take forever to appear on the iPhone.
CNET will have its own review later this week, so stay tuned for that as well.
UPDATED: Newsweek's Steven Levy and USA Today's Edward Baig also have weighed in with their two-week looks at the iPhone, and for the most part they had the same impressions as Mossberg and Pogue. The iPhone sure is pretty, but it's not perfect.
Levy wrote perhaps the most glowing review of the four, saying "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." Baig seemed to have the easier time of the four reviewers adjusting to the touch-screen keyboard, but noted that the lack of Flash or Windows Media Video support makes it hard to watch videos from sites like USA Today.