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We waited (and waited), we bought--and now no fewer than half a dozen PC World editors have put a gaggle of iPhones through their paces.
Our conclusion: If you want to love this much-hyped gadget, you'll find plenty to go ga-ga over. The revolutionary multi-touch navigation system really is intuitive and fun. The endless expanse of display alone is nothing short of mesmerizing, with beautiful bright colors and crisp resolution. It's a great handheld video player, a decent music player and camera; its browser, while not as versatile as the one on your notebook, is still impressive. Plus, it works just fine as a cell phone.
But there are disappointments, too. Some we knew about ahead of time, including lack of support for AT&T's fastest (HSDPA) data network and the absence of instant messaging and office suite applications. Others are only apparent once you start using the handset (it can get warm with constant use, and you'll need to wipe off smudges frequently with the included cloth).
We're still iffy about the software keyboard and predictive text entry: They work reasonably well, but overall text entry is still easier with a hardware keyboard, and the iPhone may not be the best choice for people who need to compose a lot of e-mail.
We were impressed with the iPhone's durability. We tried scratching it and dropping it on everything from carpet to concrete. It survived all the abuse, with only some scratches from the concrete. (To see the abuse first-hand, check out PC World's report and video iPhone Stress Tests.)
And then there are the undeniably fun aspects of this super-hot gadget du jour, from the cute icons on the home screen to the way deleted e-mail swooshes into a trashcan.
An iPhone is expensive and comes with some major drawbacks. And the most prudent course would be to wait for the next version, one that'll work out some of the kinks, and we hope, be tied to a faster wireless network. But it's hard to be patient once you've seen one--the future of mobile devices is here and it's called an iPhone.
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