updated 11:45 pm EDT, Mon April 14, 2008
iPhone kybd loses out
The iPhone has captured a lot of attention with consumers due to its intuitive nature as well as the future SDK and enterprise functionality, but some users are stuck feeling that the keyboard could use some work. According to a study at Good Housekeeping, testers had little difficulty navigating the iPhone, but the keyboard proved to be trickier to use. Writer Amy Roberts notes that users had a tough time learning to type properly using the on-screen keyboard, versus handsets that featured a physical keyboard.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute's engineers and a consumer panel compared 11 new QWERTY phones under $300 (suggested retail price with a two-year service contract and standard rebates) and the iPhone ($399, but included in the test because of its popularity). They evaluated the phones for simplicity of text-messaging, text delivery speed, battery life, as well as ease of placing calls and voice quality.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute's overall favorite phone, the Voyager by LG ($300), was touted for its unique exterior touch screen and a large internal button keyboard that put it ahead of the rest. The BlackBerry Curve from T-Mobile ($250) had the fastest send and receive times in Good Housekeeping's tests. While testers found typing to be pretty easy, some complained that the keyboard buttons were small.
The Motorola Moto Q 9h, recently reviewed by Electronista, took the publication second honors, with Roberts noting that the keypad was particularly roomy. The device was also recognized for having a large, easy-to-read screen, and excellent call quality. However, some testers complained that the Moto Q's bulky width made holding it to the ear less comfortable.
In addition, two QWERTY-keyboard phones from Sprint made the Good Housekeeping Research Institute test's price cut. While the LG Rumor ($100) made the grade, it was the lowest-scoring winner of the four major providers because of a small screen and time lags in sending and receiving texts.
According to the report, the design was highly intuitive, like Apple's iPhone: the consumer panelists didn't need the manual to figure out how to send a text message. Like Apple's own texting application, The Rumor includes automatic word completion and built-in common phrases, but also offers smiley faces for texting (noticeably absent from Apple's iPhone).