Rachel Metz, a technology writer for the Associated Press, in The Seattle Times:
As a gadget reviewer, you’d think it would be easy for me to pick out a new cellphone. I know what’s out there, and I have access to the top devices. At any given time, I have a disturbing number of “loaner” smartphones crowding my desk, waiting to be reviewed or sent back to a handset maker or wireless carrier.
Rachel, what do you want in a phone?
I wanted it all. I wanted design and ease of use like the iPhone, but with an operating system that’s more flexible, like Android. I didn’t want a physical keyboard, but I longed for a good on-screen keyboard. I wanted the ability to use third-party keyboard software like Swype for fast typing, something I couldn’t do with an iPhone. I also desired an awesome touch screen and a built-in camera that could take the place of my trusty, yet older-model digital camera.
How does the iPhone stack up to the competition?
The iPhone 4S isn’t perfect. I really wish, for example, that Apple would let outside developers offer keyboard apps for the device. Yet it’s a fast, fantastic smartphone. Despite complaints from other users that they’ve been experiencing poor battery life, I haven’t noticed any problems so far. And Verizon’s service, while costlier than what I had with T-Mobile, is reliable for calls and transferring data.
What’s the best feature so far?
One of my favorite parts of the device is Siri, the built-in “personal assistant” that responds to your voice in a soothing, robotic female tone. It can do everything from scheduling meetings to texting friends to telling you how many calories you’ll burn if you bike 100 miles (4,455, assuming you’re a 159-pound male).
Most impressive to me are the little things. For instance, if I ask her midday to set an alarm for 7 o’clock, Siri knows I mean 7 p.m. (she’d set it for 7 a.m. if I issued the same order in the evening). I’ve used voice-recognition software before, but never anything like this.
Those little things add up.