After a 6 month wait, the iPhone has finally launched in the US. But has it been worth the wait? Pocket-lint went Stateside to try it out.

Having lived with the phone for the weekend there is no denying the fact that it's large and minimalist at the same time. The new smartphone from Apple is, it has to be said, a thing of beauty. Apple has created a device that many will lust after.

Like Motorola with the RAZR, there is no doubt that this phone will change the industry's approach to how users interact with their mobile for the better.

So where is the catch? Has it been worth the wait for the Americans and what about us Brits with still another 4 months to go? Well yes and no. For every pro to the phone there are plenty of cons.

Going for it is that large crisp bright touchscreen, the touch sensitive controls including zooming into pictures with just two fingers, the 4GB or 8GB hard drive for your MP3 tracks and movies, Coverflow application, the inclusion of a digital camera, the ability to access voice messages out of sequence, Wi-Fi connectivity and of course the software interaction including YouTube, Google Maps and Apple's Safari internet browser.

But then there is the bad. There's no 3G connectivity, no video mode for the digital camera, no zoom for the digital camera, no flash for the digital camera, Bluetooth only works with headsets rather than allowing file transfer, there is no removable memory, the headphone jack has been recessed into the device meaning your regular headphones are unlikely to fit.

There is no video out even with a third party docking station, no voice recording, no instant message application, no support for custom ringtones, no Flash or Java support, no support for third-party applications beyond the web browser, no hard QWERTY keyboard, it doesn't work with the 64-bit version of Windows, the price is very expensive and finally the fact that it's all been done before.

So how does it compare to other handsets on the market?

Against the BlackBerry Curve or 8800 you don't get same email satisfaction, nor the hard keyboard if you're looking to type anything of any worth (there's the GPS as well if you count the 8800).

Keyboard versus keyboard, the BlackBerry does win out every time. That's not to say the iPhone keyboard is completely useless, it's certainly good for any on-screen keypad typing URLs and text messages, even short emails, but a decent typer it isn't. No matter what Apple's says, on-screen is still on-screen, if you know what we mean.

So how about against the Nokia N95? Well the iPhone doesn't have GPS built-in, or the 5-megapixel camera with video capabilities and Flickr and Vox plug-ins. The music offering and software interface is certainly better however. The iPhone connectivity with iTunes (version 7.3) is a breeze and anyone who has used an iPod will be right at home with the music software. Additionally Google Maps, although sucking power like a leech, is also very good. You just don't get GPS.

So what about against the newly announced HTC Touch? Well it's considerably bigger but that's about it with the Touch really only winning on greater connectivity for business users (think enterprise) and that size.

Against the LG Prada? Well it's clear having now played with both that they are clearly marketed at different people. The Prada is for people who just want a phone.


So would we sign up for a 2-year contact? It's a tough one. The iPhone is still a great handset, however, it's also a handset that comes with multiple downsides; as we've listed above.

We are going to give it top marks, however before you sign up yourself, you must make sure you are aware of its many limitations.