iPhone Review - Related to Chess, yes.

iPhone Review - Related to Chess, yes.

StacyBearden
StacyBearden
Dec 28, 2007, 12:00 AM |
17 | Other

 

Yes, I got what I wanted for Christmas. My Apple iPhone is everything I thought it would be. Here is my review of the phone as related to chess and then everything else, but keep in mind, I've had it for only a few days. That being said, I'm a super nerd, so I've been REALLY using it. Here we go:
 
Chess.com on iPhone: Here, I'm torn. I can view and read everything fine in the forums, etc. However, I cannot post anything to any part of the site. The iPhone does not recognize the text entry fields. This feature would be great to have, because it is actually very easy to type on the iPhone once you get accustomed to it (about 30 minutes). Playing chess on the site is frustrating, however, because sometimes the board will load and sometimes it won't. The one or two times it did load everything worked perfectly to make my moves, so that was very exciting. Now I can lose while mobile.
 
Playing Chess: There are a couple of chess web applets available for iPhone. Shredder, in the photo you see above, is actually very good. It can be found at: www.shredderchess.com/iphone . You can choose to play the puzzle of the day, and who wouldn't want to, or against the Shredder engine. Against the engine, you can select from the menu to play as black or white, easy or medium or hard mode, and you can take back a move. The Shredder version for iPhone means you can play chess everywhere you are. Very, very nice. If you want an iPhone and are right on the edge of buying one, this one site should push you over the edge. The screen on the iPhone is amazing anyway, but the Shredder site is developed crystal clear, too. You'll love this web applet for your new iPhone.
 
Everything Else...
 
E-Mail: Great email interface that downloads your mail via POP mail or, of course, you can log onto gmail or yahoo or whatever and get your mail. The POP mail part of the iPhone gets gmail or anything and it easy to use and configure. Fast, too. You can email your phone photos easily.
 
Text Messaging: Another great interface. If you have used a newer version of AIM, you'll know what the interface looks like with the text bubbles on the right and left as you type conversations.
 
Photos: Very good camera, easy to use, no zoom, no flash, but I haven't found the need to have a flash or zoom on a PHONE for some reason. You can add photos to contacts, crop, use them as wallpaper, too. As said, they email easy.
 
iPod: If you like your iPod, you'll love this one. Easier to use, if you can believe that, and easier to see due to the big screen.
 
Audio: You don't need earphones to hear your music. I love this feature.
 
General Internet: Very fast if you're on Wi-Fi, fast if you're on Edge network. GSM is supposed to be added to the next version of the iPhone, but there is no definitive date on that release. A huge drawback of the iPhone is that it does not read Flash. That gripes me because I'm a web designed, not as a hobby but as a business, so most of my sites will not work on iPhone. Now, I'm a glass-half-full guy, so this gives me an opportunity to up-sale my clients a mobile site in addition to their Flash site. Me smart. Most websites, even HTML ones like chess.com, are building companion mobile sites. Fox news, Google, most banks and more have mobile companion sites. I've had absolutely to trouble surfing with iPhone which runs on Safari. No popups, either. That was a shock.
 
Google Maps: I love this part of the phone, and as soon as there's a GPS add-on, which will plug into the sync port, I'm there. For now, Google Maps is everything my Garmin is except it doesn't say "you are here." That may sound silly, but the map system is still great. Unless you are totally lost, you can find your way anywhere from anywhere.
 
Calendar / Contacts: I'm a fan of Outlook, so iPhone syncing perfectly with this is imperative. And it does sync perfectly with Outlook through iTunes. Unlike your iPod, the iPhone will let you add to and delete from your contacts and calendar. You would expect that from a smart phone, but I wasn't sure if it would do it because the iPod would not. Whew...good deal.
 
You Tube: I wasn't thinking I would like this or use this on the phone, but it's actually been fun...uh, useful...for me. I went to see "I Am Legend" today and watched the trailer before we went. Nice. Also, I used to have a bunch of music videos saved to my iPod. No more. Just stream them from your iPhone. I really like that. When I teach bass lessons I find the song my student is working on, stream it from iPhone, and we play along as we watch a cool video. Sweet.
 
The Screen: Simple to use with pinch zoom in and out and scrolling. It's very cool to flip through web pages and photos like a book. The resolution is incredible crisp and quick to resize and scroll every which way. The top of the screen is glass so there's not much to scratch, but I trimmed a nice thick PSP screen saver and applied it anyway. You can't even see it's on the iPhone surface.
 
Battery: Long lasting as far as I can tell right now. Charging is fast. Comes with a docking station for your PC, too. The rumors about bad battery life are false.
 
Housing: I'm not planning on dropping or scratching my new best friend any time soon, but I believe the housing is aluminum. It's nice.
 
Last but not least The Phone: Great speaker phone (luckily, because I hate earpieces), mute, dial from keypad, add call, call from contacts, favorites, recent calls, times. I have not used my visual voice mail yet because I answer my phone. Imagine that. But it looks pretty cool. You select the message and it tells you how long the message is. You can delete it if you want or listen then delete, and listen to which one you want in the order you want. Nice. I'll dig it once I use it. I hardly ever have voice mail because, once again, I actually answer my phone unlike most of my friends.
 
Summary: Go get an iPhone and play chess on Shredder and some other places, but don't expect an easy experience on the chess.com site. I wonder why the chess applets here worked only part of the time. Hmmm.... Anyway, iPhone = Yes. This will not deter me from my chess.com responsibilities, it just saddens me, yes saddens me, that I can't use all of the cool parts of the chess.com site on my iPhone. Insert frowny face. Cry