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Study: competitors win out over iPhone keyboard

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).

by MacNN Staff



  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    um, yeah, so what....

    I am happy to put up with a not-so-good keyboard in order to have 40%+ more screen real estate. Obviously 6 million others feel the same way.

  1. pascalpp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    methodology question

    i have to wonder how long the testers actually spent with each phone. the iphone keyboard gets really easy once you spend some time with it. my blackberry friends are consistently amazed at how fast i can type with it -- faster than they are with their little pebble keyboards.

  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: mode

    AMEN! or let Apple put their own enclosure on it.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good housekeeping?

    Who makes the best vacuum cleaner or blender?

    I might listen to their opinion on those things, not electronic equipment. That's like turning to Consumer Reports or going to Radio Shack for info on high-end audio gear.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iphone keyboard are fine

    after 1 week you can type faster than other phones with similar size buttons.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Getting used to it

    I agree that the first week was tough but after that, it's just as good, if not better that anything else I've used. I thought I'd like the larger landscape keyboard (if filling out a webform in landscape mode) but I found those keys were actually bigger than I wanted them to be. After three months, I've got no complaints.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's a cell phone. Not a television. God forbid you go without being able to watch the Princess Bride for a few hours while you are driving your hybrid Toyota.

    Not everyone agrees with you. Not everyone likes putting their greasy fingers all over their screen. Not everyone needs a bigger screen because we have jobs and at those jobs we have real computer screens.

    Can't wait to see a study or report come out that says a majority doesn't like an apple innovation, and 5 fanboys don't come out of the woodwork and state that they love it, as if that defeats the study.

    Good posts guys. Keep up the good work.

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