In his iPhone review, the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg said the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard was frustrating to use in the first three days, but super efficient by the fifth day of practice.
Well, today marks my fifth day owning an iPhone. So is the iPhone’s keyboard really as easy to use as that of a BlackBerry or Palm Treo, as Mossberg claims?
Yes, I think so. Maybe even more so.
Once you get comfortable with the iPhone’s touchscreen, you’ll be typing up a storm. Occasionally, you’ll misspell a word, but the iPhone will catch your mistake about 60% of the time.
The lack of hardware keys on the iPhone may actually work to your benefit, because you can more swiftly maneuver from key to key without having to push down on anything.
Typing with one index finger is easier for me than with two thumbs. But typing with two thumbs is no big challenge once you get the hang of it.
The problem is that your thumbs are fatter than your index fingers, so you occasionally hit a wrong key. And iPhone’s virtual keyboard only works in landscape mode when in the Safari browser, so you don’t have the advantage of wider keys when you’re typing a note, an e-mail or a text message.
Nevertheless, typing quickly with your thumbs is very much doable. You can just as easily mistype on a BlackBerry’s small hardware keys.
Now, as for typing without looking (like in the car, for example), that’s a different story. The lack of tactile feedback is a disadvantage in this case, but hey, it’s safer to not be typing in the car anyway.
The benefits of iPhone’s versatile, full-touchscreen interface far outweigh the pitfalls of the virtual keypad. I feel confident that in a week I’ll be far beyond the learning curve and typing up full documents in a snap.
If you’re still not convinced, take a look at these videos of new iPhone users typing away on the iPhone’s keypad: