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How Good is the iPhone 4?

written by: Tyler•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 8/7/2010
4

Apple has stood at the top of the smartphone food chain for the past few years. With Droid phones hot on their heels, can Apple possibly regain a strong lead with the new iPhone 4?

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    Introducing the iPhone 4

    Apple has now became a household name that we have all come to love and respect. With the release of the original iPhone, the cell phone world has never been the same. The iPhone ignited the flame that started the smartphone war and every company has struggled to catch up. Can the new iPhone 4 keep Apple at the top of the smartphone food chain?iPhone 4 

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    Hardware

    The new iPhone 4 design is the most stunning design that I have ever seen for a smartphone. Apple did a complete overhaul and rethought how their flagship product should look. The new iPhone 4 is the thinnest phone on the market and is a good deal thinner than the previous version. Apple has done away with the curved back so if you have a 3GS or any previous model like I had, then it's going to take a while to get used to holding the phone differently. Both the front and back of the phone are made of smooth strengthened glass held together by a stainless steel band which is used as an external antenna. The glass is beautiful and I feel as if I am touching water when I glide my finger over it to type a message. It is very hard to tell which side is which when you reach to get it from your pocket.

    iPhone 4 comparison 

    The only flaw is that if you drop this phone from too high, well it's game over. The glass will most likely shatter and after you cry, you must go get a replacement. I bought my iPhone 4 from a local Best Buy Mobile and their insurance plan is a must have for this device. I also strongly recommend a screen protector such as the Zagg Invisible Shield. The basic layout in terms of buttons, is almost the same as previous iPhones. The volume rocker has been replaced with independent ~ezentity_quot+ezentity_quot~ and "-" buttons. The silence switch doesn't feel as cheap at all and I no longer worry about breaking it. On the right is the micro sim slot, and on the top there is the lock button and headphone jack. A new feature is a very good noise cancellation mic that is located next to the headphone jack. When I had my iPhone 3GS, i could never hear the other person on the phone because of my noisy truck. With the noise cancellation mic, after a few seconds I could hear my friends with no problem.

    The biggest change to the phone would have to be the new front facing camera which takes VGA quality photos and allows touch to focus. The back of the phone is the smooth gorgeous glass with the trademark Apple logo, and the new five megapixel camera with......wait for it.....a flash!!! This is a godsend for iPhone owners, seeing as the previous models lacked a flash and let me tell you, it sucked without it. The new iPhone 4 has the most jaw dropping design on the market that would even make all the Android fanboys drool. The cheap look is gone and no longer does this look like an over priced toy. The new iPhone 4 looks and feels like money.

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    The new and improved iPhone is here. Apple has done away with the rounded back of the phone, in favor of a new industrial design. The front and back are both completely glass, so this could spell out some problems. We also take a look under the hood and examine the camera, video capability and of course Facetime!
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    Under the Hood

    The first thing you will notice when you boot up the new phone is the speed. The iPhone 3GS was fast but this one blows it out of the water. iPhone 4 is using the same A4 processor which is currently in the iPad. Apps load very fast, and everything seems a lot snappier and more responsive. Apple has not released a statement about how much RAM the phone has but tech blogs such as "Engadget" say that it has 512MB. If so, this is a big difference from the 3GS and the iPad. I live in an area where I cannot get AT&T’s 3G but the standard “Edge" speed will blow your pants off it is so fast. A world of difference from the 3Gs.

    iPhone 4 internals 

    The new 4.0 software is what iPhone users have been waiting for. Users can now multitask, which is very easy to use and makes it easy to switch between apps without exiting them. You can now set a background for the home screen, and put apps into folders. Mainly it’s the same software that you can currently download on other iPhones and some iPod touches but it runs so much more smoother on iPhone 4.

    The iPhone 4 hands down has the best display that is out there. Apple has used something that they call a “Retina Display" for their new iPhone. As hard as you may try, you will not be able to see a single pixel on this device. It is very hard to explain, it is truly something you need to experience for yourself. It blows all the new Droid phones out of the water. Text and pictures are sharp and games are just absolutely gorgeous. This is a major selling point for this device, and if you put the iPhone 4 beside a 3Gs or iPod touch, the difference is night and day.Retina Display 

    The new five megapixel camera is one of the new features that you will notice right off the bat. In terms of megapixels, the iPhone 4 is not up to par with recent Android phones, but it seems as that it takes better pictures. The camera has touch to focus that we have seen in previous models, and finally Apple has added a zoom! Along with the beefed up camera, you can now take 30fps 720p HD video. I took many videos with it and I can say that it looks stunning and will replace many flip camcorders. With the added flash, iPhone users can now take pictures in a low light setting. The pictures actually look quite nice. But where the camera really shines in outdoor pictures. I honestly could not believe how great the resolution was. The quality is better than most name brand cameras on the market. Check out the gallery to see how well the camera really is. I took it on a family vacation and I was very satisfied.

    Facetime 

    This wouldn't be a complete review if I didn't talk about Apple's new feature, Facetime. Facetime is the native video chat feature inside the iPhone. At this time, you can only video chat with other iPhone 4 users but the experience still feels very futuristic. I called one of my friends who has an iPhone 4 and all of a sudden, I see him staring back at me. Yes video chat has been around for years with webcams but only now are we able to see our family and friends wherever we are, and whenever we want to. That is, if you are connected to Wi-Fi. The major failure of Facetime is that you can only use this one of a kind feature when connected to a wireless network. I'm very sure that this will change over time and consumers will be able to use it over 3G but I don't think AT&T can handle it right now. Facetime is open source, so hopefully within the coming months, we will be able to chat with our friends on Skype and many other sites.

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    Pictures taken with the iPhone 4

    The colors really popDinosaurso much better than the 3gs
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    Apple has added a new A4 processor that is currently running in the iPad. This makes for a world of a difference in speed when compared to older generation iPhones. With a beefed up camera, and blazing fast speeds, it is going to be tough to catch up with this power house. Despite the launch problems and the antenna issues the iPhone 4 is still a bit special.
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    A Rough Start

    The Apple iPhone 4 launch was not the smoothest product launch we have seen in recent history. The huge demand for this amazing device caused the AT&T and Apple websites to crash and brick and mortar Apple stores had to take pre-orders with pen and paper. PEN AND PAPER! This cause many headaches as some pre-orders were cancelled for no reason. I pre-ordered the white iPhone 4 and turns out that the white did not ship (and is still unavailable) so I had to settle for the black.

    Yellow spot on the iPhone 4 

    When the iPhone 4 was finally delivered to people’s front doors, and anxious fanboys who waited in line for days finally received their reward, consumers began to notice something strange. Some iPhone 4’s had a strange yellow discoloring or bands of yellow in their screens. Apple released a statement saying that it was the glue that held everything together and it would disappear soon. I have not seen any more reports of this since launch day. There have also been some reports of misplaced volume buttons.

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    Can you hear me now?

    The main problem facing the iPhone 4 today is the signal/data loss. Since the iPhone 4 uses external antennas (the three small black bands around the phone) it leaves it vulnerable. If you hold the phone a certain way, or simply touch the lower left corner of the phone, you will see the signal bars drop all the way. If you are on the phone and touch it, you will most likely immediately drop the call. The same goes when web surfing; if you touch the corner then the page will stop loading. Now there have been countless reports about this but I for one have not been plagued by this problem. The only time that I could make my phone drop a call is if I go out of my way to make it happen. If you are considering getting a new iPhone 4 I recommend getting a “Bumper" which is an Apple brand case. Apple is giving away free Bumpers to any iPhone 4 user up until September 1st so I would hurry.

    iPhone 4 antenna 

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    The Verdict

    Rating Average

    The iPhone 4 is not perfect, and no phone will ever be. But it is without a doubt the best phone on the market right now. It has a beautiful design, an upgraded operating system and the display beats out all the competition and the camera will replace the flip camera you may be currently using. I cannot praise this phone enough; it is not just a simple speed boost like upgrading from the 3G to the 3Gs, this phone is a behemoth and everything in it is revamped. With speed, flawless display, unmatched apps, this phone is a MUST BUY!! Do not let the reports of signal loss scare you away from this phone. People have blown this way out of proportion. I guarantee the people who complained the most still haven’t returned their iPhone 4. The only reason it does not get a five out of five is because of AT&T's poor 3G network. If there were more areas with 3G, this would be a definite five. The regular Edge speeds are still very fast, and beat previous models, but the lack of 3G may be a problem for some people. Nonetheless, the iPhone 4 is a great buy, totally worth the money, and you will not be sorry.