Sun, 04 Jul 2010 Apple iPhone 4 review
New iPhone is much thinner than its predecessors
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: Gorgeous high-resolution screen, fast A4 processor with lots of RAM, easy-to-use, FaceTime videoconferencing, 5-megapixel camera takes great stills and good HD video, longer battery life than previous iPhones , support for iOS 4 features, including multitasking.
- Cons: Hand placement can disrupt mobile signals, glass front and back could prove overly fragil, not able to play back HD video to external display.
- Min specs: Touchscreen smartphone; UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, GSM, EDGE; quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz; 3.5in (960 x 640) 3:2 capacitive IPS touchscreen, aluminosilicate glass, with oleophobic coating; 326 dpi, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness; 16GB and 32GB flash storage; Apple A4 (ARM Cortex A8 CPU/PowerVR SGX 535 GPU) processor; 512MB RAM; 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR; rear-facing 5Mp still/1280 x 720 video camera; front-facing 640 x 480 video camera; white LED flash; assisted GPS; three-axis gyroscope; proximity sensor; ambient light sensor; digital compass; dual mics; speaker; 3.5mm stereo headphone/mic jack; earphones with remote and mic; USB power adaptor; 5.25Wh lithium-ion battery; 115 x 59 x 9mm; 137g
- From free on contract
- Star rating:
Macworld Buying Advice
The tech world has changed in the year between the announcement of the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4. In the intervening time, Apple released the iPad, and created a whole new way for people to interact with iOS apps. As someone who has both an iPhone and an iPad, I’ve discovered that the amount of time I spent using my iPhone has been dramatically reduced, as I’ve moved my attention to the iPad versions of my favourite apps. So I have to view the iPhone 4 as something other than the ultimate expression of the iOS. Though its total screen resolution is nearly that of the iPad, the goal of the iPhone 4’s display is to ramp up detail—which is good, because otherwise the iPhone 4 wouldn’t fit in your pocket, and what good would it be then? The iPhone 4 is, in many ways, the best iPhone Apple has ever made. It’s faster than the 3GS, yes, but it’s the screen that is the biggest leap forward in quality. The new face-forward camera not only works well with FaceTime, but opens the door to all sorts of other videoconferencing possibilities in the future. And the rear-facing camera has taken a big step forward from the 3GS, offering quite high-quality stills and Flip-class HD video. With the addition of iMovie, you’ve got an entire home video studio in your hand. If only the iPhone 4 could play those HD-caliber videos back on an external HDTV itself. The iPhone 4 is also the first real design departure for the iPhone in two years; I like the metal styling and the solid feel, and the flat glass front and back are gorgeous. But I’m concerned that the glass back adds an unnecessary level of fragility to the product. What’s the point of designing a beautiful product if it’s so fragile that your customers need to stick it in a case (or wrap it in a rubber bumper) in order to protect it? And of course, I'm concerned about the fact that touching the phone in the wrong places can hamper cellular reception. The recent changes to AT&T’s wireless data plans in the US means that a base level of iPhone service costs $15 less a month ($15 for 200MB versus $30 for unlimited data), which may entice many bill-averse consumers to finally take the iPhone plunge. For them, and for owners of original iPhones and two-year-old iPhone 3Gs, the iPhone 4 is a perfect match. (In the US) If you’re a user of the iPhone 3GS, though, this new model is less of a step up - and you’ll probably have to pay a large upgrade fee to get it (and that may apply to users in the UK). If that’s the case, you’d probably be better off waiting until you’re eligible for a fully subsidised upgrade. Though you’ll miss out on the high-quality screen and front-facing camera in the meantime, the 3GS is still quite a fast device and takes full advantage of iOS 4.0.