[This is a unedited guest post by Sachin Patel, one of the few lucky people that got their iPhone 4 delivered early.]
I bought the iPhone 4 through Apple on June 15th, and it arrived today, June 22nd. I did an upgrade swap with a friend where we used their eligibility and in turn, they got the old iPhone 3GS from us. In doing this, there were issues in upgrading via the computer, so we had to take it into an AT&T store to get it activated. I bought it because I’m an Apple Geek and because the new iPhone is amazing, much better than the 3GS, and will dominate any other smartphone out there, so I was happy to get it today, before it officially launches, on June 24th.
My video of unboxing the iPhone 4 is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSvbZmGHGA0&feature=youtu.be
Included in the box is the iPhone 4, earphones (with the remote and mic), a dock connector, USB Power Adapter, Finger Tips, a Short Manual, and the standard Apple Stickers.
In this review I’ll cover the new design of the iPhone 4, the updates to the internals of the device, the stunning retina display, the cameras, a bit on iOS 4, and the pricing.
The iPhone 4 features an all new design of stainless steel and glass, and as always, Apple has done a great job with it
Both the front and the back are scratch-proof glass, and according to Apple, 30 times tougher than plastic. However, since the back is glass, it gets fingerprints very easily. The front is dominated by the retina display, which I’ll talk about later, as well as a brand new front facing camera for Apple’s video conferencing FaceTime service, the speaker, and of course, the home button.
On the back, Apple has increased the size of the camera, added an LED flash, and removed the label of the capacity of the iPhone. It no longer says “16 GB” or “32 GB” on the back, it simply says “iPhone.” All text on the back is shiny and reflective. The phone is noticably thinner than the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, and still feels good in your hand. It is the same weight as the 3GS.
The components of the phone feel very high end, unlike the cheap, plasticky feel of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and more modern than the parts of the original iPhone, which premiered in 2007.
The CPU of the new iPhone isn’t too special compared to other smartphones. It includes an Apple A4 processor that clocks in at about 1 GhZ, comprable to many smartphones in today’s market, including the Motorola Droid, HTC Incredible, and others, which include a 1 GhZ Snapdragon processor. The Apple A4 chip is the same processor that the iPad uses. It definitely feels a lot faster compared to it’s predecessor, the iPhone 3GS, which had a 600 MhZ processor.
The new iPhone 4 includes 512 MB of RAM, which is great for a Smartphone. It beats the iPad and iPhone 3GS, which both have 256 MB of RAM, as well as the Droid, which also has 256 MB of RAM. The phone turns on fairly fast, and apps launch quickly and multitasking works smoothly.
The battery life on the iPhone 4 has been upped to 7 hours of 3G talk time, 6 hours of internet use on 3G, or 10 hours of battery life while watching video on the new Retina Display. A full list of the battery specifications is available here.
The iPhone 4 uses a micro-SIM card, as opposed to a SIM card, and features Wireless-N for faster web browsing. I found the wireless on the iPhone 4 to be great, as you can see the New York Times loading above. Apple has also managed to put the antennas for GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi in the stainless steel band, which wraps around the phone.
The hardware inside the new iPhone is great, and it’s amazing how Apple has packed it all together in this slim form factor.
When I first looked at the retina display, I was blown away. I have never in my life seen such a clear display on any device, let alone a smartphone. Apple has kept the same 3.5 inch display on the iPhone 4, but has increased the pixel count by 4x, bringing the resolution to 960 by 640, or 326 pixels per inch. Part of the reason that the Retina Display looks so great is because the display is smaller, and therefore the pixel density is higher. Competing smartphones have larger screens that aren’t as high resolution, and Apple is counting on that to persuade people to buy the iPhone 4 instead of an Android phone.
The pixel count on the retina display is so high, I couldn’t tell the difference between pixels. It is truly great. One very popular app, Flight Control, has already been updated with retina display graphics (above), and looks great. Webpages such as the New York Times are crazy sharp on the retina display, as well as photos.
To truly appreciate the retina display, you must see one in person. It’s much better than the display on the iPhone 3GS and also has better contrast. As Steve Jobs mentioned when he introduced the iPhone 4, it has 75% of the pixels on an iPad. It’s stunning.
I found the new camera on the iPhone 4 to be really good at focusing on close up objects. It’s 5 MP and shoots 720p video. The quality of the video I found was also great, and the tap-to-focus feature during video was especially useful. The front-facing camera was decent, although it’s a VGA camera. It isn’t good for taking pictures with, but I figure it will be good enough for FaceTime calls, Apple’s iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 video calling service. (I couldn’t test out FaceTime because, well, no one I knows has gotten the iPhone 4 yet.) Above are some shots that I took outside with the iPhone 4.
As you can see in the videos above, the tap-to-focus during video allows for beautiful 720p hi-def video that looks stunning.
iPhone 4 ships with Apple’s latest software for these devices, iOS 4. iOS 4 has support for multitasking, a long awaited feature for iPhone users. Apple’s solution for multitasking allows multitasking without compromising battery life. As you can see in the video under the “hardware” section, fast-app-switching during multitasking works fast on the iPhone 4. iOS 4 also (finally) allows users to create folders on their home screens.
The price of the iPhone 4 is $199 for 16 GB and $299 for the 32 GB model. I think it’s great that Apple has packed in all these new features while still providing the same price point, thanks to AT&T’s subsidy. Many Android phones are cheaper than the new iPhone 4, but do not provide nearly as much feature or function as the iPhone 4. Android phones also have less apps on the Android Market as the iPhone does.
The iPhone 4 is another great product by Apple. In my opinion, the design is beautiful, made of strong glass and stainless steel. It is noticeably thinner than the 3GS. The processor blows the old iPhone out of the water, and the RAM blows away all other iPhone competitors with 512 MB. Wireless-N internet makes the internet on the iPhone (on WiFi) much faster. The retina display, while it isn’t the biggest display, is certainly the highest resolution, and looks great. iOS 4, the software included with the iPhone 4, finally addresses many features the iPhone previously lacked, such as multitasking. The price of the iPhone 4 isn’t as low as some Android features, but the price is worth it. The iPhone 4 is the best iPhone yet, and certainly the best smartphone that is on the market today.
The white iPhone 4 will not be released until later this year, but if you can’t wait until most likely the end of this year, you can “make” a White iPhone 4 now.