Apple iPhone 4 Review
Plenty of things can change over the course of three years in the mobile world as technology seems to leap new heights constantly when devices are being packed with intricate hardware and an accompanying platform experience to make it gratifying. The smartphone landscape changed heavily when the original iPhone first came to fruition back in 2007 to a wide audience that was initially skeptical in how an unknown figure in the mobile community could change the game. The events that unfolded over the last few years tell the true telling of how the iPhone substantially affected the industry with its ground breaking performance. However, we've seen the handset don two additional makeovers, the iPhone 3G and 3GS, that some still argue to not necessarily accompany that reinvention that came along with the original's release. It's summer and Apple's tradition of releasing a new version of the iPhone each year continues as the world has been well informed regarding the highly prized product which received plenty of attention in the last few months leading up to its release due to a bevy of leaks. It's here! Now and in the flesh! But will it be enough to withstand the onslaught of competition that's currently catching up, consistently evolving, and closing the gap?
The package contains:
• Apple iPhone 4
• USB Cable
• User Guide
• Stereo headphones
• Wall Charger
Quickly gazing at the smartphone for the very first time, it tastefully can be seen that Apple decided to go back to the drawing board this time around as it sheds the previous look of the iPhone 3GS with a totally new one. Clearly it looks like an iPhone from afar, but upon closer inspection, you can meticulously feel the love that went into building and crafting this device together. Essentially the handset is encased by two pieces of strong glass which are held together by the brushed stainless steel band – used also to help aid the handset in receiving better cellular radio connections. The smooth glass found in the back replaces the glossy plastic one that's been in use with the previous two iterations and essentially make it flat – even the lens on the camera follows the flush pattern. As much as we adore the strength of the material and radiance it offers, it's a prone for all the nasty baddies out there that take away from its shiny luster. Additionally, when holding it for the first time after being accustomed to the curved backing of the iPhone 3GS, it doesn't hug your hand as good as we'd like it to – still, it didn't take too long before we got used to it. Clearly it's one of the thinnest smartphones (it's actually said to be the thinnest) we've seen to date. It's also narrower than the previous versions of the product. Following suit, the iPhone 4's construction feels solid throughout every nook and cranny as there is no denying that it can repel the wear and tear of age. Flaunting an almost identical weight to its older sibling found with the iPhone 3GS, it's evenly balanced and makes the phone feel even more durable, however, we'd be appalled to think about the consequences of dropping it. Overall, the fresh look of the iPhone 4 has a somewhat nostalgic tone as it makes us harken back to the 80s when Sony's beta-max units were all the rage with their metallic exterior and knobs jutting out prominently. Its industrial design provides a modern update which tastefully exemplifies an old time favorite look that will surely keep gazers close-by.
You can compare the Apple iPhone 4 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
When you quickly look at the landscape of high-end smartphones currently on the market, they all mostly sport WVGA displays and utilize a range of technologies – such as LCD, AMOLED, or Super AMOLED. As we tend to see Apple stick with something very unique for their handset, they decided to employ an LED back-lit IPS LCD display packing a monster crunching 640x960 pixels resolution which quickly became more known as the “Retina Display.” At the same time, Apple opted to keep its screen size at 3.5” which naturally increases its pixel density immensely – making it THE most detailed screen we've seen to date. Compared to the WVGA displays in use with some of its competitors, the “Retina Display” on the iPhone 4 pack a wallop by making even the tiniest of text look detailed upon closer inspection. Honestly, we were able to clearly see the difference between the iPhone 3GS and 4 when looking at the display from a distance of a foot – text on the iPhone 4 was much smoother and didn't look fuzzy like on the 3GS. Colors continue to shine as it boasts support for the same 16 million colors we were first introduced to back with the original. And just like all of the previous models, the capacitive display was responsive to the touch which made navigating around the interface a breeze. Still being one of the few handsets to utilize an oleophobic coating on the touchscreen, we're always glad to see it looking so fresh and pristine every time we take it out of our pockets. Generally using any handset outdoors in direct sunlight can become a nightmare – making some look quite unviewable even when brightness is set to its max. Thankfully, it steers ahead of the pack as it manages to shine brightly in almost any lighting conditions – even in direct sunlight. In addition, the utilized IPS technology comes along with some pretty wide viewing angles. However, we still feel strongly that Super AMOLED displays provide for richer looking colors, which can even fool some out there to believe that the display is turned off when the color black is present.
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4 (L), 3GS (R)
Text on the iPhone 4 was much smoother and didn't look fuzzy like on the 3GS
This time around, Apple decided to make the single home button feel more springy than what we experienced previously. In fact, this actually applies to all of the physical hardware buttons found on the phone as every single one of them has that solid tactile feel. The left part of the phone houses the all too standard vibrate switch and volume rocker – the latter being two distinct and separate circular sized buttons. Jumping to the top, we have the 3.5mm headset jack and dedicated power button while on the right side you'll find the micro SIM card slot. On the bottom of the phone, you'll notice the speakers and Apple's proprietary connection port. Flipping it over to its rear, the only thing you'll find is the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash and the usual mirror looking Apple logo that elegantly brands the smartphone. Finally, in the front and next to the main speaker is the 0.3-megapixel front facing camera.
The 5-megapixel camera
The sides of the Apple iPhone 4
1. cadetz (unregistered)
i really want to thank you for 'bold'ing the key words for the review so i can skim through it in lesser time thanks
116. firebo14 (Posts: 77; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Review forgot to mention this phone does NOT have Flash Player. Big BIG FLAW.
2. vzw fanman (Posts: 1971; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
ok phone arena, you give the iphone 4 a 9.5, there's no way you can give the droid x BELOW that.
3. bng (Posts: 107; Member since: 12 Feb 2009)
knowing them, they are most likely are going to give it les than a 9.5
23. ace1122 (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Mar 2009)
The DROID X isn't out yet so you don't know how well it really works. If they give the DROID X below a 9.5 then i'm sure it deserves less than that. But i'm betting it's gonna be a freaking awesome phone!
52. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
Also, PA doesn't rate cross phone carriers. They rate off of the carrier available devices when related to technology. The DROID X is on VZW so it will be compared to the incredible, DROID, (maybe even the Storm2...?), dominantly, and to a lesser extent toward the iPhone. The vocie and data ratings will be rated against other vzw devices, etc. So the ratings are different. All AT&T has is the iPhone, and lower quality Android Devices as to not step on their crown jewel of the iPhone. If the Galaxy S, Milestone, Nexus One, were sold thru the carrier at a subsidized price, I am sure there are those that would buy Android over the iPhone... BUT, like PA said in their review, it comes down to preference and what you are looking for in a phone.
64. best1 (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Jun 2010)
your rong iphone 4 is going to be better than a droid :0
78. kim_mandy36 (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
They did give HTC 4g a 9.5 as well so you can't really say that they're that unfair
82. de 2 philly (Posts: 21; Member since: 11 Jun 2010)
EVO has mobile hotspot for 8 devices at once HDMI output Kickstand Vid chat over entire network 4G All of which the iphone doesnt do So being tied I think is a bit off, EVO has to have a slight edge. Plus Sprints network is better and its like $40 cheaper a month
4. Diego! (Posts: 474; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
They will... they will find the slightest thing as a minus and then the overall rating will decrease in Motorola's Droid X. How come the Samsung Galaxy S got only 8.5 with a Hummingbird chipset and a SuperAMOLED display? And iPhone 4 got 9.5 with its so many issues people are complaining about? Losing signal when holding it on left down corner, camera not working properly, and so on?? ffff, you are losing readers and visitors...
8. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Maybe then - considering many many other sites are also giving iPhone 4 very good scores - all these issues people complain about are not really that significant.. But of course you could just say the Steve jobs pays PA and all the others - its much easier after all.
117. biophone (Posts: 1884; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
Wow you used to be a reasonable person who liked the iPhone. Turned into an android fanboy.
This is what you would say now
40 to 28 :)
33. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)
But of course ilia1986! There is a massive conspiracy worldwide! These websites are simply being paid by Apple to give great reviews! And those users that gave Apple the highest satisfaction rating vs other smartphone manufacturers? They're all being paid too probably. And of course any site that writes bad reviews about the iPhone will be visited by Apple's secret police.
41. Diego! (Posts: 474; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
I never said nor mentioned Steve Jobs paid PhoneArena or any other site to support iPhone. But, being narrow minded, isn't good either. Apple's iPhone 4 may be good, but it has its flaws too, that's why I'm complaining. Mmkey?
42. ilia1986 (unregistered)
You don't understand why the iPhone 4 got 9.5 despite allegedly so many problems on it according to what you wrote. I merely mentioned that if this is the case, then perhaps these problems are not that significant. I also mentioned that all the haters will continue to say this this site is Pro-apple, and that everyone who gives an iPhone 4 a good review is an apple fanboy. Thats all.
53. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
@ ilia LOL your comment is so funny and true.
54. simpleleong (Posts: 14; Member since: 08 Jun 2010)
ilia your comment is amazing! 100% agree with you! There alots of phone like Samsung Galaxy S, Wave and etc which is way better than the iphone just because iphone got a better apps store and now i agree that phonearena is a apple fan!
56. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Of course. And so are all the other reviewing sites who give the iPhone 4 a good review, right? Heck, might as well call the iPhone 4 the worst product ever, not even comparable to something like the Wave which has no application store, or the Galaxy S which has no flash for it's camera. Sarcasm aside - There is a reason The Galaxy S got only 8.5. If you actually read the review - the reviewer said that his experience with the phone was not very smooth, and that sometimes the phone lagged. Not to mention the aforementioned lack of camera flash. Btw if you believe that this site is pro apple - why are you even here?
75. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
lol, because ibots excuse everything. its just like every iphone review on PA "it doesnt do a,b,c its locked down at x,y,z, it cant do the basics other cell phones do.... but ITS THE BEST PHONE EEEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRR and we will never rate another phone as high as an iphone, no matter what!!"
5. jungelungen (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Jun 2010)
WHAT?!?! You can't give this phone a higher score than 3.5!!! It fails on so many things!! Critical things! I have always hated Apple,so I love that they are failing!
32. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)
How are they failing? They more than likely sold 1 million+ phones on launch day, probably 2-3 by the time the weekend is over. Most websites are giving the phone great reviews, and almost everyone who has purchased an iPhone is happy with it.
39. droidman (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Mar 2010)
Who gives a rats ass how many they sold on the first day just because the phone sells like crazy dosen't mean it's the best. Today I watched this iPhone 4 get raped by the evo 4g,the nexus one and the incredible all from a legit source technobuffalo go watch the videos fanboys don't start crying just because I'm laughing at ya
43. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Nope. He's a really stupid person. And one that denies reason and logic.
62. droidman (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Mar 2010)
I'm stupid because I stated a fact you don't like I can say what i want it's my God given right weather you like it or not I state facts buddy I never lie if you can't handle the truth that's on you if want to bash me I'll bash back I could careless what think of me. You to make yourself look like a saint on this website and youra sensitive ass man that's right I'm the bad guy
79. kim_mandy36 (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
The only reason why iPhone's errors were magnified was because everyone was trying to find what's wrong with it. True they seriously messed up with their reception problems due to the new iPhone's antenna but if this problem was found on a Nokia or Samsung phone no one would bitch about it this much. In addition to that so many people want to see iPhone fail so much so that they tend to magnify all of their product's shortcomings which is really unfair.
89. stef3206 (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Jul 2010)
3.5 is probably too low !! But I agree how to dare rating 9.5 on a phone with so big issues such reception !!! Because this is an IPHONE, you put high rating even when this is not in line with the truth ! Common guys, this is a phone still, so take into account antenna issue is real and make this phone a big mess. I don't want to get a plastic case to solve the issue.
98. celldoctor (unregistered)
wow, you're one sensitive guy. Of course you have a right to express your opinion, nobody on here said that you didnt. If you dont care what people think of you than why get so defensive when someone chooses to express their distaste for something you've said? Thats pretty hypocritical if you ask me. Nobody likes someone who has a bad attitude and does nothing but curse and talk negatively about things.
6. brando7 (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 Dec 2009)
wow that is all I can say. "App Store sports about 4 times more apps, with each being about 5 times better in value. Its iOS 4.0 does not feature active homescreen widgets to show you what the weather is like on the outside, like Android does, but it would never freeze, crash or lag. As we said, it's all a matter of personal taste." seriously? thats one big opinion 5 times better in value. my moto droid has never frozen or crashed oh and it allows full customization you could say its "magical" or "revolutionary" and it got an 8.5. oh and btw on all android phones you can hold it anyway and it makes a phone call! :]
7. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
How does the iPhone get a 9.5 and the EVO a 9.5 when the Evo has many more features while the only improvement on the iphone is some multitasking (something the EVO does) and improved battery life (something the EVO doesn't do). I understand giving the phone maybe a 9, as the screen is nice, but the thing still can't make phone calls well, cannot use flash, cannot use google maps navigation, cannot work on 4G. Its bad enough you gave the Samsung Galaxy S a lower review than the iPhone, probably just because it has a plasticy feeling case (ie. its not made by apple). Sure the Battery life and screen are awesome and the design is pretty nice too (especially in white if they release it), and the ability to somewhat multitask is a much needed addition to the Apple camp, and this may be the best phone on ATT right now, but having it equal to a phone that can do so much more and the only thing the iPhone does better than that phone is have better pixel display and longer battery life (though you can't have extra batteries or even replace the battery), it shouldn't have an equal score to it.
9. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
A phone that can barely make calls gets a 9.5. Thats like a rating a GPS system that can't give you directions a 9.5 because it has neat alternate features.
10. fsjon (Posts: 119; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)
How can you give a 9.5 when it can't really make a phone call, and this time you can't even blame AT&T anymore?? WAKE UP this is an i "PHONE", what good is it if I can't even make a call? I may give it a 9.5 if it's an iPod. I still can't believe the statement being released telling people to change the way to hold the phone, such arrongance is beyond belief.
11. nitinkamath75 (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jun 2010)
I am extremely disappointed with phone arena rating for this phone ....after this i am not sure if i will be able to trust your reviews and opinions about phones ....i must this review has made me rethink your very views about mobile phones ...9.5 for a phone which cant even make a call...amazing !!! I dont know if Phone Arena team is listening to this ...but i am never going to visit your site again for any views about phones .........
86. jimlo1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Jul 2010)
Quiet about the stupid you can't make calls. I am in South Florida and have no dropped calls or signal bars anywhere i go all over south Florida with my iPhone. And everyone I talk to says there is nothing wrong with hearing me properly
12. orchuman (Posts: 9; Member since: 04 Jun 2010)
Wow am i the only person that thinks those camera samples coming from the iphone 4 looks umm plain crap? Not to mention the bad signal quality, i cant see how they gave this phone a 9.5..... i totally dissagree. Samsung wave is cheaper with better camera quality ,audio quality, signal quality, and im getting one on july 4th. :)
17. four_zero40 (Posts: 4; Member since: 25 Jun 2010)
I noticed that too, and can't seem to get why PhoneArena didn't put it as a Con. I also don't understand why they didn't point out anything about losing signals while holding the phone in a particular way. This phone should've been reviewed at a 8.0 score at best.
61. irob youblind (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jun 2010)
I agree. Usually I'm very happy with phonearena reviews, but this is just pure (censored). I can understand personal pleasure in using an Iphone but c'mon and make this review more objectional. This isn't about if you like it, its about how good it is compared to other phones, not to its last model!!! Having bad signal strenght should be like 50% of the score. Or did you think that we'd all be calling people via Wifi??? I hope you guys understand how good a phone needs to be for a 9.5 score, not how popular. How can a phone be 9.5 if its only intergrated with Istuff, loses signal strenght if u hold it ("kinda" important), no flash, have to pay for the apps that are actually good. Have to pay for Imovies to use it, Videocalling ONLY to other Iphones and a new OS that looks practically the same as the old one with minor and outdated improvements. This phone gets a 8.5 at best. if it was released in 2009 then yes, 9.5 wouldn't be far off the marker (without its other bugs). I only feel sorry for the non-tec people that waste their hard earned money for an Ipod paperweight with yellow dots, since they can only buy 1 phone every 5-10 years and get stuck with a BETA version of Iphone because of subjectional reviews.
92. Bassie (unregistered)
99. celldoctor (unregistered)
The main reason that the photos look so good on the iphone 4 is mostly because of the display. I'd be curious to see if the pictures look as good when moved to a computer.
14. JDubreno005 (Posts: 25; Member since: 07 Jan 2009)
This is clearly a blatant example of iPhone bias on phonearena's part.. I too wait for the Droid X review... we shall see... I am not a sprint fan, but to fsjon's point the EVO is soooo much more of a PHONE!! not a damn pretty ipod that has some neat features on WIFI, also god forbit you are left handed, you kill your own reception! I truly am an apple fan.. but iPhone4 FAIL. If you agree with me throw a plus 1 up. Cheers
15. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)
Does it really matter what the score is? If you don't like the iPhone, don't get one. Its that simple
16. JDubreno005 (Posts: 25; Member since: 07 Jan 2009)
That kind of rational is the problem.. people base there buying on reviews like this... so it is not that simple.
18. four_zero40 (Posts: 4; Member since: 25 Jun 2010)
Error in my reply I hadn't read the last chapters about holding the phone, but you would've thought that would be a huge con but nope. You can expect for the Droid X to have such "Cons" as: Too big Doesn't have Retina display Bad camera quality (even though the samples they post are going to show otherwise) No gyroscope No front-facing camera Not as good apps as an Iphone Not an Iphone
21. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)
But we can say the Droid works like its supposed to. The pros would be: Build quality of Motorola. Does what it was advertiesed to do. Doesn't make you look like a metrosexual. Isn't locked down to an inferior network. Great call and connection quality. (yes Apple, the Droid can make PHONE CALLS) Open market. Removable battery. 3G coverage everywhere. On Verizon's network. Has affordable and useful apps insteady of expensive useless apps. And the final and best Pro: Its NOT an iPhone!
24. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)
Too big is a matter of opinion... like the ipad not being able to fit into a pocket... Also, the better apps? More apps, not better would be fair. Apple users used to always ask "how many word processors do you really need?" when confronted with the lack of programs compared to windows computers. Other than there being better games on the iPhone, the apps are essentially the same... Gyroscope is fancy speak for accelerometer... I'm not even going to get into an 8mp vs a 5mp camera...
19. nimo (Posts: 72; Member since: 11 Jun 2010)
Very biased score. a 9.5 for a phone that has serious signal problems. Your forgetting its primary function is a PHONE and it fails in that respect.
20. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)
In the conclusion they said the call quality and reception had issues. Hmm, call me crazy but this sounds pretty important for a PHONE to have. Even for data, it needs a solid connection. Way to go Apple and AT&T, drop another deuce as easy as dropping calls. AT&T: Rethink Impossible
22. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)
With games category being the most popular app on the iphone, can we get a comparison between the iphone and a gameboy? I feel that's a fair...
25. ilia1986 (unregistered)
LOL it's really amusing to see people saying that the iPhone 4 cannot function as a phone at all - when the reviewer clearly said that the only thing they experienced was the signal strength dropping. Everyone needs to get a perspective on things.
31. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)
Unfortunately these fanBOYs are ignorant.
46. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)
Thats not what I've been reading. I'm hearing problems keeping a call connected. Think about it, if you're in a weak coverage area and holding the phone cuts the signal out, you're sure to drop a call. But I saw a YouTube video of someone showing how bad it is. The 3GS gets alot better service.
26. fredphoesh (Posts: 8; Member since: 25 Jun 2010)
9.5??? I bought the iPhone4 yesterday and have almost decided to return it to get the Galaxy S. The fact I cannot hold it in my left hand has destroyed the mystique of a "well designed" phone. There are many other shortcomings which I overlooked, some very big ones, so I cannot imagine why this phone gets 9.5/10 Here are some flaws/limitations of the iPhone4: you lose signal by HOLDING the phone!! you cannot play divx xvid mpeg4 wmv, and Apple iOS does not support adobe flash! you cannot play flac or ape uncompressed audio files you cannot have home screens filled with active widgets you cannot drag and drop music to and from device you cannot use any old usb cable to charge the phone you have to use itunes and quicktime to sync you can ONLY sync from one computer!? you cannot have a spare battery you cannot put your HD videos you shoot on a SERIES of external memory sticks (when you go on holiday, for example) There is probably more, but 9.5 is a bit of a joke.
29. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Sir, aside from your first point (which can be remedied by having a case) - all the other points are not flaws, but clearly represent a philosophical choice made by Apple. All these things have been known before. They probably won't change. And that is because Apple is the one which sets what is best for you. If you don't like it - you don't have to buy it.
66. jherz6 (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 May 2008)
Aside from his first point? I think thats a pretty major problem dont you? You shouldnt have to use a case to get good reception. I agree that being able have an spare battery is an issue, and clearly a clearly a design flaw. Because no matter how carefull you are as far a keeping a phone charged eventually its going to die on you and it sure would be nice to be able to put in a charged battery rather than having to wait to charge it and being without a phone in the mean time. Not being able to play mp4's that to me is an issue also since its the same format that Apple uses for the ipods, and what are people supposed to do to watch a video taken with the phone all crowd around or play pass the iphone?, another design flaw. Most phones want you to use a specifc charging system so thats nothing big. To get music on add it to itunes then sync it. One thing he didnt mention was how fragile the screen is the it would shatter from a drop as far as only twelve inches, and since no company will insur the iphone youd have to pay someone to replace the screen, or the damage was more severe buy a new one at full price. That company policy clearly needs to be changed.
27. AaronWasHere (Posts: 36; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)
The hush money from Apple must be pretty awesome to say this is a 9.5 out of 10 when you can say Cons: -Poor signal connection on some units -Sound quality could be better -Wi-Fi needed for FaceTime Pile that on with the known signals issues on the actual PHONE of the device from - let me get this straight - HOLDING IT WRONG? - and you are looking at quite a payout to give this high of marks. Please. iPhoneArena, I make 1 logical plea... take your hands off Steve Jobs' golden jock strap and be fair. Those issues alone should knock a phone down more than a half a point on a review. I know numbers are subjective, but when you mislead people that blatantly, it makes you guys look bad. It really does. Might I suggest a 2nd impartial full review on this phone? I won't touch AT&T service with a 10 ft pole so im out of that running.