Apple iPhone 4 Review
We're starting to reach a level when cell phones are about to bridge the gap against your usual point and shoot digital cameras. The conveniences are there as cell phones offer a ton more convergence features to make some people rely on it more for taking not only candid and in the moment shots, but also ones that involve saving a precious moment in time. The Apple iPhone 4 doesn't gamble its strength solely on numbers, but rather, it opts to provide users a better performance when taking shots in low lit conditions. The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera might seem to be your standard on most smartphones nowadays, but Apple opted to throw on a backside-illuminated sensor to strategically cater to low light shots. The result is pretty substantial as shots did not lose too much detail – we would usually tend to see slightly pixelated or noisy images in poor lighting. The new single LED flash on the phone makes for a great addition to the iPhone 4's arsenal, but we noticed that images become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feet. Outdoor shots taken at the peak time of the afternoon when light abundantly shines down upon us are good with plenty of detail and neutral looking colors – but they still looked a tad bit over-exposed. However, we did notice it to be more prominent during the early evening when the yellow glow of the sun is starting to set for the day. Finally, macro or close-up shots came out extremely detailed – although we had to play around with the distance of taking the image at first. One thing we'd like to point out is the quick nature of the iPhone 4 taking photos – you can literally snap a slew of images consecutively.
Shooting 720p video on a mobile phone isn't new at all, especially when feature phones like the Samsung Instinct HD tout its prowess in that category. Naturally some would be thrilled at the sight of checking out some highly detailed videos, but they're quickly dashed when they notice a somewhat stuttering performance. Thankfully the iPhone 4 doesn't skimp out of performance as it's able to capture detailed videos at 30 fps – easily leading the pack out there in that area. Although there is still a slightly noticeable hiccup in playback, it doesn't deter to the more fluid looking videos it is able to shoot. One thing we experienced taking videos was that the white balance would jump like crazy depending on the lighting condition you're shooting in. At one point it would look normal, quickly jump to something super-exposed, and finally back to under-exposed. You can check out the video sample we recorded to see exactly what we're talking about.
Apple iPhone 4 sample video at 1280x720 pixels resolution.
Aside from using the main camera on the back, you can always switch to using the VGA front facing camera. It's blatantly obvious that the quality won't be the best, but hey, you've got the option to take easier self portraits and even rely on using it as a mirror – you can't go wrong with that!
It's difficult to imagine that the original iPhone set the precedence of what all music players that are released have to live up to. As much as we can say that the presentation is still inviting to this day, especially with the eye candy filled Cover Flow interface, there has been a lack of innovation or improvement in this area. Similar to the web browser, the overall presentation has not changed at all since it was first revealed back in 2007 – so it saddens us to see little progress in this area. However, it shouldn't deter people from knowing that it still offers a straightforward experience that has a dash of good looks to make it still reign with the best out there. Improvements can be seen all around in the hardware of the iPhone 4, but we did notice that the speaker emitting audio at the bottom of the phone was marginally louder, but not by much – at one point, it even seemed like it was at the same level we experienced on the iPhone 3GS.
With a presumably fast about 1GHz A4 processor toiling away under the hood, video playback on the iPhone 4 was nothing short of beautiful – especilly when its “Retina Display” makes those 720p captured videos look good. Playback is extremely smooth with no evidence of lag whatsoever, which naturally highlights its prowess in this arena. Switching between portrait or landscape doesn't stop the flow of the video as it continues to play steadily – ultimately making it one handset to enjoy getting comfy while watching a long movie.
If there was something unexpected to see out of Apple's unveiling of the iPhone 4, it has to be the fact that they've decided to retain the same storage capacities. Available in either 16GB or 32GB options, some would question their decision now that 720p video capture is on board. Better keep it safe and stick to the higher capacity one if you tend to be heavy when it comes to media.
The leak of the Apple iPhone 4 finally brought many people out there with the hopes of seeing video calling – done right. Needless to say that there are some apps out there, namely Fring, that enable iPhone users to video chat with other Fring users. Apple decided to bring along FaceTime to offer owners an experience that makes video chatting more gratifying than current iterations. As we've seen with Qik on the HTC EVO 4G and Fring on other handsets, these apps basically allow you to video chat through a carrier's 3G network. Furthermore, the argument can be made that Apple's FaceTime is crippled from the onset due to the fact that it solely allows you to interact with other iPhone owners only and that you need to be connected via Wi-Fi to use it – for now. As we were able to test this out, we were initially skeptical about its performance, but it was easily erased relatively quick after seeing how both video and audio were on point with one another. Once you're in a phone call with someone, you can simply press the FaceTime icon on the screen to get it started up. We were impressed by its fast simultaneous connectivity despite sporting pixelated looking video taken from either cameras. Audio in fact sounded better than what we imagined initially – especially after trying out Fring. Sure there might be an Achilles Heel with its roll out, but as Apple works with the carriers, we can only cross our fingers and hope for a 3G roll out down the road.
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: 503; 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: 1893; 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: 503; 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.