Apple iPhone 4 ReviewApple iPhone 4 9.5
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: 1976; 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: 614; 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: 1962; 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: 614; 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: 14255; 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.