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Apple iPhone 4 Review

Apple iPhone 4

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Camera:

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.

Camera interface - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Camera interface - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Camera roll - Camera interface - Apple iPhone 4 Review
  

Camera roll


Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Outdoor shots taken with the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review

Apple iPhone 4 Review
Apple iPhone 4 Review
Apple iPhone 4 Review
Apple iPhone 4 Review

Touch focus - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Touch focus - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Touch focus - Apple iPhone 4 Review

Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Indoor images shot with flash become grainier when being taken at more than 5 feetIndoor samples - Apple iPhone 4 Review

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!


Multimedia:

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.

Music player - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Music player - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Music player - Apple iPhone 4 Review

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.



Portrait mode - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Portrait mode - Apple iPhone 4 Review

Video playback is smooth even when switching between portrait or landscape - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Video playback is smooth even when switching between portrait or landscape - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Video playback is smooth even when switching between portrait or landscape - Apple iPhone 4 Review

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.


Software:

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.

Video calling - Software of the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Software of the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Software of the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review
Software of the Apple iPhone 4 - Apple iPhone 4 Review

Video calling

   


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PhoneArena rating:
9.5Excellent
Display3.5 inches, 640 x 960 pixels (326 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Apple A4, Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
0.5 GB RAM
Size4.50 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches
(114.3 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm)
4.83 oz  (137 g)
Battery1420 mAh, 14 hours talk time

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