iPhone 4 Review Part 1/5 - Intro

Published: July 21, 2010


Overview

What's Good: Beautiful, best-in-class hi-res display; front-facing camera; very good 5MP rear camera; HD video recording; improved battery life; overall build quality; fast performance; thin, flat form factor is easy to hold pinched between two fingers (actually helpful for gaming); and now — free Bumper cases.

What's Bad: Not that there are a lot of glitches (for many people, there are), but they vary so much from one person to the next, that you can’t tell what you might encounter prior to buying, including signal issues, proximity sensor failures and glass breakage

The Verdict: Best smartphone I’ve ever used, by far. Also the worst — by far. I myself like it enough to keep it, but I’d never make this a gift for anyone but an enemy — at least not in its current state.

 

Introduction

Can you believe that Apple has only been in the mobile phone business for three years? And in this time, since 2007, it has become the most loved and hated smartphone brand on the market. Haters and fanboys alike have even more grist for the mill with the iPhone 4.

I admit it, I waited awhile to write this review. As managing editor of TodaysiPhone.com, I wanted to be thorough and make sure that the major points, both good and bad, weren't overlooked. I also wanted to use it in a variety of settings, both at home and on the road. Frankly, there’s so much to cover, I had to break it down into five parts. And after all that, here's what I can say: I am torn about Apple’s latest smartphone. In some ways, it’s the best mobile device I’ve ever used. But in other ways, it is also the most frustrating and glitch-ridden.

Granted, there are people who are happily using their iPhone 4s without major issues. But there are also users who are experiencing problems, from iOS 4 issues to massive reception failures due to the infamous “Death Grip.”

After Apple’s press conference on Friday, the reaction again is split. Some customers are satisfied with free cases, while critics felt it was weak of Steve Jobs not to admit that the iPhone 4 had a design flaw that exacerbated the signal issue. Would a case help? Well, so much depends on the fabrication, as well as coverage area and other factors, that it’s hard to say. (If you’ve had a bad “Death Grip” situation that was improved by a case, please weigh in.)

For now though, what we have is a three-week old handset and a primary question: Will would-be owners enjoy this experience? So this is what I’m going to focus on here, not the merits of Apple’s behavior. Noah and Aaron have already reviewed the iPhone 4 in their own unique takes, and those are chock full of terrific information, so head there if you want to get your phone geek on or discuss industry concerns. This one’s a straight look at how I think most people might experience this device.

Okay, so let’s break it down and take a look, starting with the form factor and build.

Click here to go to Part 2 of our iPhone 4 review: Design

Products mentioned