Verizon Apple iPhone 4 First Impressions by Taylor

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| February 14, 2011

After nearly four years of hype and anticipation, the Verizon iPhone is finally among us. Being the long-time BlackBerry and Android fanatic that I am, this is the first time I've spent an extended amount of time with an iPhone as my primary device. Starting at $200 with a contract for the smaller, 16GB iPhone 4 and going up to $300 with a two-year agreement for the 32GB model, Verizon's high-end Android devices like the Droid X, Incredible, and even the ThunderBolt now have something to truly compete with. Now that it's here, will the Verizon iPhone live up to its hype? Or will it get lost amongst the crowd of Android devices?

I've had the Verizon iPhone for a couple of days now, and here are my thoughts so far:

  • The build quality, as expected, is excellent. I love how thin the device is and how solid it is built. There is no creaking, popping, or loose parts at all – something I can't say for many of my Android devices. That said, I am not a fan of the glass plate on the back. The device is extremely slick and without a textured case or a nice, firm grip, the device will quickly find its way to the ground below.
  • The high-res (Retina) display looks great and it is plenty bright. I've had no problems seeing the screen in direct sunlight and the auto-adjust works well.
  • There are only a few exterior differences in the CDMA iPhone and the GSM version, which mainly lies in the stainless steel trim around the outside edge of the device. These differences were in an attempt to correct the antennagate issues with the original iPhone 4, but seems to have only relocated the problem area. I personally haven't experienced any antennagate problems or signal issues.
  • Voice calls have been great so far, save for one little hiccup. When I'm on a call, there is a constant, very faint popping noise in the speaker. I believe it's a defect in the earpiece and I will probably exchange my device for another in the coming days. Other than that, sound quality has been great and speakerphone is plenty loud.

  • Data speeds have been slow in comparison to what I am used to. Using T-Mobile and having HSPA+ in my area, I've grown accustomed to not having to wait but a second or two for Twitter timelines or web pages to load. Over 3G, it's considerably slower, but nothing I can't deal with.
  • The iPhone's UI is super slick and very snappy, though I'll admit I miss widgets and some of the customization options from Android. Another thing I miss is an adequate multitasking implementation. The iPhone's multitasking us usable, but mediocre at best.
  • I know it's been said a million times, but I'll say it again. The notification system on iOS needs to be overhauled. It's very obtrusive and it interrupts whatever you may be doing. For someone who text messages and tweets a lot, these pop-up notifications become a nuisance. Other than that, I've thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of iOS.
  • Something I have grown to hate over the past few days is Apple's proprietary port. I am used to chargers being scattered among my apartment so that wherever I may end up sitting/working, I can plug up. Seeing that every device I've had over the past two years has either sported a mini or microUSB port, this has never been an issue. Now I have to scrounge around for one of the few Apple chargers I have laying around. It's annoying, but nothing to cry over.

  • The iPhone's 5 megapixel rear camera is great and I absolutely love HDR. HDR is a mode you can toggle within the iPhone Camera app. Instead of one exposure, the phone will snap three shots and stitch the best components of each exposure into one picture, usually (not always) yielding a better picture. I'll admit though, I miss having a dedicated camera button. I haven't done a lot of playing with the video camera, but from what little I have, the quality seems great.
  • Battery life has been pretty good, but not as good as I had expected. I've heard tales of great battery life on iPhones, especially the iPhone 4. I will go ahead and assume that the discrepancy lies in Verizon's 3G, considering CDMA technology is a little more taxing on the battery. Overall, I've been fairly impressed with it and have had no problem making it through one day.

Check out my full Verizon iPhone 4 review!

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