An iPhone 4 review in 10 points

By | 2010/08/04

Having been excessively tired of Vodafone and their feculent network on the Central Coast, when it was time for the iPhone 4 to be released in Australia, I was in line for two reasons. First, I wanted to update from an iPhone 3G, but perhaps more importantly, I wanted to shift across to a real network that … worked.

So I found myself waiting from around 5am at our local shopping centre; doors opened around 6.30am and I watched a group of foolish people make their way to Optus (another network with an increasingly poor reputation) while my partner and I, as well as a much smaller group of people made our way to Telstra.

By 7.30am I had a 32GB iPhone 4, and since I suspect a lot of people were porting numbers to different networks that day, I finally left the Telstra store at 9.15 with an iPhone connected to my existing number, newly moved across from Vodafone.

I don’t want to do a lengthy review on the iPhone 4, so I’ll make it a review in ten points. That’ll hopefully keep it short(ish) and straight forward:

  1. Screen – Much has been said about the beauty and crispness of the display. It’s all true. At any angle any image on screen looks painted on. The smallest of text is crisp, clear and legible. It is, quite frankly, one of the most remarkable screens I’ve ever beheld.
  2. Antennagate – Not an issue. Maybe it would have been if I’d remained on Vodafone and their Network From Hell, but on Telstra I’ve not once been able to completely cut signal by holding the “kill” spots. A case instantly stops that fully anyway. At best I’ve dropped 2 bars of service. Given on Vodafone I’d been lucky to have 2 bars of service (and for the last 3 months had no 3G service on the coast at all), I’m entirely satisfied with reception.
  3. Speed – Superlatives are not sufficient to explain the sheer speed and responsiveness of this device. It’s like having an iPad in your pocket, and that’s saying a lot.
  4. Phone – Call quality is remarkable with the noise cancelling microphone. Yet again, being on a real network rather than a network from hell, I even receive SMSs when they’re sent to me, I’m able to send as many SMSs as I want in a row, and I receive any call that’s made.
  5. Battery – Definitely an improvement over the iPhone 3G. If I were travelling for a day I’d likely still turn 3G off when I didn’t need it, but that’s more of a paranoia rather than certainty factor.
  6. Multitasking – Brilliant model. Yeah yeah, Android enthusiasts can crow all they want about unlimited multitasking on their devices, but I really don’t give a damn. On a phone I’m not after that level of multitasking. I want background sound when necessary, chats to stay active, and instant suspend/resume. Anything else is too much of a battery hog for such a small device. (Even Google admits to this.)
  7. Camera – This thing takes beautiful photos. Don’t get me started about the stupidity of cramming in huge numbers of mega pixels on tiny sensors. It’s a tired, dumb and puerile argument. Hey, I’m gay, and even I don’t subscribe to the “size queen” MP argument for small cameras. If you do, you need to read this. Sample photo below.
  8. Video Camera – High def video on this thing is just amazing, and iMovie for iPhone is truly remarkable. That a device as small as this has the capability of doing video assembly, and can do it in the timeframe it does, is beyond remarkable. It really is a miracle.
  9. Physical build – This is a beautiful phone. It feels great in your hands, very comfortable to hold, and the perfect weight. An amazing amount of attention to detail has gone into the build.
  10. Facetime – Quite brilliant. Much ballyhoo has been made about this only working over WiFi, but I’m happy for that in the interim until all cellular networks are up to scratch – and let’s face it: if it worked over 3G, every media outlet and blogger would scream blue murder at Apple introducing a feature that would give people huge bills. (I.e., get a life!) Regardless, this is a great implementation of video chat and Apple deserves full credit for doing it well from the get-go.

Anything I’m not happy with? I can’t say anything particularly strikes me as a major disadvantage. I’m not being one-sided, but thinking through how I’ve used it in the almost-7 days since I got it, I can’t think of anything that I wanted to do but couldn’t, so I have to leave this section blank for the time being.

Sample photo, scaled down to 1024 pixels high:

Japanese Gardens, East Gosford

Sample video, edited in iMovie – watch here (QuickTime required). This file was not in any way edited on the desktop; just transferred then uploaded. [Edit: This isn’t a high def export – it was exported using the “medium” setting from iMovie.]