Review: First Look iPhone 4

Out of the box, the first thing you notice about the iPhone 4 is how the depth and width are thinner than the previous iteration. The smooth curves of the iPhone 3 have given way to a more industrial, square design. It consists of a single-case mould of aluminium around the edges, while the glass back and front fit nicely into place.


Out of the box, the first thing you notice about the iPhone 4 is how the depth and width are thinner than the previous iteration. The smooth curves of the iPhone 3 have given way to a more industrial, square design. It consists of a single-case mould of aluminium around the edges, while the glass back and front fit nicely into place.

It does feel ever so slightly heavier than its predecessor; however a colleague disagreed and thought it was a little lighter. Apple says it is the same weight as the phone 3, and that is probably correct, but maybe it’s knowing what it has under the hood that coloured our perception – the fact that it is barely noticeable is a credit to Apple’s designers/developers.

So what is new? Probably the two biggest inclusions are the excellent resolution and HD video ability. The resolution is 960 x 640, which is double the previous iPhone’s specs, and it is very noticeable – especially when you compare them side-by-side. You can see how clear it is when taking videos and pictures – crisp and clean with no blur.

Speaking of video, the aforementioned HD video and can also be edited, and with the videos taken by us, it certainly met expectations. Not unexpectedly, the resolution is not as good as you would expect from a true HD camcorder, nevertheless it is nothing to be sneezed at; beware people who video themselves and others doing things they shouldn’t – recognising people and places has gone up a notch or two!

The same can be said of the photographs that can be taken. Again 5megapixels is not up there with the best of the compact or DSLR cameras, but it does OK considering all the other capabilities Apple has thrown in.

As for the simple stuff, well there wasn’t much new. We made a few calls around the office and there was no drop-out as experienced overseas. That’s not to say there won’t be – the phone we had was on the Optus network, and we are pretty close to the exchange. Having said that, when making calls we didn’t have the unit in the vice-like death-grip that seems to be the cause of the problem. It’s enough to say that the sound was very clear.

The on/off button is in the usually place, and as with any piece of Apple equipment, functional buttons are at a minimum with an ‘up/down’ sound button and silence button on the upper left side.

One of the features I have always found annoying about the iPhone – and hasn’t left me after three years – is how you have to load the SIM card. Yes, you still need a paper clip to get it in and out. You would think with the size of the card it would take up a sliver of space in the back end, but, apparently not.

Surfing the net with the Wi-Fi was quick and easy, with little lag time and multitasking with any of the apps is a breeze. As expected it comes preloaded with Safari, YouTube and iTunes, plus a couple of other handy widgets, but not as many as the HTC Desire or Samsung Galaxy S. No biggie, as some of the apps on the laters units I would never use, but maybe Apple are going for the less-is-more idea, or maybe they just done care.

There is also good news for regional customers and both the 850 and 900 frequencies are said to be available, so those outside the main centres should not have the problems they have had in the past with being connected to the main networks.

Overall, this is neither under or overwhelming. It’s a highly functional handset that is heading ever closer to being a mini netbook (will there be such a thing??), and provides a tonne of functionality. It should appeal to more than just the nominal Apple fanboys/girls and find a wider audience. Will it topple Nokia and Blackberry? Not yet, but it gives it a good try.

4 Shacks out of 5

RRP
16GB $859
32GB $999

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