iPhone 4 Review Rundown: Apple's Latest Phone Gets Praised
For starters, most reviewers agree that the iPhone 4 just feels better. As the New York Times puts it, the stainless steel trim and complete lack of plastic makes the new model feel "solid and Lexus-like." BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin, meanwhile, likens the device to "a really hot designer watch," adding that once she got used to the feel of the iPhone 4, her old iPhone 3GS "felt more like a toy." USA Today's Edward C. Baig admittedly dropped the phone a few times (unintentionally), and said it "seems to have survived quite nicely." Engadget's Joshua Topolsky even calls it the "best smartphone on the market right now," citing the phone's balance of hardware and software innovation, app selection and overall performance.
The crown jewel of the new iPhone, by most accounts, is its video calling capability. Starting a video chat with someone is apparently as easy as tapping a 'FaceTime' icon next to a Contacts entry, or simply tapping a button in the middle of a call. Baig lauds the seamlessness with which users can switch from front to rear camera in mid-conversation, or from portrait to landscape views. It should be noted, though, that both video chatters must be iPhone 4 users, and that the feature only works on wireless networks -- which, considering AT&T's notoriously spotty coverage, is probably a good thing.
While Apple hasn't reinvented the wheel with its fourth generation smartphone, it definitely seems to have made it a lot more user-friendly. The highlight of the new iOS 4 system, available on the 3G and 3GS models as well, is the ability to multitask, although the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg points out that, at launch, only a selection of audio, navigation and Internet calling apps are fully capable of multitasking (i.e. they don't run continuously in the background). Apple is approving apps daily, so expect to see more apps updated to support true multitasking in the coming days. Engadget's got a list of the latest, including Twitter, Pandora, Evernote and more. Still, the Houston Chronicle's Dwight Silverman seemed giddy about the newfound ability to streamline his home screen, thanks to a new feature that allows users to collect apps in folders.
Other highlights include a sparkling new 5-megapixel camera with 5x zoom, 720p high-def video and a new 'Places' feature that automatically geo-locates the photos or video you record. And, as expected, testers say the battery has dramatically more endurance, which should be music to Mark Zuckerberg's ears. The one downside? Reviewers say they still encountered dropped calls on AT&T's network. Some things, apparently, never change. [From: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Houston Chronicle and Boing Boing]