iPhone 4 Review

It's been six months since Apple launched iPhone 4. Retina Display. FaceTime. Antennagate. White iPhone 4 delays. 14 million sold. All the facts and figures, hype and hate -- none of it matters as much as half a year of daily use and the experience and insight that comes from it.

If you've had your iPhone 4 for a while now let us know how it's been working for you. Any pros it took you a while to discover? Any cons that crept out at you? Any surprises -- good or bad -- you didn't expect?

If you haven't yet decided to take the plunge on iPhone 4, what questions do you still have? What would help you decide?

We've got our thoughts after the break, but we'd really like to hear yours. What do you think of iPhone 4 six months later?


Six months in with iPhone 4 and I still just love it. It's beautifully made, beautiful to look at, and extremely easy to use. The build quality is amazing. It doesn't feel cheap at all and is still the most stylish phone on the market. I did prefer the rounded curves of my iPhone 3G as the edges of iPhone 4 can be a little harsh, and I was a lot less worried about scratching or cracking the plastic back than I am now with glass on both sides. I was concerned about that design decision when Apple announced it and I'm still concerned.

The speed of iPhone 4 is amazing. It makes the apps really fast. Except for the camera app which is way... too. slow... to... open... I think the quality of pictures and video is great but the flash is too harsh and where's digital zoom for video?

I do wish iOS was more customizable, which is why I've Jailbroken (quick, cover Chad's ears!). If Apple allowed themes, custom SMS tones, and had the functionality of Gridlock and BiteSMS built in I'd be much happier.

Still, after 6 months iPhone 4 remains extremely reliable. It looks and acts as if it's brand new and I'm very happy with it.

George Lim

George Lim As a teenage video-blogger, I wanted 3 things, a games console, a video camera and a new phone. I got all 3 and more.

Before the iPhone 4, I owned an iPhone 2G and a PSP. With the number of retina display enabled games, from simple casual titles like ‘Cut the Rope’ and ‘Angry Birds’ to big name-titles like ‘Infinity Blade’ and ‘Dungeon Hunter 2’, the iPhone 4 has permanently replaced my ‘personal’ need to buy any games console. I’m not a huge gamer, I don’t own a Xbox or a Playstation, but since the iPhone 4, I game alot more than I used to, pretty much everywhere.

I used to do video blogs using my iSight camera, however I was looking to upgrade to a higher quality HD camera. When I bought the iPhone 4, I wasn’t sure if it was going to meet my needs, as it was awkward to position at the right angles due to the lack of tripod mount. So I started looking at point and shoots like the Flip Mino HD or the Kodak Zi8. After just a few days of using my iPhone 4’s HD camera, I realised that I didn’t need to buy a new camera, I just needed a tripod mount for my iPhone, and I haven’t looked back since, and now with iMovie for iPhone, I don’t even have to export the video to my Mac anymore.

The iPhone 4. To me, its not a phone. Its a computer, a games console and a video camera, in 1 device.

Chad Garrett

The iPhone 4 really has changed the game for smartphones. Beyond the aesthetic, I feel the device remains unrivaled from a hardware perspective due to the retina display. A high resolution screen on a device this small makes all the difference in the world.

Admittedly, everyone knows I am a huge iPad supporter. Since iPad launched in April, the iPhone- including iPhone 4 has taken a back seat. However, recently I have renewed interest in the iPhone. There are a few games out there that are only available on iPhone. So, I have been giving it more and more screen time. Because I already have the device in hand, I am using it more for email, light document editing, pictures and more.

So with the recent rejuvenation of iPhone 4 use, I can solidly say that I still love the iPhone 4 after 6 months of use as I did when I got it. Face Time has been convenient, I use it just like on the commercials. If I am out of town, I use it to call my family. The retina display makes reading anything on the iPhone 4 awesome. The battery life is still better then ever. The additional RAM and speed are much appreciated.

At this point, I think it's easy to argue that the iPhone 4 is still better than any other smartphone at this stage in their life-cycle.

Ally Kazmucha

After 6 months with my iPhone 4, I think I can safely say it's my favorite iPhone yet. I was one of the unfortunate users who had the proximity sensor issue right out of the gate. It drove me insane. At one point I actually considered using my 3GS until Apple fixed it via software update. I even lost my jailbreak on my iPhone 4 to upgrade to 4.1. When that didn't solve it, a swap did.

With my prox issue gone and my jailbreak madness in full swing, I'm now in love with the iPhone 4. The speed and responsiveness are amazing. Most jailbreakers will sacrifice a bit of speed for more functionality. To me, it doesn't seem like I have on the iPhone 4. To me, that's incredibly important. I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything anymore. I have the best of both worlds and hardware specifications to support it. Not to mention the display, but we already know it's amazing. I'm more than eager to see what Apple will do next hardware wise but until then, my iPhone 4 serves me extremely well.

Chris Oldoryd

Chris OldroydI picked up my iPhone 4 on launch day and it has not disappointed. I have had to swap it out twice due to issues with the proximity sensor, but that is the peace of mind you get buying an Apple product; no problem getting things replaced. The screen still wows me every time I look at it, the build quality is second to none, the device is exceptionally fast and fluid and iOS just keeps getting better and better. Never had a case on mine, it is still in perfect condition, however I do look after it well; something this beautiful should not be covered up.

To sum up, the iPhone 4 has delivered everything that was promised and more in my opinion, the so called Antennaegate never affects my usage of the phone at all, I am still very happy and have no desire to look elsewhere for my mobile fix.

The Keith Newman, PreCentral.net

Keith NewmanIt isn't like I am ignorant to iOS, I understand it quite well having owned the iPad for a few months. It was that reason I decided to give the iPhone 4 a shot (not to mention AT&T, I won't get into 2GB of data coming from Sprint Everything Plans).

So why is the iPhone 4 such a big deal to this guy? Well, it's because I actually agree with ole Mark Zuckerberg (yano the evil Facebook man) and don't think the iPad is a mobile device. Yes, you can take it around and be MO-BILE, but it isn't pocketable for me and I can live without it and leave it at home. I can actually do that with my cell phone too, but let's face it... I'm not doing that. So while I know iOS (I used the original 2G iPhone as well), I don't know svelt iOS 4.X nor the power of the current hardware. For those that have been keeping track, I've been all over the map these past few years including Windows Mobile 6 and 6.5 (Treo 800w / Treo Pro / Touch Pro 2), webOS (Pre and a Pixi), BB OS (Tour, Bold and Curve), Android (Hero, Moment, Epic 4G, Evo 4G) and now the iPhone 4.

First impressions are WOW. Yup... the hardware itself is just gorgeous. Solid construction and the elegance in design is the first thing you pick up on. It waifs of sophistication and for a moment I think I am classy for owning one (I kind of understand the whole Apple smug thing now). That isn't to say my latest device, HTC's EVO 4G, isn't solid construction. Actually, I love HTC's stuff (including their latest G2 aluminum construction slider) and I don't want to act like Evo feel's like a child's toy, but it pales in comparison next to the iPhone 4. If it went up against the 3GS, the Evo wins easily in those same categories it loses to against the iPhone 4. I haven't had any issues with the signal dropping but I haven't gone looking for it either. I think if I did, I'd find it was there like almost any other phone you death grip. Retina is nice, but I don't think it kills the Evo's screen or even makes a difference in day to day use. There are times where I'd prefer using the Evo's larger screen and text flow on the browser.

It isn't all unicorns and rainbows here folks:

  • Notifications (push where available) are cumbersome and ugly.
  • Themeing the OS isn't possible without some BAD BAD BAD hackery (of course I am jailbroken)
  • A solid Gmail / Push / Label system (I've worked out a decent solution that I could explain further)
  • Multitasking is just a travesty. I know it isn't Apple's style, but they could have tried to take a page from webOS or even... Android here. That bottom bar irks my soul.

I will say the learning curve for iOS 4.x is almost non-existent for high-tech level users, but I can also see those same Android / webOS users grumble over how it's too simple and too boring. There is one thing I will say about iOS... there is most certainly an app for that. Even the crappy iOS games beat out some of the major games that are around for Android (I expect that to change as gameloft and others have entered the development for Android foray).

Brian Tufo

Brian TufoThe iPhone 4 is serving as my second iPhone after owning several Blackberries. The iPhone 3G was my first iPhone and I could not find a single thing to complain about while I used it daily. When the iPhone 4 was announced I knew I had to have it on launch day. I was one of the people who spent hours in the middle of the night waiting for Apple's servers to cooperate. After it finally arrived I was ecstatic!

The retina display is truly a thing of beauty. No other smartphone I have ever seen has matched the quality and crispness of the iPhone 4's retina display. The speed of the phone is also something I have been very impressed with. I never realized how "slow" the iPhone 3G was until I started using the iPhone 4. The 512MB of RAM makes it fly compared to the 3G and after 6 months with it I have yet to see it slow down yet. The battery life is probably my favorite part of the iPhone 4. I use my phone primarily for internet, email and applications...with the occasional phone call and text message, and my battery lasts me all day and easily. I haven't yet been able to kill my battery while on the go and I use it A LOT especially while shopping or sitting in waiting rooms.

The antenna issue never bothered me and I always uses a case anyways so that was never an issue for me personally. What the one fault I could find with the iPhone 4 is with the proximity sensor. After updating to every firmware released to date I still have a terrible proximity sensor. Thankfully there is a jailbreak tweak for that and I no longer suffer from that issue. Overall I love my iPhone 4 and couldn't imagine not having it to use on a daily basis.

Andrew Wray

Now six months in, the iPhone 4 has proven itself to be far better than the 3GS in so many ways for me. I'll start with the build quality, where if you pit and iPhone 4 up against last year's 3GS model you can really feel the difference Apple intended its users to see through their design decisions. The 3GS feels more like a toy than a flagship smartphone after carrying around my iPhone 4 for the last few months. And in terms of raw power and available resources, the iPhone 4 beats out even the iPad with its 512MB of system memory, taking things like multitasking to a much more comfortable level.

Another standout upgrade of the iPhone 4 from its predecessors would be the Retina Display -- I've still yet to find a better looking screen on any device I've compared it to. With so many new features, Apple has sent a clear message to the competition and I believe the iPhone 4 won't have any trouble holding its place in the market until the iPhone 5 is released next year.

Rene Ritchie

I think it's safe to say I've written a lot about iPhone 4. From our original iPhone 4 review and iOS 4 walkthrough, to all the rumors preceding it and news that's come after it, it feels like I've lived and breathed iPhone 4 for an eternity.

Yet picking it up, holding the glass and stainless steel, watching the screen light up, feeling the instant, intimate response of iOS -- it still seems fresh and new each and every time.

The problems are real; the glass can scratch and shatter, the antenna can detune in low signal areas without a case. There's no excusing that. But there's no ignoring the audacity and achievements of the design either. No one else has made a phone this well built and frankly this beautiful. Arguably there's more powerful software on the market -- or at least more fully featured -- but no one has made a smartphone that's easier to use.

Six months and iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2 later and iPhone 4 is not only still relevant but recommended, not only competitive but in many ways still the phone to beat.

From the moment I wake to an iPhone alarm to the moment I fall asleep streaming a podcast, six months later and I use my iPhone 4 more than I've used any previous generation iPhone. And I used those previous generation iPhones a lot.


Your turn! What do you think about iPhone 4 six months later?