iPhone 4 reviews - what they're saying

iPhone 4 reviews are beginning to go live around the internet and impressions so far are resoundingly positive, though as usual AT&T takes some heat.

Josh Topolsky of Engadget says iPhone 4 is the "best smartphone on the market right now":

We're not going to beat around the bush -- in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package. Yes, there are still pain points that we want to see Apple fix, and yes, there are some amazing alternatives to the iPhone 4 out there. But when it comes to the total package -- fit and finish in both software and hardware, performance, app selection, and all of the little details that make a device like this what it is -- we think it's the cream of the current crop. [link]

More early looks after the break.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal thinks "the new iPhone keeps Apple at the top of the class", even while wishing it wasn't bound to AT&T:

Just as with its predecessors, I can’t recommend this new iPhone for voice calling for people who experience poor AT&T reception, unless they are willing to carry a second phone on a network that works better for them.

For everyone else, however, I’d say that Apple has built a beautiful smartphone that works well, adds impressive new features and is still, overall, the best device in its class. [Link]

David Pogue of The New York Times starts off by saying "new iPhone arrives; rivals beware", though he thinks the technically inclined might prefer them anyway:

[Android devices are] more complicated, and their app store not as good, but they’re loaded with droolworthy features like turn-by-turn GPS instructions, speech recognition that saves you typing, removable batteries and a choice of cell networks.

If what you care about, however, is size and shape, beauty and battery life, polish and pleasure, then the iPhone 4 is calling your name. [Link]

Ed Baig of USA Today says iPhone 4 lives up to the hype, especially FaceTime:

As with previous iPhones, the latest model breaks new ground. FaceTime video calling on the iPhone 4 is one of those cool "seeing is believing" features, and it arrives on top of several across-the-board enhancements. And iOS 4 is a mostly terrific software upgrade.

Cutting through the hype, Apple has given longtime diehards, and first-time iPhone owners, plenty to cheer about. [Link]

Boy Genius goes for first impressions in point form, among them:

-The size and weight just feel right. - [The screen] is stunning - The industrial design is really solid, you feel like you are holding a luxury item. - Speed. Oh it’s fast. [Link]

Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing says she would buy it:

The fourth incarnation of Apple's iPhone is an incrementally improved, familiar device—not a new kind of device, as was the case with the recent introduction of iPad. Yes, the notable features with iPhone 4—both the device and the iOS4, which came out yesterday in advance of the iPhone itself—are mostly tweaks. But what tweaks they are: Apple's focus on improvement is as much key to the quality of its products as innovation. But there's one flaw it can't completely eliminate: the unreliable quality of calls placed over AT&T, which remains the iPhone's only U.S. carrier. [Link]

There you have it, the mainstream take on Apple's new iPhone 4. If you got an early iPhone 4 delivery of your own -- or when you do -- let us know your take as well.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 4 reviews - what they're saying


But more importantly, where is the white iPhone? And when will it be available? Major kudos to whoever can dig this up. I can't wait for it.

@andrew yea I would like to know the same!
But all those positive reviews just give me goose bumps I can't wait till august!

Why would you need a review after the product been out for a year ?!
These are quick reviews to give you basic first impressions.
If you dont see any point in this then you just wasted few clicks and few minutes if your precious life ;)

wow, most of those reviews sound.... practiced... the types of reviews I don't warm up to. probably why I have never liked Walt Mossberg or David Pogue.

Typically reviewers actually get early access to these devices so they can play with them for a while, then write up an informed review (usually part of the deal is that their actual review is embargoed until after the release date). Not sure if that's what happened here, but I'm betting...

@key same here! very excited for this phone.
@ArtVanBurenBoy I never said I didn't like the iPhone. Why would I be on this blog if I didn't like it? All I'm saying is I don't see how the aforementioned people can write a review, when I'm assuming that they have had it for very long. Also, thank you for calling my life precious. I enjoy it too. Since your asking, I do need a review for, to quote you, " Why would you need a review after the product been out for a year ?!". A lot has changed in a year, hasn't it? Reviews, for those that read them, are important because they could outline any key problems the device may have. Ok I'm bored with you, no need to respond I wont be back.
Love ya bitch :D

Josh's review at Engadget is fantastic. Also, THIRTY EIGHT hours of battery life?!?! Holy hell...

You're a piece of work.
I didn't say you don't like the iPhone. I simply don't understand why it's weird to you that people who have the phone in their hand would give us a quick review of what THEY think based on the few hours they've spent with it.
Sleepy good kiddo.

I agree with DeadB. They should call this 'first impressions' as opposed to a review. It's way too soon to fully form an impression of the new iPhone.
I'm sure they'll still turn out glowing but give it some time 'reviewers'.

It's not a few hours - these reviewers have had these devices since at least this past Saturday or even a full week based on what they've said.

I know these editors of from different magazines are entitled to their opinion, but from coast to coast AT&T HAS BEEN PROVEN to be the overall network. I know most might have their negative thoughts about it but Apple picked a good network to display their talented iPhone series!

I say, who cares. Believing a review is like believing a critic about a movie. It just isn't the same till u ur self experience it. Just get it your self or go play with one at an apple store. Or let's argue about the definition of a review. Lol. What are we 5?

Wow. Tough crowd in the comments. You do know that these reviewers do this basically for every device they review.
They typically get a review device sent to them 2 weeks before. They have to sign nondisclosure agreements not to say anything about them until an agreed upon date. That date is typically 2 days or less prior to the release date. They would have used the phones for 2 to 5 days.
These reviewers all do a review for the masses. Not nerds. The nerds reviews are still coming up.
There is probably on one reviewer that I'm aware that does controlled testing. That is Anandtech. They actually measure things. Not everything - hello, dimensions and weight - but is typically really good at the tests they do.

I'll throw in a second post and say wirelessinfo.com used to do controlled testing too, but they are basically defunct. They actually did keyboard input testing, which was quite cool to compare various software and hardware QWERTY performance. Their photo testing was also terrific too, like a shortened version of dpreview.com.

Hey Rene! Where's your review unit? Did apple forgot you or something? Or they don't know you much. :P hell of an apple fanboy defender was neglected by apple. Sad day :(

makes me a bit jealous to be honest... after giving up my original iphone and moving to blackberry on a better network (in my area) I've been caught up in the Android crowd...nice devices and customization is great but i remember when I got the first iphone...I had the hugest smile on my face hahaha kinda miss it. looks like i have to wait for an LTE iPhone...im excited for thr Droid X right nowt though in the back of my head I want this phone haha

these reviews have already been typed they just submitted them when they heard the phone was being delivered.
it's like obituaries... did you know that almost every famous persons obituaries are already written and waiting for them to die. News companies go and update them every 6 months or so.

Damn I need to stop reading these it makes me sad :0( is it July yet??? It is not surprising someone can reveiw the phone after a few hours because every iPhone builds of the ones before. So there are new tweaks, new hardware, new OS but after using the phone for 3 years I bet it wont take more than ten minutes out of the box to set it up get it synced and start customizing.

This stupid upgrade is baseless. Soo many weird things happening on my 3GS. :(
I have connection problems. Especially wifi..
I can't access app store or iTunes.. It takes ages to open them both. :(
Multi-tasking sucks.. It's not actually what we have been waiting for :(
I hope they wil update wth 4.1 soon...
I think even the volume level has decreased..
Soooo many tweaks wth few good things :(

AppleHipsterTrash - lots of magazine and online sources for ATT fastest network, that's probably what he's referring to. The best network is the one that is usable by you in the places that you go. For me that's still ATT, though VZW is still ahead when I visit NYC.

@ deepak kumar
you need to restore your phone and start over. ios4 on my 3gs works flawlessly. a lot of people got screwed up software because the servers were so overloaded on release day. the same thing happened when 3.0 was released. also, if you were jailbroken with spirit, sorry buddy. you need to restore as a new phone and lose everything for it to work properly.

How can you review a device that hasn't been out that long and say it's the best phone out there? A week ago the EVO was the best phone out there. And before that it was the Droid Incredible and before that it was the Nexus 1 and before that it was the Droid and before that it was the iPhone 3GS. Newer and more powerful phones come out so fast that saying "it's the best phone out there" is pointless.

@applehipstertrash. You must be one of the newbies on AT&T. Before the 5000% increase in data. There was nothing wrong with AT&T's service. I've had them for the past 6 years and never a problem. They are still the best for me now since they are better then verizon where I live. I've had verizon and they where not that great either. Dropped calls, no service dead spots overcharges. It's funny that people think that verizon wouldn't have had or will have the same problems that AT&T has. I guess we will never know because once the iPhone does hit big red they will not have the same amount of iPhones that AT&T has now killing there network. Since they will both have the iPhone. But then again verizon finally started to get more smartphones within the past year that with the iPhone will add the same stress that AT&T's network is feeling.

@jujubees I agree AT&T is king where I live and travel as well. I to have had verizon and they were not that reliable. But then again IMO all carriers suck in there own way. The thing I don't understand is why people bitch about the carrier that they go on. You chose to be on that network. It seems like people these days go to carriers for the phone they want and don't even bother to research if the phone will get good service or not. It dont then they cry about it. It all depends on where you live. Carriers are better in places then others.

TK - nothing pointless about it - they even qualify wi best phone out there right now but who knows for how long? And to all of the people who are on and on about the short time they've used it, c'mon a week should be fine. You want them to wait till December to tell you if the phone you want to know whether to buy now is any good?

hi, i recived the Apple iPhone 4 yesterday, first thought WOW! and still is. but there is a few downsides to this phone.
one being if you use the phone in your left hand your signal drops, due to the new antenna apple have put in. second being when you write a text message, it leaves a gap above your text( this might just be a bug in the OS apple will prob fix this with OS 4.0.1).overall this handset is GREAT if you have the chance to get one JUMP! at the chance. you will regret it if you dont..