I received the iPhone 4 at 10:00am, on the morning of the 23rd–the day before the official release of the newest iPhone. Since then I’ve been able to play with it and test it around some. It’s now 8:45pm, and I wanted to give some first impressions for those that are thinking about making the jump. I don’t cover all the areas, and I’m not going to get into the new operating system (iOS4). Those have already been widely covered. I’ll just cover about 9 areas that stood out to me.
1. Speed. This thing is fast. I’m upgrading from the original 2g iPhone, so I don’t have too much of a context here. But it’s clear to tell that the new A4 chip is working well. For those of you that have played on an iPad, it feels just as responsive. Apps close and open very quickly.
2. Screen resolution. Apple has been touting it’s new Retina Display, and after comparing the previous screen to this one, they were right. It’s quite impressive. I wanted to give a side-by-side example so you could see the difference. So I took a screenshot of the same cnn.com web-page. To be honest, once I exported the pictures and put them on a screen, it’s hard to tell the difference. You have to see it on the phone to appreciate it.
3. Phone reception. So far I’ve been mentioning things that I think everyone would expect Apple to do really well in. But once you get to the phone area, people expect it to not be that great. Right? Well, you’re right. Here’s what I found interesting. When using my 2g iPhone, I always had perfect reception from my home. Full bars all the time. But now with the 3g, it fluctuates quite a bit. Sometimes it will show full bars. Sometimes it will only show one. It usually sits around three bars, though. This was a little disappointing for me, to be honest. Since I always had full bars on my 2g, I assumed it would be the same. Nope.
4. Phone call sound. Again, I was a little disappointed here as well. The iPhone 4 has a noise canceling function, so I was expecting pretty big things. Though I didn’t hear background noise, per se, the call itself just didn’t sound that great. In reality, I couldn’t tell any difference in call sound quality between my 2g and the iPhone 4.
5. Video Camera. The iPhone 4 can record video at 720p HD. I tested it out, and I was pretty impressed by this. I didn’t get to test it out a bunch, but I know that it will definitely replace by digital camera as my main video camera. I have a conventional video camera in my closet, but I haven’t used it in over a year. I think this will do a really good job of recording the everyday moments of life around town and home that I want to capture. Here’s a video sample below that you can check out. Make sure to click on viewing in 720p in the settings in the YouTube box.
6. Manual camera. The speed is really noticeable here. On the original, it seems like you had to wait several seconds after each photo. On the iPhone 4 you can snap one right after the other quite quickly. Are the photos good enough to replace my digital camera? For most things it’s pretty good. Outside it’s quite good. Inside it’s not that great, as could be expected on a camera phone.
7. FaceTime calling. This is the video chat feature on the new iPhone. I tested it out and it works great. It was quite interesting being able to switch cameras while we were speaking. I could go from having the person see my face to showing what was in front of the camera. Most of us know what it’s like to do video chats with a webcam, but being able to take this all over a house with you was something else. I quite enjoyed this feature.
8. Battery life. According to the usage indicator on the iPhone, I used it solidly for 4 hours and 36 minutes. I browsed the web, used various applications, and tested watching some YouTube videos. At the moment the battery is at 52%. This is a huge upgrade from the original, of course. I don’t think this represents an average day for me, though. Usually my son grabs it and he watches more videos, but I’m feeling quite impressed with the battery life so far.
9. Form Factor. You’ve already seen the shape on the internet. The band that wraps around is completely flat, unlike the previous versions. This is an advantage in one sense. The new iPhone doesn’t come with a docking station, which I think is pretty ridiculous. It’s been included in all past versions, but why not now? I’m sure it has something to do with money. But at least with the shape of this iPhone you can stand it up on a table to do video conferencing. In the past I’ve always used my iPhone as my night clock, so with the power cable plugged into the bottom of it, I was able to put on my “Night Stand” app and lay it on its side so I could see the time. This is an advantage of the flat bottom and sides of the phone.
Overall, I’m really liking the new iPhone. It doesn’t feel like a monumentous upgrade, to be honest, though. It mainly feels like things work a lot faster and the video quality is much, much better. The form factor is sleeker and thinner, which I like. I think at the moment there aren’t any apps that take full advantage of some of the other features (gyroscope) and better quality video and gpu. But I’m quite satisfied.
So what do you think? Do you think you’ll upgrade? Do you already have one? What are your thoughts on the newest iPhone?
[image from apple.com]