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Apple iPhone 4 Hardware Review - -

Design 10
Usability 10
Installation (PC/MAC) 9.0
Value 9.0
Distributor: Apple
James Wright
Release date: Out Now


Apple iPhone 4

We were a huge fan of the iPhone 3GS and when we heard about the new iPhone 4, we were a little apprehensive, however after reviewing this item, our fears were alleviated. Needless to say as an iPhone 3GS owner, I'm desperately waiting for my contract to end to get this new techno baby.

The Basics

The first thing that we noticed about the iPhone 4  was the new shape, slightly squarish and that it was a fraction heavy then the 3GS model. Another difference is that the SIM card is located on the left side of the unit as opposed to the top on the 3GS model. Lastly (and as seen in the commercials), the iPhone 4 has a new camera on the front of the unit which finally allows for video calling.

New Features

  • FaceTime (Video Calls)

  • Retina Display (New high quality screen)

  • Multitasking (Switch between Apps instantly)

  • HD Video Recording and Editing

  • 5-Megapixel Camera with LED Flash

  • Folders for Apps (Organise your Apps)

  • Apple A4 Processor (Faster usage)

The First Time

When the iPhone 4 was turned on, I was gobsmacked by the clarity of the screen which boasts a whopping 960x640 resolution thanks to its Retina Display. I thought that the iPhone 3GS was clear but after using the iPhone 4. It is exceptionally sharp with text looking much clearer, pictures looking more vibrant and more importantly, giving you a better iPhone experiencing that was good to your eyes. This technology is called Retina Display and because the pixel density is so high, our eyes are unable to distinguish between individuals pixels.

Needless to say the result is quite impressive and before we go on, let's talk about the features and specifications. With two models available, 16GB or 32GB, consumers have the choice of either a white or black unit. For those that want to know what comes in the box, this is what you get;

  • iPhone 4
  • Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic
  • Dock Connector to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation

In terms of size and weight, the unit measures at 115.2mm (h) x 58.6mm (w) x 9.3mm (d) and measures at a relatively 137grams which is only just 2 grams heavier than the 3GS model. Don't ask me how I felt the difference but amazingly enough, I could.

Folders, Multitasking & Games

Compared to the 3GS model, just using the phone was for everyday apps was considerably faster and best of all, it included real multitasking and my favourite aspect, the ability of folders. That's right, the new iPhone was not cluttered with icons all the place and everything had it's place... relatively, anyway. I tested a variety of games and applications for the iPhone 4 and the WOW factor was made evident. Call of Duty looked amazing, Avatar looked spectacular and even some of the older titles like Plants vs. Zombies or Flight Control, it was like playing a new because of the clearer sharper graphics. 

The good thing about multitasking on the iPhone 4 is that it allows for flawless (almost) switching between third party applications and is accessible by pushing the home button. Whether it's a game, your e-mails or another app, swapping between apps was a huge improvement over the 3GS model but it should be noted that not all apps support this functionality. Multitasking even works for applications that use GPS and in terms of the GPS capabilities of the iPhone 4, the battery life of the unit lasts a little longer compared to the previous model when we tested TomTom Australia.


Another reason why the screen is superior than the previous iPhone model is thanks to IPS (in-plane switching) which is used by other high quality Apple devices that in turn achieves wider viewing angle which keeps things clear no matter how you hold the device. Finally, the glass that protects the touch screen is more durable as well, ensuring that it is more resistant against scratches and reduces grime and oil from fingers and the like. Add in the Retina Display and you have one of the clearest and most colourful screens available in the mobile market.


But what you really want to know is if there is something wrong with the Antenna on the iPhone 4? We tried desperately to be disconnected from an iPhone call and no matter how hard we attempted to be disconnected, we couldn't do it. No matter how we held the phone or where we touched it, our connection remained and once again the media has jumped on the tall poppy syndrome of Apple because only a relatively small number of people had issues with reception. In terms of using this as a phone, it's quite straightforward and best of all, the clarity is exceptional, whether you are using this via hands free or normal, this smart phone works perfectly as its primary design. Video calls is something else!


The biggest change to the phone is the ability of video calls, thanks to the tiny camera on the front of the phone. It's great that Apple now allows for video calls and hopefully telecommunication providers will allow some reasonable rates for the Australia public.

Another striking feature of the camera is that it now supports a flash (hooray) and supports HD video (720p) recording which was silky smooth when we tested it. As most smartphones record everything that it is focused at, the iPhone 4 camera is a little different and by tapping on the screen, you can even focus on a particular person or object for additional clarity.

The 5MP camera also takes excellent snapshots that mimic real-world colours quite well. Like taking videos, the camera supports manual focus on items or people in your shot or for those clichéd FaceBook or MySpace pictures. Another win for Generation Y.

Apple iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3GS

This is a tricky question because if you already own an iPhone 3GS or you are on an existing contract, you will need to weigh up the differences. Hopefully the table below can help but as you can see, the iPhone 4 has quite a few new features. For us, the iPhone 4 is more powerful, has a better screen, boasts superior HD video recording, supports multitasking and lastly, improved better life. Needless to say, I was disappointed to send the review unit back to Apple!

  iPhone 4 iPhone 3G S
Processor Apple A4 600MHz, Cortex-A8 architecture
Operating system iOS 4 iPhone OS 3
Capacity 16GB or 32GB 8GB, 16GB or 32GB
Display 3.5-inch Multi-Touch display with 960 X 640 resolutions 3.5-inch Multi-Touch display with 480 x 320 resolutions
Primary camera 5-megapixel with flash and auto-focus function 3-megapixel with auto-focus function
Secondary Camera VGA resolution Nil
Video recording 720p at 30fps with optional iMovie VGA at 30fps
Connectivity Quadband GSM, pentaband HSPA Quadband GSM, triband HSPA
Sensors Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope Accelerometer, compass
FaceTime video calling Yes Nil
Available colors White and Black White and Black
Battery life Up to 7 hours talk time on 3G, 14 hours on 2G

Up to 10 hours data on WiFi

Up to 40 hours audio

Up to 10 hours video

Up to 5 hours talk time / data on 3G, 12 hours on 2G

Up to 9 hours data on WiFi

Up to 30 hours audio

Up to 10 hours video

Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm
Weight 137 grams / 4.8 oz. 135 grams / 4.76 oz.

Our Opinion

Even though apps and games run and look considerably better on the iPhone 4, personally and if I had a relatively new iPhone 3GS, I would wait. However for those in the market for a brand new phone than this is the phone for you. There are other phones available on the market with touch screens and the like but for now, the iPhone 4 is far superior and personally contains better applications. It's also easier to use which is another bonus for users and it's still your one stop shop for talking, taking pictures/videos, playing games, listening to music, accessing the internet and is easy on your eyes.

I'll say it again, this phone is amazing and is a must have piece of technology!


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