Editor's Note: With the release of the iPhone 4S the iPhone 4 is no longer Apple's flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, it's still a powerful device and one that's available at a very good price: $100 with a two-year servuce contract.
It's also received a number of system software updates since this review was first written, and is now running iOS 5.0. This means it has most of the features of the iPhone 4S except the Siri voice-recognition system.
Every year Apple hits us with a new, shiny iPhone. This year, we are finally getting features that we've wanted for a while now, such as a new design, front facing camera, a better quality camera with flash, and of course a much improved screen.
The iPhone 4 also packs some hidden treats on the inside, making this the best model so far. Is it worth the upgrade from the iPhone 3G? Did you just recently buy an iPhone 3GS and you aren't sure if you want to upgrade already? Or maybe you have never owned an iPhone yet and are thinking the iPhone 4 might be the time to switch. Keep reading to find out, and see if the iPhone 4 can live up to your expectations.
Note: Pay attention to all the pictures in this review, as they were taken strictly with the new iPhone 4 camera.
DESIGN & BUILD
Apple gave the iPhone 4 a design overhaul from the previous 3GS version. The new model is only 0.37 inches thin, compared to its predecessor which is 0.48 inches.
There is no plastic on the exterior of the iPhone 4, and the standard silver bezel that was the trim to all previous iPhones is now gone. The front and back now glass. Supposedly, the glass used is "30 times harder than plastic", and is "comparable to the strength of sapphire crystal", according to Apple's Jonathon Ives.
Between the two pieces of glass is an aluminum strip that wraps around the entire phone. The cool part about this is that the metal trim serves as an antenna for 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth, which helps signal significantly.
When you first look at the display on the iPhone 4, it is simply gorgeous. This is without a doubt one of the best improvements on the new model. The new screen resolution is 960 x 640, up from 480 x 320 on all previous iPhones and iPod touches.
Since the screen didn't get any bigger, there is a lot more pixels per inch now -- 326 to be exact. Currently, there is no other smartphone on the market with a screen of this resolution. To the human eye, it is almost like a digital print. You really can't see any individual pixels anymore, and everything is more crisp.
It will only be a matter of time before all the current applications are updated to support the resolution. The developers have to do little work to make this change.
Now if Apple increased the screen size of the iPhone, that would have been a completely different story, but I can't see that happening anytime soon.
Buttons and Controls
On the front of the Apple iPhone 4 you have the standard "Home" button, along with the proximity and ambient light sensor, and the biggest change, a VGA front-facing camera.
Around the outside of the device you can find the standby button, the new microSIM slot (which has some improved benefits over the standard SIM card), a speaker, a microphone, another microphone (that helps remove background noise), a headphone jack, a silent toggle, and two separate volume buttons.