iPhone 4: First Impressions

iPhone 4 Camera

Steve Jobs unveiled the most eagerly awaited next generation iPhone at WWDC 2010 Keynote address on Monday.

As usual the attendees got an opportunity to spend some hands-on time with Apple’s new iPhone after the event to find out if iPhone 4 is “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone” as Apple has claimed.

So lets find out what the pundits have to say about iPhone 4.

Joshua Topolsy of Engadget:

  • It's shockingly thin.

  • The screen is truly outrageous — you basically cannot see pixels on it. We're not being hyperbolic when we say it's easily the best looking mobile phone screen we've ever laid eyes on.

  • The build quality is really solid. The home button feels much snappier, and on the whole it just feels like a tightly-packed device, but it's not heavy.

  • The side buttons are really nice and clicky.

  • iOS 4 is very familiar — there's not a lot added to fit and finish.

  • The general speed of the whole OS is way snappier. The camera app in particular is noticeably faster — shots get snapped in an instant.

John Gruber from Daring Fireball:

  • The resolution of the “retina display” is as impressive as Apple boasts. Text renders like high quality print. One thing that Apple didn’t mention in the keynote, though, is that the LCD pixels are much closer to the surface of the touchscreen.

  • In addition to being thinner than the 3GS, the iPhone 4 is narrower. The display spans almost the entire width of the device, and it feels smaller in your hand.

  • The build quality is incredible. It feels dense and extremely rigid.

  • iMovie for iPhone is impressive as hell.

  • The flat metal edge makes it feel much more like a camera when you’re using it as a camera.

  • Speaking of the camera, the 4 has a wider angle lens than the 3GS camera. This is a good thing, in my book. It’s not a lot wider, but it’s noticeable.

Dan Moren, Jason Snell from MacWorld:

  • Despite the new phone’s outwardly different appearance, some things haven’t changed. When you first heft the iPhone 4, you still get the sense that it is an extremely solid, well-put-together device.

  • The display units we used had a slightly tacky feeling to them; it’s hard to tell whether or not they’ll be prone to sliding off of inclined surfaces.

  • The buttons are nice, in that they require firm pressure to activate and they give a pleasant response under your fingers; it feels less likely that you’ll hit one by accident or that the volume will get changed when you slide your phone in a bag. They also have subtle + and – symbols engraved in them, letting you identify them by feel.

  • We placed an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4 side by side. The results were readily apparent. Text on the iPhone 3GS, while quite readable, showed noticeable pixelation. We couldn’t pick out any pixels on the iPhone 4’s text.

  • Photos and videos are absolutely spectacular on the iPhone 4. It really is like looking at a self-illuminated photographic print, not a computer image. High-resolution videos play smoothly and look immaculate.

  • The photos we took looked great in preview mode on the phone.

  • When you turn the flash on and press the shutter button, the LED flashes once to allow the camera to meter the brightness, and then a second time to take the picture. The results seemed decent, though we’ve learned from other smartphones that an LED flash isn’t always the best choice if there’s enough light to shoot without.

  • FaceTime itself worked great in the demos we saw carried out by Apple’s employees. Video quality in the FaceTime chats seemed somewhat variable; it’s definitely not a high-def video experience, but it doesn’t really need to be. 

  • Starting a chat couldn’t be easier, however. You dial a friend with an iPhone 4, and then tap the FaceTime icon in the Phone app to initiate a video call. There’s no app to launch and no buddy list to configure.

  • Given just how much processing power is required to edit video, iMovie’s performance was impressive. It felt very smooth.
  • iBooks on the iPhone 4 takes great advantage of the new phone’s high-resolution screen. Text is amazingly crisp.

Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica:

  • The phone definitely feels good in the hand—not slippery like the original iPhone, but the same squared-off hand-feel that you don't get with the 3G or 3GS.

  • We weren't sure if we'd like the look of the glass back, but after having played with the iPhone 4 for a while, we can see how it will work out better than the all-too-scratchy plastic of previous models.

  • Video chat worked sparingly during the demos because the WiFi was spotty, but when we played with the video camera on its own, what we saw looked good.

  • As for speed, the iPhone 4 is fast. It's hard to perceive the differences between an iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, but it's definitely on the speedy side, on par with the iPad.

You can also checkout our article to find out all you wanted to know about Apple’s new iPhone 4 and also this article for all the new features in iOS 4.

We can’t wait to get our hands on iPhone 4. How about you? Will you be buying or upgrading to it? We would love to know, so please drop us a line in the comments.