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iPhone 4: First reviews talk it up, iFixit tears it down

US reviewers have published the first reviews of Apple's iPhone 4, lauding its new and improved features. Meanwhile, iFixit has exposed the new phone's guts. Take a look at their first impressions

US reviewers have published the first reviews of Apple's iPhone 4. All lauded its improved battery life and call quality, solid design, and the simplicity of making video calls. Meanwhile, the tech vandals at iFixit have not only got their hands on an iPhone 4, but they've taken it to bits and documented the process in some very nifty photos.

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal reckons the FaceTime video-calling feature is "a classic example of the value of having one company do integrated hardware and software", despite it only working over Wi-Fi and with other iPhone 4 handsets. Amusingly, that means competing reviewers apparently had to ring each other to test the feature.

Uncle Walt showed some tough love for his handset, as he "dropped it several times from a few feet on to a hard surface with no problem, and it acquired no scratches at all". UK readers will be glad to hear his only complaint is the quality of AT&T's network, which doesn't affect us.

David Pogue of the The New York Times notes the iPhone is "no longer the undisputed king of app phones" for the technically inclined. But he adds the iPhone 4 will call out to anyone who cares about "size and shape, beauty and battery life, polish and pleasure".

Ed Baig of USA Today reckons FaceTime is the iPhone 4's "killer feature", the big loon.

Josh Topolsky of Engadget loves the hardware, noting that the iPhone 4 feels "tighter and denser" than previous models and makes phones like the Motorola Milestone seem "last-generation". Call quality is improved: taking his first call on a busy Noo Yoik street, "it was obvious that the secondary, noise-cancelling mic was doing some heavy lifting, at least on the other end of the line".

Battery life's better too: Topolsky claims a whopping 38 hours of normal use on a single charge. The new iOS 4 "looks, feels, and acts like multitasking, so it's pretty tough to complain about it", although he would have preferred roomier folders and less intrusive notifications.

Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing breathlessly describes the new phone as "more masculine, more substantial. Like a really hot designer watch", while the camera is "nothing short of stunning". She notes the phone can be locked in portrait mode, like the iPad, but oddly not in landscape mode. She thinks the "augmented-reality possibilities are particularly exciting" and would definitely buy one.

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iFixit reckons the new phone is a "marvel of gadget engineering". The stainless steel handset, and Wi-Fi and GPS antennas built into the case are "a work of genius", although breaking the glass front will apparently kill a bunch of components. Get a dekko at the 5-megapixel camera, above, and Samsung's A4 processor, below.

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All the first reviews reckon the iPhone 4 puts Apple back in the lead in the smart-phone market. Keep it CNET UK for our review when the iPhone arrives in Blighty tomorrow, and check out our network price comparison for all the best deals.