CNET First Look
Apple iPhone 4The iPhone 4 is a sleek, satisfying, and compelling device that keeps Apple strongly competitive in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
>>Hi, I'm Kent German, Senior Editor here at CNET.com. Today we're taking a first look at the Apple iPhone 4. So, of course, this is Apple's newest iPhone. It has a lot of new features. Has a redesign. First, we're going to take it out of the box though. Just pop it off the top there and, you know, there it is. So, from the start you see this is a very different iPhone and design. Take off a lid there and inside you have, of course, a small instruction sheet, you get the small wall plug that we've seen, normal USB cable and the standard iPhone earbud. So, pretty standard as far as the box goes. You know, the iPhone 3G and 3GS merely were tweaks of that original iPhone's design. This is a lot different. It's flat on both the front and the back so the nice thing it does it doesn't wobble when you put it on the table anymore. We have a pair of iPhone 3G that we have here. You'll see that it is a bit thinner. It's actually 25% thinner. Apple says this is the thinnest smartphone around. That certainly maybe true for now but, you know, the thin smartphone race changes constantly so I don't think it will hold that title for long. It does have glass on the front and on the back. Do notice on the back in particular it attracts a lot of smudges and fingerprints that we didn't see on the previous phone so you want to watch that. You'll see a metal band encircling the entire phone. It actually is a new antenna as well. You do see a couple of notches on the top, on the side but Apple didn't say that this would improve call quality. They didn't actually promise that. Perhaps this redesign is an effort to make those things better. Some of the other changes you'll see is there's a new noise-cancellation microphone here right on the top that's next to the 3.5mm headset jack and the power switch. Here on the side the SIM tray which used to be on the top has been moved to the side. Of course, it is a Micro-SIM slot and the volume rocker has been redesigned has split volume buttons. A small change but I like it actually. The silencer button has been revamped just a little bit but you'd barely notice it and down here on the bottom you see that same 30-pin connector jack, the speaker and the microphone and, of course, the home button is completely the same. The phone is 4.8 ounces so it actually is the same weight as the original iPhone. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were just a little bit lighter. You don't really notice it. It definitely is smaller though and I noticed that immediately taken out of the box, it is a bit narrower and measured across the front face and I already told you that it is thinner. I do think that when I look at it alone, it certainly looks small and I particularly noticed it when you put the phones side-by-side. Couple other changes you in design you see that there's a camera right here that is a VGA camera. You can use that for self-portraits or the FaceTime video calling feature. It is 5 megapixel. It also records HD video. The iPhone 4 isn't the first handset to offer this feature but it certainly works well. We recorded some quick videos and they looked really great. There's still no white balance or brightness or color tones or anything like that but kind of use to seeing that from Apple but never really taken the camera and added a lot of customization with it but I think with these updated certainly makes the camera pretty good. Along with the new camera you will know a couple of tweaks to the interface. There is control for the Flash. You also see a small control for switching between the front and rear cameras so everything is really accessible up front, sounds pretty cool. The FaceTime feature is Apple's new video calling feature. That's, of course, the video chat service that you can use with another iPhone 4 person and be able to chat over the air. You do need to be on Wi-Fi to use it. Just for the time being they say through the end of this year. The video can be a little pixelated, it can be a little jerky. I think it works pretty well, though, and it's certainly fun. I just can't imagine it lasting much past the novelty stage. >>Is the other restriction. >>Yeah, the other restriction is don't get too close. >>Also, we need to talk about that display of course. This is Apple's retina display and the reason they call that is they say that its resolution is beyond what's perceivable by the human eye. There's been some debate about whether that's really true but I can say that the display is absolutely stunning. You can't see any pixels as all. Colors are fantastic. Text looks great. Websites, photos, videos, everything I was looking at was really, really great. When you put it next to you, you really need to zoom in to see it but you do see a definite difference there. Apple certainly stepped up the display and made something that's really competitive. So, glad to see that. The iPhone 4 does have a new processor and from the start I can tell you that it was completely faster. Doing anything, opening apps, going between menus especially that camera shutter actually that was really, really quick but this phone is certainly faster than what we've seen before. As I said the iPhone 4 does have a bigger battery. Of course, we haven't done a full battery drain yet but in just the brief testing I've done, it seems like it's doing well. With the multitasking we saw with IOS 4 there is, of course, the concern that that will put a drain on the batter faster. The way Apple designed multitasking they say that it isn't going to do that and I haven't found anything yet but it's always nice to see a bigger battery so certainly welcome those. Of course, feature wise the iPhone 4 brings a lot of things and with the added IOS 4 it brings even more. I won't get into the IOS 4 changes here but if you want to learn more about the IOS 4 changes, I did a first look at the IOS 4 so you can check that out. On the whole this is the biggest upgrade to the iPhone since the iPhone 3G. I think if we took them independently, if you took the iPhone 4, you took the IOS 4, you took those independently, they'd be great but when you add them together you really come with a compelling sleek and really nice device. Of course, there are so many great smartphones out there so not going to say that it's the best cause to do that would really ignore so many smartphones and how fast the technology world develops. If you're an iPhone fan and if you like what Apple has designed as a smartphone experience, this is a great phone. I'm Kent German and this is the Apple iPhone 4.