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iPhone 4 in Use


  1. Introduction
  2. Design and Materials
  3. Camera
  4. Call Quality and Other Troubles
  5. In-Car experience
  6. Accessories
  7. What to Choose?
  8. Applications
  9. Bottom Line


It has been quite a while since I started using my iPhone 4. It is now time to draw some conclusions or at least to try to do so: because the development of iOS is not nearing conclusion, unlike other companies, Apple assiduously and painstakingly polish the operating system and gets better with time. Currently, iPhone 4 is an icon for many users one of the most popular gadget, a must in a teenager's wishlist. For some this phone has become the first iPhone for those who waited to see the best. For some it is an epitome of controversy like for myself. Me being a user of all the iPhones I have quite a lot to share , which I am now gladly going to do now.

You may want to have a look at these articles at first:

Review of Apple iPhone 3Gs

Review of iPhone 4

iPhone 4 - about FaceTime

iOS 4: review

There is a ton of material and I remind you that we also release articles in iSoft column dedicated to software for iOS, different updates add-ons and so on.

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Design and Materials

Since my job includes extensive testing of various phone cases the iPhone has also undergone daily routine some cases are very tight, some are made of strange materials that leave marks. You may see many worn spots on the metal sides of the phone these are the from the cases I used. On the bottom you may see a small dent from falling. Actually the phone has seen quite a few falls but always in a case or a bumper so there are is no significant damage. However, you may often encounter Twitter posts with complaints like I dropped my iPhone and the glass fell off. I cannot even imagine the force you have to apply to do so or may be those are just accidents.

The glass though still gets scratches you may see a couple of them on the back, one at the bottom and another one on the top. Taking into account how careless I am about my iPhone 4 it is a miracle the materials are top-notch. I could not find any scratches on the front.

From the first day and hitherto a it is a pleasure to hold this phone a feast for tactile senses a cold metal and glass bar, excellent assembly quality. Though, from time to time the rear panel wobbles. I was not able to detect the reason but sometimes you can hear it click. This does not always happen, only from time to time.

Dust gets into the slot and the grills on the bottom, as well as, around the mute button.

Naturally, the phone catches a lot of fingerprints: after a thorough clean-up you may admire your work for a second then take the phone into your hands and all waste all the efforts. You may attach special foils or plastic bags to protect the phone but I personally would refrain from doing so.

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I hardly used the camera on the previous iPhones simply because the quality was appalling. But the 4G has become a friend of mine, as a matter of fact, I take more pictures with my iPhone than with a regular camera. It is all about the quality and, as the practice shows, this gadget is good even for work purposes.

A mixture of 2010 and 2011

A mixture of Nixon

A mixture of copies of copies

In these articles all the pictures are taken with iPhone 4 and there were no complaints about their quality, though a lot depends on the light. I upload a lot of pictures to my Facebook page: from just casual stuff to pictures taken for my work.

And before a I never really stored the pictures I took with my phone I was just too lazy. I have lost a lot of good snapshots following this pattern: I take the memory card out and presume that I will later transfer the pictures to my computer and then put the card in another phone and by the force of habit I format it so long, pictures With iPhone 4 I upload almost all pictures to Facebook and store my videos on the laptop. The video quality is, by the way, also excellent I use it both for work and fun. Here is an example:

Over fifteen thousand views without any complaints about the quality. Well, actually there are complaints in the beginning of the movie I covered the mic with my hand and the sound was muffled. Interesting enough, in a night club you may accidentally cover the whole phone it won't affect the sound quality. Here is another interesting example:

I edited this movie from four separate fragments in iMovie application in just a couple of minutes. iPhone 4 shoots HD video but the movie size is not that big at all iMovie easily operates with several movies simultaneously without any lagging. The situation is quite different for movies I shoot on NEX5.

Other interesting facts on photo and video: there are a lot of applications for iPhone that allow you to apply different camera effects. There is e.g. a sepia application or the one that transforms a human face into a space alien mug. Some people like these things.

You cannot help taking pictures and videos on iPhone 4. I have used the digital zoom only once, you should better refrain from using it, the quality is terrible. But the HDR mode picture are excellent. This picture below was taken in the evening:

I also like the quick switch between the rear and the front cameras girls often use this instead of a mirror. It is convenient but I must say I really miss a separate camera button. Or they should have made a button to which you could assign any function. Sometimes you do not have time to look for an icon a button would be much simpler.

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Call Quality and Other Troubles

There only two problems with iPhone 4. If you do not use a bumper or any other case you might be losing the signal. Yes, it is true in case of my carrier (Beeline). But the carrier has nothing to do with it: in same conditions and in same places iPhone 4 and e.g. Blackberry 9800 behave differently. The former is experiencing serious signal issues while the latter allows you to communicate normally. if you use iPhone 3Gs then the quality is the same as with the Blackberry. You should keep this in mind. Although some claim the quality to be ok you should always use a bumper and not touch the lower left side if it is not covered with a bumper.

And the second problem is the issue with the proximity sensor I am always pressing buttons with my face: I sometimes turn off the mic or turn the loudspeaker on. It might be a problem of my phone only but it also happens to me on other iPhone 4s at about 50/50 rate. I am interested to know your iPhone 4 experience on this issue.

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In-Car experience

Last fall I finally got behind the wheel. I cannot stand navigation systems and use them only in long trips like to Kiev or father. Though I have not travelled very far by car and in Moscow I use my own knowledge, a city center paper single page map and iPhone 4 with standard Google Maps (GM).

Of course, it is not the best solution and I would not recommend it to you. For an experienced driver GM is an excellent way to find your way around and go on without any maps. For a beginner it another cause of road rage and frustration.

Sometimes it astounds me hoe persistently GM tells you that you are driving on the wrong lane. Sometimes I laugh at its suggestions to make a mile detour when you can easily do without it. There is not even any guiding. And while there is 3D view already available on Android (I have seen it on Dell Streak) on GM things are better let well enough alone. Together with "spectacular" Beeline internet connection it turns into farce. I wonder how I have managed not throw the phone out of the window you drive you lose the connection you stop.

Under these circumstances you learn to know your way around very promptly: you create an itinerary, memorize the main check points and you go without looking at the phone. On the other hand, GM might be really helpful and lead you to most secluded places. I could install a navigation application (I am a wheelbarrow without a wheel) but I do not want to spend another fifty to hundred bucks. I'd better be young, wiry, angry and fast learning driver without any navigation companion.

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There is a great multitude of accessories available for iPhone 4 I use an original bumper as you may see on the pictures, it is quite worn now stretched out but I think it is one of the best iPhone 4 cases, count on me on this one.

I also like products of SwitchEasy and Ozaki, while Vaja has been disappointing been lately.

Made for iPhone / iPad: Capsule Rebel, Vroom and Oberon Design

Made for iPhone 4: Pro Covers

Made for iPhone / iPad: Ozaki, Speck and SoundClip

In car I always use the charger as you may see the adapter has a USB slot I can charge any device. It also has another slot that can work with bundled connectors including laptop chargers! A very useful device but I have not tried to charge laptops yet.

I like a lot of loudspeakers for iPhone, recently I have come to like Yamaha and Bose products.

Made for iPhone / iPod: Yamaha TSX-80

Made for iPhone / iPod: Bose Sound Dock Series II

Made for iPhone / iPod: Pioneer NAC1

Made for iPhone / iPod: Bose SoundDock 1910

The best headphone for me are Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic.

Review of Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic

Made for iPhone / iPod: Sony MDR-EX38iP

The best case with a battery, in my opinion, is Mophie Juice Pack Air.

Made for iPhone 4: Mophie Juice Pack Air

You may even use iPhone 4 as a remote control for toys e.g. for some crazy helicopters.

Made for iPhone / iPod: AR.Drone

So, there are lot of accessories and plans to review them. I will be reviewing a bunch of Yamaha acoustic systems it will be very interesting, also the best car holder from TomTom and a lot of nice cases, acoustic systems, and many more.

I would like to thank my counterparts from iCases.ru and iCover.ru stores for helping me with these articles. For Apple gadgets owners these articles offer suggestions on how to make the right choice among the swarms of strange stuff.

If you read my reviews than you know my favorites. Among the recent ones: Ozaki products very cheerful additions. The Nautilius holder is genius I have checked a few of them I must have had defective one.

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What to Choose?

People keep asking what to choose: iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 or wait till iPhone 5. Everyone knows that iPhone 5 is coming soon. They have even called me from a radio station and asked me what will the specs and the price be like they presumed I knew it. It amazes me how people sometimes make conclusions about mere rumors.

I have decided for myself and I hope my advice will help you. If you need an iPhone for calls, long conversations, not very spectacular games, browser and mail iPhone 3Gs will do. I think that today it is one of the most balanced phones on the smartphone market.

If you are ready to put up with the peculiarities of connection, but want a spectacular screen, performance, excellent camera, great looking games and the design that will brighten your day the answer is obvious it is iPhone 4. I would also add proper battery life time there is always a margin big enough even for most demanding users. And it can last for about two days if you try to save power minimum brightness, Wi-Fi off and stay low. In my case the batery quickly discharges when I use Google Maps.

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I am sure you will have your own list of useful applications, but, anyway, I will enumerate some basic applications. Since there are detailed reviews of them on the site I will only provide brief descriptions:

  • Shazam, music identification.
  • Facebook, the "original" and the most convenient client of the social network.
  • Twitter, the same only for Twitter.
  • VLC, viewing videos without converting them.
  • Dropbox, a useful file sharing client.
  • HD Wallpaper, you may find some nice wallpapers here.
  • Opera Mini, the browser when Wi-Fi is not available.
  • SPLnFFT an application that measures loudness
  • RadioBox, internet radio
  • Remote, remote control of iTunes on your laptop
  • Bookmate, a reader
  • iBook, a reader
  • readMe, a reader
  • Star Walk, a star map, really beautiful
  • Kik, a messaging client that had been popular for a few weeks
  • iMovie, a video editor, I use this one quite often
  • OldPhotoPro, a picture editor
  • Skype, you can guess
  • Abbyy BCR, visit card scanner
  • CashTrails, income/loss calculator
  • Office2Plus, a document editor
  • Google translation
  • Find iPhone
  • Qip, messaging client
  • iDisk, file sharing

Add a dozen of your favorite games and a couple of dozens of not yet developed applications. You are welcome to share your iPhone app findings on the forum in the discussion of this article. I can't help but mention that the spectacular screen is perfect for games especially with the gyroscope.

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Bottom Line

iPhone 4 has become a part of modern culture iPhone owners often make video calls, before iPhone I never made video calls now I make about one a month. For me this phone has become also a camera and a camcorder never thought it was possible. This is partly Facebook's credit uploading of pictures is very easy (I hope they will make it ossible to upload several pictures at once). I often listen to music on it and use it in my car I could really use a bigger memory storage. I have already mentioned the connection and body issues. Is it worth buying? Positively, if I, for example, happen to lose or break my iPhone I will immediately buy another one it is hard to go back now.

And this is where we should look into the future. Notwithstanding all the advantages iPhone 4 is not forever. The replacement is surely on its way and I bet it won't have the antenna issue (may be with the proximity sensor as well?). May be the screen will be left unaltered, but it will have a new processor, and a different design may be something simpler to make the phone available in many colors.

Well, there is no point in guessing we will see it in due time.

I use iPhone 4 every day, but sometimes I stop and think how uncanny it is a replacement for a zillion of devices, sometimes even for my laptop.

It is simply genius.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

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Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net), Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 27 February 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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