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A teardown of the iPhone 4 showed it to have been beautifully designed and packing a great set of hardware.  (Source: ifixit)

  (Source: Engadget)

iPhone 4 (left) vs. iPhone 3GS (right)  (Source: Engadget)

iPhone 3GS display resolution (left) vs. iPhone 4 "Retina Display" (right)  (Source: Engadget)
Reviewers say iPhone 4 beats Android sets hands down, but has flaws -- network, multitasking, and notifications

The iPhone 4 is launching officially tomorrow.  Pre-orders are arriving today and some lucky pre-order customers received their phone yesterday.

Every year the iPhone launch frenzy seems to only grow more massive.  This year pre-orders quickly sold out.  So what's the fuss about?  We're about to find out.  Today we present to you a pair of early reviews and the first teardown of the phone.  The overall message?  Most will be willing to put up with some minor software or network bugaboos in exchange for the iPhone's unparalleled hardware and packaging.

Without further ado, let's first begin with perhaps the first complete teardown of the phone. 
iFixIt has taken a shiny new iPhone 4 and torn it into tiny pieces.  

While the most expensive iPhone 4 has a capacity of 32 GB, the unit only has 29.06 GB of Samsung NAND, leaving you 28.77 GB after the 301 MB install of Apple's OS and supporting software.

According to the report, the case design's modifications mean that it will be easier to remove the rear panel (to replace the battery, for example) but harder to replace the front glass.  Moving on, there's a 3.7V 1420 mAh Li-Polymer battery, 512 MB of Numonyx RAM (as rumored), and an A4 processor with 1 GHz Cortex A8 Core onboard (although the final clock speed dictated by the OS is unknown).  Other previously mentioned improvements include dual microphones, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, and a new screen made of Corning Gorilla Glass, a chemically strengthened alkali-aluminosilicate thin sheet glass that is reported to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic.

IFixIt seems pretty impressed with the design.  They write:

In what can only be described as a work of genius, Apple has integrated the UMTS, GSM, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth antennas into the stainless steel inner frame.

The dual purpose stainless steel inner frame/antenna assembly addresses possibly the two biggest flaws concerning previous iterations of the iPhone: continuous dropped calls and lack of reception.

Meanwhile those who reviewed the phone had similar reactions.  All Things Digital and Wall Street Journal editor Walt Mossberg loved the Retina display, scratch proof casing (which survived several 3 foot drops on hard surfaces), and improved camera.  He says the multitasking might fall a bit short as only some apps are allowed to truly multitask, in order to save battery life.  He explains:

In fact, for many scenarios, such as games, Apple’s version of multitasking is really just fast switching among open apps that save their place. And, even to achieve this, the apps must be updated. For some users, this limited version of multitasking will be a disappointment.

Walt's biggest complaint, though was the network.  He states:

The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it’s shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network.

He concludes:

Just as with its predecessors, I can’t recommend this new iPhone for voice calling for people who experience poor AT&T reception, unless they are willing to carry a second phone on a network that works better for them.
For everyone else, however, I’d say that Apple has built a beautiful smartphone that works well, adds impressive new features and is still, overall, the best device in its class.

Engadget also reviewed the device.  Joshua Topolsky bragged about the iPhone 4's battery life and managed to squeeze out 38 hours on a charge.  The site was disappointed though at the lack of widgets.  The thing that most ticked it off though was notifications.  Topolsky writes:

We're at version 4 of this OS, and we're still plagued by these intrusive, productivity-freezing alerts. If you're as busy as we are, then you know what it's like to get invite after invite for your calendar, text messages, and push notifications that just stall the phone out. While every other modern OS-maker has figured out an elegant way to deal with notifications (including the forthcoming Windows Phone 7), Apple clings to this broken system. Why? We can't really say.

As to the hardware, Engadget showed the iPhone 4 a whole lot of love.  Topolsky says the camera works great in low light conditions, video calling is slick, and that you "won't find a better display on a phone."

The site concludes its iPhone love-fest commenting:

We can't overstate how high-end the design of the iPhone 4 is. The 3GS now feels cheap and chubby by comparison, and even a phone like the HTC Droid Incredible -- which just came out -- seems last-generation.
...
We're not going to beat around the bush -- in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package.

Is the iPhone 4 really the  "best phone" on the market?  That's up to you to decide, but that's the opinion being voiced by early reviewers.  And, hey, it even comes with free tracking.



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Is it the best iPhone?
By quiksilvr on 6/23/2010 9:59:46 AM , Rating: 5
Yes. Is it the best phone in the market? No.

EVO is a superior product in the hardware sense (microSD expansion, HDMI out, better front facing camera, better back facing camera, 16:9 widescreen).

Now as of now, in the software sense (Android 2.1 vs iOS4), obviously iOS4 is smoother and runs fairly quickly on iPhone 4. However, Froyo not only has has a faster browser and a generally improved experience, it has Flash, automatic app upgrading and WiFi/USB tethering built-in. And widgets.

Keep in mind, there are several factors:
1) Who's your carrier?
2) Which software do you prefer?
3) Do you really care about microSD expansion or HDMI out or a better front facing camera or 16:9 widescreen?

It all depends on the user, but to me, I'll take Android over Apple any day.




RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By reader1 on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By piroroadkill on 6/23/2010 10:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
Is what you'd say if your name is reader1


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By reader1 on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By xler8r on 6/23/2010 10:47:44 AM , Rating: 1
Whoa there buddy. Regardless of personal feelings on either companies, look at the facts and their operating structures. Despite how Google has diverged from their original path, they were at one time a directed energy beam at One thing, its search engine tech. Its certainly changed since then, but the fact remains they're not a hardware maker, I for one hope they never do venture into consumer hardwarez.
A specialized market focus, if done right has always benefited companies and this combo of HTC-Google is indicative of just that.

Now, lets look at Apple and ask ourselves why they are using Intel. I rest my case.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By AssBall on 6/23/2010 11:55:31 AM , Rating: 3
At least I can have my Porn Apps. What the heck are you supposed to spank it to with an iPhone?


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By Gio6518 on 6/23/2010 12:27:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
At least I can have my Porn Apps. What the heck are you supposed to spank it to with an iPhone?


not only can you look up porn but the phone can finish you off too

http://www.androlib.com/android.application.net-te...


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By darkblade33 on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By B3an on 6/24/2010 5:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
Cellular web? What year are you living in?

Most new Android phones will be able to visit and properly display websites designed for desktops/laptops.

Sites like youtube might automatically not display Flash after detecting a phone browser even if the phone supports Flash, but the vast amount of sites wont do this, including most pr0n sites.

Bit of a rant here... but BTW Flash is running extremely well for me on Froyo with hardware acceleration, and watching a Flash video of playing a Flash game does not drain the battery any quicker than viewing a video in a media player or playing a non-flash based Android game. It proves that Apples stance on Flash is total BS.

Have you ever tried to run the HTML5 demo's on Apples own site, on a iPad or iPhone? even for the most basic of things like a fade out animation it completely cripples the CPU.
Things that are are vastly more complex in Flash will run perfectly fine on Froyo.

But This is the web experience Apples wants you to have.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By DEVGRU on 6/24/2010 10:49:28 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
At least I can have my Porn Apps. What the heck are you supposed to spank it to with an iPhone?


Uh, HELLO... Pictures of Steve Jobs? Duh.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By Gio6518 on 6/23/2010 12:17:19 PM , Rating: 5
inferior ?
crapple finally caught up to were android was 6 to 9 months ago.....

yup 5 mp is better than 8 ? (NO)
512 mb ram better than 384 (YES)
1ghz cortex a8 underclocked better than 1 ghz snapdragon (NO)
screen resolution better kinda technically.(screen resolution depicted by the human eye is relevant to screen size and distance, so viewing both at 18 inches away with 20/20 vision then no the evo will look better)
OS4 compared to Froyo (NO)
screen size (NO)
3G compared to 4G (NO)
crapple OS security (NO)
http://www.macoscompatible.com/news/story/ios_4_ad...
5,000 fart apps (YES)


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By omnicronx on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By darkblade33 on 6/23/2010 7:50:34 PM , Rating: 3
1ghz cortex a8 underclocked better than 1 ghz snapdragon
( YES ) .. if you're just looking at clock speed they look equal .. but you're not seeing how much work each processor can do for each clock tick.

Below is a review from anandtech showing the same processors you speak of ..

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3633/apples-a4-soc-f...


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By weskurtz0081 on 6/23/2010 1:04:56 PM , Rating: 2
How many Android phones have you used? How about the Nexus One, ever use that? I have owned both the iPhone and the Nexus One, and I have to say, it's quality is easily on par with the iPhone, both devices being top quality products.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By dguy6789 on 6/23/2010 6:06:43 PM , Rating: 2
Apple doesn't manufacture anything. They design something and then have a company called Foxconn(a company known for shoddy quality in the PC world I might add) manufacture all Apple products.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By rocky12345 on 6/23/2010 10:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
is what you say if you lived in the magical land of Apple & can not see out of the rotten core.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By iFX on 6/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By quiksilvr on 6/23/2010 10:10:53 AM , Rating: 2
And by "generally improved experience", I meant that between 2.1 and 2.2 and not 2.2 vs iOS4. I have no knowledge on overall GUI experience, but I do know that 2.2 browser is indeed faster.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By FATCamaro on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By cknobman on 6/23/2010 10:42:30 AM , Rating: 5
Dont talk out of your ass it makes you look like a fool.

The EVO does flash, I know because I own one and use it everyday. It dosnt support FULL flash today but it supports a smartphone version of flash that has been good enough for every flash site ive been to except for 1 and that was only a limited part of the site as well.

General usability? LOL Ive had both and used both and while the iphone is easy to use (for simpletons) the android platform is 10x more useable than the iOS because of what you can do with it. Its nice having some decision making capabilities rather than doing what your told all the time.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By FATCamaro on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By cknobman on 6/23/2010 11:15:12 AM , Rating: 5
Coming from the mouth of someone who likely has an iphone and obviously dosnt have a phone with flash lite.

Hmm if flash lite lets me view 99% if sites with flash on them vs. the iphone which lets me view exactly 0% then flash lite is better than nothing and its still goes to show that there are features in the CURRENT version (2.1) of my EVO that are better than the iOS 4 which directly disproves your earlier statement of needing to wait for android 2.2 to come out.

In fact every single person with an iphone that has seen my EVO with flash lite was in disbelief when I could go to simple sites like speakeasy and do a speed test when their iphones crapped out.

You are the idiot.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By omnicronx on 6/23/2010 4:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that pretty much all android phones will get REAL flash in the coming months once Froyo 2.2 is released, right?

Even right now you can get it on your EVO on 2.1 (thanks to the guys down at XDA)..

Thanks for being a moron and not adding to the conversion though!!!


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By darkblade33 on 6/23/2010 7:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
I get the feeling Google is adding Flash to Droid more for apps though and not for the mobile web. Remember one of Google's main guys is the lead guy for HTML 5, and Google ( not just Apple, and Microsoft ) has put alot money and time into making sure the cellular web has a strong HTML5 showing seems to be banking on it. I dont know every reason google wants to use HTML5 ( like they did with Youtube ) .. but Flash on the cellular web could only slow it down and consume more power from a device that needs to be more power efficient.. Just my two cents..


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By Shadowself on 6/23/2010 2:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is no best smart phone on the market.


IMHO, this is the only factual statement made in your post that will never be refuted, FIT. The rest is either open to interpretation or will be configuration dependent.

"The Best" is all dependent upon the individual user. For some the iPhone *is* the best smart phone. For others it is an Android phone. For others it is a Windows phone. Hell, I know people who HATE not having a physical keyboard. I know people who HATE anything that is not a clamshell phone. To each his own. No single phone is no true best smart phone.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By plewis00 on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By SkullOne on 6/23/2010 10:46:22 AM , Rating: 2
Considering there is no official Android based Slate PC out yet, yes your user experience probably sucked.

At this point I won't say iPhone is the best and I won't say Android is the best. I much prefer Android versus iPhone though. I kicked my iPhone 3G to the curb for Droid and haven't looked back, but that's just me.

To each their own with what phone they want.

If you want freedom and control over your hardware then you want Android. If you want to be told what you can and can't do with your hardware then get an iPhone.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By plewis00 on 6/23/2010 11:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
You are 100% correct, but these problems didn't bother me on the Android-slate I had because I'm technically-minded enough to see through them and the device for what it is (and at less than a fifth the price, I'm sure you understand why). When I say the software was unfinished I mean little things like you wouldn't see on an 'official' device like the 'no SIM card' message (it doesn't have a SIM slot!), the power management lacking, etc.

I may be slightly-biased because I am already partly locked into Apple with iTunes and my iPods but for proper work I use a Bold 9700.

And also, my iPhone is jailbroken (which is really the only reason I went with one).


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By finbarqs on 6/23/2010 10:55:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think the apple has a few superior things going for it: Battery life, Build Quality (Yes my EVO 4G has the light leak-screen rising problem -- so dust got under the glass), arguably a better design, smoother operation, BETTER CAMERA, and 24-bit coloring (16.7 million simultaneous colors as opposed to 16-bit coloring (65k simultaneous colors). Plus engadget's close up of the comparison between a nexus one screen and iPhone4 screen makes the iphone4's screen look godly.

In digital photography, higher megapixels translates to smaller pixels, given the sensor size stays the same. smaller pixels means a higher pixel density. That's why apple addresses this issue by saying "We've kept the pixel density the same, just made the sensor bigger to accomodate the 5 megapixels". More resolution just means that you can make larger prints. Doesn't translate to a more "detailed" picture. In fact, quite the opposite. Each pixel on a camera sensor is like a "light collecting bucket", where the bigger they are, the more information, more light they can gather. So larger pixels actually translates to more detailed pictures, and your lens (since they are using tiny lenses) will be able to resolve the sensor. Having such a crammed sensor might translate into the lens not being able to resolve the camera sensor, causing some cases of diffraction to occur.

I'd say iPhone 4's camera is superior to probably any camera phone on the market right now! Think of it this way:

it's like comparing a 5D Mark 2, to a 21MP Hasselblad or a PhaseOne.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By quiksilvr on 6/23/2010 2:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
They got INSANELY close to the screen. How about a nice side by side comparison of movies? Show us pics and then show us an HD video of side-by-side. A 32" 1080p will look better than a 40" 720p, but which one do you think you'd get if both were the same price?

And I need to see an extensive camera test between the Evo and the iPhone 4 to see which is better. And FYI, "The Best Camera on a Cellphone" title belongs to the Samsung Memoir.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By omnicronx on 6/23/2010 4:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
I see where you are going with this but your analogy is flawed . With a 40" TV, you will always be seeing a 40" image regardless of what resolutions it supports. In that sense surely people would pick the bigger screen.

Where your logic is flawed is the vast majority of people will never take advantage of an 8MP camera. 5MP is what is needed to blow up an image to around 8x10, with the average use being much smaller.(pictures on facebook etc).

Making matters worse as the OP pointed out, the iPhones pixel density has remained the same while upping the MP. I know for a fact that this is not possible with an 8MP part, sensors of the same density for that price point don't exist.(which is one of the main reasons they only jumped to 5MP). Cramming in all the MP's you can may actually have a negative effect. The lens does not get enough light, causing diffraction issues (among others) as the OP noted.

MP's are rarely equal and only a tiny piece of the equation, especially when talking about small form factors.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By maven81 on 6/24/2010 12:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Each pixel on a camera sensor is like a "light collecting bucket", where the bigger they are, the more information, more light they can gather. So larger pixels actually translates to more detailed pictures, and your lens (since they are using tiny lenses) will be able to resolve the sensor."

This is incorrect. Larger pixels most definitely collect more light, but they never collect more detail. The detail depends on the sampling of the lens/sensor arrangement. It's true that if you have a tiny lens that supports say 10px/mm at best and you stick a sensor that has 30px/mm behind it you're just wasting all those pixels. You'll get a photo that's 3 times larger but has the same detail as one taken with a 10px/mm sensor and is 3 times smaller.

But if we're talking a high quality lens that can resolve tiny details of course a sensor with smaller pixels will have a higher resolution. To achieve the same resolution on the sensor with bigger pixels you'll have to increase the focal length of the lens, and then you'll have a much smaller field of view.

There are other factors of course... signal to noise ratio, dark current, etc... but even then these effect the quality of the image, not the resolution of the image.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By omnicronx on 6/23/2010 3:29:25 PM , Rating: 1
I few holes in your theory.

1) Better camera to whose standards? MP is not everything, more MP requires more light and as the rule goes.. the more MP, the bigger the sensor.. the less light. Over 5MP cameras are useless on phones right now, its just not cost effective to pair the lens with the right hardware to take advantage.. in fact said hardware doesn't really exist for the form factors required. The result, I would not be surprised if the iPhones 5MP camera is better than the EVO's 8MP camera.
They have switched manufacturers since the last time around, and from the teardown of the iPhone 4, it looks like people will be quite happy.

2)16:9, yes it maybe 16:9 but the iPhones resolution and ppi is actually higher than all android devices.

3)As it stands, its a little overrated. It can only play youtube and videos from your sd card..(as with the Apple, it requires 3rd party devs to access the appropriate APIS, only problem being the only phone with this functionality, there will be no rush to take advantage of said features for one phone, unlike Apples app store that will most likely take advantage far sooner i.e no slingbox output etc for the EVO as it currently stands) It also shudders like no tomorrow with 720P videos captured by the phone, and seems to have problems in general with videos larger than its native resolution. The external display of an iPad at 1024x768 looked better in many situations..

4)Hardware.. the iPhone 4 is by far the best CPU/GPU combo on the market. There is really no denying this.. As stated before, even the 3GS outputs more mflops than the Nexxsys One / EVO / Incredible.. (i.e the GPU is much better, qualcomm is not known for making good mobile gpus) Also does not have its frames locked at 30FPS =P.. a HUGE problem with some of the big name android devices currently on the market..

Will never buy an iPhone myself, and my next device will definately be Android.. but I think its kind of hard to disagree that right now the 4g is the best phone on the market. Now of course this will change in a few months, as for all intents and purposes, top of the line android devices could get two hardware refreshes by the time the next iPhone is released.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By maven81 on 6/24/2010 12:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
"the more MP, the bigger the sensor.. the less light."

The sensor is only bigger if the pixels are the same size. And I'm sure you mean less light per pixel.


RE: Is it the best iPhone?
By Enoch2001 on 6/24/2010 2:07:39 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It all depends on the user, but to me, I'll take Android over Apple any day.


For me, Android is a cluster fuck of a mess and about as elegant as an ass with the mudd-butt. iOS4 delivers elegance in spades, by comparison. ust my 2 cents.


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