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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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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..


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