So when 3 UK announced they were doing iPhones just one month before my pay monthly contract was about to expire I was tempted by the option of upgrading to a smart phone. And so I did exactly that in true style by going straight for the iPhone 4 🙂
So far I was using the Sony Ericsson k850i which I have to say was pretty “smart” already. I could browse the internet on the tiny screen, check email and the auto-focus camera and flash were near enough in quality to a commercial point and shoot camera. But I decided what the heck, let’s try this iPhone malarky out and see what the fuss is all about.
So after about a month of use here’s my review of the beast. Bear in mind that this is my first iPhone ever, so not only am I reviewing the new iPhone 4 but I am reviewing the whole iPhone experience.
Touch Screen and Fast Texting
Touch screen technology is extremely intuitive, smooth and elegant to use, I can’t imagine life without it now. You certainly don’t need a keyboard as much and it is so much fun to watch the screen dance around. The touch keyboard is a qwerty one which makes texting on the iPhone 4 lightning fast, any mis-hits on the keyboard are corrected by the spell check too.
The Gorgeous Screen
The so called retina screen is absolutely beautiful, the screen is crisper and clearer than any computer screen I have watched. And zooming into web pages and photographs reveals clarity that is not even possible on a computer screen. The touch screen makes surfing the web really really easy and I am surfing the web on the iPhone 4 more now.
High Definition Video
This one certainly tempted me a lot. I take a lot of videos and I like a bit of video editing…and I had been doing this for a good two years. Taking videos is also really useful for me during band rehearsal where I can get our fans on the lowdown of our backstage life. I have a dedicated video camera for this but the iPhone 4 beats even that in terms of resolution! And the clarity of focus isn’t far off. Add that to the fact that it is optimised for even the darkest lighting conditions, this one is a sure winner. Check this video out of a gig I saw at a festival.
There’s not one..but two cameras on the iPhone, one at the front and one at the back! The normal back camera can be focused with a tap on the screen on any object you want and you can also zoom in. But compared to the Ericsson phone, this is not much at all! There is no extra functionality to adjust…the flash is pretty poor as well in comparision, often missing the timing by…well….a flash! Maybe they are working on this, one hopes so at least. Here’s a shot I took of a pretty landscape in Northern England.
Other fun things
There are an incredible number of apps available on the iPhone, for instance you always have google maps handy, you can check the weather anytime, stock prices and one of the more useful for me..I can teach some pretty cool Maths with it. The graph applications are really sweet, with full zoom into 2-D and 3-D curves and really intuitive ways to see and experience the cartesian axes. This one is a lifesaver for my tutoring adventures. You can also read books on it too.
Battery Life and Facetime
All of this fun comes at a price…well, a comprimise more like. My old Ericsson had a really amazing battery life..and I miss that a lot. It could go up to 4 days with pretty good usage of multimedia stuff included. The iPhone 4 typically lasts 2 to 3 full days. 2 days if you use a lot of multimedia and 3 days if you are more moderate with it. I suppose with the incredible screen and the computing it has to do, this is not bad at all. In fact practically speaking it doesen’t make that much of a difference with the shorter battery life.
Another supposedly advanced thing is the Facetime talk thing, which enables webcam style talking between two iPhone 4s. Well, they forgot to add in their advertising that this only works if both phones are connected to wi-fi broadband…Hmmm so I am still waiting for all my friends to get an iPhone 4 and then be at home so I can facetime with them.
All in all though and despite the price I had to pay for it, the iPhone 4 is clearly the market leader in the smartphone game and I am happy with my purchase, even though it ties me up on a contract for 2 years. And in that time I am pretty sure the competition will come up with something more competitive by which time I will of course reconsider. It certainly has changed the way I use my computer as I do most of my surfing on the phone now and even use it to send short emails and draft blog posts (including this very post!). So to me the iPhone 4/Smart phone is an absolute godsend!