Product Type: Apple Smartphone
Newest Review: ... onto the home screen they still took up data usage. This is a problem with all Apple iPhones, supposedly. I would recommend getting a d... more
Apple iPhone 4 16 GB
Member Name: patw2000
Apple iPhone 4 16 GB
Advantages: Looks good, and fantastic features
Disadvantages: Signal Problems
The box is a matt white cuboid shaped object, quite small when you think that the box contains the phone, instructions, a power adapter and USB cable! All is neatly packaged, with the instructions located on top of the phone, with the USB cable and power adapter situated underneath.
The phone is protected with the familiar protective sticky plastic sheet on the front and the back, easy enough to remove should you wish without leaving and glue behind, but the touch screen is still functional with it on.
The phone is different in appearance to any other iPhone. The front of the iPhone looks very much the same except for the inclusion of a small camera located to the left of the speaker at the top of the phone. The back of the phone has lost its old curved back style for a more square shape that makes the phone a lot thinner. Located on the back is the camera in a similar position to the old iPhone, but located this time more to the top left hand corner with the addition of an LED flash as well. Around the outside of the phone is a metal silver casing which I really like the look of. However, this has been the culprit of many reception issues, of which I'll come onto later. On the left hand side, is a plus and minus button for volume controls, and a switch for turning off and on silent mode. On top of the phone are the headphone jack to the left hand side and the lock button to the right. Apple have developed the technology for the screen and have included what they call retina display. This makes colours more vivid and text clearer and sharper. When you first use it, it doesn't seem like much of a difference to older models, but when you compare them side-to-side you immediately notice the difference, especially on 3D games and photos.
One of the differences between the iPhone 4 and the last 3 models is that a micro sim is required for it to work as opposed to the standard sim card you will find in pretty much any other phone. This is something to be aware of otherwise the phone is useless without it. Mobile phone networks will be able to provide these free of charge, and you can swap your number across to it, (this only took about 20 minutes on 02 when I did it!)
Inserting the sim is very different to that of a conventional phone. In the instructions pack provided, there is a small metal tool stuck to the inside cover of the instruction guide. You need to use this to open up the sim card holder located on the right hand side of the phone. This is easy; use the tool and press it into the hole at which point you will feel it pop open so you can enter the microsim and push it back into the phone.
Finally before you can use the phone, you have to sync with iTunes on your pc or Mac. This will transfer all of your music, videos, podcasts etc that you select it to. This does take a while and is a bit frustrating, I'd recommend plugging it in and doing something else for an hour. If you can, downloading the latest iTunes update in advance before you get the phone will cut your waiting time!
The operating software of the iPhone has not changed much. One of the immediate differences is the addition of personalised backgrounds. You can choose one of Apple's included wallpapers or choose your own photo. You can even set different wallpapers for both the homepage and the 'menu' page.
Another feature that is quite useful is called folders. This allows you to put more than one app into a folder. For example, if you have games that you want to keep separate to everything else, you can select them all and put them into one folder. This folder takes up the space of one app square, hence making things easy to find. You can call the folder whatever you wish, but an automatic name will always be suggested. An example of this is shown upon first inspection of the phone, which groups the clock, compass, voice memos and calculator in a folder called utilities.
Putting the apps into folders requires you to press and hold any app until the icons shake and they indicate crosses in the top left hand corner. You can drag one app onto another for a folder to automatically be created. Should you wish to re-expand the folder you can drag them back out at which point the folder will disappear. The indication of the shaking icons also lets you delete apps you no long want as well as rearranging the apps across different pages.
Facetime is a brand new feature which is why the inclusion of the new front facing camera is included. Although I haven't been fortunate to try this out yet, the promo videos from Apple make it look very interesting. It is basically Apple's version of video calling, however making it look very easy to use, incorporating both the front and rear cameras that can be switched at a touch of a button. This is quite limited in use at the moment because currently on iPhone 4 users can use this feature over wifi! There has been recent speculation that the new iPod touch will have front and rear cameras so that they can also be used for Facetime over wifi, but we'll have to wait and see!
The rear-facing camera is also improved and is now 5 megapixels compared to the previous 3.2 megapixels. This is also improved with the addition of the LED flash, which is very good in low-level lights. You can also shoot 720p HD video with the camera, which is also controlled by the same camera application. Apple has also announced an iMovie application, which can be bought for £2.99 on the app store, which allows you to manipulate raw video footage.
Switching between apps on your iPhone is easily accessible now due to the way Apple have adapted their operating software. Quickly double pressing the home button will bring up a sideways menu at the bottom of the screen. You can view all the recently used apps, in order or most recent to least recently used, and select the app. You can completely close no longer needed apps by touching and holding any app until the crosses appear in the top left hand corner and closing them. You can scroll across to view all the apps. If you scroll to the left, you can use quick access iPod controls as well as an orientation lock. This orientation lock will hold the screen in portrait or landscape view until you choose to unlock it. You know when the lock is on because a symbol of a padlock with arrow around it indicates so.
With the recent introduction of the iPad, Apple has created a bookstore, which can be used mainly on the iPad but also on the iPhone. You need to download iBooks for free, which is a bookstore and an easy to use text reader. Many books are free to download and read, the books which need to be paid for are available to have a sample downloaded for free before you spend your money on the books. I find it is very easy and a lot better than I imagined reading the books. However, the seem to retail at the same price as normal paper books in store, but you don't pay for any of the paper, ink or delivery charges associated with downloads, so why are they the same price?!
All of the new features I have mentioned are also available as an update for the old iPhones and iPod touches as well!
The only gripe I have with the iPhone, which you can most probably guess is the problem with the network and signal. I'm on 02's network, which is pretty much, the best in the UK. Now, when I'm at home, I have always had full coverage on previous phones. However, sometimes I will have no bars and a pop up message saying 'Network Lost'. This happens when I block the bottom left hand side of the phone with my hand. I can press dismiss and the message disappears and signal bars will recover once I move my hand. Should I wish to make a call or text, I know I have to hold the phone in my right hand (which I would anyway) and the signal bars recover and the coverage is there for me to complete the action. However, it is most annoying when I'm using an app and I need two hands; especially for games; and the popup message interrupts me. Apple say they're working on a fix, but in the mean time, any case that surrounds the edges of the phone will prevent any problems. You can h get a free case at Apple's expense, which they say will cure this problem in one of two ways.
1, Buy a case when you get your phone, send off a copy of your receipt to Apple and you will get reimbursed the funds.
2, Download an app from Apple's app store, search iPhone 4 case, and you can select one of 6 cases, which Apple will send free of charge. They are the ones made by Belkin and gear4 and you will get them through the post in 4-8 weeks time. I'm currently still waiting on mine!
As of current, there are two memory sizes for the phone, 16 and 32GB. The 32GB version is around £100 more for the handset on both sim free and contract. Apple does also have a white version planned, which is apparently meant to reach the UK for Christmas. This is white on the front as well as the back, unlike previous models!
Summary: Will be 5 stars once signal problem is sorted
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