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Let's be honest here, what really makes the the iPhone 4 stand out is its new 'Retina Display'. Yes, Apple has crammed in some other new features too - gyroscopes, extra microphones, video calling, better Wi-Fi, multi-tasking and yet more megapixels for the camera - but these alone don't raise the iPhone 4 above the shoulders of …

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Test

Please explain what happens when you drop one onto a concrete floor.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Test

I imagine it will break - just like my missus' plastic Nokia did the other week.

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Joke

Re: Test

Well, I dropped my T-Mobile pulse onto concrete, back and baterry flew off leaving main bit of phone face down on paving slap ... fearing the worst picked it up - no crack to screen, put battery back in and clipped back on, turned on and it was all working perfectly!

So, another example of how Android is superior to other phones!

(Ok, I'll admit that if you dropped an iPhone then its unlikely that the battery will fall out!)

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Bronze badge
Pirate

Nokia...

Have really gone down hill lately. Time was you could chuck your nokia around and it'd survive no worries.

I remember back in the day dropping my 3210 in a river, could see the screen lit up and working at the bottom with full signal. Fished it out, dried it - worked first time.

This is the sort of thing I expect to see in a phone test.

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g e
Silver badge

My HTC Magic

Has survived two drops onto concrete perfectly intact.

Back came off, battery popped out is the extent of the drama here.

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My nokia...

... got run over by a lorry. The LCD screen cracked, no doubt, but the phone, surprisingly could still be used to make calls...

Because I was/am a scabby bastard I continued to use the phone for months, till I decided to just get a new one (yes, another nokia).

Food for thought.

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Grenade

My Nokia 5110

Got run over by a car. Ok, it was my car I admit, and I felt a bit of an arse for doing it. The screen cracked but was still readable, and the phone worked fine for the 2 weeks it took me to get around to going into the shop and replacing it under the insurance.

My Blackberries on the other hand have never lasted more than 3 months.

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Jobs Halo

Same as with other iPhones?

I've dropped various iPhones on tarmac, concrete and other hard surfaces and the tend to just bounce of the corner, leaving a scratch or a dent as I don't bother with phone condoms.

One day I dropped an iPhone 3G on the shiny hard tiled floor of my local train station and the screen shattered into a billion cracks with a few shards hanging off it. As I don't bother with insurance or extended warranties I rang my nearest Apple Store and booked an appointment with a "Mac Genus". When I got there he asked "What can I do for you today" and I produced the shattered phone, he checked my details and said "Would you like a free replacement?".

So I got a replacement of a 20-month old iPhone 3G that was battered and scratched with a brand new boxed one ... for free. Nothing. Nadda to pay. Cheers Apple!

(My friend did a similar thing and ended up paying £140 for a new screen, perhaps his smile isn't as nice as mine?)

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Anonymous Coward

"Apple will have the 4GS ready and that really will blow your socks off"

No, just playing catch-up with HTC.

Good review.

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Dead Vulture

Inaccuracies

I experience zero signal degradation when i deliberately cover up the bottom left of mine. Nor do I experience any issues with the proximity sensor - works fine. Plus you don't have to use ANY airtime minutes to use Facetime - you don't need to ring, you can just press the Facetime button on the contact.

Other than that a surprisingly fair-sh review, especially considering the Reg's fondness for 'iPhone 4 ate my hamster' Sun-style 'journalism'.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Innacuracies

"I experience zero signal degradation when i deliberately cover up the bottom left of mine."

Oh well then they must all be fine.

Panic over everyone; someone tell His Illustrious Steveness.

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Thumb Down

Please, please, please

Stop sharing your experiences with the antenna. It's an absolutely proven hardware issue, it may NOT result in bars dropping, but there is a significant drop in signal quality behind the scenes. You can read more about it if you actually paid a little attention.

Head over to Anandtech.com for some pretty thorough information

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WTF?

Doh!

'Oh well then they must all be fine.'

Hmmm... don't think I actually said that. Muppet.

Was actually pointing out that it's not a problem with ALL of them.

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Stop

@Piro

"Head over to Anandtech.com for some pretty thorough information" why dont u head over there your self. From the Anandtech site "Cupping tightly - This is the absolute worst case and involves squeezing the phone very tightly, like people are doing online in videos demonstrating all the bars going away. I squeeze the phone hard and make sure my palms are sweaty as well. You'd never hold the phone this way because it's physically painful." Do u understand now ? You have to actually be TRYING to loose all bars. Not something u would ever do while making a phone call.

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Unhappy

Re: Doh

Sigh. Why do I even bother? Headdeskheaddesk etc.

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Flame

Where Anandtech fails

What Anandtech doesn't do is go on to explain that everyone's hand has different resistance and impedance. It is largely a function of how much of a sweaty fat fuck you are. For some people you can only get 24dB lost gain on the antenna by cupping tightly. For some people, just gently holding a finger over the antenna join will kill more than 24dB. Therefore some people will have the problem more often than others.

Next, and this is a key point from Anandtech. If you have a very strong signal in your area, and you have reasonably average hands, you may not notice any problem when you cup the phone. If you start with say 3 or 4 bars though, you could kill all the signal. So you, I'm already jack comment is really rather pointless. I suggest you go and buy yourself some clue - if you can afford it after blowing all your cash on Apple products.

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Thumb Up

It is largely a function of how much of a sweaty fat fuck you are.

Thank you. I have seen allusions to this elsewhere, but you are the first to express it in clear language that I can understand. Since I am a very sweaty fat fuck, I shall avoid buying this product.

Much obliged.

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Anonymous Coward

No signal degragation for me either

http://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/jobs_halo_32.png

My Iphone 4 experienced no signal degradation despite my entire hand covering the bottom of the antenna. While this is not a scientific experiment, I can say that my Iphone 4 works just fine out of the box. Since my company gave me the phone and the data plan for free (as long as I work for them) I can say I am very pleased with my Iphone.

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Jobs Halo

fair review

nuff said

not seen either of the two issues, no signal drops or face detection issues either.

phone is a veritable piece of technolust/envy and I'm very happy with mine, of course i've got no friends with one yet, so no facetime for me.. :p

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Happy

Fixed it for you...

phone is a veritable piece of technolust/envy and I'm very happy with mine, of course i've got no friends, so no facetime for me

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Jobs Horns

Hardly

I thought it sounded like it had been written by Apples marketing department.

Where are the comparisons with other mobiles or the last generation ?

Where are the faults ? 2 mentioned and dismissed in the next sentence.

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no envy here ....

"phone is a veritable piece of technolust/envy "

oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear.......

"of course i've got no friends."

Corrected that bit for you :-)

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Flame

no fixin' required

@Mr Burns and AC (assuming Smithers)

No fixin' required, just needs a s/w update apparently.

It does amaze me the amount of negative press Apple gets her at El Reg, or even the amount of vitriol spewed by people who have no clue in the comments, but at least one of you had the balls to sign their name against it.

It's a bloody good phone, but if it didn't exist, then I doubt the current crop of phones would be anywhere near the current state of technology.

Android wouldn't be a competitor, WebOS might actually have saved palm, and Windows 7 would be out in 2011 (oh wait, the last is probably still true)

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A fair review

It's nice to see a fair review of the iPhone 4 instead of the usual "ZOMG teh phonez doesnt wurkz when you hold teh bottum left". I can re-create the problem on my phone, but in general use I never hold it in the way that interferes with the antenna. That's not a conscious choice, it's just the way I naturally want to hold it.

I've had mine since launch now and I've been generally quite pleased, and the speed boost over my old 3G is brilliant. It used to take over a minute to load a web page on the 3G, the iPhone 4 does it in seconds. The camera also is really excellent compared to what was on the 3G. All in all though, it's actually more of the same, which is fine, but it's not as revolutionary as the 3G was for me after years of Windows Mobile.

I agree with the reviewer about the lack of need for multi-tasking most of the time. After Windows Mobile's way of handling things, I thought the elegance of only allowing one app to run at a time was a smart solution to limited resources, a small screen, ease of use and ensuring the running app is able to use the full power of the system.

As to whether it's a better choice than an Android device, I'm not sure. I've got quite a large array of games and apps on my iPhone now and I generally think iOS is a nicer interface to use. I am however very jealous that Android has Flash, as that's probably my biggest bug-bear with the new iPhone. I'd have preferred a 64GB model too as I've already filled the 32GB... If Android starts to get more games and the platform fragmentation problems are sorted out, my next phone might not be from Apple...

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Bronze badge

75%?

how can a product that you have to hold a certain way for it to do its main function gain a score of 75%? Are you bonkers?

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FAIL

RE: 75%?

"how can a product that you have to hold a certain way for it to do its main function gain a score of 75%?"

It's not that you have to hold it a certain way, it's just that if you'd read the article or any of the comments, you'd know that it's VERY hard to hold it the wrong way...

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Great review

Thanks, Mr. Smith, for your fair review. However, I find one thing confusing: You spend six and a half pages of an eight page review extolling the virtues of the iPhone 4, explaining how each of the new features are so well implemented and some an improvement over the previous generation; yet at the end, your verdict throws all that away and seems to focus on all the flaws.

I'm not suggesting that it has no flaws, only that if these flaws are such a deal breaker, why not spend some effort in explaining them in a bit more depth, at least in balance and contrast to the rest of the article.

I'm curious to know, if the new features work so well, and the core functionality is much improved, and if you claim that you haven't experienced call-dropping issues yourself (as also others); why would the vociferous but anecdotal claims of some change the value of the device?

Thank you much for your review,

-dZ.

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FAIL

well...

"yet at the end, your verdict throws all that away and seems to focus on all the flaws."

Because the phone throws all its usefulness away by being majorly flawed in its primary purpose.

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FAIL

What the hell?

Why does my Nokia 2630's signal drop like a rock the moment anyone picks it up, thus dropping the incoming call? (Yes, I do live in an area with a terrible signal. So are most of those iPhone 4 complainants.)

Why does my mother's old Samsung phone have the same problem?

Why do my brother's LG and my sister-in-law's Alcatel mobile *also* have similar issues?

Granted, this isn't a formal piece of research, but it's still big improvement on just one isolated piece of anecdotal evidence.

Incidentally, none of these phones are less than 2 years old. If other companies are allowed to get away with this "issue", what's the big deal?

ALL phones suffer signal degradation if you're cupping them in your hand. Humans aren't 100% transparent to electromagnetic frequencies. MRIs and even X-rays would be pretty bloody useless if electromagnetic waves just passed right through you without taking the blindest bit of notice.

The iPhone 4 has shifted *over a million units* since its launch, yet the media is, at best, reporting only a few *hundred* cases. This suggests it's *not* quite as mammoth, embarrassing, show-stopper problem as the rabid, frothing mediatards are making it out to be.

And it sure as hell isn't a problem unique to the iPhone.

(The proximity sensor? I'd put my money on it being caused by dud parts. QA processes are good, but nobody's is perfect.)

And no, I don't own an iPhone. Never have, either.

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FAIL

Why does my Nokia 2630's signa..blah blah blah

Yeah, coz a 3 year old phone CHEAP-AZZ phone definitely can be equated to an iPhone. We'll ignore the cost differential and contract requirements shall we? Or the fact that it's meant to be better than the previous generation?

Genius.

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Big Brother

Did you get a permit...

...to photograph those meatwagons?

Also, one registration blurred out, but another one isn't. (Not that I think either of them should be mind.)

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Happy

Rejoice!

I suppose that new that s.44 has been officially killed, he can't get 44'd anymore. Happy snapping!

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Thumb Up

Reasonable

So, the review is pretty reasonable. I have seen the signal issues, the yellow blotch and the sensor issue over the 2 iphone4's in my house. I now have a case and so the signal issue seems to be almost non existant now - but I always had a case on my 3GS too so it's not a big change for me. The Yellow blobs went away when I got the phone replaced in an Apple store. I tries using it for many hours over 4 days and that made no difference so replacement was my option. Sensor issues... well they can probably be fixed in software and only cause a problem for me under lower ambient light conditions.

Multi-tasking hmm.. now if it really was multi-tasking and if you had the option of putting a task into the background to gobble up your memory like in teh Jailbreak then that would be fair enough, but you don't have the option and it's not 'really' multitasking. Also, just because your task bar shows 30 apps, they are not all running - try something like Sysmon then you can see which apps apple decided should still be running using up vital resources. Anybody else notice that the unlock slider becomes lethargic when you have lots of background tasks ? I see this both on my iPhone4 and an old 3GS (worse).

So the big question.. is it worth it...

If you have a 3GS then no it's not worth 'buying' one, though it is probably worth upgrading if your contract remaining permits I really don't see that many differences that justify the cost of buying one Sim free.

If you don't have an iPhone at all, then it's a lot of money but it's also a lot of phone.

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Couple of points

"I have to say, for a phone, the 3GS' display was perfectly adequate. While a higher resolution might be great when you're sitting down to watch a movie on TV, when you're just casting a glance at the Weather app, a lower resolution isn't an impediment."

Try using iSSH. It's the kind of app that requires very small text to make it useful, and it was almost illegible on the 3G. The iPhone 4 makes this app usable.

"The iPhone 4 is narrower than the 3G and closer in dimensions to the original iPhone. That makes it more comfortable to hold."

On the contrary, I think the rounded backs of the 3G and 3GS make the older models much more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 4.

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Grenade

Apple OneCell

Apparently the next generation of iPhone is called the Apple OneCell. Apple commented on the proposed name stating:

"We flatly reject any claims that the new OneCell name is any way reflects the number of un-banned applications, or the fact that users are in any way locked-in, and that OneCell in no way refers to either the battery life or average intelligence of Apple users."

:-)

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Headmaster

Career advice

Don't give up the day job.

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Just one question

Tony, I know from your previous articles that you are an Apple fan and that's fair enough. But I wonder about your last comment that "the 4GS ... really will blow your socks off".

What do you base this on, given that 1) the 4G most certainly *hasn't* blown our socks off and 2)the 3GS was a minor upgrade to the 3G which also didn't blow anyone's socks off?

Cheers,

Paul

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Jobs Halo

Mr Smith - not a biased opinion, surely?

Fair review? Not really, Tony has been an apple advocate for eons and based on that alone I feel it is a heavily biased review (put in the politest way).

Glad to see he managed to pull up some criticism at the end though – although naturally, he didn’t experience any of these problems himself.

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

So, by extension...

...would you claim that someone who advocates Linux and open source programs couldn't be trusted to write an unbiased review of an Android phone, say?

In fact, to carry your argument to its logical end, no one who uses ANYTHING can be trusted to review anything; no driver should be allowed to review automobiles, since s/he already has preconceptions about how they "should" look and work and, likely, preferences for the make of car that they own...

Or, you can do what most rational people do and read a NUMBER of reviews from different sources to look for the common points, or even --quelle idee! -- try the item out and see if it works for you, rather than whinging about a reviewer's possible biases over a product that you (I''m guessing, here) have some aversion to.

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Anonymous Coward

Another feature

You forgot to mention how the camera cleverly blurs the numberplates of Met Police vans.

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Screen

You know I am just not convinced by the screen, yes it's very sharp, but is it as good looking as some of the new OLED screens, lets say the desire?

I haven't held them side by side, but have had a good look on the same day and I know which one I prefer.

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Grenade

Review and non-issues

Not sure how you can claim the issues don't affect you and then score the phone lower because of them. You are perpetuating the hype by doing this.

In the real world, the antenna issue doesn't stop the phone working as intended. My review explains this more clearly: http://www.dreamgreenhouse.com/reviews/iphone4/index.php

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Dead Vulture

Inconclusive

So you haven't been able to find any reception issues on the review unit. From what I understand you also found no issues with the proximity sensor. Yet both of these bring the rating down to 75%, meaning I should get a Samsung Wave instead, because that's better according to your reviews. No, that's not what you meant? I think I don't quite get it...

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Megaphone

Multi-tasking schmulti-tasking

Why, oh why, oh why, whenever people talk about iphone multi-tasking, do they compare it to that of Android? Despite some minor flaws, webOS clearly sets the bar for multi-tasking by which all other phones should be judged. When anyone says they "don't really need multi-tasking" they more as likely haven't ever used a good implementation of it a la webOS. That's that off my chest!

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Anonymous Coward

Shame about the waste of the screen

I had this a long time ago when I went from a quite low res-Palm device (160x160px) to a newer one (320x320px) and didn't get any more on screen. Text was the same size, icons were the same size. Clearer, yes, but no more on screen.

I am one of those people that like a lot of small text on screen and seeing that Apple have decreed that all apps are to fit the old low-res screen seems to be a bit of a waste of opportunity. I only hope that they allow app developers to include a selection of high and low res displays or something.

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Silver badge

Not entirely wasted

The browser still works as it did (and does on all recent mobiles) — the initial view is the whole page, then you can pinch zoom to whatever level you like. So that's one area where you can really take advantage of the clearer screen.

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Anonymous Coward

The secret

I've heard from "people I know" that the "retinahh" display was made to better marry the ipad and iphone app estates. It has little to do with user experience - that's just "collateral benefit".

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Anonymous Coward

You call it "collateral benefit"

I say the screen is higher res than can be seen (the point of the retina statement) hence will drain the battery faster than it actually needs too. why because of the tied resolution, soon macs will be forced to comply also.

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Anonymous Coward

Vital statistics should probably include RAM

It was a bigger deal with the move from 128 to 256 megabytes with the 3GS, but -- especially with "multitasking" and higher resolution graphics -- the most recent doubling is more than worth mentioning. Not that Apple would ever advertise it.

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Thumb Up

iPhone 4

My iPhone 4 16GB is great - none of the problems mentioned in and of these articles. I got no reception at all at home with my HTC Touch Diamond. My iPhone has reception.

When I go into a better signal area it works perfectly everytime...

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