First Sight: iPhone 4

4.00

Hallelujah! The new iPhone is thinner, faster, and easier to get a grip on – and the battery lasts

If you're an iPhone user, you'll probably have a love-hate relationship with the thing. It's cool, for sure, but it runs out of charge too quickly, making it through the day with alarmingly little juice to spare. And then there are the call-making issues: a few times a day it'll take a long time to connect a call. Is that always down to the network? And don't get me started on the humdrum camera without a flash, or curved back cover so that I felt it might slip out of my hand. Today's launch of the new model, iPhone 4, has a lot riding on it.

I managed to snag an iPhone 4 to bring you the first definitive review. It looks gorgeous, has an amazing screen and great operating speed. It's slim (9.3mm), chic and it feels secure in my hand. The front and back are made of tough glass, the edge of grippable stainless steel.

The screen is high-resolution, christened the Retina Display. It makes text much more readable than on other mobiles. The camera has been upgraded to a decent 5 megapixels. Other phones can beat this but the results here are sharp. The LED flash means I don't have to shoot in bright daylight any more. Even better, you can shoot high-definition video and even manipulate it on the phone using the neat iMovie editing app. Again, the leap forward from regular phone video is huge – so expect a surge in amateur video journalism.

This is the first iPhone with a front-facing camera, so video calling is now possible. FaceTime, as the feature is called, is intuitive to use and painless to set up. Video quality is strong, not least because it uses the entire 3.5-inch screen. Mum, you really can see me now.

But you can make FaceTime calls only through a wi-fi connection and while this means it's free and ensures decent video quality, it limits its availability. Still, it's streets ahead of other video calls and you can even switch to the rear camera with one touch ("See, I really am in Centre Court.").

Occasionally people would tell me: "I know you're on an iPhone, the call quality's less-than-perfect". The new phone has an extra microphone to cancel out ambient noise, and callers told me call quality was "fine".



Video: David Phelan reviews the iPhone 4

The handsome stainless steel band that edges the phone works as its antenna, and I haven't had any problems with signal quality. But best of all, this machine has a bigger battery. Hallelujah! Daily charges are still best for peace of mind, but never did it drop below 60 per cent. I made regular and frequent data downloads and internet usage, made calls and checked emails, though only infrequently used GPS. New software, released earlier this week, means the iPhone 4 (and 3GS) now offer multi-tasking, which many phones already have. So if you want to keep hearing TomTom's directions while checking email, now you can.

I love the new iPhone: it's a massive improvement. It looks good and fixes previous problems. But should you trade up from your current phone to this year's model? It is not cheap: from £499 without a contract. Contract prices vary between networks, but a 16GB iPhone 4 on an 18-month £35-per- month contract costs £169 on Vodafone (300 minutes talktime, unlimited texts, 1GB data), £179 on O2 (300 mins, unlimited texts, 500MB data), and £229 on Orange (600 mins, 500 texts, 750MB data). Tesco Mobile will give you the phone on a shorter 12-month contract for £229 (750 mins, unlimited text, 1GB data).

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

    Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

    £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading web hosting pr...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003