24 Hours With The iPhone 4

At around 10:30am yesterday morning I got a text message from my Dad saying that my iPhone 4 had come to his house. I had been on vacation for the past week so I had it shipped to their house where someone could sign for it. And actually I was in San Francisco on launch day, but there was no way I was going to spend 1/2 of my time there standing in the 2+ block line that had formed outside of the Apple store. I did however get a free burrito from Chipotle that they were handing out to people in line (as well as any idiot that grabbed one out of the box). So after a quick trip to the doctor to try and return hearing to my right ear, which had been gone ever since we landed in LA a week prior, I was off to my parents to pick up my shiny new toy.

Setting up the phone itself was very simple, plug in to iTunes, activate, sync… done. The only problem I ran into was trying to sync pictures back to the new phone from iPhoto. Normally I don’t use iPhoto so this was the first time I had ever taken any of the pictures off of my 3GS so it took a few minutes. Actually, getting them off of the 3GS was simple, it was getting them back on to the iPhone 4 that was giving me problems for some reason, but eventually I figured it out.

With the phone all setup and ready to go I tried out my first “FaceTime” video call… and it didn’t work. Ok, I guess I should clarify, it kind of worked, but it was unusable. Now I’m not blaming this on the phone at all, I’m blaming it on the wifi connection of my calls recipient. I was at home and know that my wifi is pretty decent, but the recipient of my call was at a crowded bar with free wifi that wasn’t very good. The call connected fine, but the video wasn’t moving and the audio was all jumbled (and actually now that I think about it, there may have been some torrents going in the background on my machine, but I can’t be sure). I’ll give it another shot tonight and see how it really works, so I won’t pass judgment on the feature just yet.

As for the cameras themselves, I’m actually quite impressed. The front camera, even though it’s lower quality than the back cam, still took very good pictures and video. The one thing I do wish I could do is swap between the front and back cameras while recording a video. If I’m doing something wrong and this is a feature please let me know. I know I was able to swap between cameras before hitting record, but once I started recording on one camera the “swap” button seems to disappear. The improvements to the back camera are fairly noticeable, but I’ll have to do some more testing than I did in the past 24 hours. Same with the “light/flash”. I took a few pictures using it, but none at night or in low light so I can’t really say if it’s that good, but the few pictures I have taken look much better and this makes me happy since I only use my phone as a point and shoot now since my old canon one broke and I hate lugging around my DSLR when I don’t need it.

The reception on the phone hasn’t been a problem for me at all, although I don’t hold the phone with the “Death Grip” that the people complaining do. I tend to balance the phone on the bottom with my pinky with my thumb on one side and my ring/middle fingers on the other side, so I’m not making the connection with my palm that other people are that is killing their reception. Also, I hold the phone with my left hand if that makes a difference… Either way, reception has been totally fine, I’ve made a few calls using the handset as well as the hands-free headphones with no issues.

Apps all seem to run a lot smoother compared to my 3GS with better performance overall. Apps open a lot faster and everything just seems a lot more responsive… And then there’s the screen, Wow! I’m seriously in love with this retina display. The 3GS screen doesn’t even compare to this, I don’t even really know how to describe it, it looks that good. The viewing angles on it are incredible, you can see everything completely clear even at the most drastic angle, it’s amazing. I have played with the EVO 4G and when I first saw it I was amazed at the screen and the iPhone 4 is right up there. I can’t make a judgment either way since I don’t have both in front of me, but I will say that both screens look amazing and I’m very impressed with the retina display. Honestly the new display alone makes the purchase well worth it, it’s so much easier on the eyes.

And lastly I want to talk about the form factor of the iPhone 4. All I have to say is thank you Apple. The new design is very sleek and much nicer looking than that weird bulge on the back of the 3GS. The whole design just seems a lot more modern and a lot more “Apple”. My only complaint about it is that it’s so damn slippery, almost to the point where I HAVE to buy a case. Normally I do buy cases for my phone because they have been slippery in the past and I do, on a rare occasion, drop the phone, but this one is so cool looking I don’t want to have to put a case on it, but I may have no choice. I can’t even leave it on my nightstand at night because the slight tension on the cord, based on where the outlet is, pulls on the phone just enough to make it slide and I’ve already read horror stories about the back glass shattering from a small fall. I do, however, refuse to pay $30 for the apple bumper case when I can just make one from a “livestrong” type bracelet for a buck (and donate to charity).

So that’s what I got so far. After 24 hours of use I’m very happy with my purchase even though the buyer of my 3GS fell through. This phone is well worth the $200 and I have yet to have a huge problem with it at all. I know the reception issues are there and it’s probably not just a few bad phones (based on all the tech blogs reports), but I don’t hold my phone in a manner that would cause me to have the problem, so I have no issues. Now I’m excited to see were the “FaceTime” chat goes in the future, I really hope the build iChat into all of this in the very [very] near future or at least open up FaceTime to the 3G network, but we’ll see what happens.