Review by Cam424
"iPhone 4: Perfection just got more perfect."
Back in 2007, Apple released its new flagship portable product, the iPhone. Although flawed, the phone was celebrated for its great design, genius User Interface, and the age-old Apple adage of "It just works". Flash forward a year, and we got the iPhone 3G. This device had the same specs, except it looked a tad bit better. It now had a plastic, curved, colored backing, as well as 3G and GPS support, as well as giving us the App Store. Once again, Apple hit the jackpot. In 2009, we were greeted with the iPhone 3GS. It had the same design we know and love, albeit with twice the processing power, an impressive camera with video recording, and iOS 3.0. It's the end of Summer 2010, and at the beginning, the world was introduced yet again to another revolutionary iPhone. Meet the iPhone 4. Bluntly put, this may as well be the greatest mobile device ever released...until the next one comes out, of course!
==HARDWARE - 10/10==
The iPhone 4 is the most drastic, different-looking iPhone released. Gone are the days of plastic, different parts, and weird occurrences of "What was that?". The iPhone 4 boasts an incredibly slim, sleek design, consisting of two flexible, scratch-resistance panels of Glass, sandwiched between a smooth, thin ring of aluminum which acts as the antennae. Buttons are higher-quality compared to the previous iPhones. They have more of a solid, clicking feel to them, in addition to a better, more comfortable design. The iconic Home Button at the bottom of the device feels slightly different, and has a better clicking sound than previous models. A lesser-known feature of this phone is a built-in Gyroscope, which can help with the bundled Compass app, or the many games on the App Store which require motion control. The iPhone 4 also packs a longer-lasting, larger battery than before, and has the 1GHz A4 processor, which makes everything on the phone run fluid and smoothly. One can play graphics-intensive games, multitask, and pretty much do whatever they want without fear of dramatic battery life loss, or slowdown. One flaw of earlier models of the iPhone 4 consists of signal dropping when one places their thumb, or hand across the lower left-hand corner of the phone. Thankfully, this problem has been fixed, but it has plagued early adopters.
The three biggest hardware upgrades to the iPhone 4 happen to be the very phone's killer apps. The most noticeable of which is the high-resolution display, twice that of previous iPhones. Jumping from 320x480 to 640x960, dubbed the "Retina Display", this is the most advanced, high quality display ever on a mobile device, and it shows when you're using it. Colors are vivid, videos look fantastic, and text is so clear and crisp that no matter how much you zoom in, you can't detect any pixels. It's like reading a book! Simply put, once you use the Retina Display, you can't go back to other mobile devices. The second biggest hardware upgrade to the iPhone 4 is a completely redesigned, upgraded camera with an LED flash next to it. This 5.0 Megapixel camera takes great still photos in any lighting situations, with options for zooming and tap-to-focus. The video quality has also been drastically improved, boasting 720p recording. Videos look great on your iPhone, and even better on YouTube. The final major upgrade to the iPhone 4 is a front-facing 0.3 Megapixel camera that can be used to take still photos of one's face, and to use Apple's new video chatting service, Face Time. Face Time calls look fantastic, and are really fun. The only flaw I can notice is that the front-facing camera's quality could be slightly better.
==SYSTEM SOFTWARE - 10/10==
One of the main problems of the iPhone consisted of the fact that in earlier days, Apple was reluctant to put vital, important features into its operating system, known as iOS. As time went on, users slowly got features that they needed, such as copying + pasting and MMS. The latest version of iOS (4.0) brings many, many new and improved features to the iPhone 4, truly making it a great experience. For those unfamiliar with iOS, when you turn on your device, you're met with a grid of icons, and 4 dock icons. These icons can take you to built-in apps such as the Phone, Messages, Safari (Mobile browser), iPod (Music and Videos), Mail, Camera, Google Maps, Stocks, Weather, Notes, Photos, Settings, YouTube, iTunes, and the App Store. If you have iOS 4, some lesser-used apps are put into a Utilities folder, such as a Calculator, your Clock, etc. The home screen, and its apps GUI's are easy to navigate with the large, gorgeous touch screen. Using the App Store, one can download third party software to enhance the experience of using the iPhone. Many highlights of the iPhone 4 include Netflix, CNN, Pandora Radio, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and more online services.
iOS 4 brings many important features to the iPhone 4, the first being multitasking. Requested by many, iOS 4 allows users to stop what they're doing in one app, and quickly switch to another one without exiting the current one and having to visit the home screen. Double tapping the home button brings up a panel of your open apps, as well as iPod controls, and a screen orientation lock option. Multitasking works incredibly quick and easy on iOS 4, with no dramatic battery life loss or slowdown if you have too many things open. Other important features include app folders, which can easily be used to organize your home screen. You can drag an app icon to another one, and simply create a folder, which automatically names itself to cater to the category of apps they're in. This feature really cleans up the device's home screen, limiting the number of app pages to only one or two, depending on how many apps you use. If you're going to need all that space, you might as well have something to look at, too! iOS 4 brings home screen wallpapers to the iPhone, too. You can set any picture you'd like as either your Lock screen background, your Home screen background, or both! Any wallpaper looks just fine, as the icons automatically give themselves a drop shadow, and shadow under the text, to make everything pretty and easy to read. Another fantastic feature is the concept of a unified mailbox. Now, you can access all your E-Mail from multiple accounts from one inbox. There are hundreds of other features for iOS 4, but these few are the most focused-upon. Visiting the Wikipedia page can get one fully informed. To sum everything up, iOS 4 makes the iPhone easier to use, more convenient to work with, and prettier to look at.
==GAMES - 10/10==
What good would an iPhone 4 review on GameFAQS be without focusing on games? The iPhone 4 uses its fantastic CPU, great screen, fast online networking, and built-in accelerometer + gyroscope to truly bring some of the most entertaining portable games right to the consumer. Only until recently (Late 2009), many iPhone enthusiasts criticized the App Store for its hit-or-miss selection of games. Thankfully, more developers have stepped their game up, and have worked on some great titles. Most games on the iPhone's App Store use a combination of 3D graphics, imaginative touch controls, and motion controls. This may seem like a bombardment at first, but when you keep in mind how simple this device is to use, games are great. One may assume that the touch screen can't be accurate for many games, and that a stylus is superior, but in actuality, the iPhone's touch screen is a joy to use. It's very responsive, and corrects itself many times, making sure the user can draw a straight line, or press the right item with ease. Games that use the touch screen make great use out of it, utilizing tapping, swiping, rubbing, pinching, and other gestures.
In addition to the touch screen, games on the App Store make great use of the iPhone's accelerometer and gyroscope, which at time can rival the Wii's motion control! With these two things, games can also be played by tilting, shaking, and flipping the device. The fun doesn't stop there, though. With the iPhone 4's gyroscope, the user itself is in on the fun! If you're playing a First-Person Shooter, if Gyroscope controls are toggled, one can rotate and move in the game by actually moving themselves! Little quirks like this make for fantastic fun.
As for the selection of games currently available on the App Store, there are a LOT of 'em. Hundreds of thousands, to be exact. Many major developers such as EA, Activision, iD Software, Square Enix, PopCap, Gameloft, 2K Sports, and other developers have made high-quality, console-quality games for the iPhone. Many games also make use of Online gameplay to bring FPS's, MMORPG's, and Action/Adventure games to a whole new level of fun. Apple has an interest in online gameplay, and has even opened up an Xbox Live/PSN-ish service, free of charge, called Game Center, in which users can play and chat with one another using one of the many games in the App Store.
I've been an iPhone user for a relatively short time. I've only had the 3G and now, the iPhone 4. In my one single year of owning this product, I can safely say that Apple has hit the nail right on the head, and has developed a product in which every single facet of contemporary media can rejoice and capitalize on. There's something for everyone when it comes to this device. An amazing, gorgeous design, an extremely fast processor, a gorgeous and easy-to-use Operating System, as well as a mobile Game platform with an extremely solid foundation, the iPhone 4 is a triumph when it comes to mobile gaming.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/20/09, Updated 08/26/10
Game Release: iPhone 4 (US, 06/24/10)
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