6 Takes On Apple's iPhone 4

We've heard your first impressions, but now some of the official iPhone 4 reviews are in. And so far they sound good. Here are the highlights of what the early reviewers are saying.

Engadget: "We're not going to beat around the bush - in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package. Yes, there are still pain points that we want to see Apple fix, and yes, there are some amazing alternatives to the iPhone 4 out there. But when it comes to the total package - fit and finish in both software and hardware, performance, app selection, and all of the little details that make a device like this what it is - we think it's the cream of the current crop."

WSJ: "It has some downsides and limitations-most important, the overwhelmed AT&T network in the US, which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor. I'll get into that below. But, overall, Apple has delivered a big, well-designed update that, in my view, keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars."

Boing Boing: "The fourth incarnation of Apple's iPhone is an incrementally improved, familiar device-not a new kind of device, as was the case with the recent introduction of iPad. Yes, the notable features with iPhone 4-both the device and the iOS4, which came out yesterday in advance of the iPhone itself-are mostly tweaks. But what tweaks they are: Apple's focus on improvement is as much key to the quality of its products as innovation. But there's one flaw it doesn't improve: the poor quality of calls placed over AT&T, which remains the iPhone's only US carrier."

USA Today "Buyers won't be disappointed. The killer feature is what Apple calls FaceTime video chat. The promise that you and the person you're talking to on a phone can gaze into each other's eyes dates back to when LBJ occupied the White House. No one has really nailed video calling through the years, at least not the way Apple has nailed it here, with certain limitations. FaceTime is as simple as making a regular call. To help to accomplish this neat stunt, iPhone 4 adds a front-facing camera that complements the more traditional, and improved, camera on back.

There are other iPhone 4 features worth crowing about: high-definition video recording, super-crisp display, a handsome and thin stainless steel and glass design. Apple says the glass is chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic. To reinforce the point, an Apple executive dropped it in front of me. The phone was undamaged. Inside is an A4 processor, the power-efficient chip used in the iPad."

New York Times: "The first thing you notice is the new shape. Despite a beefier battery (16 per cent more likely to last a full day), a faster processor and upgraded everything, the new model is still noticeably thinner and narrower than before. How is that possible? In part, the trick was squaring off the back. It's no longer gracefully curved - a design that, if you think about it, created wasted space around the rectangular components. The new iPhone is two glass slabs, front and back, wrapped by a stainless-steel band.

The result is beautiful, and since there's no more plastic, it feels solid and Lexus-like. But it no longer feels like a soothing worry stone, and it's now impossible to tell by touch which way it's facing in your pocket. The new metal mute and volume buttons are much stiffer. Still, Apple says the iPhone 4 is the world's thinnest smartphone, and most people will approve of the trade-offs."

CNET

"We welcome the new design elements on a couple of levels. The flat backside means that the iPhone will no longer wobble when it's resting on a table. Also, even though the overall effect is a tad boxy, the handset has a clean and unmistakeably Apple look. At 0.37 inch (9.3mm), the iPhone 4 also is 25 percent thinner than its predecessors. Jobs called it the thinnest smartphone around, but since that race changes daily, it may not hold the title for long."

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