A Former Skeptic’s Review of the iPhone 4

After many weeks of debating between the iPhone 4 and the HTC Evo I made the decision last weekend; I (somewhat hesitantly) went for a new Iphone 4. I consider myself a seasoned smartphone user and didn’t want to decide on the iphone based on its cool and trendy factor. Instead I wanted to focus on the hardware and the mobile operating system. So after owning the phone for a couple days I am now writing a review.

Let’s start with the bad news. When I got to work today, I plugged in my iphone hoping to manually manage and add music to the phone. Unfortunately, when I tried to click on manage manually in itunes I got a message prompting me to “erase and sync” before I could even activate manual manage! The iphone did not show a disk in my finder window either! Turns out the iphone can only be managed by one computer. Unlike my old ipods of the past, this was a big let down.

My other gripe would be multitasking, I would have to disagree with Steve Jobs idea of “waiting and doing it right.” First, I have to click a button to see my running tasks, which are usually much more than expected. Next, I have to press and hold on an app to bring up a screen to close an app. Last, I have to physically press the little minus sign next to the app to close it. And you will get used to pressing little minus signs too – this is the only way to close an app. That’s right, after you are finished using an app you must click the home button and the app remains running in the background. Yes this can be good for performance of frequently used apps, but I will find more than a dozen apps running in the background when I start task manager sometimes; not good for performance!

Another thing that bugs me is the data monitoring. This problem mostly lies on At&t’s lame network and 2gb data cap, but I do feel that Apple could have done a better job integrating with the wireless provider. Being a heavy Pandora listener and Youtube viewer, I know I will easily surpass the 2gb limit if I do not monitor my data. Apple needs to have a better way of monitoring this! Since I have a brand new iphone, the ‘usage’ menu will work for now, but how will I always remember to reset it at the end of my billing cycle?! For now I have the ‘At&t myWireless’ app that actively monitors everyone on my account’s data. But should I really need an app for this? I think the answer is no. So I guess I’ll have to get used to switching back and forth from WiFi to 3g fairly often. While Apple does make this relatively simple, it does get to be a bit of a pain.

There are a few other things about the iphone being such a closed system that kind of tick me off, but I won’t go in to that now knowing that a jailbreak is just around the corner. This should solve my problems of getting in to the file system and running whichever apps I want. Well that does it with the bickering, let’s get to the good parts.

If you take those few annoyances out, there really isn’t much more to complain about. The first thing I noticed when I took the iphone out of the package was the amazing form factor. I have held and htc evo before and just don’t think it matches up against the awesome look and feel of the iphone. This thing is gorgeous! The next thing I noticed was the screen. It is the highest resolution screen on the market and really is an area where the iphone has an edge on competition, even on paper! The learning curve of the intuitive operating system was practically non-existent. It was that good. Last, one thing steve jobs wasn’t lying about was the batter life. This thing is like the energizer bunny, it will last days even with wifi turned on!

My last few thoughts about it would be that facetime really is awesome, but remember that it’s only iphone4 to iphone4 and wifi only! So enjoy it with those constraints. Another lesser-known feature would be bluetooth keyboards. The iphone supports many bt profiles and don’t forget that a keyboard can easily be connected. Also, the antenna issue is very real! This is probably a hardware issue apple will have to address with their next batch of iphones or a recall (don’t cross your fingers though).

So to recap, I think the pros on the iphone are the screen, intuitive operating system, form factor, bluetooth profiles, and battery life. The cons would be multitasking, wired syncing, and data monitoring.

Like I said earlier, a Jailbeak is just around the corner so hopefully that will open up a whole new level for a new iphone user. Until then, I hope you enjoyed my initial iphone review and I definitely encourage comments for discussion!

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