Should I Buy an iPhone 4?

Filed under Editorials by Kenneth Pennington on June 25, 2010 at 2:51 AM

Smartphone lovers everywhere are asking themselves this question: should I buy an iPhone 4? Should I buy another phone? Is it a good time to wait before buying my next phone?

We’ve broken down the pros and cons here for your consideration.

Pros

  • iOS 4
  • Speed
  • Design
  • Number/Quality of Applications
Cons

  • Device Problems
  • Apple, AT&T
  • Competition
  • Lack of new features

Pros

1.) iOS 4

Apple’s latest operating system update, iPhone OS 4.0, officially named iOS 4, truly adds a great deal of functionality to the iPhone. Since 2007, iPhone users have envied other devices’ ability to run multiple applications simultaneously. But, Steve Jobs and Apple have officially enabled devices to multitask in iOS 4. With Apple’s version of multitasking, App Developers can have certain pieces of their application run in the background while other applications run in the foreground.

In addition, the new operating system allows for a unified email inbox and organization with folders on the home screen. Plus, iBooks is now available for iOS. You’ll be able to read all your favorite titles on the go.

2.) Speed

With Apple’s A4 processor, clocked somewhere between 720 MHz and 1 GHz, your iPhone 4 will fly. And with 512 MB of RAM, this smartphone ranks up there with the fastest. iPhone OS is generally speedy, but with the Apple A4 processor and 512 MB of RAM, this phone is extremely fast. From various tests, we think this browser has the fastest browsing speed of any device on the market.

The iPhone’s PowerVR SGX535 is capable of pushing out 28 million triangles per second. That’s six more than the Google Nexus One. Games will play like never before with this GPU-CPU combination.

Apple iPhone 43.) Design

When you buy an iPhone 4, you can be confident you’re purchasing one of the sexiest devices on the market. The phone feels a lot more solid than its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS. Why?

For starters, Apple decided to ditch the plastic for extra thick glass. Both the front and back of the iPhone 4 is made with glass. This gives the device a unique, sexy, shiny style while making it feel less cheap than the plasticky iPhone 3GS.

In addition, Apple has added a metallic stripe around the sides of the device which looks and feels good in-hand. The aluminum based stripe doubles as the antennae for the device as well as the outer structure.

Plus, the iPhone 4 is only 9.3 millimeters thin. This is arguably the smallest, most pocketable smartphones on the market.

4.) Number/Quality of Applications

The single greatest reason to buy an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch: the Apple AppStore. The AppStore has hundreds of thousands of quality applications. In terms of the numbers, no applications store matches this one. And, you won’t find better quality applications anywhere else.

For example, check out the Facebook application for iPhone versus Android’s Facebook application. Notice the big quality difference. Developers like to create for the biggest market, and right now the iPhone owns the smartphone market.

Cons

1.) Device Problems

If you follow gadget news, you know a lot about users’ problems with the iPhone 4. Many customers are experiencing horrible signal reception, yellowing in the glass, and easily breakable casing.

We covered the signal reception and glass yellowing problems here, so go ahead and get caught up on that issue. The worst part: Apple doesn’t think the signal problem is a big deal. Steve Jobs has been quoted saying, “Just avoid holding it in that way.” We might hope for a software update, but Apple support is crushing those dreams. In a support request, users were told,

“Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

This is not good news for iPhone 4 owners. Not being able to hold the device in one’s left hand is a major design flaw.

And, while the glass casing may add to the sexiness and build of the device, glass is in fact more breakable than plastic. Apple claims the iPhone 4’s glass is thirty times stronger than plastic, but users beg to differ. Within 48 hours of launch, Gizmodo.com has posted three articles of different iPhone 4 glass breakages. That’s a lot of people breaking their iPhones. It makes you wonder how sturdy this device truly is.

2.) Apple, AT&T

Apple was once a company for those who wanted to rebel against The Man. But, Steve Jobs & Co. are quickly becoming what they once loathed. Apple’s draconian AppStore policies and their excessive control over content on the iPhone is choking out users.

App developers have less freedom on iOS than other platforms. And, users aren’t trusted to choose what kinds of apps they want on their devices with strict restrictions and the lack of sideloading.

Plus, iPhone users are stuck on AT&T. While AT&T may have the fastest network around, coverage is less widespread than Verizon Wireless. And many users call AT&T somewhat evil considering their choke-out of Android devices. Overall, there is a lot of unhappiness when it comes to AT&T. But, if you want the iPhone 4, you’re stuck.

Motorola Droid X3.) Competition

The smartphone market lacked competition until Google and Apple joined the game in 2007. Since then, phones have become more advanced than ever before. Google’s Android operating system is growing some massive numbers, selling over 160,000 devices per day. The Google Applications Market is expanding at a rate much faster than Apple’s store, and we can expect the pace to increase as more and more hot devices are introduced.

The Motorola Droid X is a worthy competitor to the iPhone 4. With a speedy 1 GHz TI OMAP 3640 processor, this phone flies extremely fast. And, it matches the iPhone in many other areas including 720p capture from its 8 megapixel camera.

And, the HTC EVO 4G from Sprint boasts HDMI Out, video calling, 720p capture, and a 4.3″ screen.

Android phones are quickly catching up to the iPhone in terms of apps and functionality, and some Android phones have more features than the iPhone 4. In the next few months, we can expect Android phones to make greater leaps toward the future. Motorola’s head Sanjay Jha says he personally wants to see a 2 GHz Android phone by 2011.

Overall, the competition is looking pretty attractive. You might want to wait before shelling out the dough for your iPhone 4. Or, you can pick up the Droid X on Verizon starting July 15th, and the EVO 4G on Sprint right away.

4.) Lack of New Features

The iPhone hasn’t changed all that much with this latest edition. Although the update was definitely more significant than last year’s 3G to 3GS update, there wasn’t much added to the device. Sure, the camera’s better, and there’s a video call camera. But, FaceTime video calling can only be used on WiFi networks, and the speed of the device hasn’t changed much. There’s still no HDMI out, no boosted screen size, and no microSD port.

We’d like to have seen a lot more new features on the iPhone 4, considering its Android competitors already out-feature it, in terms of hardware.

Comments are closed.