I’ve had an iPhone 4 for around eight hours now, and have come to the conclusion that writing anything that reads like a review would be premature at this point. Too much of what’s important–video and photo quality, performance, battery life, and more–is dangeous to judge based on first impressions. (And multitasking, one of the key new features, might take weeks to get a grip on–I want to try multitasking-enabled versions of all my favorite apps.)
Herewith, some disorganized first impressions from my time with the phone so far:
- The guy who sold me my phone at the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco, Gabriel, was the same dude who I bought an iPhone 3GS from last year–and he instantly remembered me and greeted me like an old pal. (No, I don’t think he knew I’m a blogger.) My favorite Apple Store moment ever; a great retail experience, period.
- One of the major pieces of news so far involves apparent mysterious dropped calls if you touch the bottom left-hand corner of the phone. As a southpaw, I was rattled by the prospect–but I’ve tried repeatedly to intentionally trigger the issue, and have failed.
- I also don’t see any yellow spots on the screen. (Worst product-quality problem I’ve noticed to date: The protective plastic on the phone’s front and back was weirdly greasy and grubby. as if someone at Foxconn was eating Junior Mints while working the assembly line.)
- So far, all my calls have gone through without problems, and sounded very-good-to-excellent. But I’ve made most of them around my neighborhood, where AT&T coverage is generally commendable. I’m planning to visit the AT&T Bermuda Triangle known as San Francisco’s SOMA district tomorrow, and am curious whether the 4 will fare better than my 3G and 3GS did.
- I like the new industrial design–it’s infinitely posher feeling than the 3G or 3GS, and I wonder if it’ll set off build-quality wars among Apple’s rivals. Strangely, the thinner and narrower shape doesn’t look strikingly different to me when I stare at the phone and contemplate it, but it’s noticeably less of a spacehog in a shirt or pants pocket.
- The “retina” screen looks great to my eyeballs–the difference between iBooks on an iPhone 3GS and iBooks on the 4 is startling. But I have a Verizon Droid X here as well–with an also-extremely-pleasing 4.3″ screen that packs fewer pixels–and I’m thinking that if all other phone features were equal, I’d take more square inches over more pixels.
- I’m crossing my fingers that the glass-front-and-back construction is as tough and scratch-resistant as its reputation. (After years of buying iPods, I still reflexively assume that all Apple products will be coated in a veneer of scuff marks within nanoseconds of the time I remove them from their packaging.)
- FaceTime is a lot of fun–in the image above, that’s me chatting with my friend Dale Larson, who was first in line this morning at Apple’s Union Square store in San Francisco. But it was a little bursty during my first call (both Dale and I have somewhat shaky Wi-Fi at home).
- I haven’t formed any definitive opinions on the camera yet other than (A) I’m glad to have an iPhone with a flash; and (B) I need to get better at keeping my hand steady (I’ve been spoiled by point-and-shoots with image stabilization).
- I thought about switching my AT&T plan from unlimited to the new cheaper 5GB option, but decided to stay put. I’m intrigued by multitasking VoIP apps and want to try them before I subject myself to a cap on data usage.
- I should have seen it coming, but the iPhone 4 doesn’t work with the rather pricey iPhone 3GS stereo integration device I had installed in my car a few months ago. Apple doesn’t mess with the dock connector, but it keeps making electrical changes that render old peripherals worthless.
Much more to come. If you’ve got an iPhone 4, tell us what you think so far…