The display is 3.5 inch diagonal with a 960 by 640 pixel IPS LCD screen. IPS technology translates into more accurate colour and a wider viewing angle which is evident on viewing the screen. A 3.5 inch screen has been a standard size for all iPhones barring the recently launched iPhone 5, which is the first iPhone with an increased display size of 4 inches.
The iPhone 4 was the first phone that had a retina display, which was a remarkable innovation and has existed in all iPhones since. This technically means that the screen has a display capability of 326 pixels per inch and at this display capability the naked eye cannot see individual pixels. As you can imagine, a display with this pixel density results in you viewing ultra sharp text, pictures and videos on your device. This truly is an outstanding feature and should be a standard on any smartphone display today.
Looks wise the iPhone 4 cannot be faulted, and the fact that Apple has used the same design for it’s successors the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 shows that a lot of thought has gone into designing and manufacturing this phone. The all new design boasts of a futuristic look and feel, using just glass and steel elements for it’s exterior.
Glass for optical-quality and scratch-resistance, and stainless steel for strength and durability. This specially engineered glass is comparable to sapphire crystal and thirty times stronger than plastic. At 9.3mm this is one of the thinnest smartphones ever made and is 24% thinner than its predecessor the iPhone 3GS. All in all this phone exhibits extraordinary build quality, which you will feel the moment it is in your hand.
On the top edge is the headphone jack, the second microphone and on/off-sleep/wake button.
At the bottom, on the left side is a microphone followed by a 30 pin dock connector in the center and the phone speaker to the right of it.
The left side has the ring/silent switch at the top with the volume increase and decrease buttons below it.
The right side has a smooth finish with no buttons or protrusions of any sort. Towards the center is the SIM card tray, which you can eject with the SIM eject tool provided in the box.
The iPhone 4 uses the Apple designed 1GHz A4 chip and is available in two variants, 16GB and 32GB. There is no external memory support on the phone, though iCloud provides you with an additional 5GB of space online. The iPhone 4 supports WiFi and can be used for browsing the net even without a SIM card inserted. It is capable of download and upload speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and 5.8Mbps respectively. It can be used on 3G networks globally though it does not support the newer 4G LTE networks available in developed nations. The iPhone 4 boasts of a dual microphone for noise suppression so you can use it in noisy places like the subway or a nightclub and still expect good voice clarity.
Onboard sensors include a GPS, an accelerometer and a compass. But the latest sensor to be added to these that were available on the iPhone 3GS, was the 3 axis gyro. This gyro, along with the accelerometer, enabled the iPhone to register when a user turns around gravity. In other words, for the first time, the iPhone could now provide 6 axis motion sensing. This makes the iPhone 4 perfect for core motion API’s and gaming. Other sensors built into the iPhone 4 are the proximity and ambient light sensors.
The iPhone 4 launched on iOS 6, however now uses the latest apple operating system, iOS 7. The interface is smooth and easy to use, and will be instantly recognisable to an iPhone user. Nothing much changes here, icons and layouts are the same. Recently used or open apps can be easily accessed by pressing the home button twice. You can pull down the notification blind from the top of the screen to see the weather and stock bars and other enabled notifications. It’s easy to use interface is simple and intuitive, even for newcomers.
Social integration is built in with settings for facebook and twitter available on the phone. All you have to do is sign in and install the apps and you are set to go. Signing in to facebook will automatically download your facebook friends to the contacts app and your facebook events to the calendar app, keeping all the information up to date. You can also post status updates, photos and other content straight to facebook or twitter through the notifications blind.
The iPhone 4 has a front facing camera for video calling, which gives VGA quality pictures and videos. This was again a new hardware feature on the iPhone, along with an LED flash for the main camera which was missed on its predecessor.
The ability of this phone to make video calls via facetime was a game changer when it was launched. Facetime allows iPhone 4 users to call other iPhone users using a Wi-Fi network. It needs no setup and boasts of amazing video and audio quality. A great feature of facetime is that you can change to your main camera during a video call, and show your contact what you are seeing. Given that facetime was a big leap forward for apple with the iphone 4, today video calling is available on all smartphones.
The main camera on the iPhone 4 is a 5 megapixel camera capable of video recording at720p at 30 frames per second, which is HD quality. It is equipped with tap to focus for focussing on anything in the frame, for both still pictures as well as videos. Though you need to tap the capture button again, post the camera focusing, if you are taking a picture. When shooting a video, this works like a dream and you can keep tapping the subjects on the screen to focus on them.
The camera capture interface on the phone is very basic, there is nothing much here to play around with at all. What you have is an auto flash on off switch and a shooting in HDR mode option for pictures. Image editing capability provided in the photo gallery is minimalist and what you get is an auto enhancer, a red eye removal and a crop button. The video editing provided out of the box is again very basic and just allows you to trim the video duration. For doing anything else, you will need to purchase the apple iMovie application which is an outstanding apple product, available at the iTunes store.
Even though Apple does not give the user much creative control over the camera, the resulting pictures speak for themselves. In day light, picture quality is good and the video clarity is outstanding. However low light photography, is another matter. The flash fails to shoot at times when you are in the auto flash mode in low light conditions and picture quality could be better.
Media on the iPhone 4 is another story, all media, which includes pictures, music and videos have to be synced onto it using iTunes on your computer. There is no other way to put media on your device, which is quite a bummer. Media you purchase in the iTunes store becomes available on your iPhone instantly, and on any other apple device you may have. Coming to Bluetooth, transferring media to or from another device using Bluetooth is again not possible on the iPhone, another instance of how closed the iPhone architecture is when it comes to handling media.
Tapping the Music icon takes you straight to your music playlists, from where you can switch to alternate views like artists, songs, albums among others. The audio quality on the apple earphones is excellent and music sounds great even at full volume which is really loud. I don’t see anyone using the music player at these levels, and strongly suggest using the volume limit option in the music settings. The onboard speaker on the other hand has good clarity but is soft and you will need to pump up the volume all the way, so I propose you avoid using it altogether and instead use the earphones with a volume limit. A bluetooth speaker is a wise investment!
Watching videos on this phone is a nice experience thanks to the retina display, but a 3.5 inch display in today’s world is not acceptable and is quite an eye strain. If you watch a lot of videos on your phone then this just isn’t the phone for you, as there are bigger screens around that are easier on the eyes.
When it comes to gaming, this phone outshines, due to the display clarity as well as the inbuilt Game Center app which interacts with all the games you download onto this device. Using Game Center you can create an online gaming identity, upload your contacts to get personalised friend recommendations, earn achievements and challenge friends.