Although the official iPhone 4 launch is still two days away in the few lucky countries — we’ll likely be waiting a month or more in Australia — the first reviews from those graced with early access are now springing up on the web like those first flowers of the season. Here’s what we’ve seen so far:
Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal start us off with “New iPhone Keeps Apple Top of Class”
I’ve been testing the iPhone 4 for more than a week. In both hardware and software, it is a major leap over its already-excellent predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.
While its 3.5-inch screen, once considered huge, is now smaller than those on some other smartphones, the high resolution packs in a lot of material and makes text appear almost like ink on fine paper. The software is simply richer looking and smoother to use than on competing phones I’ve tested, with fewer confusing menus and settings, and far more apps.
Ed Baig of USA Today writes “Apple makes all the right calls on iPhone 4”
The new iPhone 4 I’ve been testing for about a week and a half — along with the major refresh of the mobile operating system software at the core of recent models — demonstrates once again why Apple’s handset is the one to beat, even as it faces fierce competition from phones based on Google’s Android platform, among others.
As with previous iPhones, the latest model breaks new ground. FaceTime video calling on the iPhone 4 is one of those cool “seeing is believing” features, and it arrives on top of several across-the-board enhancements. And iOS 4 is a mostly terrific software upgrade. Cutting through the hype, Apple has given longtime diehards, and first-time iPhone owners, plenty to cheer about.
Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky’s simply-titled “iPhone 4 review” has this to say
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. We won’t argue that a lot of this is a matter of taste — some people will just prefer the way Android or Symbian works to the iPhone, and others will be on the lookout for a hardware keyboard or a particular asset that the iPhone 4 lacks — but in terms of the total picture, it’s tough to deny that Apple has moved one step past the competition with this phone. Of course, in the hyper-accelerated smartphone market where the Next Big Thing seems to always be just around the corner, it’s anyone’s guess how long they keep that edge.
Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing says in “Apple iPhone 4: Hands-on review”
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 eliminate: the unreliable quality of calls placed over AT&T, which remains the iPhone’s only U.S. carrier.
At least that’s one thing we’ve got over the Americans: the iPhone 4 will be available on all the major Australian networks.