The iPhone. A device that changed everything since it was first introduced to the world. Now everyone can have a portable computer in their pocket with a phone built in.

The latest version is the iPhone 4 – This changes everything…again.

I have the absolute pleasure of owning one of Apple’s i-anything devices, and would like to share my experience with you. And that is how I will try and write this review. To convey the experience.

The Experience

When you first receive your iPhone, you’ll notice it being packaged in a small box. For a moment there you think you just bought a very expensive scientific calculator. But as you open the box, you’ll see the iPhone in all its glory, shiny and beautiful. You shut out everything around you. Nothing will distract you as you gently reach into the little box to pick up this magnificent device.

Immediately you’ll notice its ultra smooth surface with one single button and that its a mere 9.3 millimeters thin, making it the world’s thinnest smartphone. You’ll notice that it is made from aluminosilicate glass — the same type of glass used in the windshields of helicopters and high-speed trains. Chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, this glass is ultradurable and more scratch resistant than ever…and recyclable too.

Turning the iPhone on its side, you’ll notice the steel band that is forged by horned unicorns in some remote underground candy spewing valcano, which Apple claims to be 5 times stronger that standard steel.

You’ll notice that this incredible device has no battery cover of sorts, and find out that with the little key inside the box, you open a little drawer into which you slide your new micro-sim. You gently press the power button and watch the phone come alive.

Once started, you see the magnificent display. The 960-by-640 backlit LCD display boasts a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. In layman terms, this phone has the highest resolution screen ever on a smartphone.

You gaze at the awesomness of the screen’s clarity and the beauty of the interface. You immediately start tapping away on all the icons.

You start smiling and your heart starts pounding as you fall more and more in love with this device…you’re hooked. You have met your new best friend. Nothing else matters.

The Tech

Now that I conveyed a little about the experience of you and your iPhone’s initial meeting, I will continue by divulging some of the features. I’ll try to keep it non “techy” and without buzz words…

Let’s start with the basics:

  1. First off, you can get the iPhone 4 with either 16Gigabyte or 32Gigabyte capacity. I have the 16Gigabyte version. I have installed over 200 apps and haven’t even used 25% of the available space.
  2. It has iPod built in (off course). This is your music and movie player and it is brilliant.
  3. It has a full featured internet browser (Safari) with tabbed browsing and practically all the features of a desktop browser.
  4. It has an email client that supports all the mail protocols, even Microsoft Exchange, which makes it perfect for business people.
  5. It has alarms, a very cool calendar app, a calculator and even a compass.
  6. There is a weather app, a notes app and even Google maps.
  7. and much much more…

This phone was built to be simple, yet full featured.

One of the best features of this phone is it’s multi-touch screen…mmmmm…heaven for zooming photos and web pages and doing a lot of other neat things.

This phone includes a built-in three-axis gyroscope. When paired with the accelerometer, it makes it capable of advanced motion sensing such as user acceleration, full 3D attitude, and rotation rate. Translation: More motion gestures and greater precision for an even better gaming experience.

When you open the App Store, you’ll find yourself losing all sense of time as you browse through the thousands of apps available. Off course, the first apps you’ll download is the free Facebook and Twitter apps. These apps are perfectly made and provides you with practically all the features available on the actual websites. But be careful, once you start, you can’t stop.

The Disappointments

Off course like all devices, there are some disappointments.

For one, and this is my biggest disappointment, you can’t set any mp3 as your ringtone. You can only use the ringtones available in the settings. It is however quite easy to create your own ringtones and there are plenty tutorials online to show you how, but…a ringtone can only be a maximum of 30 seconds, and for some reason you’ll never find a good 30 seconds of your favorite song to use.

It is not possible to Bluetooth images or anything to other phones or devices except an Apple computer, which is also a big let down. Also, you can’t use any bluetooth headsets except certain Parrot headsets which are quite expensive. UPDATE: I managed to connect Sony Wireless Headphones. Guess you just have to do it correctly…

You have no access to the directory structure of the device, so you can’t move files around. To add music and movies and photos, you have to connect the phone to your computer and use iTunes to manage most of your transfers, which is also limited in many ways, for example, you can’t download your photos from the phone using iTunes. When you connect it to your computer, an “Autorun” should pop up allowing you to import your photos to your computer, but that’s about it.

Those would be the 3 major let downs.

Warning!

You don’t get an internet service like you do with Blackberry, so if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself losing airtime like it’s going out of fashion. Most of the apps stay running in the background even though you pressed the Home button. If you want to make sure the app is closed, you have to double-tap the Home button to open the “application thread” (my own terminology). From there you’ll simply touch an icon and hold until they start wiggling about. Then simply click on the (-) button to completely close the app.

The best thing to do would be to buy data bundles if you don’t get one with your contract or if you’re on prepaid, because if you’re a social freak like me, you’ll run out of airtime before making your first call for the month.

The Battery

Let’s remember that this is a smartphone. It has the highest resolution screen available currently and it runs apps in the background (unless you close them), so the battery won’t last long. If you use it as much as I do, then it will probably only last you one day.

I took it upon myself, against my will to use my old phone while using the iPhone sparingly. I ended up getting just over 5 days worth of battery life out of it, which is not bad.

It does charge rather quick, so I don’t care too much about one day battery life. From 0% to 100% takes just under 2 hours to charge.

The Apps

The apps you get for this phone is simply awesome. From apps to play guitar, to apps that connect to your computer at home so you can control it. From remotes for your media player to apps that help you save the environment.

I currently have a full music production studio installed and it is incredible. If you’re a DJ, you’d love this phone. You never have to carry your decks and vinyl or anything ever again, because the DJ’ing apps available for this phone is out of this world. Off course you could never really replace the feeling of mixing with vinyl, but I’m just saying.

The Verdict

I am officially an Apple convert. This device is uber amazing and if you can afford it, I would definitely recommend you get one. You can get it in black or white.

It is well built and solid. And since it’s an apple product, you can be sure of stability. The phone never hanged once or restarted itself (go BB!)…it simply closes the problematic app and continues as if it just started up. It has a nice weight, which feels very solid, and provides you with confidence in the craftsmanship.

If however you can’t afford an iPhone, then there are many affordable alternatives that use Android, which kind of mimics the iOS interface and has amazing apps available too. Go read Jonathan Duguid‘s post Is the HTC Wildfire all that? for a worthy and affordable alternative from HTC.

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