iPhone Q&A - Revised November 20, 2011
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What are the "pros and cons" of the iPhone 4? Is the iPhone 4 "worth it" for me?
Please note that the iPhone 4 has been discontinued (except in mainland China). However, this Q&A can be quite helpful for anyone buying or selling the device whether new or used.
Like any other purchase, only you can make the decision whether or not an iPhone 4 model -- the iPhone 4 (GSM) or iPhone 4 (CDMA) -- is the right smartphone for you, but you can evaluate the pros and cons to see if your needs are met. This "run down" may be helpful in making a decision:
- Thin, sleek, solid design, much more substantial "feeling" than the iPhone 3G/3GS design it replaced.
- Beautiful ultra high-resolution "retina" display (960x640, 326 ppi).
- Quality camera for a smart phone, competitive with some basic "point and shoot" still cameras and video cameras.
- FaceTime videoconferencing is well implemented and can be quite valuable to many users.
- Faster than previous iPhone models.
- Battery life is better than earlier iPhone models and increasingly suitable for all day use for many users.
- Built-in support for GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.
- Dual noise canceling microphones.
- High-quality pre-installed applications, including a "desktop class" web browser, HTML capable e-mail client, and integrated Google Maps, as well as the potential for thousands of third-party applications via the AppStore.
- Support to read, but not edit, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as well as Adobe PDF files.
- Inexpensive (but tied to a contract in many countries).
- Glass front and glass back, although designed to withstand considerable impact, may still be prone to damage.
- Some users have reported reception issues for the iPhone 4 (GSM) that may be design related as well as carrier related (Reviewers and users have reported that reception on the iPhone 4 (CDMA) running on the Verizon network is considerably better although antenna issues still exist).
- Camera lacks optical zoom.
- Tied to expensive multi-year contracts in many countries.
- Micro SIM card may be a hassle when traveling with a GSM-equipped model and limited international support for the CDMA-equipped model (without a SIM card) likewise may be an inconvenience for some global travelers.
- No support to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files (online editing forthcoming).
- No support for Flash.
- Lack of tactile feedback may bother some users.
- Battery life still may be insufficient for heavy users and the battery is not swappable.
- Some competitive mobile phones offer superior cameras, superior wireless connectivity, additional features, and are available on a wider range of carriers.
- Substantially larger capacity iPod models are available for less money per GB.
Ultimately, if you need a smartphone, and you are not bothered by the often expensive contract and possible carrier issues in some countries, an iPhone 4 model may be "worth it" to you. Some users may prefer additional features available on other platforms and others may decide that they don't need to spend the money on a smartphone at all.
Site sponsor PowerMax has a good selection of used iPhones -- including iPhone 4 models -- available for sale free of sales tax.
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