final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality No problems here although there was an "antennagate" controversy a while ago. The noise cancelling mic also improves call quality a tad. good
  • Display By 2011 standards, it's still a pretty remarkable display with high pixel density and viewing angles. The size and technology could be better. great!
  • Battery life The battery lasts up to two days at times which is better than most modern smartphones. great!
  • Camera No comments
  • Ease of use iOS is very user friendly and thus has a super low learning curve. You can just pick up the device and use it. great!
  • Design and form factor The industrial design is top notch and relatively timeless. Among mundane plasticky smartphones, this one gets it right. great!
  • Portability (size / weight) With a 3.5" display, the iPhone 4 is highly compact and very portable. It's pretty lightweight although substantial in the hand. great!
  • Media support iOS still lacks compatibility with some media files. Other than that, there's the iTunes store and no lack of content. good
  • Durability For the most part, metal and glass are more durable materials than plastic but the iPhone 4 won't take kindly to a drop. so-so
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) The App Store is still the best app ecosystem on any platform to date. great!
Detailed review
The iPhone 4, even well over a year after its debut, is a remarkable piece of hardware that has no trouble running the latest version of iOS. Sure, there's faster hardware out there but the smooth user experience in iOS even on the single core A4 processor is still top notch. Obviously, page load times, app opening speeds, and in game graphical performance are much superior on the dual core A5 but if these aren't huge issues for you, the difference is negligible.

I wouldn't recommend it over the iPhone 4S if you can spring the extra $100 but at $100 it's not a bad deal if you're on a budget.* Plus, if you're into jailbreaking, there's no jailbreak for the iPhone 4S yet (as of 12/6/11).

*the recommendation isn't so much for gdgt users as for people buying phones in general.
review history
Durability rating changed from 2 to 3