Walt Mossberg reviews iPhone 4 for the Wall Street Journal

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The first reviews of iPhone 4 are beginning to appear, including Walt Mossberg's in the Wall Street Journal, David Pogue's in the New York Times and Ed Baig's in USA Today.



Walt Mossberg - The Wall Street Journal



Mossberg's review noted iPhone 4's "dramatic redesign," writing, "physically, the iPhone 4 is attractive and feels great in the hand. Even the back is now clad in glass, which Apple claims is a superstrong variety 30 times tougher than plastic. I dropped it several times from a few feet onto a hard surface with no problem, and it acquired no scratches at all in my testing, even though I didn?t use a case or coddle it."



Mossberg called the new FaceTime video calling "one of this device?s best features," explaining, "there is no setup and nothing to learn. You just press a FaceTime button, and if the other person accepts the invitation to talk face to face, his or her image appears, with your own image showing in a small corner window. [?] It worked great for me, except for a couple of brief freeze-ups."



The review briefly notes new iOS 4 features before saying, "the most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it?s shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."



Mossberg writes that Apple is working to improve things by using the phone's frame as an antenna, adding "Apple said it also tuned the phone to try to grab whatever band on the network was less congested or less affected by interference?to stress the quality of a signal over its raw strength. AT&T said it, too, made some changes to its network with the new iPhone in mind."



Despite those improvements, Mossberg wrote that "network reception was a mixed bag," noting that he experienced fewer dropped calls but that the device sometimes registered no or fewer bars than an iPhone 3GS.



"Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix," Mossberg wrote, "and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars."



The review concludes, "I can?t recommend this new iPhone for voice calling for people who experience poor AT&T reception, unless they are willing to carry a second phone on a network that works better for them. For everyone else, however, I?d say that Apple has built a beautiful smartphone that works well, adds impressive new features and is still, overall, the best device in its class."



David Pogue - The New York Times



Mossberg's review is followed by one from New York Times columnist David Pogue.

The new metal mute and volume buttons are much stiffer.

Apple's A4 chip "makes a difference every time you tap the touch screen."

Video call (FaceTime) "picture and audio are rock solid, with very little delay, and it works the first time and every time."

The new 5MP camera is "better, though it?s still no rival to a real camera."

Snapping a photo is now "instantaneous," losing the lag of last year's models.

The LED flash can remain on for video recordings.

Takes "great" 720p HD videos.

The noise-canceling microphone, improved audio chamber, and new antenna design of the iPhone 4 produce clearer audio calls and less dropped calls.

Edward C. Baig - USA Today



Ed Baig of the USA Today also had this to add:

Apple has "nailed" video calling;

To reinforce the claim that the iPhone 4's glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic an "Apple executive dropped it in front of me. The phone was undamaged."

"You can seamlessly switch from front to rear camera and back during a call, allowing you to share your surroundings with a caller."

"It takes a few seconds once you tap the FaceTime button for AT&T to hand the call over to the FaceTime application."

To to downgrade a call from a FaceTime video call to an audio call, hang up and redial.

The 5MP camera took "several decent pictures in low light but had some grainy results, too. It's not a great camera for capturing fast-moving action. Close-ups taken with the 5x digital zoom, which is an iOS 4 addition, were so-so."

"The second, front-facing camera on the iPhone makes it a snap to capture self-portraits without flipping the device around."

"I found it a [iMovie] clumsy to use, however, and for some reason the app misidentified the location where certain footage was shot.

eBooks look "supercrisp and sharp" throughout the new Retina Display but fall short of the iPad experience.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 116
    erybovicerybovic Posts: 37member
    Does anyone know the secret new field test mode to find out their true signal reception? I know only how to get it by upgrading from 3.1.3 to 4.0.



    That would tell Walt the "TRUE SHIT SIGNAL STRENGTH" that AT&T has."

  • Reply 2 of 116
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    I'm glad to see the glass is holding up well. I would like to see what happens in PC World's stress test. As always the main problem with the iPhone is the carrier. I don't think it'll be long before see a Verizon version.
  • Reply 3 of 116
    erybovicerybovic Posts: 37member
    "The overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor."



    "The Big Downside



    The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it's shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."



    I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.
  • Reply 4 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by erybovic View Post


    "The overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor."



    "The Big Downside



    The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it's shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a second network."



    I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.



    Walt gives ATT what they deserve. I am ashamed to say i pay ATT$100 a month to use the iphone.

    MMMAd dropped calls.

    If there gonna put a cap on data usage then they should put a cap on the amount of customers they have.

    "DO NOT HAVE MORE CUSTOMERS THAN YOUR CRAPPY NETWORK CAN HANDLE"

    And when u call them for compensation for all the dropped calls they say "sorry!!!"

    I got so feed up 3 months ago i tried to get out of my contract. She said i couldn't and so did the manager.I asked her so what are u gonna do about the 5-8 dropped calls i get every single day and she said "sorry!!"

    And the new HSPA upgrade in dallas is CCCCCCCCCCCCCrap!!!!!

    Hear me now ATT "DOUBLE YOUR EFFORTS PLEASE!!!"
  • Reply 5 of 116
    erybovicerybovic Posts: 37member




    -113 Signal Strength
  • Reply 6 of 116
    sigs21sigs21 Posts: 82member
    Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..



    If the call so damn important use a land line..
  • Reply 7 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sigs21 View Post


    Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..



    If the call so damn important use a land line..



    What's a land line?
  • Reply 8 of 116
    htoellehtoelle Posts: 89member
    The WSJ review by Mr Mossburg is just super and a fine review of a fine product.. What comes through loud and clear. When will Apple do something about this handicap it is lugging around called AT&T? The damage it must be doing to Apple sales is very obvious . There are customers out there who would buy an iPhone in a flash, but they are holding off because of AT&T's poor quality of product.



    It makes no sense at all. If I was in their shoes (I am not} i would also decline. Why would I buy a Rolls Royce grade product which only contains a small underpowered engine?
  • Reply 9 of 116
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by erybovic View Post


    I hope those headlines really get Job's attention.



    Well right, Steve probably doesn't use an iPhone, so he wouldn't know unless Walt Mossberg told him.
  • Reply 10 of 116
    ozexigeozexige Posts: 215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    What's a land line?



    I thought the United Nations banned them?
  • Reply 11 of 116
    jerseymacjerseymac Posts: 408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sigs21 View Post


    Live in Texas and work in Chicago have about one droped call a month.. Had more with VZW... and even more with sprint.. nextel was the best.. that I had..



    If the call so damn important use a land line..



    A lot of businesses no longer have pay phones. What are you supposed to do? Knock on someones door and say"excuse me, my smartphone can't make a phone call, can I use your phone?"



    While I'm at it, think I'll ask for a glass of kool Aid to remind myself that I just love my iPhone and my network.
  • Reply 12 of 116
    jerseymacjerseymac Posts: 408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Well right, Steve probably doesn't use an iPhone, so he wouldn't know unless Walt Mossberg told him.



    Steve probably uses a prototype Verizon iPhone. I guarantee that if he dropped ten calls a day and couldn't get on line heads would be rolling like tumble weeds.



    Keep the heat on AT&T. The more they trip over their dicks, the better it will be for consumers.
  • Reply 13 of 116
    shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    Dear Steve,



    AT&T's performance over the past 3 years is ASS. It pisses me off to no end that I wasted so much time on money on their network just to have your phone.



    Just as a refresher, I know you weren't with Apple at the time, but Windows ended up kicking Apple's butt in the 90s by being good enough and cheaper. Unfortunately the same thing is happening today. Because you have to protect the fat margins you get from AT&T, you are blinded to the fact that the Android phones are good enough - and much better in that I can actually make a damn phone call on my Droid Incredible now! What a concept! Good luck with your business. You got beat by Microsoft once, and if you're not careful Google will do it again a second time using the exact same playbook.



    I'll see you in 2 years when your contract with AT&T is (finally) up and my Verizon contract is up.
  • Reply 14 of 116
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post


    Steve probably uses a prototype Verizon iPhone. I guarantee that if he dropped ten calls a day and couldn't get on line heads would be rolling like tumble weeds.



    Right, Steve is clueless and lives in a bubble. It shows in everything Apple does.
  • Reply 15 of 116
    erybovicerybovic Posts: 37member
  • Reply 16 of 116
    psych_guypsych_guy Posts: 459member
    Oh Jeezuz, here we go again. The whiners are coming out in full force.



    1. Apple would be getting waaay more sales if they were on Verizon

    What was the last number 30 million or so sold? How many pre-ordered?



    2. Verizon's network is soooo much better than AT&T.

    Uh huh, for the time being while you don't have the iPhone. When Verizon's inferior network gets flooded too and your performance drops (in select areas), you'll piss and moan for who? T-Mobile? Sprint?



    3. I'd get an iPhone, if only the prince charming of networks had the iPhone and until then, I'm going to buy an inferior product and whine about not having the iPhone.

    Many of us are extremely happy with the phone and the service. I've been a satisfied customer of Cingular/AT&T in the SFBA for about 12 years now. Never had a problem, never thought about switching. If you live in an area that has poor AT&T service, it sucks to be you. But I vote with my dollars and I'm good.



    4. AT&T is just a greedy corporation to switch their plans and try to suck our wallets dry.

    Verizon's going to do the same thing. It's capitalism and you live in a capitalist society. Get over it or don't pay.
  • Reply 17 of 116
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,655member
    Every wireless carrier has its issues. For every complaint one has about AT&T, the same can be said by someone else on another network.



    Even though I will be replacing my 2g iPhone with the iPhone4, my 2g has been trusty with phone calls, and I even live in San Francisco where so many people complain about the reception. I have experienced one one-block radius in San Francisco where the reception does not work. That's it.



    So while I can understand the frustration that people have with AT&T, everyone I know in the bay area has not had those issues, or to that level that people here complain about. Perhaps we have lower-expectations or others have way-too-high expectations that no carrier can ever realistically reach.



    I'll bet money that if Verizon had the iPhone, it will have a serious meltdown too with the same number of users. In the back room, VZW executives are sighing relief that they dodged the bandwidth-hogging bullet.



    I'll take the new iPhone's quality and scalability over the fragmented mess that is called Android. If you want a phone that works, and works well.. it's the one to use. If you need an environment to satisfy your broken PC-Model and ADHD urges, Android is for you.
  • Reply 18 of 116
    shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    1. Your right - Apple could care less about the 90 million people on Verizon and the millions more phones they could sell there. 30,000 sold and 600,00 pre-orders is good enough, right?



    2. No one is saying that Apple should leave AT&T. Spreading out the bandwidth hogging phone is what would make everyone happier (including those staying with AT&T.)



    3. It's not inferior if I can actually make a phone call on it. I have been an iPhone owner for 3 years. It's not like I don't have experience with the crap that is AT&T's service.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post


    Oh Jeezuz, here we go again. The whiners are coming out in full force.



    1. Apple would be getting waaay more sales if they were on Verizon

    What was the last number 30 million or so sold? How many pre-ordered?



    2. Verizon's network is soooo much better than AT&T.

    Uh huh, for the time being while you don't have the iPhone. When Verizon's inferior network gets flooded too and your performance drops (in select areas), you'll piss and moan for who? T-Mobile? Sprint?



    3. I'd get an iPhone, if only the prince charming of networks had the iPhone and until then, I'm going to buy an inferior product and whine about not having the iPhone.

    Many of us are extremely happy with the phone and the service. I've been a satisfied customer of Cingular/AT&T in the SFBA for about 12 years now. Never had a problem, never thought about switching. If you live in an area that has poor AT&T service, it sucks to be you. But I vote with my dollars and I'm good.



    4. AT&T is just a greedy corporation to switch their plans and try to suck our wallets dry.

    Verizon's going to do the same thing. It's capitalism and you live in a capitalist society. Get over it or don't pay.



  • Reply 19 of 116
    jerseymacjerseymac Posts: 408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Right, Steve is clueless and lives in a bubble. It shows in everything Apple does.



    Did I say that?
  • Reply 20 of 116
    replicantreplicant Posts: 121member
    Looks like a winner!

    I only have to wait one more year before I can upgrade from my 3G because in Canada, you have to sign a 3 year contract!



    On the flip side, we can actually make calls
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