06.24.10

Should You Buy the New iPhone? The Experts' Verdict

Apple's iPhone 4 officially went on sale amid the typical frenzy—and the reviews are in. The Daily Beast gets the first word from 10 experts.

Oppressive heat didn’t keep eager customers in want of the iPhone 4 from waiting for hours in line at Apple stores around the country yesterday. Expectations for sales are huge, with one analyst predicting Apple will be the first company to sell a million smartphones in a day.

After a fourth-generation iPhone landed in hands of a Gizmodo tech blogger in April, the hype has been incessant. Glossy and necessary updates—including a longer battery life, a front-facing camera, and a sharper screen—were enough to entice the 600,000 people who were able to place pre-order requests before Apple’s servers crashed on June 15, the first day the company was accepting orders.

“I’m unable to turn a blind eye to what looks and feels like the pinnacle of smartphone technology.”

Already, the blogosphere is bloated with gripes about antenna problems and screen yellowing, but, overall, the peanut gallery has given the new phone high marks. The Daily Beast culled the reviews.

Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

Likes: attractive design, superstrong casing, straightforward software, high-resolution screen, sharp camera, video calling
Dislikes: limited multitasking, bad AT&T connectivity, dropped calls, poor reception, and poor service
In short: “…overall, Apple has delivered a big, well-designed update that, in my view, keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars.”

David Pogue, The New York Times

Likes: thinner and narrower shape, faster processor chip, easy-to-use video calling, screen with greater contrast, convenient flash that can be used for video, too, improved audio, app switcher capability
Dislikes: clunky phone-dialing process, dropped calls, doesn’t have the flexibility of competing smartphones
In short: “Apple releases only one new model a year, so the new iPhone had better be pretty amazing to compete…. It is.”

Crowds line up outside New York City's Fifth Avenue Apple store for the iPhone 4G release.

Joshua Topolsky, Engadget

Likes: Strikingly gorgeous hardware design, faster response time, fewer dropped calls, detailed and clear screen resolution, more capable camera, improved audio clarity, multitasking ability, outstanding battery life
Dislikes: Potentially limiting memory, battery that’s not easy to replace, finicky lens stability during video recording, FaceTime video calling limited to WiFi with others using iPhone 4, intrusive notifications, lack of widgets
In short: “…in terms of the total picture, it's tough to deny that Apple has moved one step past the competition with this phone.”

Edward C. Baig, USA Today

Likes: FaceTime video chat, front-facing camera, high-def video recording, handsome design, improved mobile operating system, unified email, longer battery life
Dislikes: Still no Flash capability, dropped calls, no user-replaceable battery
In short: “Cutting through the hype, Apple has given longtime diehards, and first-time iPhone owners, plenty to cheer about.”

Clayton Morris, Fox News

Likes: crisp display, FaceTime video calling, video editing capability, pretty hardware
Dislikes: FaceTime only works on WiFi networks, call connectivity difficulties
In short: “I can safely say it's by far the best smartphone on the market.”

Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing

Likes: new design, feels good to hold, crisp display, improved battery life, improved connectivity, faster processor, better camera and built-in flash, location-tagging photos, orientation lock, flawless Bluetooth tethering
Dislikes: unreliable quality of calls, AT&T network difficulties
In short: “Would I buy it? Yes.”

Jay Yarow, Business Insider

Likes: crisp phone calls, feels good to hold, faster than 3G version, nice display
Dislikes: ugly preloaded background
In short: “Apple has a winner on its hands.”

Wireless Week

Likes: impressive camera lens, front-facing camera addition, stunning display, faster processor
Dislikes: fragile screen, poor antenna placement
In short: “I’m unable to turn a blind eye to what looks and feels like the pinnacle of smartphone technology.”

Paul Venezia, InfoWorld

Likes: beautiful screen, enhanced RAM, useful front-facing camera, improved rear camera, multitasking, orientation lock, handy email unification
Dislike: existing apps appear hazy on updated screen, inconsistent signal strength, trouble downloading apps, feels too thin, front and the back of the phone aren’t distinguishable to the touch
In short: “The iPhone 4 really is all that was promised and more.”

Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post

Likes: seamless multitasking, clearer screen, advanced camera
Dislikes: unable to use FaceTime video chat
In short: “Apple's new iPhone 4 is in no danger of being mistaken for any of its three predecessors.”

Lauren Streib is a reporter for The Daily Beast. She was previously a reporter for Forbes.