** iPhone 4 mini-review

Discussion in 'Portable Devices & Gadgets' started by Sazar, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

    Between Austin and Tampa
    No pictures since there is a TON of them online. Everyone knows about the device and has seen pictures of it.

    I received my phone late this morning, went in to AT&T to get it activated since it refused to do so over iTunes and blam, all was good.

    I am moving from a previous generation iPhone 3G (not 3GS) so for me, this is a significant speed bump.

    Initial impressions:

    The phone is very compact and looks quite solid. The design is not really revolutionary or magical, but it definitely stands out. Both the front and back are covered entirely in glass and the sides and top are aluminium. The only plastic bit is the Home button. Nicely designed, high-end looking but no where near revolutionary.

    The screen though, now THAT is amazing. I didn't really believe the hype until I held the phone in my hands and saw it. This thing looks phenomenal. I pulled up sites I used to have to zoom into on my old phone and I actually found them somewhat readable. You can scale the size of the text now apparently, since this screen is so high-res.


    The main thing I wanted to check was the speed of the bugger and I was astonished. Granted pretty much any phone would have whooped my 3G, but iPhone 4 launches and moves across apps so much more smoothly. For example, I have a navigation app to supplement the one in my car and it took about 20 seconds to load on my old phone. With the new one, about 2-3 seconds. Since it is HDD based (all maps and data on the phone), it is a significant example of speed.

    Another example is an app like Google Earth. Previously, while not exactly slow, it stuttered a little. Now, butter smooth transitions and movements.

    Also, the N wifi setup, gimped or not, it is significantly faster.

    My old phone on my network typically netted about 4000kbps/1200kbps down and up. Now, I get about 11000/2000, which probably explains why websites load so much better.


    I was pissed when I learnt it was not TRUE multi-tasking, per-se, but as long as I had some apps, like Pandora, in the background, I was fine. And, that is exactly the case. Pandora ran without a hiccup all day today while I surfed, texted, made calls (it paused) and so forth. It even ran in the background while I used my navigation app, which was significant.

    No slow-downs or pauses. All my previous apps worked splendidly, except "Fluid", which instantly crashed for some reason. Not all apps are supported for multi-tasking, such as Orb. Orb, while it worked, would instantly lose the feed and position when I switched to another app. I could return to Orb, but I would have to re-acquire my feed. I guess I understand given the nature of the data being received, but I was hoping it would work better :)

    Still, I have not yet noticed or been hindered by the lack of true multi-tasking. It works as it is supposed to, it is easy and it is VERY easy to kill apps (press finger on app in launcher till it jiggles and then kill it by clicked on the - next to it).

    Signal Strength

    This is one area I was VERY surprised at. Before while driving home, I would drop to edge at multiple locations and cause Pandora to pause/skip a little on some tracks. Not so anymore. Whatever they did by moving the antennae into the surround (the aluminium thinger around the phone) seems to have worked. Signal seems to be a little better and I didn't have issues walking around my home during phone calls. Again, anecdotal and less than 1 day's use, but I am happy :)

    If Orb plays the footy match tomorrow without any issues, I will consider this a massive success.


    Well, the first thing is, obviously, AT&T. We definitely need a little competition for better rates and so forth. I was lucky I got grand-fathered into the old plan so I am satisfied with that.

    The phone's design is perfectly fine but the rear being all glass == magnet for potential scratches, as seen on Engadget.

    I am keeping the plastic protector on till I get a screen protector type clear plastic jobbie to slap on there. I am likely going sans case for the phone since it is not plastic.

    I wish there was flash. I cannot express how annoying it is NOT to be able to surf freely and enjoy some games online and so forth. No hulu even :(

    I also wish there was non-gimped multi-tasking. I haven't had an issue yet and this could yet be a moot point, but I would have liked the option to select my own preference.

    I REALLY want to see widgets. For a company that has worked with Konfabulator and other items, a lack of live widgets is absolutely ridiculous. Why can I not have a live weather feed on my locked page or my home page? I love the folders, very intuitive and ALL phones should have them in this category, but no widgets? Come on. The competition has had widgets for years. Massive oversight.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, for people who have a 3G, this will be a massive leap and definitely worth it. I only purchased the 16GB personally because I stream most items and I also use dropbox. I have most of my hdd free, even with my APPS.

    The fit/finish and the new OS definitely raise the level from the previous phone (which, under iOS4, is a lot more sluggish than the previous OS's).

    For someone with a 3GS, it is a mixed bag. The speed is much the same from my experience and therefore you may not need to kick it up a notch.

    The additional memory helps, undoubtedly. My friends 3GS lags a little bit when he has a lot of items in his background for quick switching. Mine does not. Also, various apps open a little quicker and operate more smoothly.

    Overall, a nice device with the standard pitfalls of a controlled environment (pretty much all Apple devices), but enough for me to justify the purchase. The battery life alone is worth it as I have been hammering away at it all day and am still pretty charged up.

    4/5 stars I reckon. Massive deductions for no flash and AT&T and lack of widgets, but otherwise, I like it a fair deal :)
  2. Petros

    Petros Thief IV

    Pacific Northwest
    Thanks for the info! It's nice to have a review from a power user like yourself, especially one whose opinion isn't clouded by fanboyism or corporate interest.

    I'm still in the "will I, won't I" phase. If I could get it without a data plan, I'd be on it without hesitation.

    The part I am most interested in is the screen clarity/resolution you mentioned. That is a huge selling point for me (along with the 512 MB of RAM!)

    By the way, if you use Navigon as your navigation app, you can SSH into it if your phone is jailbroken and delete maps for states and provinces you don't need. Makes the app a lot smaller and and faster for searches.

    One question: do you happen to use Atomic Browser? I bought it the other day for a buck (highly recommended--WAY faster than mobile safari) and I'm curious if it seems as snappy as using a web browser on a regular computer.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  3. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

    Between Austin and Tampa
    I don't use Navigon unfortunately and neither do I use Atomic. I have Opera installed but I find Safari to load up much faster on default settings right now. I might give Atomic a shot later, but Safari is doing it's thing for me at the moment.

    Does Navigon store everything on the hdd? If so, I might give it a go. The one I have right now is Navigation USA or something (was like 3 bucks when I bought it) but it is a very good application. Rendering is awesome and with the ip4, it is VERY fast.
  4. Johnny

    Johnny .. Commodore .. Political User

    Happy Valley
    Thanx for the review. It is something I am going to look at. I went to best buy yesterday and was asking the guy at the cell phone stand and he said to go with a droid and forget the iPhone lol ..

    Also, from what I understand. VZW is supposed to be getting the iPhone soon ?
  5. Petros

    Petros Thief IV

    Pacific Northwest
    Navigon does store everything on the HDD. By trimming out states that I don't go to (it had everything in the USA and Canada, plus businesses complete with addresses and phone numbers), I was able to trim it to about 364MB. It's 1.5GB before trimming. I keep two IPAs on computer now--an unabridged one and my custom trimmed one with Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. If I ever go anywhere else, I'll create and reload another custom IPA.
  6. Xie

    Xie - geek - Subscribed User Folding Team

    NY, USA
    Verizon has been getting it "soon" since 2007. :) Latest rumor was November or 2011 sometime. I wouldn't count on it though ...