Saturday, July 31, 2010

iPhone 4






- Why another iPhone? I'm surrounded by android users so I got to try out the Google Nexus One and the HTC Evo 4G quite extensively. There were several things that really impresses me about android especially the ability to side load apps (can we say free tethering) and tight integration with google services like goggles, voice, and navigation. As far as apps go they are catching up and rather quickly though they are still missing some key media apps. They still don't have anything close to something that works as well as air video. But in most key areas they are pretty much covered except for one. I'm a gamer. Heck it's in the tag line of this blog. I love my portable gaming and well that's one area that android is way way way behind iPhone. The top tier games just aren't there. I don't know if it's just iPhone's momentum in this segment or it's more of a development technical issue with android but android lack of big AAA titles is a huge drawback for me. So until/if android ever catches up in that department and has same day releases with iPhone for big games like Street Fighter IV, nova, Final Fantasy Chaos Rings, GTA Chinatown, Resident Evil, etc I'll stick with my iPhone. Besides, it is an iPhone, it is the best phone, it's 3g and has the wifi's, and I got the one with the bigger G B's. Of course I can't say I wasn't a bit envious when I was recently at a baseball game with a friend and he was pulling 1.8mbs (speedtest.net app) on his evo over 4g while I was struggling to get 200kbps but that's more the carrier than the phone itself. I guess it helps when you are sharing a cell tower with only 10 other people.
- So I picked up two 32gb iPhone 4's. I decided to sell our existing two 32gb iPhone 3gs's through gazelle.com (see what I did there gazelle? I didn't even hyperlink your site because I'm still kind of pissed at you) again. The day after the announcement of iPhone 4 I went ahead and got my quote locked in at $304 per phone (perfect condition, all accessories). That quote is good for 30 days (they are very strict on the 30 days). I figure I'll just preorder day one from apple.com, have them shipped to me, and still leave me about a 2 week window. Well as you know preorder came and everything went to crap. I tried all day and couldn't get the preorders in until 10pm that night. Suffice it to say I didn't get a day one ship day. I didn't get the phones that Thurs but they did come in the following week on tues and wed. So I immediately shipped the 3gs's to gazelle that thurs (a week after launch) and it got there in time. Current used value of the 3gs had dropped a ton down to $168 at that point so I really wanted my original quote. Unfortunately, they did not agree with my quality assessment which IMO is complete BS. The day I opened my 3gs I literally took it out of the box, slapped a powersupport anti glare screen protector on it, and stuck it into a case. The screen itself hasn't ever even been touched by human hands! I never dropped it. It was IMO in perfect condition. They claimed minor scratches on the back side and a small crack near the mute switch. Whatever. I think their definition of perfect is unrealistic (as in it still has to be shrink wrapped is my guess). Still, they offered me $277 each instead, and I took it. What else was I suppose to do. It was still matching current ebay prices. So if you use gazelle just a bit of a warning. Just make sure you are happy with their "good" rating price b/c you will NEVER see that "perfect" price. Other than that things went smoothly and they payed through paypal promptly.
- Pricing on the iPhones was another issue. We didn't qualify for the cheapest price because we were both upgrading only 1 year into your 3gs contracts. My wife's phone qualified for the $499 price. My phone on the other hand didn't qualify for any discount. That's right. I had to pay the full $699 price. The reason they explained is since my wife's phone was the main line and mine was the add on family line, the bulk of the monthly charges was on her phone therefore qualifying her for the $499 price earlier than mine. On the bright side I have zero commitment on my line now (where's that verizon iPhone?). This also means next year I would qualify for the fully subsidized price of $299. So $499 every year on the wife's and $299 then $699 every other year on mine. The math still works out to an average of $500 per year if you upgrade every year. Don't forget you can recover at least half of that if you sell your old iPhone.
- I highly recommend purchasing from apple vs at&t. First, last year I ordered through at&t and the sim cards were totally screwed up, and we had issues activating them. This year I had no issues activating. Also, if you have to exchange the phone you'll have a better shot at the apple store holding some stock to do that. AT&T won't have anything.

- I HAVE NO ISSUES WITH THE ANTENNA. I just spent $1200 on iPhones. Why would I not use a case? There are only two articles you need to read about antennagate:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3821/iphone-4-redux-analyzing-apples-ios-41-signal-fix
Like my high school AP chemistry teach use to say: "Units are your best friend." Bars have no units. Without units they are pretty meaningless especially when comparing between different phones that use different dB brackets. Those above articles have the hard dB numbers.
- The phone has rebooted twice while syncing now (syncing daily for about a month now). Nothing catastrophic has happened but it is a bit unnerving. Hopefully it gets sorted out in a patch (either itunes or iOS).
- That's pretty much it. I haven't had any real issues so far. It has been working great.

- Retina display is best summed up by my wife: "It's so sharp it cut my eyes."
- 512mb for more multitasking fun (yeah yeah yeah set of background services exposed through their api, blah blah blah, you know what it covers all my use cases that I care about, and if it helps battery life then I'm all for this flavor of "multitasking.")
- It's zippier thanks to the A4 but it doesn't feel as big of a jump as it was with 3g to 3gs.
- LED flash, front facing camera, facetime, 720p video, gyroscope - all very nice upgrades.
- Battery life definitely seems better than 3gs.
- Speeds vary greatly from market to market and location to location but my best over 3g was 3.2 mbps down and 1.3 mbps up (speedtest.net app). HSUPA rocks. It's kind of amazing that my phone upstream speeds are twice as fast as my home dsl.
- All existing 3gs accessories seem to work (chargers, sync cable, composite av cables)
- I did some more testing with the composite av cables. Air Video and dropbox also work with tv out. SlingPlayer, cnn, revision 3, g4, hulu, tv.com do not.

- I just got my powersupport crystal film set. Yes they are pricey at $20 for two sheets but they are hands down the best screen protectors you can get. In the past I went with anti-glare because I liked the feel and it was very resistant to finger prints. I went with crystal this time because I wanted nothing to get in the way of that awesome Retina display. They are even easier to apply now. The backing is partitioned into 4 pieces. You can remove a center strip only, position and stick that part on, then peel off each additional section and stick it down. I have to say the look and feel is great (not tacky like invisible shield). It's almost like it's not even there.

Highly recommended. Yeah sure the glass back is a bit stupid too IMO. But guess what. STICK IT IN A CASE and all the problems go away. Heck Steve Jobs is giving you a free case. Take it, use it. You hate cases? Then don't buy an iPhone 4.

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