News Technology

A Review of the Verizon iPhone 4

Yeah, I drank the Kool-Aid…

So, I buy the phone…

My new iPhone4
My new iPhone4

In my defense, for all you Android fans, I’ve been among the Motorola camp for many years: switching my Nokia “brick” for the Moto RAZR and then the RAZR2 & its fabulous camera (a cellphone which VZW dropped mere months after I switched… still not sure what THAT was about.)

Limping Along

Alas, I’ve been limping along on the RAZR2’s ORIGINAL battery for 3 years before Apples’s iPhone4 was finally relinquished to Verizon’s expansive network of CDMA towers. Yes, it won’t do data AND voice at the same time… but, neither did the original iPhone… until the iPhone 3G was released. So… Bite Me!

I’ve been impressed so far. Of course, there’s been a bit of a learning curve, but much of that has been setting the phone up to work for me: setting Alarms, Ringtones (which there aren’t many built-in), and organizing my Contacts list. The actual “swap” at the Verizon Store from my Moto RAZR2 to the iPhone 4 was fairly straight-forward. It took some time to finally Activate it, but I suspect it had much to do with the number of Verizon customers doing the very same thing as I that Saturday afternoon.

I Tried Waiting

I waited a couple weeks before making the switch; in addition, I really don’t consider myself an “early adopter”. I watched the multiple Gawker sites and kept a close eye on Engadget to read the general reaction. I read about the similar “Grip of Death” that plagued the AT&T version, but knew that if I picked up a decent case… it wouldn’t be an issue. Spent some cash on a package of Pure-Gear “Display Protectors” and was impressed with the amount of thought that went into assisting the user on how to best apply the “cover friendly” scratch-guard. The fact that they included a screen wipe (the same I find when purchasing high-end SLR camera lens’s) was most impressive. Now, I know why they cost $15 for 3 protectors.

As soon as I got it home, I immediately sync’d it to my Windows XP desktop. Even though iTunes can be a little buggy & bloated, it sync’d with no problems and quickly began scarfing my tunes. With that finished, I quickly began downloading applications from the iTunes Store: Find my Phone, PS Express, Labelbox, IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, Remote, Skype, NPR News, CNN, RedLaser, Mint, eBay, Craigslist, SoundHound and as many Free Angry Birds games as possible.

The REAL standouts are:

  • Find my Phone – Reports back your phone’s GPS coordinates & will locate your lost/stolen phone
  • Remote – Remotely control iTunes from your WiFi Access Point
  • RedLaser – Scans barcodes using the camera, identifies the item, how much it costs and where it can be found.
  • SoundHound – Hum a few bars or record audio from the radio and it will tell you the name of that song that’s been nagging you all day.

These are really “niche” applications, but they really show the capabilities of the iPhone 4 and how easy it can be to integrate all the gizmo’s inside.

6 Months Later…

Now, I’ve had this phone for 6 months and it’s still running like a champ. I did manage to crack the backside glass shell, though. I’m not sure why Apple decided to surround the iPhone4 in Gorilla Glass, but it was a pretty bad move. My old Nokia or Motorola RAZR would have shrugged-off that waist-high plummet to the concrete with aplomb. The iPhone? Not so much. I’m keeping most of the shards intact by pasting a section of Clear Packing Tape to the back shell.

Obviously, my next case will something a bit more durable than a silicone rubber sock. Although, I enjoyed the anti-slip feature when I placed the iPhone on the dash of my Mercedes. Fortunately for me, replacing the back glass is rather cheap: $20 – $40 bucks on eBay, including tools.

Bad Habits

I can count on one hand, the number of times a single charge did NOT last me the entire day. In addition, I’m surprised I didn’t break the glass sooner, as I typically carry the iPhone4 in my back pocket. After all those hours sitting at my desk or driving between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids… I’m amazed I hadn’t bent the thing in half.

I’m also impressed with the fact that I’ve yet to replace the initial screen-protector. Yeah, it’s developed a few tiny bubbles… but, they’ve never impeded the scrolling features. 🙂 Win!

My ONLY complaint: The front-facing camera sucks. Oh, GAWD, does it suck. I’ve retired my personal digital camera for the iPhone4’s back camera, with built-in HDR recording capabilities. But, that front-facing camera? GAG!


All-in-all… this is one solid phone with more features than I suspect I’ll ever really use. The cell-phone has finally matured.

2 thoughts on “A Review of the Verizon iPhone 4

    1. That’s what I’ve about the front facing camera. 🙁 Although the 4S isn’t 4G, I’m sure the next version will be. Wish I could get Siri, but the Dragon Dictation app fills in quite nicely. Still, the iPhone has the slickest interface of any Android phone… hands-down.

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