Tag Archive | "Hands-On"

Intel Phone is ‘Production Grade’ and ‘On-Par’ say Technology Review

Tags: , , , ,


In July last year Carrrypad was one of the few publications to have unrestricted access to a Moorestown phone. Made by Aava as a reference design it ran Meego. We were supposed to see Intel phones later that year but it turned out that the Moorestown platform wasn’t good enough and Intel promptly moved focus to the Medfield platform. In February this year Intel held an early prototype Medfield phone up on stage. This time it was running Android. Later in the year Meego was effectively dropped and since then Intel have been pushing Android (via an official tie-up with Google) and talking about 32nm Medfield-based phones in the first half of 2011.

intel_phone_x616

Technology Review have had hands-on with an early prototype, possibly another Aava reference design or development kit that Intel are calling ‘production grade.’ They have also had hands-on with a Medfield Tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich too. Unfortunately there aren’t many details or thoughts but there’s a hint that Intel will reveal more at CES in just 3 weeks time. We’ll be in the keynote to cover this of course.

The only real feedback given by Technology Review on the Intel phone was this:

The phone was powerful and pleasing to use, on a par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets. It could play Blu-Ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired; Web browsing was smooth and fast. Smith says Intel has built circuits into the Medfield chip specifically to speed up Android apps and Web browsing.

That’s likely to indicate Wi-Di integration and other hardware acceleration. Remember there will be hardware video encoding in Medfield.  It’s also likely that Medfield phones scale up a little bit higher than other leading smartphones in terms of performance. What you get in performance though, is likely to cost in terms of battery life.

At the end of the day, if Medfield is good enough, easy to design and integrate and, importantly, cheap enough, manufacturers are likely to be interested. If it offers unique features such as Wireless Display and other technologies, it might even raise an eyebrow with the customer but it’s still going to have to compete in a fierce smartphone market where it will have to differentiate itself against Android and other popular brands, operating systems and platforms.

Via Slashgear

Source: Technoloy Review

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Hands-on First Look [video]

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


The Transformer Prime is the first tablet to be announced with the Nvidia Tegra 3 platform, and while the price and release date have yet to be officially announced, it is likely going to be in even higher demand than it’s predecessor, the Eee Pad Transformer.

Our pal Ritchie has a detailed writeup of his hands-on experience with the Transformer Prime along with some great photos to whet your appetite of this thin and powerful device. If you’re the visual type, he’s also prepared a video summary of the Transformer Prime for your enjoyment:

Ritchie says that the Super IPS+ display looks great, and this will be an upgrade over the original Transformer’s regular IPS display, while retaining the durable Gorilla Glass. Asus added a display brightness boosting function to the Transformer Prime which is intended for better viewing during outside use.

Tegra 3′s performance is also in full force; it appears as though it can handle 720p and 1080p video with no problems. That could make the Transformer Prime a great portable home-theater (thanks to the micro-HDMI port), with the only problem being the relatively weak Android codec support. I’m curious to know how well the Transformer Prime can handle software video decoding that comes along with some third-party applications.

The unit itself is slimmer and lighter than the iPad 2, and attached with the keyboard, the Transformer Prime is rated to run for 18 hours which is pretty awesome.

For more detail about the Transformer Prime, don’t miss Ritchie’s write-up.

Unless there are any unforseen issues leading up to it’s launch, the Transformer Prime is certainly setting the new bar for Android tablets, and I would go as far to say that Apple better pay attention as well. The Transformer Prime has nearly everything one could want in a tablet today except for a little Ice Cream Sandwich action.

 

Archos 80 G9 Hands-on

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Chippy goes hands-on with the upcoming Archos 80 G9 [specs sheet]. Overview of Archos’ new G9 tablets here.

Sony Tablet S and Tablet P Hands-on at IFA

Tags: , , , ,


Following the annoucenement here at IFA I managed to get some hands-on with the Sony Tablet P and Tablet S.

The Asus Eee Pad Slider Gets a Thorough Hands-on Preview

Tags: , , , ,


sliderOver at Ritchie’s Room, Ritchie has gotten his hands on a retail version of the much anticipated Asus Eee Pad Slider and has given us a great preview of the sliding Honeycomb tablet.

A few bits to take away from the reading:

  • Sliding mechanism works well (kudos to Asus for this)
  • Tilt of the screen cannot be adjusted (kudos revoked!)
  • On the topic of the lack of mouse/trackpad: “proximity of the screen in comparison to the edge of the keyboard actually lends itself to retaining the touch interaction”
  • The sliding function works well as a stand, even if you aren’t typing

If I were in the market for a tablet, the Slider would be a serious contender. Is it just me or does this thing seriously sleek looking? My only reservations are the lack of integrated trackpad or some other type of mouse, and the single USB port, though I could always add a USB hub if I wanted. The bezel is also a bit meaty, but I’m impressed with how thin they were able to keep it, despite the slide-out keyboard!

There’s more info to be found at the original post, including a brief rundown of some of the apps/services that the Slider will come with, and plenty of great photos. Be sure to check it out!

As for availability and pricing, at least one site claims that Asus Netherlands will be pricing the 32GB Eee Pad Slider at a rather hefty 499 euros ($711 USD) and that the device will be available in early 2012. The price may quickly come down however, and seeing how the Slider just made its way through the FCC, perhaps it’ll hit in the US a bit earlier than 2012? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Asus Eee Pad Slider Hands-on Video

Tags: , , , , ,


eee pad sliderI’ve always loved slider devices, and this is probably why I’m so excited for the Eee Pad Slider which has recently made its way through the FCC and should be arriving in stores soon.

Brad Linder of Liliputing points out a lengthy hands-on video of the Slider that recently went up on YouTube. I must say that the video only makes me more excited… the device looks really well built and the sliding mechanism seems to work great!

The only thing I’m not happy to see is that there is no mouse! I feel like Asus could have easily put a nub-mouse or optical mouse on the device and that would save people from having to use the only USB port on the Slider for an external mouse.

Source: Notebook Italia

Acer Iconia A500 Enterprise Test Pt. 2 — the Business War So Far (and other strange things)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Iconia - Day 1

It has been 3 working days since I started my self-initiated challenge to have my Iconia A500 replace my HP 2730p at work. It took the first day to get it set up and configured, and a second day that I was out sick to really solidify how I was going to run the Acer for the foreseeable future. In that time, I have downloaded and applied the step up to Android 3.1 (the Iconia came stock with 3.0). I have also tested several functions of the various ports. I thought it would be a good time to give a brief synopsis of the story so far. Please note that some of the Carrypad crew have performed these tests in the past, so this is a refresher and a specific update as to how it all appears to be working under Android 3.1. Some of the notes will also reflect my specific perspective from attempting to use the A500 in the enterprise space.

Configuration and Apps: A few notes on my current configurations and why they are what they are for using a tab in the workplace

Homescreens and Calendar: I run fewer apps on the Iconia than I normally do on an Android device. While I use only one homescreen on my iPad, with all apps sorted into folders, and run almost all Widgets on Android homescreens, I have gone back to the function-specific homescreen paradigm on the Iconia. My main page has all of my productivity apps, the Advanced Task Killer widget, and my Calendar widget, which I have sized to its maximum size. I originally thought I would not use the “Iconia Tab” default account that comes already set up in calendar. But because I want to limit the amount of cloud syncing that occurs on this device, I have used this account to enter my daily work meetings. I then keep the calendar view suppressed to only the Iconia Tab account during the work-day, so I am not distracted by future Google appointments from my main account that is also synced with the device.

I keep one homepage for nothing but stickies and Whiteboard Pro tiles. The left-most homescreen has buttons for my weather apps and the Browser widget. These are so I can check weather before my commute home or on travel, and to quickly check tech news over my lunch break. The right-hand homescreen has any media apps that I use to assist me at work: Camera (for taking snaps of whiteboard exercises), Gallery (for viewing those snaps), Music (to work to), Recorder and Voice Recorder (for taking voice memos for myself). This screen also has MailDroid and GMail for checking personal mail over lunch.

The right-most homescreen has all of my admin utilities. ES File Explorer, the Android Market, JuicePlotter, Battery Dr, and Settings shortcuts for Bluetooth, Display Settings, Sound, and Wi-Fi.

I primarily run this device disconnected at work. I boot my hotspot upon arrival, again over lunch, and maybe right before leaving in the evening for a quick connection, minimal sync, and personal email check. Other than that, I keep Wi-Fi off.

Physical Set-Up in the Office: I use a CaseCrown Wood Tablet Stand on my desk to place the Iconia in the corner where my two desks join at a right- angle. While I plan on rotating keyboards and mice, this week I have been using my Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard 6000 and a generic USB laptop mouse, plugged in to a CP Technologies 4-port USB 2.0 Hub. I have been using the Targus Capacitive stylus along with it.

 Port Testing and Peripherals: While not all of this has an impact on my use of the Iconia A500 at work, I wanted to note the results of various hook ups I have attempted during initial setup.

  • USB Hubs: every USB 2.0 hub I have tried so far has worked. I have tried USB keyboards, mice, and thumb drives plugged into these hubs and have successfully connected and utilized each. The largest thumb drive that I tested was a PNY 32GB thumb drive. The one USB 1.1 hub that I tried did not work at all, leading me to believe that the Iconia’s full-sized USB port is only compatible with USB 2.0 hubs
  • Keyboards and mice: I have tried several USB keyboards and mice with the Iconia and each one has worked. I have used a TabletKiosk Foldable Keyboard (pictured below), and an i-Rocks keyboard successfully. I have used several mice, including a Logitech G5 and they have all worked. I only tried using the left and right mouse keys, and have not tried the scroll-wheel button or the forward and back buttons. The scroll wheel itself does work in most apps to scroll through the page.

TabletKiosk USB mini-keyboard - no longer for sale through TabletKiosk

  • Thumb Drives: another round of completely successful tries. I have tried the aforementioned PNY 32GB drive, as well as two 4GB drives
  • MicroSD Cards: All successful. I used a 4GB and a 16GB card. Both cards were wiped and formatted to FAT32 file systems. With both of these, as well as the thumb drives, I was able to use ES File Explorer to access the contents. I was able to access Word, Excel, .PDF, and image files. It is not intuitive for a normal user as to how you get there (click the SD Card button, select the folder titled “mnt” and select the extsdcard folder), but any average tech-head will figure it out in a couple of tries

Surprise Findings:

  • I plugged my HP HDMI-to-VGA adapter that I use with my HP Voodo Envy 14 (yes, I still insist on calling it a Voodoo) into the mini-HDMI to male-HDMI adapater that I received today from Amazon. Amazingly, it actually worked. This means being able to use the Iconia, and likely any Honeycomb Tablet that has HDMI out, with VGA monitors if, say, that is all your job provides. I plan on trying this hookup out with the Motorola Xoom 3G to see if I get the same results. I also have a straight mini-HDMI to full-HDMI cable that I need to try out with my 23″ Acer monitor later this week. Pics of the hook-up are below (not great pics; apparently my Samsung Nexus S 4G does not do so well in low light). If you replicate this hook up, you will need to use headphones or speakers plugged into the headphone jack for sound, as audio-over-HDMI will not work through the adapter. I do not expect that I will run with this configuration very frequently. The combination of the HP adapter + VGA cable is heavier than the tablet itself, and I did not like the strain I saw being placed on the mini-HDMI-to-male-HDMI connector. My VGA cable at work is much lighter though, so using this setup there might be less of an issue.
  • I plugged in a Logitech Dual Action gamepad into the USB port and it allowed me to swipe back and forth between homescreens using the D-Pad and analog sticks. At one point I was able to highlight the app icons and cycle through rows and columns using the D-Pad but I have not for the life of me been able to figure out how to do it again
I am out of time for tonight, so that will have to be a wrap. Stay tuned for the next update, which will include a discussion on what productivity apps I am employing, inking on the A500, whether or not it is fast enough for meetings, and whether is physical characteristics make it good or bad for office use.

 

Blackberry Playbook Quick Impressions

Tags: , , , , , ,


I managed to get a few hours hands on with the Blackberry Playbook [tracking page] today. First impression out of the box was: Wow, it’s tiny.

Laptopmag has done a comprehensive review of the device and they are pretty much on the money with their assessment. I didn’t experience any of the software issues they had though except for the slowness to rotate the screen when I turned the device.

The form factor is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and as you can see in the picture it’s roughly half the size of the iPad 2.

I actually found the square design refreshing and it definitely looked and felt different to the other rounded edge tablets. The unit felt solid and well built. The PlayBook has a soft-touch almost rubberised back and this gives a nice grippy surface to hold onto. It was easy to hold in one hand and light enough to do so for an extended period of time. The Playbook measures 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches, and is thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Tab but is slightly heavier.

It has a 7 inch display but interestingly the bezel forms part of the touch sensitive surface of the screen and allows gestures that make the tablet do things. For example you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to return to the home screen. The gestures were easy to learn and remember, and I picked them up and was using them naturally very quickly.

There’s a 3-megpaixel camera above the screen, along with a notification LED. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera on the back and the quality from both was very good. Two small slots on each side of the display are the speakers and they were surprisingly good in the quiet room.

The top of the PlayBook has a power button and volume controls with a Play/Pause button as well – a neat feature for media. A headphone jack is on the top right.

The device also has a micro-USB port which allows connection to a PC as a hard drive for file sharing. This worked as advertised and almost made up for the lack of a full sized USB port. As long as you have the cable it will be pretty easy to get files onto the device. A micro-HDMI (D-port), and charging contacts for an optional charging dock (no extra ports on the dock) are located on the bottom edge. The unit will charge from the supplied adapter or via USB when plugged into a computer.

Output from the HDMI was good and allowed full HDMI mirroring as well as presenting mode which meant you could be sending an image, slideshow or video to an external monitor while using the tablet for other tasks.

An interesting option in the settings was for the power management. This affected the multi-tasking capability. The options are Showcase, Default and Paused. On the homescreen if you swiped to switch between apps the running apps became smaller windows. Each app continues to run in these windows demonstrating that the OS is multi-tasking these apps and switching between them was ast and smooth. In the showcase power setting the apps still operated in the windows and this was demonstrated by showing a video still playing in the smaller window and while flicking the app selector left and right. This is obviously the most power hungry setting. In Default mode the setting employs smarter power management and in paused mode every app pauses it’s behaviour automatically when you navigate to another app.

Connecting to the Blackberry phone was simple and I tested out the Blackberry Bridge function as well as 3G tethering. The Playbook is WiFi-only and therefore doesn’t have a 3G capability without tethering to your Blackberry phone. Using the browser over a 3G tether was slow and even with a good 3G signal it then had to travel over Bluetooth which may be the bottleneck. Accessing email, files, and calendar functions over the bridge connection was easy but when opening larger files I really felt the slowness as it could take 20-30 seconds to open a 3MB PDF. I think I would use the bridge connection for email as having a larger screen and big on screen keyboard is much better than the small phone screen but for reading larger word documents or PDF files I would have to download them before attempting to read as otherwise it was just painful waiting for the pages to render.

The RIM sales represtative also mentioned that they will definitely be releasing a 10 inch version within months and hinted at some special features on it but refused to reveal what. While I prefer the small, pocketable size of a 7 inch device I know guys in my organisation prefer a 10 inch screen so the playbook 7 inch will not get a lot of interest from my co-workers. I feel that RIM has realised this barrier to entry in the enterprise business market and that’s why they are releasing a 10 inch version.

Overall the Tablet was well made, had lots of processing power and felt like a well rounded unit with a good mix of features.

Sony Xperia Play Game Demo and Look-Round

Tags: , , , , , ,


xperia play

I am certainly not qualified to talk in-depth at the Xperia Play gaming experience but I was certainly quite excited to see the hardware controls and game quality. In the video you hear me talking to a Sony Ericsson representative about the product. We discuss battery life, pricing, availability, get a gaming demo and take a look round the device.

The Xperia play runs Android 2.3 on a Snapdragon 1Ghz CPU (MSM8255with Adreno 205 GPU) with a 4” ‘Reality’ display at a true 16:9, 854 x 480 resolution. Note that Android 2.3 brought in some touch responsiveness extensions and enhancements.

What’s important to me is that another major company is now switching to the ARM/Android chassis for another product category which means Android is now in phones, tablets, media players, cameras, gaming devices, TVs and smartbooks. What’s category do you think Google are looking at for it’s next ‘device-specific ’ branch of Android? Set-top-boxes is something I’ve been keeping an eye on.

Everything You Need to Know About the iPad 2: Thinner, Lighter, Faster, Available March 11th, 3G on Verizon and AT&T

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


ipad 2 frontThe iPad 2 is here! Are you surprised? Probably not. Apple is quite consistent with it’s product iterations. There’s nothing mind-blowing about the iPad 2, but it’s definitely set the new bar for tablets. Here’s the low-down:

Specs:

  • iOS 4.3
  • 9.7” capacitive glass screen with oleophobic (fingerprint resistant) coating @ 1024 x 768
  • Dual-core Apple A5 CPU @ 1GHz
  • Enhanced GPU that Apple claims is 9x faster
  • 16/32/64GB memory options
  • Forward-facing camera (with FaceTime support, naturally) @ 640×480 resolution
  • Rear camera for up to 720p (1280×720) video recording
  • Sensors: Gyroscope, accelerometer, light sensor, digital compass
  • WiFi a/b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • 3G & GPS (optional)
  • 25 watt-hour battery
  • White or black bezel options

Dimensions & Weight (and size comparisons):

ipad original ipad size compThe iPad 2 is 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches or 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm. That’s right, the iPad 2 is ridiculously thin, probably the thinnest tablet on the market. It’s even more thin than the iPhone 4 (9.3 mm).

Here is the iPad 2’s size visualized against two other 10” tablets, and the original iPad:

ipad 2 comp iso

ipad 2 comp side

ipad comp top

The iPad 2 is also a bit lighter than the original iPad: 1.33 pounds (601g) vs. 1.5 pounds (680g). Here’s how its weight stacks up to the competition:

Weight was one of my major complaints in my iPad review, so it’s nice to see that they’ve been able to bring it down somewhat. Still, as Chippy noted on twitter earlier, they fell short of the important 1 pound mark.

Design

Image 51The design of the iPad 2 isn’t far off from the original, though they’ve reshaped it to make it much more like the latest generation of iPod Touch.

Specifically, they’ve flattened the dome shape on the back of the iPad, but still let the edges taper up to the sides of the device. This eliminates one of the surfaces, so now you’ve essentially got just a front and back with a smooth transition between, rather than individual sides. Keeping the sides rounded means you’ll be able to get your fingers under the device to pick it up, but the overall width of the iPad 2 has been reduced over the original.

Thanks to Apple’s iPad 2 video, we got to see some cool shots of the device’s insides. Check it out below:

Image 49

Image 50

Continue reading on page 2 (Cameras, CPU, GPU, & Battery Life, Display Mirroring & AirPlay, iOS 4.3)…

HTC Flyer Hands-On Gallery and Video

Tags: , , , ,


The HTC Flyer is in no fit state to be assessed right now and I wonder why HTC actually bother showing such a critical device in their portfolio at such big events. The pen system doesn’t work, the software is not complete and even the design of the device is changing. I expect to see this sort of activity from, lets say, 2nd-tier ODMs but not someone like HTC.

So what is there to say about the product? It’s got a 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor (single-core, apologies for the error in the video) and Android 2.4. Google applications are available and it’s a similar size to the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

HTC Flyer (8)

IF the pen feature works for both handwriting and ‘snipping’ it’s an interesting idea but the pen has no silo and even requires batteries. I can’t see anyone remembering to take the pen with them or even bother to get it out of their bag when needed. There’s no voice, SMS and MMS capability either.

Yes, the processing speed is good. Yes the HTC Sense adds value to many. Yes, the price will drop soon after launch.

Is it enough to tempt people away from the Galaxy Tab which is likely to be half the price in Europe when the HTC Flyer launches in May or June.

HTC Flyer (17) HTC Flyer

More photos in the gallery including images of the applications and a look around the device.

Here’s the video….

Nexus S Video Overview

Tags: , , , , , , ,


nexus sWe’ve got the Nexus S [tracking page] on hand for some testing and it’s certainly doing some impressing! In addition to a beautiful display with an amazing contrast ratio, the Nexus S is topping the Quadrant benchmark charts over all other Android devices. Then there’s that whole Android 2.3 thing it’s got going on that has some great tweaks to the OS. There’s a full review in the works, but in the mean time we’ve prepared an overview video for your viewing pleasure:

Enspert Identity Tab Gallery

Tags: , , , , ,


IMG_4762We showed you the Identity Tab [tracking page] unboxing and gave you a quick preview of the device just the other day. Now we’ve got a gallery full of photos for you to get familiar with the aesthetics of the 7” Android tablet. We’re still waiting on the Android 2.2 build with official Android Market access, to come our way (just a few more days) and when it does we’ll have a lot more info to share about the Identity Tab. For the time being, tide yourself over with some pretty pictures!

Identity Tab Full Gallery

Identity Tab (Enspert e201) Unboxing

Tags: , , , , , ,


photo (2)We’ve mentioned the other day that we had an Enspert E201 [tracking page] inbound for testing, and it has arrived. I had to chase the FedEx truck several blocks down to get the box yesterday, and I did it all for you, dear readers! The Enspert e201 (which is available soon, exclusively from Dynamism) is being branded as the Identity Tab, here in the US.

I’m really surprised with the build-quality of the Identity Tab so far. It looks just like an iPad and I’m dreading the “hey is that a mini-iPad?” questions that I’ll get when I’m using it out of the house; they may have copied the aesthetic, but they were fortunately also able to nail the build-quality. I’m really digging the physical buttons on the Identity Tab. The last three Android devices that I’ve tested (and numerous ones that I’ve covered) all use capacitive Android buttons (the Home, Back, Hidden-Menu, and Search buttons). The Identity Tab (though it might be lacking the search button) actually has physical clickable buttons, and I love it! The feedback on them is great, I don’t have to guess whether or not I’ve actually pressed them.

As I mention in the video, the Identity Tab is running Android 2.1 at the moment, but will be updated to 2.2 before shipping to customers. I think this is much better than promising a 2.2 download at some point later because companies sometimes don’t come through (*cough*Samsung*cough*), and even if they do, the process isn’t always easy! The device will also have official Android Market access when Android 2.2 comes through (we’ll have it on the device in about a week) and that will enable us to do much more with it. Stay tuned for more to come from the Identity Tab over the next week or two.

Samsung Galaxy S – Fascinate Unboxing [video]

Tags: , , , , ,


IMG_3206Here’s a short and sweet unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy S phone for Verizon, the Fascinate. This phone has a 1Ghz Samsung Hummingbird CPU, 512MB of RAM, a 4” 800×480 AMOLED screen and is running Android 2.1. Stay tuned for a full review and plenty of other coverage on this so far impressive phone.

Motorola Droid 2 Unboxing

Tags: , , , , ,


photo We’ve got our hands on a hot little piece of hardware today and the coverage is coming straight to you, my dear readers. Check out Verizon’s latest Droid phone, the Motorola Droid 2. See our Droid 2 tracking page for full specs and details.

The phone feels very solid despite being a slider and therefore consisting of two big moving parts. It’s also thin enough that I’m certain many people won’t realize that it’s a slider the first time they get it in their hands. I’m already somewhat impressed with the keyboard. I will admit though, my expectations were low after briefly looking at the original Droid’s keyboard, but the Droid 2’s keyboard has more tactile feedback than it might appear to. Though it’s still likely going to be too small for someone with large hands.

iPhone 4 Review

Tags: , , , , , ,


I have to preface this review with an apology. It’s taken me a long time to get this review up on the site and I’m sorry for that. You knew not to expect a day-one review from us because that’s just not how we roll; we like to get a serious feel for the items we’re testing before passing judgment. I was waiting for apps to be updated with iOS 4 features, and for Apple to tell their side of the antenna story before writing the review (not to mention getting distracted with the Droid X). With that said, I hope you’ll still join me for our iPhone 4 review.

Hardware

2010-08-09_19-30-48_22 The iPhone 4 introduces an all new design. Here’s a quick spec rundown, and as always, you can get detailed information from our iPhone 4 Portal page.

  • CPU: Apple’s A4 chip (1GHz)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX 535
  • Screen: 3.5” IPS display @ 960×640 (326 ppi)
  • Rear camera: 5 MP with single-LED flash (HD video record capable)
  • Front camera: 0.3 MP (video up to 640×480)

Design

2010-08-09_19-33-51_256 You’d have to really despise Apple to say that they have no design talent. The iPhone 4 once again makes its predecessor feel like a toy, despite the fact that it once felt like a quality built device. The iPhone 4 is 24% thinner than the iPhone 3GS, making it the thinnest smartphone in the world (according to Apple), though despite it’s decreased thinness, it doesn’t feel thinner than the iPhone 3GS because of its square back. The iPhone 3G and 3GS had rounded backs which made them feel thinner than they really were. The result of this lack of rounded back makes the iPhone 4 feel just as thick as the iPhone 3GS.

The front and back of the device is made from glass which Apple lauds as being much stronger than plastic. I’ve somehow managed to already get more scratches on the front of the my iPhone 4 than I did over the entire course of my iPhone 3GS’s lifespan. They aren’t significant scratches, but hold the phone under the light and you’ll find quite a few. This is a striking contrast to my iPhone 3GS which never got a single scratch on it.

This could have something to do with the fact that the glass back of the iPhone 4 is somewhat slippery compared to the plastic back of the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 4 isn’t slippery in the hand, but it frequently slides off of places where I once rested the 3GS, such as on top of my Wallet, or on the arm of a couch. Some people have attributed this to the oleophobic coating which is designed to reduce fingerprint smudges (this was only present on the front of the iPhone 3GS, but it’s on the front and back of the iPhone 4).

The front and back of the iPhone 4 is glass, but there is a tiny plastic bezel that surrounds each pane. This is likely to prevent any dangerously sharp edges, as well as reducing the chance of chipping the edge of the glass.

As for the look of the device itself, it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. I, for one, think it’s a beautiful looking device, and I’m happy to see Apple working on a somewhat retro look, rather than continuing to evolve their previous design – the natural conclusion of which would have eventually been the iBall — if Apple continued to simplify shapes and smooth lines.

2010-08-09_19-28-32_725 The device feels undeniably well built, and the metal buttons are impressively solid and have no play to them. The volume buttons have been changed from a rocker bar (as they were previously on the 3GS) and separated into individual buttons. The plus and minus markings are cut directly into the metal button which gives them a sharp look that won’t be worn away over time. Both volume buttons, the silent switch, and the hold/lock button have highly satisfying clicks. Additionally, the home button on the front of the device is much more clicky than the one on the iPhone 3GS which was occasionally on the squishy end of the spectrum. If you’ve ever used an iPod Touch, then you’ll know the feeling of the iPhone 4’s home button.

Screen

112_1027 Apple specifically designed the screen to have a pixel-per-inch rating that surpasses the eye’s ability to tell each pixel apart. Apple claimed that this threshold was about 300 ppi at a given distance (10 inches or so) so they made the screen 326 ppi with a 960×640 display which is 4x the resolution of previous iPhone. Just to clarify, the increase in resolution doesn’t mean more space on the screen. Instead, Apple scaled up graphics of the entire OS to 4x their original size to fit the new resolution. The result is an extraordinarily crisp screen that makes you wonder how you ever lived with the low res 480×320 screens on the old iDevices.

When I look back at an iPod Touch or previous iPhone, the screen looks quite pathetic. The iPhone 4’s 960×640 screen is the highest resolution in a smartphone, but next to an 800×480 device like the Droid X [portal page], the difference won’t be perceptible for most people. So while the iPhone 4’s display blows the previous iPhone out of the water, it isn’t wildly superior to other devices out there.

The IPS screen is reasonably readable in bright sunlight and has an impressive full 179 degree viewing angle with virtually no loss of color or contrast at even the most extreme angle.

Carrypad Sites and Partners