10 Apple iPhone First Impressions: Innovation, Glaring Flaws

News Analysis: The iPhone 4 is a fine product that has earned the many plaudits it has generated. But there are still some faults with the smartphone that should be addressed. Take a look at 10 first impressions of the iPhone 4 after 24 hours of use.

The iPhone 4 is officially available. And although not everyone got their hands on the smartphone before it was sold out, the company's device is easily the most coveted release of the year. For good reason. The iPhone 4 is a well-designed, highly reliable smartphone that easily bests any of the previous devices that came before it. The iPhone 4 boasts several new features, comes with Apple's latest iOS 4 operating system, and performs almost all of the tasks that most consumers expect.

But there are also some issues with the iPhone 4. It's hobbled by a poorly devised antenna that's causing users to drop calls. It also doesn't help that the device's camera is a bit too underpowered when compared with the competition. Simply put, for all the good in the iPhone 4, there is some bad. After 24 hours with the device, those issues show themselves just as quickly as all the great things about it.

1. The antenna is a problem

All the reports of the iPhone 4 having antenna issues are absolutely true. Because Apple decided to put the antenna around the outside of the device, folks who hold the smartphone in a way that covers up the lines around the sides will experience dropped calls and connection issues with AT&T's network. For its part, Apple has said that users need to learn to hold the smartphone in a different way, indicating that it doesn't plan on addressing the issue. That's unfortunate. After making more than a dozen calls, a few were dropped while using the iPhone 4. And unfortunately, data transmissions were brutally slow while holding the iPhone as I normally do.

2. Retina display really is that good

Upon booting up the iPhone 4, consumers will be shocked by how beautiful its display is. Not only is the text far more crisp than on previous versions of the smartphone, but even the apps are more capable of displaying detailed content than in the past. That alone makes the iPhone 4's display the best on the market. The improved display has even done wonders for the iPhone 4's virtual keyboard. Pressing the correct keys is now much easier, and there is a significant reduction in the number of spelling errors. Apple's Retina display is the real deal.

3. The speakerphone is fantastic

One of the main issues with the iPhone 3G was that its speakerphone just didn't work nearly as well as most would have liked. The iPhone 4 addresses that issue with what could be the best speakerphone ever offered in a smartphone. Not only is the reception quality second to none, the iPhone 4 doesn't require users to be close to the device to be heard on the other end. Even better, by using the smartphone's speakerphone, it cuts down on all the antenna issues that would otherwise hamper calls that are placed without the speaker.

4. FaceTime is incredible

Since the iPhone 4 has only been available for a day, as of this writing, it's tough to find other folks who have the ability to chat over video from one iPhone to another. But in those few cases where it is possible, FaceTime simply delivers an experience unlike anything I've had with a smartphone. The video quality is outstanding and the ability to switch between cameras is a welcome feature. Plus, it adds an entirely new dynamic to communicating with people with a smartphone. Connectivity over 3G would be nice, but that's a small price to pay for what FaceTime offers.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...