Apple iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3GS, Android Smartphones

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Apple iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3GS, Android Smartphones

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Antenna Rim

Some users have reported touching the iPhone 4s antenna rim causes their reception bars to flatten—an issue thats caused no end of headaches for Apple, which says the problem lies in the phones software as opposed to its hardware. The company promises a fix in coming weeks.

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Poor Reception

Users also complained about poor reception for the iPhone 3GS—which Apple now claims suffered from the same software issue. But issues with making calls on the iPhone 3GS never reached the same pitch as with the iPhone 4, which has forced Apple into full-on damage-control mode.

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Glass Body

A number of reviewers have noted the iPhone 4s heft and compact size, its front and back made from two different types of glass (the front is ultra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass), and the squared-off edges. While these details have attracted praise, some have marked fears that theyll drop the device, or that itll shatter more easily.

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iPhone 3GS Design

The iPhone 3GS attracted near-universal praise for its design—some of it coming in retrospect, after the iPhone 4 was released. While its smoother edges translated into less space for internal circuitry and battery, users appreciated how that design aspect allowed the device to easily slide in and out of a pocket.

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iPhone 4 Screen

While the iPhone 4s much-touted "Retina Display" offers an ultra-crisp screen, the screen itself measures 3.5 inches—in contrast to Android-powered phones such as the Droid X and HTC Evo 4G, which offer a 4.3-inch display. In its desire to not create a bigger screen that could potentially edge into the iPads territory, Apple may have hobbled its devices competitive edge as a multimedia device.

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On the Inside

The iPhone 4 does boast improvements over the iPhone 3GS (whose guts are shown here) including a larger battery, more memory, and a front-facing camera for video chat.

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The iPhones new iOS4 operating system has been touted as a substantial improvement over previous versions, with new features such as multitasking. While thats great for the iPhone 4, some iPhone 3GS users have reported backup issues and some apps refusing to work after theyve downloaded the new OS—issues Apple will hopefully address in future updates.

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No Flash

Neither the iPhone 3GS nor the iPhone 4 support Flash, which is used to power many Websites rich media content. While Apple advocates and Jobs will argue that Flash is unnecessary for a good Web experience, Android phone makers are counting on their Flash support to create a competitive differentiator.

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The iPhone 4 includes FaceTime, which allows people to video-chat with other iPhone 4 users. However, the feature only works over WiFi; Apple will need to make FaceTime 3G-supported—and sell a lot more iPhone 4s—if it wants to make the feature more ubiquitous.

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Rear Camera

The iPhone 4s rear camera module, at 5 megapixels, is an improvement over the iPhone 3GSs camera at 3 megapixels—but it also risks being outpaced by rival devices such as the Droid X camera at 8 megapixels.

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