(Head Honcho)
06/24/10 04:22 PM
Wow, that Retina Display on iPhone 4 beats our iPhone 3GS, reception ain't da bomb

My word, did anyone else but else just waltz into a Walmart and walk away 2 hours later with an iPhone 4? Walmart's seeming incompetence and Apple's keeping them in the dark conspired to deter would-be iPhone buyers from bothering to show up there in droves. So we got to our local WallyMart at 7:45 and were 5th in line to get a phone. Happily they had 5 phones, so we scored.

The iPhone 3GS in white and the iPhone 4 in black. Yes, the new one is significantly thinner.

When our Senior Editor flaunted her new toy, I grabbed it out of her hand to compare to my now old news iPhone 3GS. I'm no spring chicken and I wear glasses, so I wondered if I could really see the difference in that Retina Display. Short answer: yup, I could easily see the difference and tiny text in Safari was readable without zooming in. Now, you'll still want to zoom in for serious reading-- just because you can read something doesn't mean it's comfortable to do so for extended periods of time.

Here are comparison photos of the iPhone 4 display and iPhone 3GS display taken with a full frame sensor dSLR and a high quality macro lens. We didn't re-sample down on the image size, so these are 100% crops.

As you might guess, the top image is the iPhone 4 and the bottom image is the iPhone 3GS:

While that's all good news, reception on our unit isn't. I'm sorry but I just don't believe Apple's story about the bars not drawing correctly. Remember the fix for the iPhone 3GS that didn't really change reception as measured in -db, but rather just upped the number of bars displayed? Unfortunately we can't test the iPhone reception in terms of -db because iOS 4 changes the commands you punch in to get that reading.

Our iPhone 4's bars jump like a fly on a burning hot cinnamon bun. As you may have read on other sites, holding it in the left hand does indeed drop those bars down while holding it in the right hand causes no problems. I'm a lefty and do hold the phone in my right hand, but the other 90% of the world likely holds the phone in the left hand-- bummer. Call quality diminishes when the phone is held in the left hand as well.

Final note: ours has no yellow spots on the display.

Our full review is coming, along with some video action.


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