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Apple iPhone 4 8GB expert review

Now that the iPhone 4S is available, Apple have released an 8GB version of their best selling iPhone 4 that's more affordable. It has most of the features you'll find on the new flagship model, but what's missing and will the memory downgrade impact on your experience?

I've been playing with the iPhone 4 8GB for a while now and found it to be affordable yet still usable, with most of the features you’ll find on the new flagship model and a smaller 8GB onboard memory (large enough to store around 1,500 songs). There really isn't that much difference between this model and the new flagship 4S.


  • Contemporary looks, Retina display, full FaceTime (video calls) and iCloud functionality, upgradable to iOS 5.1 (ships with iOS 5.01)


  • No memory card slot to expand storage, Siri, the “personal assistant” found on the 4S, is not present, MicroSIM only, dependence on iTunes to put media on to the device


First impressions of the phone are excellent and significant improvements were made in the jump from iPhone 3Gs to 4. The 3.5” Retina display is responsive, crisp and bright. The metallic bezel and glass back give it a unique look and feel, while Apple’s LED backlit multi-touch “Retina” display gives you a great view of your content. We've had a fair few clients experience issues with the glass back panel smashing when their phones are dropped, so i would recommend that you invest in a protective case to keep your iPhone from getting scratched or cracked.


Despite having been superseded by the 4S, the iPhone 4 still packs a punch. It’s equipped with Apple’s A4 processor and 512MB of RAM, which makes it just as slick and fast as most other smartphones on the market. The 8GB capacity will allow you to store approximately 1,500 songs on your phone, subject to file quality and size. The 5 Megapixel rear facing camera is capable of taking 720p video and fairly decent photos, but I did find the snapshots to be slightly less sharp and clear than I would like, and red eye was a bit of a problem in darker locations. Luckily you can now download iPhoto and use it to edit them out. On the front of the phone there is a VGA camera for video calling over Wi-Fi, which is a little primitive and doesn't take the best self-portraits. Both of these cameras have a touch-to-focus feature; simply touch the screen to have the camera focus where you want it to.


Out of the box the iPhone 4 8GB runs on iOS 5.01 and is upgradable to 5.1, the latest update. You can make the most of FaceTime for video calls, iMessage for free texts between iOS devices, and iCloud, which lets you back up your device without connecting it to iTunes. Photostream automatically syncs any photos you take in the cloud, and iPhoto allows you to edit your images on your device. It is a shame that the iPhone 4 will never support Siri, the new "personal assistant" found on the iPhone 4S.

Managing your mobile - top tips to stop you wasting money on calls, texts and data

  • When you don't need to be connected to the internet, make calls or receive push notifications, (for instance if you're on the train or in a meeting), enable Airplane mode in settings to disable your network services and conserve battery life and your data allowance
  • Making a lot of voice or video calls? Use an app instead of your call allowance. Download Skype for iPhone and use it to make free calls to your friends over the internet via a Wi-Fi connection
  • Are you constantly text messaging friends? Download WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone and use it to send text-like messages to your contacts without using up your SMS allowance
  • Consider purchasing a portable charger or a charging case to boost your iPhone's battery power while you're out and about, so you don't end with a dead phone half way through the day (this sometimes happens if you multitask a lot)

Agent verdict

If you're looking to purchase your first iPhone, the iPhone 4 8GB is a good choice. It's affordable, easy to use and only misses out on a few key features from the newer flagship phone. The display panel is a little cramped at 3.5", and the camera does lag behind for quality and features compared to the 8MP snapper on the newer iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 4 8GB is available now from Carphone Warehouse.

Is your old phone or tablet on the way out? Geek Squad offer a Sell My Phone service where we'll pay you to recycle your old phone or tablet (even if it's broken).

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