Apple's iPhone 4 will "dazzle" consumers with its thinner redesign, "radically" sharper screen, higher-resolution front-facing camera and updated operating system, reviewers said Wednesday.
The iPhone 4 feels "denser and tighter" than the 3GS, Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg wrote in a review Wednesday. Sound is "much better on both ends" of a call, according to David Pogue in the New York Times.
Mossberg called the phone a major leap over "its already-excellent predecessor." Apple's fourth-generation phone goes on sale today at the same cost as the iPhone 3GS. The 16-gigabyte model sells for $199, and the 32-gigabyte model for $299, each with a two-year contract from AT&T.
Apple already has received more than 600,000 preorders for the phone. Dallas-based AT&T, the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, said last week that it has booked 10 times as many preorders for the new model as it did for the 3GS last year.
USA Today technology columnist Edward C. Baig called the smart phone "the one to beat, even as it faces fierce competition from phones based on Google's Android platform." Mossberg praised the phone's video calling and long-lasting battery, writing that "even in heavy use, the iPhone 4's battery never reached the red zone on a single day of my tests."
Pogue wrote "the new phone is also better at choosing the best channel for connecting with the cell tower," leading to fewer dropped calls in New York and San Francisco.
Baig, Mossberg and Pogue also all presented drawbacks to the phone. The biggest downside is "Apple needs a second network," according to Mossberg.
Apple also has allowed only certain applications to "fully multitask" to avoid "a disastrous drain on battery life," Mossberg wrote. There are more than 225,000 applications that run on the iPhone, according to an Apple statement.
"The technically inclined may find greater flexibility and choice among its Android rivals," Pogue wrote. Baig added that "critics are left with reasons to whine."
The iPhone 4 "is still, overall, the best in its class," Mossberg wrote.