iPhone 4 review

HD video recording, gorgeous display - but can it justify the price?

The definitive Apple iPhone 4 review
The definitive Apple iPhone 4 review

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Another big feature of the Apple iPhone 4 is the new high resolution display - Steve Jobs has decided the best name for this is a 'Retina Display' by dearth of the fact it's meant to be so high-res that it's actually more than the eye can cope with. Read more about what we think of that.

Apple iphone 4 review

But the main point is the screen is so packed with pixels - we're talking 326 pixels per inch, and a 960x640 display, making it ridiculously high resolution for a phone with a 3.5-inch display.

This beats the Nexus One, iPad and pretty much every other phone on the market at the moment - it's immense and we can't really do it justice by describing it; essentially you have to see it to believe it.

The idea is that the days of pixellated images are over - now it's all smooth and sleek lines for everything.

This claim is certainly shown when looking at a web page on maximum zoom; sure, the old iPhone 3GS' effort looked a little ragged, but we accepted it because of the high zoom level and the fact that, well, we didn't care.

Apple iphone 4 review

But when you see things like that on the Retina Display, things just change completely. It's crisp and pure the whole way in, and while we're not saying that it's the most necessary thing out there, it's really cool and adds an element of wow-factor.

It's not just the smoothness that impresses either; it's the contrast ratios and overall image processing that comes to the fore when you see the iPhone 4's Retina Display for the first time.

Video looks simply sublime on the 3.5-inch screen, and while it's not an OLED (rather a TFT LCD with IPS backplane switching - here's a dull link to an explainer if you're into that kind of thing... and we sadly are) it still looks every bit as good as the display on the HTC Desire.

Apple iphone 4 review

We might argue that the 800:1 contrast ratio, while stunning, isn't better than an OLED version, which has the advantage of no backlight so the blacks will always be that little bit purer.

We also think that perhaps the colour reproduction isn't as saturated - but given that some people claim that OLED screens are a little too colour heavy, this may not be a bad thing.

Overall - Retina Display is a great thing, although not necessarily better than WVGA OLED screens we see in a lot of high end phones these days; but we can only hope that it's a trend that's followed by more manufacturers in the future.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.