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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The Apple iPhone 4 follows its predecessors in offering a large amount of messaging options, and that number has been swelled since the introduction of iOS4.

The keyboard – both landscape and portrait – is eerily accurate, and if you've never tried it before you'll be dumbfounded at how quickly you get used to smashing out messages as fast as possible.

The main method of interaction is through email, and Apple now lets you have multiple Exchange accounts on the iPhone as well as Gmail, YMail... in fact all kinds of webmail is supported.

And getting involved with these is as simple as pie – for our Yahoo account, it was simply a matter of username and password and we were away – slightly disconcerting privacy-wise but a dream to set up.

Google Mail can be done in the same way, or you can channel it through the Exchange route if you want to sync the contacts or calendar - Google has a good explainer on how to do it.

Corporate Exchange is a little trickier, as it requires you to know the settings and domain name and mail address – you might be better throwing the phone and a couple of beer tokens at your company's friendly IT guy if you're struggling.

Apple iphone 4 review

However, the push email works a treat and the iPhone 4's new iOS 4 offers unified inboxes – so you can get all your email in one place without having to jump in and out of separate accounts.

The email interface on the iPhone 4 is a dream too – simply swipe from the right hand side of the message you want to erase and a little delete button appears as if by magic.

You can also easily select multiple messages to erase at once by pressing edit – you can also move the emails to a separate folder using this method too.

Another new feature is emails are now grouped together – you know the situation: you're having a five person conversation and before you know it there are 33 emails in your inbox all entitled 'Is spin class for only women?'.

Now they're all under one roof – simply click in to the subject email and you can see the debate in all its glory.

MMS was nicely set up in the way we've come to expect from Apple, with the option to send a picture or video directly from the item, or by hitting the small camera icon in the MMS message to choose a photo or video.

Apple iphone 4 review

Strangely, if creating a message using the MMS editor, we could only attach a video or picture, yet MMS supports contact cards as well as sound recordings too.

While both of these functions allow you to create an MMS from the actual item, if you want to combine audio and a contact card you won't be able to in the current MMS editor.

Apple iphone 4 review

Text messaging is laid out in Apple's favourite 'conversation' balloons, with easy interactivity with your chats and message lists.

Apple iphone 4 review

The other option to contact your friends with is that old staple: instant messaging. The advent of the newer versions of the Apple OS mean push notifications and background running make much more sense on this new iteration, and the likes of Windows Live Messenger now finally appearing on the scene mean IM is a very easy way of chatting to your friends.

Apple iphone 4 review

If we had one gripe, it's that Apple hasn't taken a leaf out of RIM's book and allowed the inbox API to be opened up. Imagine being able to see not only emails, but text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter mentions... all in one easy to reach place.

Come on Apple; let's see that in the next update, shall we?

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.