The iPhone started the smartphone revolution, and in a few short years competitors are everywhere, but Apple continues to innovate with the newest version— the iPhone 4. The new phone, updated iOS operating system, and the anxiously awaited move to availability on the Verizon network, make this phone very popular. But is the iPhone still the best smartphone? We decided to take a look and give you our opinion.

As shown in Figure 1, the iPhone comes in Apple’s typical sturdy white box. The box has a picture of the iPhone that covers the top of the box. The bottom of the box, shown in Figure 2, is nicely compartmentalized with areas to hold the USB charging cable, the wall adapter, and the earphones, which unfortunately still have the classic Apple hard ear buds. You will notice that although the phone is mostly black, the cables and ear buds are the standard Apple white.

Verizon iPhone 4 ReviewFigure 1: The iPhone 4 box

Verizon iPhone 4 ReviewFigure 2: The interior of the box

Figure 3 shows the items listed above, the phone itself, plus two small information folders. The first is the iPhone Product Information Guide. This guide focuses on safety information and is printed in type too tiny to read. The other guide is a much more useful brochure called “Finger Tips.” The Finger Tips Guide has a brief getting started guide plus 17 extremely useful tips. It is a must-read for new iPhone owners.

Verizon iPhone 4 ReviewFigure 3: Included items

The Apple design engineers have gone out of their way to make the iPhone 4 a thing of beauty. The iPhone 4 is sleeker, flatter, and slightly thinner than the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The rounded back of the previous iPhone has been replaced with a piece of flat glass. The same type of glass is found on the front.

Apple uses aluminosilicate glass that is chemically strengthened. Sometimes referred to as Gorilla glass, this glass is said to be scratch-resistant as well as 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic.

Even with some rough use, which included an accidental drop on a hard floor, the only problem we had with the glass is that, in spite of Apple’s assertions to the contrary, it is a magnet for fingerprints.

The front and back pieces of glass are held in place by a smooth stainless steel frame with slightly raised buttons.  Although the iPhone 4 has the same 3.5-inch size screen as previous iPhones, the result of the design changes is a phone that feels sturdier, fits better in the hand, and has a screen that seems slightly larger.  Everything about the design and feel shouts “quality.” The iPhone 4 is 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches (115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm) and weighs 4.8 ounces (137 g).

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.