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iPhone 4 Review: Should You Make The Upgrade?



Ever since I got the iPhone 3G about 16 months ago, it has been a gateway drug to Apple for me. I was so in love with it, that it caused me to buy an iMac, and then a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m officially a Mac junkie, and I’ll never go back. You can go ahead and make fun of me, but having dealt with Windows PC’s for the past 15 years of my life and constantly being frustrated with them, I’ve drank the Apple Kool-Aid. That’s why I spent an hour and a half of my life on Monday following the live blog from Engadget about the keynote speech from Steve Jobs about their newest gadget, the iPhone 4. If you’ve already got an iPhone, then you’re probably either waiting for June 15th to pre-order it or you’re or the fence about whether you should upgrade. Or maybe you’ve been rocking an old Nokia cell phone for a while, and you’re wondering what smart phone you should upgrade to. Whatever your situation is, I’m going to throw a down and dirty review of the iPhone 4 and give you my not-so-unbiased opinion about whether you should get it or not.

iPhone 4 Specs

Tech junkies, if you’re holding a hot cup of coffee, you might want to put it down for a minute. This iPhone is the best update they’ve had since announcing the inception of the iPhone back in 2007. It’s got more features and quality specifications than you can handle. Here’s a comparison chart of the major specs of the iPhone and the only phone that comes close to its specs, the HTC Evo:
iphone 4 review
So as you can see, it is a huge upgrade from the 3GS to the iPhone 4 model. Video will be crystal clear, photos will be crystal clear and you won’t get those nasty, dark photos that cell phones are notorious for taking, and it’s got multitasking! At first, I wasn’t a big fan of the design, but once I saw the comps from Apple, I changed my mind. Plus, it’s razor thin, which makes it nice for people like me who carry my phone in my pocket.


  • It’s truly an all-in-one phone solution.
  • the iTunes iPhone app store is the largest in the world and has the best applications.
  • With the introduction of iAds, it could cause more mobile apps to be free.
  • It’s a big jump from the last iPhone upgrade, so you’ll be satisfied with the iPhone 4 for at least 2 to 3 years.
  • Its new design is stronger and built better, so it’s less likely to crack or scratch than previous models or some other smart phone models.
  • If your current plan with AT&T expires any time before the next 6 months, they’ll let you upgrade at the full discounted price.
  • If you have a Netflix account, they are coming out with a Netflix app that allows you to watch streaming video on your iPhone!
  • If you’re familiar with iMovie, it’s now coming to the iPhone as an app for $4.99!


  • Still no other carriers. AT&T has its problems. I get a dropped call at least once or twice a day. I really wish they would have announced Verizon as a new carrier. AT&T won’t improve themselves if they know there’s no competition.
  • If you’re in an AT&T contract that doesn’t expire in the next 6 months, upgrade prices jump to $399 for 16GB version and $499 version.
  • AT&T is dropping their unlimited data plan services, so now it’s $15 for 200mb of data and $25 for 2GB of data, then $10 extra for every extra gigabyte of data.
  • No expandable memory slot. This isn’t a big deal to me, because I don’t carry my entire music and video collection on my phone, but for some people, they still want to pop a memory card in and out. I don’t know if Apple will ever do this, because it’s not part of their design philosophy. They like the all-in-one approach, because it’s sleeker and more modern, and frankly, I agree with them. I think it’s their design team that’s catapulted them into one of the technology leaders.


If you’re currently not in a contract, switching from another provider, or if your contract expires within the next 6 months:

  • $199 for the 16GB version w/ 2 year contract
  • $299 for the 32GB version w/ 2 year contract

If your contract won’t expire for greater than 6 months, then you’ll be paying:

  • $399 for the 16GB version
  • $499 for the 32GB version

If you want to buy the phone straight up with no contract attached to it, you’ll be paying $599 and $699! That’s more than the cost of an iPad!

UPDATE ON DATA PLAN PRICING: Some of you have been wondering about AT&T’s data plans, because they recently announced that they are doing away with the “unlimited” data plans for their smart phones which includes the iPhone. I confirmed with an AT&T rep today that if you already have the “unlimited” plan with them, you can keep it unless you choose to buy the iPhone tethering plan which allows you to use your iPhone as a wireless hot spot for your laptop. If you’re a new customer to AT&T, you’ll be forced to get either the $15 data plan with 200 MB of data or $25 for 2GB of data. But apparently, the “unlimited” plan many of us have had really isn’t unlimited. I think it’s like 4 or 5GB, but you’d really have to be ragging out your phone to get anywhere near that kind of data usage with your phone. I hope that information helps some of you when considering whether you should upgrade.

My Opinion

If you’re looking to switch from another carrier, don’t have a current contract with AT&T or it expires within the next 6 months, I think the $199 for the 16GB is a great deal. This phone has everything you’ll need to last you for 2 or 3 years, so the initial investment will be worth it. If you’re constantly traveling or you run a small business, or you’re really involved with multimedia and social networking, this phone is the best of the best. It replaces the Flip Video camera, iPods, eBook readers, and even some point-and-shoot cameras! For everyone else, I would say to wait on it. Don’t spend more than $199 for this phone. In another year, they’ll make another update to the phone, and they’ll drop the price. Only make the upgrade if the money won’t break your bank. If you have to choose between paying your rent or buying this new iPhone, don’t be dumb! Will I get this phone? Ohhhhh, you better believe it!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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