This is the 3rd part of my iPhone 4 review . In this part of the review , we will be looking at FaceTime and few other functionalities of the iPhone 4 , including the Retina display and how it actually performs and applications for the iPhone 4 which is worth saying it out to connivence you to switch to iPhone 4. Oh yeah if you’re wondering why its called an eye for an eye , well I wanted to call it FaceTime for a FaceTime , but then eye for an eye sounds too cliché ! – Thus making me to use that phrase. (More after the jump)
The biggest , feature (or hype , depending how you look at it) of the iPhone 4 surrounds with its FaceTime. FaceTime is not something new , and it has be done something already in the past. A lot of 3G-enabled phones with front-facing camera is able to perform video chat with other 3G users and even via the Internet. What FaceTime in iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4 differs from the rest is that it uses WiFi instead of 3G connectivity and you’re able to faceTime with any iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4 users around the world for Free. Think of it as Free VoIP. Not only that , FaceTime can be implemented on other devices , even on android as Apple announced that FaceTime is an open standard (Source : AppleInsider) which means we could see a FaceTime application on Android , BlackBerry , Symbian and even Windows Mobile ! (But again knowing how Apple works , I’m not able to say if they would allow such applications to be ported over to other platforms)
Anyway, enough of what is FaceTime all about. Lets take a closer look and how FaceTime works. In order for you to use FaceTime , you must be connected to WiFi. It would not work via 3G data connection , although you may able to use 3rd party applications to do this such as Tango
To use FaceTime , you need to know the persons number or his FaceTime e-mail address (if he is an iPod Touch user) , and thats about it. With a touch of a button , FaceTime just works. To demostrate how FaceTime actually works , my friend Kenneth recorded a FaceTime session with Jenifer (who is another #maxis10 iPhone 4 reviewer as well).This was done over at Starbucks , SS15 , Subang Jaya
Here is a screenshot of our FaceTime session. Just look at the video if you want to know more as it speaks for itself !
The video is in HD if you’re wondering. So feel free to test it out in full 720p if you like or else just stick with the regular YouTube !
In order to be fair and even, I did another FaceTime session with Abinesh , who is another #maxis10 reviewer as well. This was done over at my home and no HD recording this time at all. Its just to demonstrate FaceTime as well. I’ve also taken some pictures so that those who are on slower Internet Connection would at least able to take a look (and imagine) how it works !
If you like to know the story from the other side , instead of my narration. Do check out Fazreens’ blog , on which he did a FaceTime chat with me.
FaceTime requires 200Kilobits of upload stream and around 400Kilobits of downstream to work well. I’ve did another FaceTime session with a friend of mine who is in Brazil. But due to connection issues , things did not go smooth as we planned.
There were call drops and echo. I was not able to record that , however what I managed to do is capture a screenshot of it , but there were instances where FaceTime did shine – For instance talking to people from UK , Australia and even Singapore ! Important note is that for us Malaysians , as long you are not hogging the line or if your Internet Service is okay , it shouldn’t be a problem. It starts to get real bad when Streamyx/P1/Maxis/DiGi/Celcom or whatever broadband service providers out there are having issues.
Overall , the great thing about FaceTime is its easy to use. One click and bam it works. Plus it makes it possible to have International calling for free and whats even more is that you can call your iPod Touch 4 friends for free (requires iOS 4.1 and above on iPhone 4) ! The main disadvantage of FaceTime is that if you don’t have WiFi , you’re pretty much dead as it would not work at all or if your corporate firewall blocks a lot of stuff or if you’re being a proxy. I do hope Apple allows its users to FaceTime via 3G and perhaps even video chat with other 3G-phones ! But for now , lets just hope that they open up FaceTime with PC users.
Retina display is another fancy term for HD display. The resolution of iPhone 4 is 640×960 which is twice of previous iPhones which is at 320×480. If its too technical , just think of comparing HD and SD or better yet – think of your Astro Byond. Its like watching HBO in HD and HBO in SD. The difference is very clear. To demonstrate this , I’ll be taking a screenshot of Mirrors Edge , which I managed to grab it for RM 6.50 ( $1.99 during the sales). This game supports Retina display , which means that its able to take advantage of iPhone 4’s display to the fullest. I’ll let the picture do the talking. Oh if you’re wondering , I am a big fan of Mirrors Edge !
Clearly the new graphics chip and as well as combined processing power and display in iPhone 4 makes it possible to display stunning graphics. If you’ve noticed that Faith , the protagonist (or the hot chick) is rendered beautifully and there aren’t any jagged lines. Clearly , now iPhone 4 can go heads on with portable gaming consoles such as Playstation Portable. The IPS panel on the iPhone 4 certainly takes it to a whole new level , colours are much more natural then what they look. For your information , IPS panels are used by professional photographers when it comes to photo editing as they give the correct representation of the colour. A lot of HDTVs (probably the one you have) is most likely to use an IPS panel !
We all do know that iPhones have accelerometer which allows the phone to detect its position and rotate according to how its being positioned. Gyroscope takes it to the next level , well what it brings is a whole new level to gaming and other things. Steve Jobs have already demonstrated the usage of this in his iPhone 4 keynote , which you can see below
As for the current usage , well pretty much nothing. There are only a handful applications which support this. The main reason being is that a lot of iPhone users are actually using iPhone 3G/3GS . Therefore , making something for iPhone 4 only, not only would hurt the developers income but also the user themselves. However I am quite sure , that developers will figure out a way to implement both of these functionalities in their application. Only time will tell. I couldn’t able to review this functionality as this time of writing , there weren’t any applications at all.
As I’ve covered in my previous reviews , basically iPhone revolves around applications or the other way around depends how you perceive it. There are just about application for anyone and anything you can think of. There is an application which mimics vuvuzela (yes that annoying thing for the World Cup 2010), augmented reality , famous titles such as Final Fantasy , Monopoly , Scrabbles. You name it , there is all of them in the App Store. Some of these applications are not Free and they cost as little as USD$0.99 cents (thats around RM 3.10) . Here are some good applications that I would like to highlight, its mainly targetted for Malaysian iPhone users , but there are some application which will work for the rest of the folks as well. Click on the application link , it will take you directly to iTunes Store for you to download ! The applications are free unless stated otherwise
1Malaysia Hotline – Its pretty much the awesome application that I’ve ever seen for the iPhone. Its basically Yellow Pages for Malaysians. It contains numbers to embassy , highway , government department. Its pretty handy if you ask me. Plus you can get to search Yellow Pages as well. Handy for Malaysians , expats in Malaysia and tourists who are planning to visit Malaysia. Its a must get ! – Best of all its developed by a Malaysian !
CineApps – I mean I like to see movies. Basically this tells me the latest shows , show time at all cinemas in Malaysia. Plus it alows me to watch trailers as well. Not bad if you ask me , especially if you want to get everything in your fingertips .
Emoji (Thanks jennihsurf for the recommendation). Emoji gives iPhone users to send out cute emoticons which comes with the phone. By default Apple has disabled it for some odd reason. It generally comes by default with Japanese language set , however if the iPhone is set to be in English and in English keyboard layout. It does not show up. I guess they assumed that only japanese like em , but nevertheless a lot of asians and even Malaysians tend to use emoticons to express out things. Thankfully there is an app in App store which enables this. Best of all , its FREE !
Official Facebook app / Twitter for iPhone – For all your social networking needs on the go. The application is a must have if you use Twitter and Facebook. You can’t exactly play FaceBook games with that application but at least it allows you to upload photos , check out photos and post status updates !
WhatsApp (USD$ 0.99) (Free alternative : PingChat) – Most of the blackberry users do boast on how great their BlackBerry Messaging Service which allows them to communicate with other BlackBerry users for free. Fear not , there is an application for the iPhone/Android/Blackberry that does the same. It will work automatically , you dont have to enter any Pin or username to add friends. it finds any friends via your contact list and checks if they use this service , if so you are able to send pictures , text messages free. Now you can get to have your own alternative to BlackBerry Messaging service. If you’re a cheapo , consider getting PingChat – it works in a similar manner , but then you’ll have to add people manually
Pandora Box – Nah its not a game. Its just an awesome application which lets you know which applications are on sale or which applications is free for the day. From time to time , some applications will be made free just for a day. Its a good way to explore which apps are currently free or on sale , so that you can grab them. A must have if you’re going to do bargain hunting !
Flight Control (USD $ 0.99) – Another game which makes use of Apple’s Game Centre matchmaking (which I’ll cover in the next part). Its like being an air traffic controller and just guiding planes with different colours to land in the correct runway. Pretty addictive. Plus it supports multi-player via Bluetooth/WiFi so that you can play with your friends who has this game on his iPhone or iPod Touch !
These are some applications and games that I would personally recommend. Obviously there is a lot more towards that. If you’re a person who is holy , there are apps of the holy books of each religion.
Game Centre/ iPhone as game centre
With the rise of 7th generation console such as Playstation 3 , xbox 360 and Wii. We have seen a surge in social gaming whereby there is a system such as Playstation Network , Xbox Live and Steam Network on the pC , which allows gamers to add their gaming friends , compare scores , keep track of their achievement and their friends achievement , Invite their friends to join their games and so many other things. This is where Apple made a twist , they did bring in with Game Center which is part of iOS 4.1 (You’ll have to upgrade your iPhone if its not already on 4.1). If you have used Steam , PSN , Xbox service , you would roughly know how this service works. Its similar to that. Here are some screenshots
This clearly shows that iPhone 4 is indeed could be seen as a gaming device , this is what Apple is trying to promote the iPhone 4 indirectly as. Instead of a phone , it could be a gaming device as well ! At this moment , not all games do have this game center functionality available , but I’ve been seeing a lot of games are slowly being updated to take advantage of Apple’s Game Center for matchmaking , keeping track of achievements and stuff.
Its useful if you’re using your iPhone as a gaming device. But however , it boils down to the nature of the user , if you’re business inclined then no doubt Game Center would not be any use for you. Its targeted to those who strive the best (In other words , achievement whores). Thats about it folks.
I am not sure what else to write more on the iPhone 4. So basically in this next part of the iPhone 4 review , I’ll be covering on Camera – hows the photo quality , and video quality and the iPod functionality of the iPhone itself. From time to time , I’ll be writing tips and tricks on using iPhone and as well will be covering other topics on this matter !
The iPhone 4 Epic Saga (iPhone 4 Review)