iOS 7 on an iPhone 4 - a review by Waffles and Pancakes!

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INTRODUCTION

Well, here I am, more than a week later from the release of the second beta of the iOS 7 operative system, and just a few days from the announcement of said OS. It's been a week since I was breezing through my Flipboard feed and found the supposed answer to all my pleas from the first beta: enough performance and bug fixing. It's been quite a interesting journey all along, from crashes on the least preferable situation to hours of enjoyment and joy to finally have a lantern and quick access toggles handy. It may sound weird, actually it is, but come with me to this journey full of good and crap, to the world of unstable Apple software!

The Review Gear

  • An iPhone 4, obviously :). This is the 8GB model, with the 3,1 identifier. I say this because there's another 8GB iPhone 4 but with a different model identifier and a different IPSW. I don't think there's some major hardware or performance difference between the two, but better say this before than be sorry later :)
  • I tested the battery mostly over 3G on a regular HSPA network, but I connected to WiFi in the evening.
  • My patience and tech-fanatic geekness.

LE REVIEW

General Overview

Leaving the fancy words apart, you know how beta software is, right? And you know how Apple software is? Okay, so think about running some buggy and unstable software, on the oldest hardware supported by iOS 7. And what you get is almost the opposite of what you think, at least for the first days.

Going Deeper (no, it's not what she said ;D)

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If you're going to compare this beta against the former one is clearly better. Now you can use it daily for normal stuff, but be aware that this is going to last a while. A very, very short while.

The first moment I picked up the phone after I installed the beta I felt the increased speed. It was damn fast, maybe just as fast as iOS 6. I installed all my apps and left my computer sync my music overnight (as I compress my music to 128Kb AAC to fit more of it. Don't judge me, I could only afford the 8GB model) and came back in the morning. Here I started experiencing a growing combo of glitching with the status bar, not as much as in Beta 1 but it's still there, and crashes.

But everything's not lost! At least, there's the introduction of transparency in the dock, as well on the Notification Center. The transparency is quite different than the one available on newer iOS devices, like the iPhone 4S or 5. It's not as high quality, and it glitched on me when I changed the wallpaper for the first time, staying the color it was before. This never fixed up, even after restating the device several times. Here you go, Apple: another glitch to fix!

After the first day fun, everything started to break up. Yeah, literally breaking up. The apps started to crash very frequently, the dock started to glitch up when the unlock animation finished playing, lag to the point I almost bought 40 bucks worth of in-app purchases because the screen lagged when I tried to push another button. You know, this kinds of this is what makes you keep yourself a thousand miles away from betas (not applicable to devs and geeks like me :D). You can't take a picture, write a message or even call someone without a minute of masochist wating. I'm used to half-cooked unfinished software. I've used betas and alphas since I entered the Interwebs, in my early childhood, but I feel that you're better with the anxiety of a GM than with the stress of a beta. It's better to wait, specially if you are in my position, with the oldest hardware with support from Apple right now.

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Here I'm gonna divide this into two scenarios, light and intense use. Light use consists of about 5 to 10 minutes of call time, 500 WhatsApp messages sent and received, an hour of gaming and 10 minutes of Flipboard and Verge app reading. Intense use is all of the above, but double the gaming and reading, plus half an hour of YouTube playback via the official app. As I use my own usage as the metric, your results may vary. But this will be enough to give you an idea.


Light Use

I started my day on 6:30AM and ended on 10:30PM. I was able to get through a school day but the battery died on arround 7PM. A quick charge of 15 miutes was enough to keep it running until I went to sleep. The battery ran out in chunks, eating out a bit of the battery every time I used the phone. That should be an indicator of what it'll come in the intense use bit... spoiler: it's terrible.


Heavy Use

Running for the same time as before, even ending a little bit early at 9:45, it was a terrible experience. Coinciding with the moments I needed my phone the most, I had the last amount of battery life. I had 89% by 7:15, I wasn't going to make it. It died on 3:25PM, reaching the 5% barrier; that's not even close (pun intended).

I got home by 4:30PM, meaning I was an hour and a bit phoneless. I had to ask my phone's friend to supply the tasks I had to make, imagine not having that opportunity. I was lucky to have a friend kind enough to lend me his phone (an iPhone 5, mind you), so I could make some calls and know that it was going to rain (very hard) in just 5 minutes. Again, if you're a regular user, keep yourself a thousand miles away from mobile OS betas :)

MOVING ON...

This experience reminded me on my Android days, back on late-2012. Being on the unsupported side, stuck with an Xperia Arc with modded-on 4.0 ('cause the carrier from where the Xperia came didn't wanted to update it). At least for Apple hardware, betas on the older hardware are painful. Looking at the performance seen on the iPhone 5, and to some extent the 4S, the poor 4 shows its age very badly. Yeah, it may be usable by the time it hits the street, but this kinds of things doesn't make me want to hold my breath. It may be history repeating the 3GS-iOS 6, cutting the S out of the name, rendering the phone lacking of it's original luster. I'm just not betting on it and saving for an iPhone 5S, or whatever comes next the 5. I want to experience the awesomeness of new hardware for the first time, and maybe you too. Tell me in the comments below how the beta runs on your iDevice, and if this experience makes you wanna pull the trigger on a new phone :)

NOTES AND STUFF, ETC.

Thanks eveyone for reading! This is the first new thread I made on the Verge forums, so give me your oppinion! I'm a writer in training, so bare the unprofessional stuff and give me some constructive criticism goodness! I put hours of passion and love to tech in this post, so I hope you liked it :). If there's some typo, let me know ASAP. English is not my first language, and you know how foreigners like me write sometimes, no need to tell the rest :D

Cheers! :)

By Waffles and Panceakes - Written in between July 2nd and July 5th, 2013. - Designed by me in Photoshop :)