The iPhone 4: Don't Buy One Yet

Last Updated Jun 24, 2010 11:56 AM EDT

I'm as ardent a gadget geek as they come, but after spending some hands-on time with the iPhone 4 (and reading some rather disturbing reports), I've decided to skip the new model, at least for now.

Should you do likewise? That's your call, of course, but before you make a decision, read my five reasons for passing on the iPhone 4:

1. Design flaws aplenty Some iPhone 4 owners are reporting discolored screens. Others have noticed scratches on the backside. At least one user cracked the entire rear panel with just a one-foot drop. (I never did understand why Apple chose glass for the backside.) And there's new speculation that simply holding the iPhone 4 by its antenna band causes a loss of signal strength.


2. "Meh" features Yes, the new Retina display is nice. But you know what? Text, photos, and videos already look just dandy on my 3GS screen. I continue to have little interest in FaceTime, and I can live without a gyroscope. Most of the features I want, I already got from the iOS 4 update. (Check out five hidden iOS 4 features you'll love.)

3. Multitasking bites Sure, it's great to be able to run Pandora in the background, but overall, Apple's implementation of multitasking is disappointing. When you double-click the Home button to bring up the "app bar," you end up with row after row of icons to swipe through. This makes finding the app you want to switch to maddeningly difficult. (Admittedly, this is more of an iOS 4 issue, but multitasking is among the iPhone 4's most highly touted features.)

4. No more unlimited data Any new AT&T/iPhone 4 customer will have to choose between two capped data plans. While I do think the higher of the two is fine for most users, it forces you to closely monitor your data usage so you don't end up paying overage charges. Bleh! If you're upgrading from an older iPhone, hang onto that unlimited data plan for dear life!

5. Where's Verizon? It's an old argument, but I've just about had it with AT&T. While service has been okay in my hometown, I've encountered shockingly low signal strength (or none at all) in big cities like Chicago and San Francisco. Verizon really, really needs to get in the game, and Apple needs to let them.

Okay, sports fans, your turn. Are you buying an iPhone 4? Why or why not? Let's hear your reasons in the comments!

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.