Our impressions of the Verizon iPhone 4S
The 3.5" IPS TFT Retina Display on the iPhone 4S remains unchanged - while most of its Android competitors are at 4" or larger. Be that as it may, the quality is stunning, as text and images are incredibility clear and sharp. When placed next to the Motorola DROID BIONIC with its 4.3" qHD display, the difference in the screen size is quite noticeable, but so is the quality, as images and text on the DROID BIONIC can look a bit jagged at times (depending on the content) due its PenTile TFT display.
Since we had sunny South Florida day, we decided to take a few pictures with the iPhone 4S, and they did produce eye-pleasing results, with good color and detail. We can't really say the camera on the iPhone 4S is quite good as our Canon A650 IS digital camera, but it still remains above average for a cell phone.
For videos, the iPhone 4S records at 1920x1080p HD. When played back on our PC, the video had plenty of detail and colors were nice and natural looking. It also was smooth at 30 frames-per-second, but when moving the camera around fast, it did cause a bit of a wobbling effect.
For benchmarking data speeds, we used the popular SpeedTest.net app. During peak day hours, downloads were under 1 Mbps (averaging around 0.70 Mbps) and uploads were about 0.60 Mbps. But in the middle of the night, we would see downloads above 2 Mbps. When loading our PhoneArena.com web site, the iPhone 4S would take about 25 seconds to load, but keep in mind that since Flash is not supported on the device, it's not downloading that extra content. We can also tell that the dual-core processor is helping to speed up the rendering of pages.
Call quality was excellent on the iPhone 4S - in fact we'd say it's one of the best sounding phones we've used with Verizon. Voices were very accurate sounding and with full-range tones (similar to what we'd get when using a land-line) and there was absolutely no background noise. Even when we turned the earpiece speaker volume all the way up, there was no rattling sound, which is common on some phones (such as the HTC ThunderBolt).
The battery life on the Verizon iPhone 4S echos what we got on the Sprint model, as on a full charge we'd get close to 7 hours of continuous talk time - 1 hour less than what it's rated at. For mixed usage, which includes some talk, texts, emails, web and app use, and some stand-by time, the battery would last us nearly a full day, though if you're using it non-stop power user, prepare to keep a charger with you.
Overall, the Apple iPhone 4S for Verizon is pretty much the same as the other carriers' models. It feels well made with high-quality materials used in its construction, and not cheap and "plasticy" like so many other smartphones that we test out. The only thing that we felt was missing was support for Verizon's 4G LTE data network. Hopefully we'll see that happen in the next version.
1. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
With the Rezound, Nexus and RAZR approaching VW next month---no one really cares about the iphone4S...All eyes are on the aforementioned smartphones...The iphone4S was not a major breakthrough in design or with any breathtaking features to the model just released......
2. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
iPhone fans still care. Most of them will have already bought an iP4 on Verizon by now though. I can't see the 4S selling in huge volumes at VZW.
Bring on the trifecta!
31. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
iPhone has been the top selling phone on VZW all year. How do you not see it selling?
36. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
@taco. Android fanboys live in a different planet where the iphone is not selling well, lol.
47. roscuthiii (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
I still see the iP4S selling quite well throughout the year since not everyone is eligible for upgrade at the same time.
Taco just may win the bet.
71. Sackboy117 (Posts: 178; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Wow all this trolling reminds me of PS3 vs Xbox or something like that. If the smartphone industry is the last thing on your mind when you go to sleep, and if it is the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up, then go back to cyberspace because there's this thing called the real world right next to the computer. And people should be happy with what they have, especially if their parents buy all their stuff for them.
4. willardcw4 (Posts: 169; Member since: 01 Oct 2011)
iPhones are still important.. if you're an Apple user then it makes a lot of sense to get a 4S. It's still a pretty sweet phone, although I'm jumping ship for the Gnex in a couple weeks :)
6. Retro-touch (Posts: 239; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
It's still a sweet phone that looks and operates the exact same way as the iPhone 4. The only difference is Siri, 8MP camera and a better GPU. The dual core processor doesn't provide mind blowing performance improvements like the GS2 did over the original Galaxy S. You can play games that are a little more detailed but seriously who plays games 24/7 on a phone when you can play console games with amazing graphics on your huge HD tv. It's a minor improvement and if I had an iPhone 4 I wouldn't upgrade.
23. ygswagg11 (Posts: 8; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
well said my brotha i feel your comment so true
59. Ivan6479 (Posts: 243; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Oh really?? This is new news to me because doing the same speed test they just did on this video with my GS2 (AT&T Version) my results show my phone is twice as fast as your precious iPhony.
13. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Of course it makes sense to get an iPhone 4S. It's like the best phone on the market.
17. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
It's definitely the best iPhone on the market.
21. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
ohh yes you are completely right any day of the week.. iphone 4s is the best smartphone ever..
48. roscuthiii (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
Thanks for adding the qualifier "like". Leaves space at the top for a better phone. ;-)
18. Whateverman (Posts: 3160; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Even though I don't think it's the best phone on the market, I would say a lot of people care about the iPhone 4S. Don't let having the same design fool you, this thing is a peak at what's to come with the iPhone 5 for sure. Think about it like this, if Siri and a dual core processor that makes this 3G phone as quick as some 4G phones just an incremental upgrade, the iPhone 5 is going to be an a**kicker. We also have to assume that Apple is aware how disappointed many iPhone fans were with the 4S and even how ICS is injecting new life into Android. They HAVE to hit hard with the iPhone 5 so I would hope they are considering a bigger screen at the very least.
30. bigboy029 (Posts: 74; Member since: 03 Jan 2011)
You forget about the average, non-techie consumer though. people that just want a smartphone will come in and see "New iphone" and immediately buy it without looking into upcoming phones or better phones. I myself am a pretty tech savy guy, so I always look into upcoming models, reviews, etc. but the average consumer does not.
93. PotDragon (banned) (Posts: 214; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)
Only an iphone user would consider waiting 25 seconds for a page to load. Without flash content no less. Seriously? TWENTY FIVE SECONDS?
Plus side....you can't download data fast enough to exceed your data plan. More money for a case. NEED a case on a glass backed phone...right?
Funny how no mention of "bloatware" appears. Obviously, I realize it is complete BS, but PA has used it as a "con" and now omits it from the review. Is vzw software LINKS ( you know the full program isn't installed...right? ) preinstalled or not?
Congrats to the writer! You now have the distinction of being the worst tech writer on the planet. Your writing is uniformative, biased, and childlike.
98. Massimo (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)
Please speak for yourself. Nobody cares about the iPhone 4s? Then explain why four million have sold since it was released and I am still waiting two weeks now to receive mine because Verizon is sold out? I am no Apple fanboy either. I did tons of research before deciding to upgrade from fours with two Blackberry phones to the iPhone 4s. I read the recent reviews for the phones you mentioned, and while they all have their merits, none could quite measure up to the iPhone in terms of sheer reliability and smooth user interface. I was initially sure that I wanted either the Droid Bionic or the new Droid Razr, but after comparing them to the iPhone 4s, Apple won out. Maybe, like millions of others who have bought this phone, I will become a fanboy after all, and that will be just fine with me.
3. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
The addition of Siri and dual core....Should not have taken 1 1/2 years to complete...
5. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I really wonder if the decision to sell the 4 on Verizon this year had something to do with the timing. Otherwise why wouldn't Apple release this refresh over the summer?
39. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
@droid. Are you saying that every time there's something new, Apple should release a new iphone right away? Lol. Like let's say a quad core processor is released next month. Apple should not wait next year, and release the iphone5 next month? Lol. And then in January, when some new feature comes out, Apple will release iphone6 in January, hahahahaha. Is that what you're trying to say? Sorry, but that is what android OEM's do, because android OEM's just release phones left and right as soon as some new tech comes out. No wonder android phones get old quickly. Look at the sgs2. No one cares for it now because the prime is coming out. And prime is not even out, it's already old news because Droid rzr is already gaining more popularity with its qhd display. Hahahahaha
99. gologetright (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
@530gemini. Let me be sure I understand the perspective you are presenting. What you're really saying is that it is better for consumers to have access to new technology only on an annual basis; that ready access to new technology as it emerges is somehow an inferior approach. I find that to be a very curious view of the free market. Granted,typically when Apple delivers a new product it has been carefully engineered, very well thought out and construction/materials is usually high quality. This isn't always the case with all Android devices. Clearly Apple takes a different approach to the smartphone market but to say that the Android approach is inferior because something new is always on the near horizon is absurd.
7. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 244; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)
ehh... not much different. re-hashed.
but it is american made... maybe thats why the media puts the apple on the pedal stool.
9. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
You'd be hard pressed to find an American-made phone these days. Many of the chipmakers are US-based (Qualcomm, TI and Nvidia) and Apple and Motorola are US companies, but manufacture is based in China, Taiwan and Korea.
Apple is praised for being Apple. They get their own special 'pedal stool'. :)
40. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
Is that why Japanese and European cars sell more than American cars? Lol. Android fanboys are shameless to put out the dumbest excuse just to badmouth the iphone.
77. BCRUTK55 (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
Parts made in China
Assembled in the States
94. PotDragon (banned) (Posts: 214; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)
Are you really that stupid? Where is this "assembly plant"? Next to never never land? Please don't tell us you think there is a manufacturing plant in silicon valley.
8. xmusicianguy (Posts: 96; Member since: 13 Jul 2011)
I keep my Bionic on 3G / CDMA only and get better downlink speeds than that. I keep about average at 1 Mbps. I know that is because of load on the network however.
10. Jake16 (Posts: 10; Member since: 18 Nov 2009)
Everybody seems to forget that the iPhone 4 came out on Verizon in February, so would it really make sense for the company to offer this phone for 5 months and then release a new version? The would be extremly stupid for Verizon and Apple. It is all about profits, and if that meant waiting until September to release the 4s then they are going to do that
12. c.hack (Posts: 487; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
I switched from my Droid DX2 to the 4S primarily because the DX and then DX2 were extremely unstable with GB, and the pentile displays were poor. I thought I would hate the small 3.5" display, but its actually easier to read on the 4S with clear characters and fonts than the horrible DX2 pentile screen I had (still have as a backup).
The 4S is still missing turn-by-turn nav, which was a big benefit of Android. But then, I can just dial *228 and activate my DX2 for travel.
19. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
If your problem was with Motorola's implementation of GB and their screens, I would've recommended either the Nexus or HTC Rezound. Both phones will have screens rivaling the 4S, and both are coming in about 2 weeks.
I can't argue with the stability of the iPhone, but it won't be the only phone with text that crisp.
79. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
The problem is android. All the phones are buggy. You guys last year were saying these phones had zero issues. Now this year you say oh yea those phones have issues, but the new ones don't. Can you say backpedal?
100. gologetright (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
I'll say it..."backpedal", and I have an HTC DINC2. Most of these posts are the "sports announcers" running commentary in the ongoing P1zzing contest.
14. willywill_evo (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)
OK how dumb is this...the verizon iphone came out 8 months ago, most of AT&T iphone user switch to verzion because of a better network...Now the iphone 4s came out, but some how its faster in AT&T some are switching back lol
15. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Oh hey PA, you're so late to the game. iPhone 4S has been out for like several weeks now.
25. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Try about 12 days. And they had already posted a review on the Sprint model.
56. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
For once Sniggly, I give you a thumbs up.
27. FAUguy (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)
We just received our Verizon demo unit this weekend, not several weeks ago.
57. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Yeah, because the Verizon iPhone 4S is so much more different from the other models other than being CDMA based with slight differences here and there in data speeds.
91. Retro-touch (Posts: 239; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
Exactly the point of a dedicated article on the exact same phone with data speed differences is lost on me. One review to cover em all should be enough
26. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
I have a business contact who will soon be switching away from the iPhone, which she absolutely hates.
The 4S is a good phone, I just think there are many better options already out there and coming up.
33. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
iPhone is blowing away android in the corporate world. About 66% of non blackberry users go with iPhone compared to 30% go with android.
Fandroids please stop using "friends" as proof.
37. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Um, where did I say I was trying to make a particular point other than "my business contact hates her iPhone and wants something different"?
58. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Come on Sniggly, do you really take us for fools here? It's clear what you were trying to imply there to anyone who can read a post.
63. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Well what was your point? Why would you bring that up?
I have a "friend" and they say android is the worst phone on the planet. Oh by the way I have no point just saying... - sniggly impression
78. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
It's just an aside, the end product of a great and productive afternoon that I had. It wasn't meant to make an overall statement about the iPhone or iOS. I had a good day today, despite getting a flat tire last night.
80. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
so you had a good day because you met someone who doesn't like an iPhone and that supercedes your flat tire which makes it a great day?
Wow you need help lol
95. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
First time I have ever given you thumbs up taco... lol
28. DJLegacy2k5 (Posts: 205; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I love this talk about "quality materials"...Gorrilla Glass is a QUALITY material, nice solid plastic on a phone is actually a QUALITY material because its durable, light weight, and doesnt shatter.
The iPhone is 2 sides of non-quality GLASS that shatters EVERYTIME someone drops one on anything but carpet and the metal makes the phone feel 2 lbs heavier...
So this whole "quality materials" arguement is HIGHLY subjective!
38. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
But the whole phone is made out of glass, so it's far more fragile.
41. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
@sniggly. A glass or cermamic vase is more fragile than a plastic vase. So why do luxury hotels and mansions use glasswares rather than plastic? Oh yes, because plastic is cheap :) Glass is class. And for people with fine tastes, we don't care if it shatters. We'll just buy a new one.
44. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
A phone is not a vase. If I'm using a phone every day, and it's as big a part of my life as Apple clearly wants it to be, I want my phone to survive a 3 foot drop.
Also, the edges of an iPhone cut into my hand, it's pretty uncomfortable. I'll take practicality over looks.