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Apple iPhone 4S Review

Apple iPhone 4s

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Apple iPhone 4S Review
As mentioned earlier, the iPhone 4S is a world phone, which means that one and the same version will be available on every carrier. There won't be differences in hardware or software, but you should still keep in mind that call quality, data and battery performance will vary, depending on the carrier. For our review, we used a unit activated on the Sprint network.

Muting things on both ends of the line, we can hear a subtle amount of background noise through the handset’s earpiece – however, it drowns out when we begin conversing. Voices on our side have a tendency to sound  choppy, but thanks to its piercing volume output, we’re able to recognize voices without much falter. Meanwhile, our callers are happily impressed by the clear audio tones they’re presented on their end of the line. Finally, the speakerphone is actually a pleasure to use thanks to the robust and audible tones it’s able to produce.

Touting its improved antenna design, featuring two antennas, we got  an average of 3/5 bars in high coverage areas most of the time. Sure it’s not exactly at its full capacity, but we’re thankful to not experience any dropped calls during our testing in the greater Philadelphia region. And while some other phones might be showing more bars when used in the same areas, we should keep in mind that this isn't really a reliable indicator of signal strength.

On another note, we’re rather disappointed with the battery level of the iPhone 4S – especially when it was mentioned to offer better battery life than its predecessor. Strangely, we’re able to get a little bit under 7 hours of continuous talk with a full charge, which is less than the 8 hours it’s rated for. In our day-to-day usage, we don’t find its battery life to be any better than the iPhone 4 since we’re able to get at least one day of normal usage. However, power users will still want to charge it whenever the opportunity arises to keep it at a good level – though, we’d recommend charging it nightly as well. Who knows if it’s something to do with the dual-core processor or something else, but we were expecting more out of its battery life.



Conclusion:

After all the wait, we’re still scratching our heads in confusion as to why it took this long to release this incremental model. Obviously, we wouldn’t be all that concerned if it were released during its usual summer time frame – much like all of its ancestors before it. But considering that the threshold has been established by the competition, namely by the trove of Android smartphones like the Motorola DROID BIONIC, HTC EVO 3D, and Samsung Galaxy S II, there’s nothing next-generation or completely out-of-this-world with the iPhone 4S. Sure we find those incremental upgrades appreciative to strengthen its appeal, but it’s not like the unprecedented features presented to us by the iPhone 4 last year.

Unless you’re a diehard fan of the iPhone and have an unlimited stash of moolah lying around waiting to be used, or simply have an upgrade available, there’s no denying that you’ll find the iPhone 4S as the most amazing one yet. Sure we love its faster dual-core processor and improved camera, but the single best feature with the smartphone is found with Siri – it simply just works! However, not everything is peachy with the handset, which is evident by its less than gracious battery life. Our biggest gripe with regards to the iPhone 4S's features is the lack of 4G, which means it will provide slower data connectivity compared to LTE handsets on Verizon, for example. However, it should be noted that the iPhone 4S is just as fast as some 4G-branded smartphones on AT&T and T-Mobile. You can find out more details about that in our dedicated article right here.

Well, if you happen to be an Apple iPhone 4 owner, we really don't see too many reasons why you should upgrade. However, if you have an older iPhone, the iPhone 4S will obviously be an awesome choice, due to its beautiful design, outstanding performance and cool features. If we have to compare it to the top of the line Android handsets of today, we believe the iPhone 4S has what it takes to compete successfully. Of course, whether you should side with it or a high-end Android phone depends entirely on your personal needs. One thing is certain – the iPhone 4S is not perfect, and neither is any product from the competition. They all have their pros and cons, but considering the current state of the landscape, we wouldn't go as far as to proclaim an ultimate leader. Frankly, the iPhone 4S will appease the appetite for now, but if it’ll take a full year before we see its successor, it might find itself in a disadvantage in the long run, as Android and Windows Phone continue to gain steam with each device that’s released into the market.

Right now, we believe the Apple iPhone 4S is deserving a rating of 9/10, when we consider its overall quality, features and price, but we'll actually give it an 8.5, because it is only an incremental upgrade from last year's iPhone.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
iOS version:  5.0 (9A334)

Apple iPhone 4S Video Review:



Pros

  • Innovative Siri personal assistant
  • Fast dual-core processor
  • Shoots amazing photos and videos
  • World Phone capabilities

Cons

  • Battery performance is unchanged
  • No 4G connectivity
PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
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PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
Display3.5 inches, 640 x 960 pixels (326 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Apple A5, Dual-core, 800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
0.5 GB RAM
Size4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches
(115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm)
4.94 oz  (140 g)

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