While I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of reviews for the iPhone 4S, we sometimes prefer to live with something a while before we pass judgement–especially when it’s a product that’s as highly anticipated as a new phone from Apple. And while it’s not exactly what everyone predicted it to be, I see the iPhone 4S becoming the most popular smartphone ever–and let me tell you why…
Ok, so probably one of the biggest things fans were hoping to see at the Apple keynote was an all new design for the iPhone 4S/5; and I’ll admit, for a while, even I was on the bandwagon. The only thing that I was conflicted about was the fact that I would have to buy a new case–which would be a small price to pay for a larger screen size (preferably a 4 inch diagonal display) and a thinner, tapered edge. But, as we all know, there was no design change (except for the slight difference between the AT&T iPhone 4 and the 4S, which you can read about in Mitchell’s full article), and we were left with what I believe is a very beautiful and iconic iPhone 4 design. I don’t miss having a bigger screen, although I sometimes wish the design was curved, which would make it easier to get it in and out of my pocket. But again, I am content with the current design. It looks great, it’s very thin, and best of all, there are no antenna issue anymore.
While the outside of the new iPhone was unchanged from its predecessor, the inside had a total overhaul. For starters, the new 4S has the same dual core A5 processor found in the iPad 2. Apple says that this will make the 4S run (up to) twice as fast as the 4, and have (up to) 7 times the graphics performance. They have also added a new intelligent antenna that makes the network speeds (up to) twice as fast, which matches many of the new “4G” phones in speed. And while I have noticed that it is a bit quicker than the previous iPhone, it isn’t double the speed. While it is a bit faster, it doesn’t feel like the improvement apple claimed. If you ran a speed test between the iPhone 4 and the 4S, it wouldn’t load the web page in half the time, it would load it in maybe three quarters of the time. But I don’t mind, because I had felt the same way about the iPad 2; I never thought the original iPad was slow, but the iPad 2 was an improvement (just not the improvement that I thought I was being promised). In all fairness to Apple, I’m sure some of the improvements will be more obvious when using apps that take advantage of the new hardware. But enough of comparing the 4S to the 4; as a stand alone product, this thing is a screamer. Apps open and load amazingly fast, and web pages render faster than any handset I’ve tested. If your switching from another smartphone to this one, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the features that many fans did predict correctly was the addition of a new 8 megapixel shooter–and I Definitely was not disappointed when it came to this camera. The addition of a fifth lens allows much more light to come in when taking low light photos and videos, and the camera even has video stabilization. The pictures look amazing. But don’t take my word for it, see it for yourself. This lens also improves the video quality immensely. You can now shoot HD video at 30 frames per second in full 1080p . And while other smartphones are capable of shooting at this capacity, this camera takes some the best looking video I’ve ever seen on a mobile phone. I know many people who are getting the phone specifically for the camera, and I personally find it a suitable replacement for many of the small point and shoot cameras out there, letting you carry one less thing in your pocket.
One the features that flew under the radar a bit was that the iPhone 4S is a world phone–which means that people on both GSM and CDMA networks can roam globally on GSM. What that means is that whether you’re on AT&T, Verizon, or now Sprint (yay), there will be a network covering you when you travel. This also means that Verizon and Sprint iPhones will have SIM card slots, and simplifies Apples Production chain. One iPhone for all three carriers.
Probably the biggest and coolest feature of the new iPhone 4S is Siri, your “humble virtual assistant”… and I think I’m in love. If you’ve read any of Mitchell’s “Siri said what??” articles, then you know that Siri doesn’t just read your texts, set reminders, set calendar dates, set alarms, play your music, tell you the weather and stock prices, dictate and send emails and so much more–she also has quite an attitude. Not so much that I feel like there’s a person inside my iPhone, but enough to remind me just how far technology has come. And while many people say they get bored of her after a week, I enjoy Siri and use her every day.
Now, the real question is: is it worth your hard earned cash? And for the price of 200 hundred dollars for 16 gigs, 300 for 32 gigs, and now the option to get 64 gigs of memory for 400 dollars, I say, absolutely–for anyone who doesn’t already have an iPhone 4. That way you can enjoy the retina display for the first time, the LED flash, a front facing camera, as well as all of the new features I’ve mentioned. And if you already have an iPhone 4, it’s your decision. There are some great features that could drive you to upgrade, but the 4 is already an amazing phone–it’s up to you. I happened to have an upgrade, so selling my iPhone 4 on Ebay meant I didn’t have to put out a penny, making my decision pretty easy. If you do decide to upgrade though, you may want to switch colors; if you had a black iPhone get a white one, and vice versa–I did, and it makes me feel like I have a new phone even though there’s no new design. But regardless of what phone you upgrade from, you won’t be disappointed with the iPhone 4S. It’s Definitely one the best all around phones I’ve ever used.