Apple iPhone 4S Review: The Best Gets Better

by Reads (143,578)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 10
    • Ease of Use
    • 10
    • Design
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Value
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Faster Processor
    • Better Camera
    • Siri Voice Control
  • Cons

    • No LTE/4G Support
    • It's more or less a speed-bumped iPhone 4

Quick Take

If you can afford it and want the latest and greatest, you won't be disappointed with what the iPhone 4S has to offer.

The new iPhone is no doubt one of the most anticipated products of this year. Before the launch, it was shrouded by hearsay and speculation in just about every aspect, even it’s name. A lot of us were expecting the iPhone 5, a re-designed, thinner phone with a larger screen running on a 4G network. A lot of questions were answered but a lot of people were disappointed when Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S at WWDC 2011. Same design, same screen size, same resolution, looks identical to 2010’s iPhone 4 and it still only runs on 3G networks.

But keep in mind, just about everything that matters on the INSIDE of the new iPhone has been newly refreshed with a faster dual core A5 processor, upgraded camera, new version of iOS loaded with 200 new features (which we will go over) and a digital assistant called “Siri” that exclusively runs on this new model. Apple has also expanded to a new U.S. provider this year by adding Sprint, who joined Verizon and AT&T.

The iPhone 4S sold over a million units on the weekend of its release and Sprint has announced that it is its best selling phone of all time. Now that the weekend fun is over and the excitement has somewhat died down, it’s time to take a serious look at whether it was worth all the hype, how it holds up to the standards of 2011, and if it’s worth the upgrade from the iPhone 4.

Build & Design

As mentioned earlier, the iPhone 4S looks glaringly identical to the iPhone 4 in both design and weight. This year-old design withstands the test of time and is still one of the most elegant looking phones on the market.

Apple iPhone 4SLike its predecessor, the iPhone 4S retains the industrial solid design with a thin and sturdy build. It’s only 0.37 inches thick, 4.5 inches tall, and 2.31 inches wide (9.3mm x 115.2mm x 58.6mm); and the familiar form factor is not a bad thing at all. There is still the one concern: the glass back that is easy to shatter… but this is still a beautiful phone nonetheless.

No it’s not a 4+-inch screen as rumored; it has retained the 3.5-inch screen size since the first iPhone of 2007. The iPhone 4S sports the year old 960 x 640 retina display on the 3.5-inch touchscreen and it still looks fantastic by today’s standards, although some may argue that it’s starting to look a little small compared to the larger AMOLED screens that its competitors are offering. It would be nice if the screen were upgraded to at least 3.75 inches, especially for those who are always on the road and are dependent on their PDAs for emails and work. Even movies and games on the phone would benefit more from having more screen real estate.

Apple iPhone 4STouchscreen Keyboard
Because of how solid the iPhone 4S is built overall, typing on the virtual keyboard is very easy and accurate, especially for those who have small to medium-sized hands and the sensitivity is great. Pinch to zoom, swiping, and tap typing are executed with ease and haven’t changed that much over the years. The problem still remains for those who have larger hands and might find it difficult to navigate at times so it will take a while to get used to. I have medium sized hands and I “fat-finger” once in awhile when I type on the screen so a larger form factor will definitely help alleviate that.

Other Buttons & Controls
The accessible buttons are simply laid out with the familiar Home button that we’ve seen on all iPod Touches and iPhones (sorry, no narrow-but-wide Home button as had been rumored): Volume Down and Up which you can now use to snap pictures, the Mute switch, and the sleep/power button up on top. Nowadays it’s all about the touchscreen.



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