Apple iPhone 4S

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Reviewed by Brian Oblinger (Currently owns)

Design - Great industrial design. The unit is beautiful and a great size/form factor. I take away a point here for durability. Constant worry about shattering the glass can be disconcerting if you like to keep your devices in perfect condition.

Display - To my eyes, not much beats the retina display. Many of the displays on other devices are brighter, but I am not particularly fond of cranking the brightness and blinding myself at all times. With that said, it could stand to be at least a little larger given the advancements we have seen in screen sizes vs. form factor.

Cameras - Other than an old Nikon SLR, this is the best camera I have ever owned. I have not seen any evidence of a phone with a better overall camera as of writing this review. The iCloud integration to get my photos on my other devices is also a huge plus. The front-facing camera is fine. I have rarely used it.

Reception/Call Quality - Reception seems to be fine, but folks on the other end of the line sometimes complain that I drop out for a few seconds here and there despite good reception. Not a huge issue, but minus a point or two.

Performance - Everything is always fluid and snappy. The experience is great.

Software - The only reason I am giving this an 8 is due to the lack of proper navigation that is built-in to all Android phones. The alternatives are not great. If you want something on par with Google Nav, you will likely have to buy a stand-alone GPS unit. Otherwise, iOS is a great OS.

Battery Life - I don't use my phone as much as some, but I have not seen any significant problems with battery life. It feels normal to me. It could always be better, but that is life.

Ecosystem - Life is a lot easier when all of your devices/computers are in one ecosystem. Apple is doing good things with iCloud. I look for that to only get stronger going forward.

Final Score - I give it a 9. Having previously owned Blackberry and Android devices, the 4s is a much better overall phone. There is certainly room for improvements in some areas, however.

The Breakdown

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  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 9
  • Display 9
  • Camera(s) 10
  • Reception / call quality 8
  • Performance 10
  • Software 8
  • Battery life 9
  • Ecosystem 10
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