Reviewed by Tyler Gold (Currently owns)
The iPhone 4S is easily the best smartphone I've ever used. Despite that, it's got a few somewhat glaring flaws.
Even after being around for so long, the design is still nothing short of breathtaking. You already know that the 4S is as thin as the 4, and that it also unfortunately shares its older brother's fragile glass back. Despite this, I've still managed to drop mine (on concrete, no less) and not suffer any major cosmetic damage- but I clearly was lucky. In the beauty department, it gets a 10. Durability is a 6.
The Retina display is still amazing. No words to describe how great it is. I've actually gotten used to the small size, and like it quite a bit. 3.7 or 4-inches would be nice, though.
Camera is wonderful. Best smartphone camera I've ever used.
Call quality is fine, but reception is surprisingly bad. I regularly lose 3G, even when I'm in an area I know is blanketed in Verizon's radiowaves. I've also noticed that the Verizon iPhone doesn't pick up service in spots that AT&T 4s' do- odd, to say the least.
Performance is great. Everything is snappy, and there are few, if any, instances of lag or crashes.
iOS 5 is great as ever, but there are still some things that could be better. For one, I'd like to have the option to have widgets from apps in the notification pulldown- like stocks or weather, but maybe with tweet or my Facebook news feed instead. Multitasking is smooth. The OS is just getting a little boring- but the thing is, it's boring because it consistently works. Of course, Siri is cool. Maybe I can't properly speak English, but she tends to have some difficulty understanding me when I throw more complex phrases at her, like "Send a text to Mike saying 'yeah, that sounds great'," thinking I want my message to read "saying yeah that sounds great." She's absolutely great for setting alarms or simple reminders, though. Siri is definitely beta, but she's totally awesome nonetheless. I'm also a little disturbed by the fact I treat her as a person.
Battery life isn't nearly what Apple advertises. 3G browsing seems to really kill the battery, and standby seems to be better some days than others- it's a little odd, really.
The App Store offers a veritable smorgasbord of incredibly high quality apps. Instapaper, Reeder, Jetpack Joyride, Infinity Blade, Canabalt, Flipboard, Instagram, and Tweetbot are a few standouts.
While it may not be my favorite smartphone ever (the OG Droid holds that title), the iPhone 4S is the best smartphone I've ever used. In typical Apple style, everything just works- and in a beautiful package with a legendary app ecosystem.
- Design 8
- Display 10
- Camera(s) 10
- Reception / call quality 6
- Performance 9
- Software 8
- Battery life 6
- Ecosystem 10