Apple iPhone 4S

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Reviewed by Aaron Souppouris (Currently owns)

Ah, my trusty iPhone... I love you, I love you not.... If this "user review" is a mess of contradictions, it's because that's exactly how I feel about the phone.

I bought the iPhone4 pretty much at launch, and enjoyed it thoroughly until April 2011 when I decided to upsticks and move over to Android and the Samsung Galaxy S II. You can read my thoughts on that device here.

The 4s, like the 4 before it, is a beautiful piece of design, and with the symmetry of the new antenna system, it's actually more pleasing to look at. Yes, the glass is fragile, and it's not exactly ergonomically sound, but it just looks so good.

iOS5 is a huge improvement on iOS4, bringing a notification area, and the additions of iMessage and Siri. iOS5 is close to parity with Android in terms of functionality, but I have issues with the basic concept of the OS.

iOS is a static grid of icons. Jump into an app, jump out. There is no synergy, no sense that you're using a product that can truly multitask - and how hard would it be for Apple to write a 'share' API that every app could hook up to?

While the main camera is the best shooter on the market, the front facing camera is still one of the grainier sensors around. The screen, whilst still the most pixel-perfect screen on any device anywhere, is too small for my tastes, and I find myself typing infinitely slower than on my GSII.

Battery life is also sub-par in comparison to both it's predecessor and the S II, I can't go anywhere without taking my charger, and regularly get to around 3pm with a critical battery level.

So why do I persist? Apps, apps apps. The ecosystem of iOS is just miles ahead of Android. They're just not on the same level. You get a level of higher level of quality, real consistency, and a much wider range of Apps than on Google's OS.

Whilst I was in love with my iPhone 4, the 4S hasn't quite touched me in the same way. I find myself thinking about my next phone continuously, and I think the SII is to blame. After using a large-screened Android device, I feel locked in by iOS and its restrictions.

Assuming i'll continue to dual-wield smartphones, Apple will have work hard for me to upgrade to the iPhone 6. Android is going from strength to strength, and WindowsPhone7 is close to becoming a viable choice. At the moment, it's looking like a next-gen Nokia WindowsPhone and the GS III will be my next devices.

But every time I say I wont upgrade, Apple pull something special out of the bag, and I hope they don't buck that trend with their next device.

The Breakdown

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