Apple iPhone 4S

Verge Review

Reviewing the iPhone 4S is in many ways a lot like reviewing the original iPhone 4, except that it's not. The device, which was just announced at a special event on Apple's campus, is very much the same phone the company released in June of 2010 — but it's also something completely new. While much of that sameness comes from an identical physical appearance, and nearly identical specs (in some places), there's much that's fresh here. Besides packing the successor to Apple's custom A4 CPU...

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.37 inches
Weight 0.31 pounds
Form factor Slab
Screen size (diagonal) 3.5 inches
Carriers Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T
Operating system iOS
Launch OS version 5.0

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Tech Specs

Hardware

Height 4.5 inches
Width 2.31 inches
Thickness 0.37 inches
Weight 0.31 pounds
Form factor Slab
Color Black, White
Loudspeaker Yes
Noise cancellation Hardware (multi-mic)

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 3.5 inches
Technology IPS LCD
Pixel arrangement RGB
Resolution (Y) 960 px
Resolution (X) 640 px
PPI 330
Touchscreen type Capacitive

Connectivity

Carriers Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T
CDMA Yes
CDMA frequencies supported 1900, 800 / 850
GSM Yes
GSM frequencies supported 1900, 1800, 900, 850
UMTS / HSPA Yes
UMTS frequencies supported 900, 2100, 1900, 850
Max WWAN downlink speed 14.4 Mbps
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b
802.11n frequencies 2.4GHz
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.0
Tethering / mobile hotspot Yes
Media streaming AirPlay

Processor

Manufacturer Apple
Model A5
Clock speed 800 MHz
Number of cores 2

Memory

RAM size 512 MB

Storage

Internal size 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
External No

Front Camera

Resolution 0.3 megapixels
Video resolution VGA
Video framerate 30

Rear Camera

Resolution 8 megapixels
Flash LED
Focus type Autofocus
Video resolution 1080p
Video framerate 30

Software

Operating system iOS
Launch OS version 5.0

Interface

Video out Yes
Headphone jack 3.5mm
Other ports iPod

Sensors

Sensors Compass (Magnetometer), Proximity, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer

Battery

Removable No

Recent News

No recent news about Apple iPhone 4S.

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  • 6.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by mdb17 (Previously owned)

    While this phone has a great designit software has an old stale feel about it these days. with the advancement of Androids uniform UI and the unique Windows phone the iPhone UI no longer catches the eye. It is almost to the point of boredem these days. But that sad the App ecosystem is second to none and the hardware istop tier.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 5
    • Performance 7
    • Software 4
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by webos1337 (Currently owns)

    Really, everything about this phone is absoulutley awesome.
    These are the things that are starting to annoy me however:
    Once you use a phone with a bigger screen for awhile, its really hard going back, retina display or not. Lastly, this phone should've, could've been released with LTE, but 3G in my area (Verizon) is decent, but LTE speeds would be great on the next iteration. If I do push this phone through the day, I'll be scrape a day of usuage, still better than the 2 hours of moderate us from my Palm Pre. But as a phone, its flawless, as any device, its one of the best in the industry. But trends with bigger screens and better network connectivity are making the iPhone a harder choice for new buyers.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by dougmorton (Currently owns)

    I've owned the 4S for about 5 months now and I've been very impressed, I was a bit hesitant about buying the device as I would have to go down the sim-free route (My current contract doesn't end until June 2012). However, in the end I decided I had to get it, so I did. I didn't think it would be much of an upgrade from my iPhone 4, I'd had iOS 5 (beta) for a few months and was very impressed, however, this meant I had already been using most of the features for about 4 months, they were getting a bit boring already. Anyway, back to the point. When I received my 4S and started using it I was blown away by just how, much better it had gotten, it immediately seemed as though the only thing that had stayed the same was the design, it was amazing. Then came along the battery life, yep, that had changed. I noticed it was lasting about 1-1.5 hours less than my iPhone 4, over time things have got better and I'm getting about 6 hours of usage and 12 hours of stand by, so that's n ot really a problem now. (Also, most places have a USB slot you can borrow). I could go in to loads of detail, but I can't be bothered, let's just say I would totally recommend getting this device!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by ljpuk (Currently owns)

    After my iPhone 4 died I really debated whether to pick up a replacement 4 or go for the 4S. In the end I plumped for the 32GB 4S in black, I haven't been blown away or disappointed.

    First off the design of the 4/S is timeless and in my opinion the best looking smartphone out there, sure it's a bit slippery and feels odd to hold at first but you can't cover this up with a case - its mean't to be used. So switching over to the 4S there were do surprises given it's the same design.

    The first thing I checked was the dreaded antenna issue - guess what, its gone. Well for me anyway, I can grip to my hearts content and I experienced no dropped calls or loss in signal.

    Next up SIRI, which I have found to be great in my car journey to work for reminding me to do stuff when I get to my destination. I also use it for setting timers at home when cooking etc but to be honest that's about it. If you are using more than one calendar and a whole list of reminders it doesn't work 100% as it doesn't know which one to put it against - i'm sure Apple will address this in future updates. So SIRI is a nice to have but not a game changer for me.

    The camera is the one area that did make me stand up and notice, it's a bit step up from the 4 and the biggest improvement I saw was in low light around the house for indoor shots. It is more responsive (thanks to the new A5 processor being used) and takes amazing pictures.

    Overall the experience is snappier thanks to the boost in processor and memory, with iOS 5 you do feel this improvement.

    So coming from a 4, am I glad I upgraded? Well when selling my 4 and going up to the 4S it didn't cost me a great deal extra so in that respect i'm glad I did but if you have a working 4 I would hold off until the next revision given it should be a redesign and should be with us within in the next 8 months.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by izzymd (Currently owns)

    Better than the iPhone 4 in every regard except for battery life. It's really the only significant knock against this amazing piece of technology and I still get a full day of normal use without needing a charge. Having a camera this good on a mobile phone is artistically inspiring and has relegated my Canon point and shoot to the old technology bin. If Siri matures and gets hooks into other areas of the OS (and third party apps) it will really be a game changer for Apple.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by Lyndell Kell (Currently owns)

    PROS: Hits on all clinders, great gaming capabilities, especially with a Game Network like Game Center, I've created songs, made reports, been able to easily talk/text/FaceTime friends halfway across the world and all they have is a iPod, I have great pics of my son, and a lot of apps helping him learn (7 months at the time of this review), reader is a huge help with certain sites, and the notification center is amazing too and no viruses, malware, spyware or bloatware, oh yeah did I mention Siri, yeah.... It's amazing.

    Cons: Poor Battery Life, it gets me through a day at times then some days falls flat

    9/10

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by TMAGS (Currently owns)

    What could be seen as a minor improvement over a somewhat flawed design, the iPhone 4S is a modest step ahead of last year's iPhone 4. No iPhone since the original has challenged the status-quo in the smartphone market, and the iPhone 4S builds upon solid foundation. Adopting a single chassis that has both a GSM and CDMA chip, the iPhone 4S could have been a real step forward for the global cell phone market, and remove the carrier form the purchasing decision--much like how it was with the original iPhone. The iPhone 4S is available on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, and available in 16, 32, and 64 Gigabyte capacities in black or white. Prices start at $199, and stop at $399, and Applecare+ protection is available for all models for $99.

    Design

    The iPhone 4 took everyone's breath away with an all glass design with a metal band wrapping the sides. The 4S has an identical design with minor antenna position tweaks. Underneath the hard to scratch glass is a gorgeous 3.5" 960x640 display that has excellent viewing angles. While I would have wished to have a larger screen, the 3.5 inch display is sufficient for quickly typing out messages and quick emails.

    Cameras

    The camera inside the 4S is simply one of the best cameras available in a smartphone. Responsive, clear, and easy to use, only the cameras on some of the high end android phones (Galaxy 2, from samsung in particular) managed to be at the same level.

    Siri

    This is something you seriously need to try out. I didn't use it at first, but eventually you find that certain tasks are actually faster when dictated to siri.

    Call Quality / Data Services

    Your mileage will definately vary on this topic, but when comparing the AT&T model against the Verizon model, I noticed no difference in call quality, but data seemed a bit faster on the AT&T model--but only slightly.

    Battery Life

    You can walk out of your house with the confidence your phone will last the day, maybe two if you disable location services, reduce screen brightness, and keep media consumption to a bare minimum.

    Ecosystem

    Apple has proven that the walled garden approach to app downloads provides a better experience for novice to intermediate users, but advanced users will mock the inability to modify core elements of the phone, or add widgets.

    Wrap-up
    The 4S is a solid choice, and is probably one of the best mobile experiences on the market today.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Renverse (Currently owns)

    When the 4S was announced with the same design as the previous iPhone, I was a little let down. I wanted a new design, but that doesn't mean the iPhone 4S's design is bad. No, not at all,. it's actually still very good, and has aged beautifully.

    The Retina display is very bright and sharp as ever, no surprises there. It's still very much the best display on the market.

    The Camera on the 4S is amazing. You can get some really detailed shots out of it, and even in low-light the grainyness of the photo is not even noticeable.

    The hardware itself has a few problems– most notably, the speakers. I keep muffling them while holding my phone in landscape model.

    Call quality seems fine for me, reception also has no problems, but there have been a few quirks. My 4S kept throwing me SIM errors when I tried to use it with my old Micro-sim. The solution was to request a new one, and the errors stopped.

    Performance, is very good. Typical of an iOS device.

    The best part about iOS is Siri. She's really very useful in some cases, like setting alarms and reminders, but where I am she can't look for places so that really knocks her usefulness down a notch.

    Battery life is pretty good for me. I have not experienced the iPhone 4S battery problem.

    The ecosystem on iOS is, of course, great. 500k apps and counting is an amazing number and app quality is really high.

    The iPhone 4S, as it stands, is the best phone all-around. It does everything very, very well, and you won't be disappointed should you chose to get one, just don't hope for fireworks or anything– iOS is fairly, unspectacular, if you're looking for that kind of stuff.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 9
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by coletrain (Previously owned)

    Great hardware/ecosystem but the core software does not feel as intuitive as wd7 or ICS. Does not really feel futuristic and not as efficient as other softwares. Everything runs perfectly and has the best ecosystem to date. The OS makes you wanting more. The way you interact with the software sometimes does not make sense. The big one is still there, no customization.

    The average user will love this phone because thats all they know a phone can do. It is very safe and not a bad buy by any means. For me personally, I want more out of a smartphone experience and iOS did not provide that for me. Thats why I sold mine and bought a Galaxy Nexus.

    My high scoring show that the phone is really good, just that there are better phones out there.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by timjub (Currently owns)

    Definitely the best phone I have ever owned. The software is excellent and Siri is amazing. Although there seems to have been a "Battery-gate" at launch, I don't think the it is bad. It is even, for my use, above average for smartphones. Also, with the iPhone, iPad and iMac, iCloud is great! It makes syncing with my devices so much simpler. Although the design hasn't changed since the previous generation, the iPhone is still the best looking phone on the market.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
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    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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