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

Recent News

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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.

Recent Discussions

No recent discussions about Apple iPhone 4S.

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  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by epaps (Currently owns)

    I upgraded from a 3GS and this was a huge improvement. It has an unbelievable screen and can take great pictures. A lot of great apps are available for iOS. Cons: It has the same design as the iPhone 4, and the grid of icons is getting a little old.

    The Breakdown

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

    Design: Much like the MBA and iMac Apple decided to stay conservative and stick with a design which is still modern. I don't think it looks ugly by any means, but to a degree I wish Apple had done something different.
    Display: Still beautiful even though it was unchanged from the iPhone 4. For a 3.5 inch screen I have absolutely no complaints about the resolution. I do think that Apple needs to increase the screen size with the next iPhone.
    Cameras: They were the main reason I picked the iPhone over the Nexus. Stunning for a cellphone.
    Reception: Not the best on Sprint but still good.
    Performance: Speedy and responsive.
    Software: iOS is getting boring and stale. Siri is really overrated until it gets more thorough integration.
    Battery Life: Good, and it lasts an entire day easily.
    Ecosystem: Still has one of the best.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 9
    • Software 6
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by jbarraud (Currently owns)

    As an iPhone 4 owner I had two criteria that would justify the upgrade to the 4S. An improved camera (I take a lot of photos) and a faster processor (I play a lot of games and edit photos). The iPhone 4S delivered on those in spades. The camera is better than any other phone camera and many dedicated point and shoot cameras. And the dual core A5 processor delivers a significant performance boost. The addition of iOS5 and Siri was just icing on the cake for me (and I love me some icing). I've only come across two key issues. The first deals with reception, particularly data. But I fault this to the carrier (AT&T) as even before I got the 4S data service seemed to take a nose dive in certain areas. The other is battery life. In general the battery life only seems slightly worse than my iPhone 4, but there are times when my battery will drain at an alarming rate. From what I can gather from "the internet", this is a software issue with the OS that deals location based apps that don't want to let go of acquiring your location. The typical fix that seems to work is going into your recent apps launch bar and quitting them all if you find your battery life to suddenly be plummeting. As I said, this seems to be the common theory of the battery issue, I'm not stating it as fact. But the force quitting of apps works for me every time.

    In general I couldn't imagine life without this phone (ok, I can... serenity now. serenity now!).

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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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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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by PCfree (Currently owns)

    This phone's been reviewed to death so my thoughts:
    -display SHOULD be bigger, 4.0" would be grand.
    -battery life is dependent on apps. not possible to tell which apps on iOS (that i know of)
    -SIRI was at about 75% accuracy/availability earlier on. i believe the quality of the transcription has gotten worse over time, i would say it's at 60% which means i'd rather not risk using it at all.
    -same old exquisite but vulnerable physical design
    -like all other phones, the phone gets slower with prolonged use. What used to be instantly available camera, i often miss quick opportunities.
    -i guess im a little OCD but i hate the folders implementation, it's so... manual and generally unpleasant.

    anyways, i think i could go a little further nitpicking but generally this is a very very good phone, especially at the artificially low price of 199 as compared to other high end phones.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by Dustin McGrew (Currently owns)

    The best smartphone. Period.

    The camera is killer. The OS is super fast and simple to use. Notifications in iOS 5 are fantastic.

    The build quality seems really strong. Love the exterior design. I don't ruin my iPhone 4S with a lame case.

    The apps for the iPhone are the best.

    The Breakdown

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

    One of the best phones I've ever owned! Battery life is starting to get a lot better. Siri is amazing when it comes to setting alarms, entering stuff in my calendar and reminding me to do things. The Retina Display is the best out there and just the overall being able to use the phone for everything makes it so useful in my day to day life.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 5
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by raviteja969 (Currently owns)

    Amazing phone. Excellent build quality and responsive software. iOS 5 adds lot of features making the experience coherent. Apps from app store are of highest quality. Would like to see some features in software similar contracts in Windows Phone 7. Dual core processor shows its power, everything is fast and instantaneous. Battery life is really good, last at least till end of my work day.I charge it in the night and it last till next day 7pm. Overall i would recommend this phone.

    The Breakdown

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

    Mostly incremental improvements on last year's largely winning formula. While some will complain about the glass back, the industrial design of this device is virtually unparalleled. It has a solid, dense feel in the hand without being heavy. The A5 processor makes its way over from this year's iPad2 and along with that comes not only a dual-core CPU, but the most exciting GPU in mobile gaming as of this writing, the dual core SGX 543MP2. With a beautiful IPS display and one of the top three cameras ever to grace a handset along for the ride, it's hard to lose here. While some will say they don't want to be locked into an ecosystem, the sales figures of any platform with an ecosystem will put the lie to that every time. The addition of a few iPhone 4S exclusive features like the natural language Siri (your context-aware personal digital assistant) and system-wide dictation (Android users, feel free to giggle smugly here), its more of a good thing.

    The bottom line is that when the silly uproar over a lack of external redesign died down and the dust cleared, it was the fastest selling smartphone of its time and for good reason.

    The Breakdown

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

    Reviewed by banderson623 (Currently owns)

    I've owned every iPhone that has came out and this is a fantastic device anchored by a camera that has me leaving all my other cameras at home (point and shoot and DSLR). The low light performance is amazing and the colors captured in daylight are at the point-and-shoot level of performance.

    Great camera, display, software and ecosystem. I wish the design was more grippy but I have no idea how to accomplish this with out compromising the simplicity and beauty of the product.

    The battery lasts an entire day but seems to deplete faster than the previous models (4, 3GS, ...)

    The Breakdown

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