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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  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Trei Brundrett (Currently owns)

    It was a refreshing upgrade over my iPhone 3G which had become excruciatingly slow over time. The screen is so crisp, the camera is so fast and takes excellent photos plus Siri is interesting as an interface. I'm hoping Siri is just a 1.0 because it's not as useful as I imagined. Also I feel a bit weird giving commands to my phone in public. From a software perspective, it would be more awesome with a native Gmail app or maybe a mail app that had better search functionality. Overall it's a sweet ass phone.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 9
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by NickS1 (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 4S’s physical appearance clearly displays excellent industrial design and ease of use. It's obvious that a great deal of attention and care has been spent on this device. The same applies to its operating system, iOS 5, which is extremely polished.

    Another plus: The iPhone 4S's camera is superb. While not nearly as good as a digital SLR, the iPhone 4S is now my go-to camera while I'm on the go. It's that good of a replacement for a point-and-shoot.

    Siri works but not in all situations and circumstances. It occasionally gets words mixed up, but given that I speak to it using natural language (e.g. not in a robotic one-word-at-a-time kind of way), it's quite impressive. I look forward to seeing how this feature evolves over time.

    Overall, a great smart phone and highly recommended.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 7.0
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    Reviewed by BallistaSlim (Currently owns)

    Ridiculous reviews so far, 10.0?? Here is my take, and I own one.

    Design: Gorgeous looking phone. By todays standards it is far too heavy and fragile.

    Display: Really good screen. Much too small though considering the size of the device.

    Camera: Nice camera. Not "best of class" though, so no top grade here.

    Reception/Call Quality: Not Apples forte.

    Performance: Top notch.

    Software: Ageing OS.

    Battery life: Much worse than previous model.

    Ecosystem: The best right now.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 7
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 6
    • Performance 9
    • Software 6
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 9
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by jeff3yan (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 4S is definitely the best phone I've ever used and this comes from a history of using the iPhone 3G, Nexus One, 3GS and most recently the Nexus S.

    I have to admit, the main features that converted me were firstly the notifications system and second, the browser.

    While it feels as if iOS had blatantly copied the Android notification system which I suspected before using the OS, upon actual usage it's quite different. Rather than having app managed notifications, I can now control my notification style from the OS settings menu. No more searching for an SMS app which gives me a popup or no popup option. No more fiddling around with apps to tweak their notifications the way I want them.

    The browser is also extremely smooth on the 4S, particularly compared to the Nexus S and 3GS. Hardware acceleration definitely helps here and even rendering Google sites such as Gmail and Reader seem better.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by iamjasonc (Currently owns)

    To sum up the iPhone 4S....No, it wasn't worth it

    I had previously owned an iPhone 4 and couldn't resist the draw of Siri. Don't get me wrong, Siri is great but not worth losing my upgrade over.

    The phone is snappy, the design is compact and solid, and the screen is amazing.

    However, the battery life on my 4S is bad. I find myself trying NOT to use it as much as possible to save battery.

    iOS is stale, though I do like the notifications change.

    Reception seems a little off too. I wish I had just stuck with my 4 and upgraded next year.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 6
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by ZNick (Currently owns)

    Truly a great phone, though I would want a slightly larger screen without sacrificing the Retina display resolution.
    The glass sides and metallic frame give the phone a solid feel, a feel of quality in your hands. I would not be able to go back to plastic phones now. It would feel mediocre.
    I would like the camera to be a bit faster in the startup phase - this is not exactly catch the moment fast, though the IOS 5 has sped it up a bit.
    The integration with my Apple TV and the wireless syncing - all just fantastic. This was how I envisioned using computers in the future.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 9
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by Gansan (Currently owns)

    I tend to prefer the last iterations of any product. The final version of most software usually has all the bugs worked out. The final version of a car is usually the most reliable and best performing. Similarly, the 4s feels like the iPhone 4 with nearly all the weaknesses worked out. The final result is a phone that is the most consistently performing, lag-free, slick-UX kind of phone I have ever used.

    iOS 5 is fast and responds without delays. The fact it is this fast with the slower clocked CPU in the iPhone is a testament to good frameworks and optimization. The color accuracy of the display and camera combo is quite amazing. You can take a photo and hold the phone up next to the subject and assuming the screen brightness is not adjusted too dim, the colors on the screen are amazingly close to real life. The antenna has no death grip issue whatsoever. Web pages render in a snap over wifi, and still quite fast over 3G.

    Siri is an interesting peek into the future. Although not perfect now, it is good enough to be genuinely useful for certain tasks and I use it for those. You can just imagine how good she has the potential to be in a few years. I think raising the phone and talking to Siri works best because then you are using the noise-cancelling mode of the main microphone.

    Weaknesses include more battery consumption than the pairing iOS 4.3 + iPhone 4. The 4 would lose 3% of battery over 8 hours while I slept (everything turned on). The 4s lost about 7%, although that seems to be getting better with the recent update--about 5% or less now. The screen is a bit small to my aging eyes, although I fully accept and agree with the downside of further fragmenting the model lineup with odd dpi screens.

    Conclusion: An excellent product you can recommend to both techie and non-techie friends. I personally don't care about customizing or tinkering, so I find this phone fits my needs best with a great UX, great camera, the best media ecosystem, and speedy performance.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by tariqi (Currently owns)

    Still the best looking and most well designed phone around. While Siri is still definitely a beta feature, it has definitely been handy and quite useful. After a year and a half, the Retina display still blows me away. I would definitely like a larger display, around 4 inches, but I wouldn't choose it if it meant sacrificing pixel density or display quality.

    The Breakdown

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

    Reviewed by r4bb17 (Currently owns)

    Oh, the iPhone. It was once a market leader, and now it feels like it's falling back. The new 4S is a bit more than an upgrade from the iPhone 4, with Siri, a very smooth running iOS 5, and even better cameras. There's also more space for music, movies, videos, etc., with the new 64 GB model. While the hardware is still top notch, the software (iOS) itself needs a better update; in other words, it needs to looks nicer, simpler, and more clean.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 6
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by Bryan Bishop (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 4S is definitely an iterative upgrade, but it refines what was already one of the top smartphones on the market. The display still cannot be beat (assuming you're fine with the screen size), the performance and speed is smoother than anything out there, the great camera from the previous model gets an 8-megapixel upgrade (with improved white balance, thankfully), and Siri quickly becomes an everyday go-to feature, even if it doesn't have as much functionality as one would like.

    That said, there are still weaknesses here, and they primarily stem from the operating system. While iOS 5 brings some features that have been available on other platforms for years now, the implementation isn't always perfect (yes, click-to-clear notifications tray, I'm looking at you) and basics like Maps.app are looking long in the tooth — especially when Android offers such a great turn-by-turn solution. Overall though, it is hard to argue with the breadth of the ecosystem, the beauty of the physical design, and the general consistency the phone offers.

    The Breakdown

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