Oct 12 2011
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.
The iPhone 4S is a great device for some, but what if you’re thinking of upgrading from an iPhone 4? That’s a tougher call. The phone is faster, to be sure, and has an amazing camera. And of course, you can’t get Siri unless you have a 4S… but I just don’t know if any of those reasons are compelling enough to convince previous buyers to upgrade. The concept is a particularly hard sell for Verizon customers. The gap between this year’s model and last year’s model isn’t as wide as Apple would probably like.
For this review, I returned to the iPhone after a fairly long period of using and testing other devices. Spending a week with Apple’s newest phone, I’m reminded again of just what makes the company’s products so special. It’s not specs, services, or apps. This phone is not perfect. Certainly it can be improved. But there is something here, beyond the screen and CPU, beyond iCloud, something under the surface. Some intangible spark.
Is this the best phone ever made? That’s debatable. But I can tell you this: the iPhone 4S is pretty damn cool.
-”The iPhone 4S blows away the iPhone 4 when it comes to speed.”
– “The true killer feature of the device is Siri.”
– “The amount of times Siri hasn’t been able to understand and execute my request is astonishingly low. I’ll say something that I’m sure Siri won’t be able to understand, and it gets it.”
– “Because it uses server-side software to decipher what you’re saying (likely using Nuance-licensed technology), you have to be connected to the Internet in order for Siri to work.”
- “This phone comes dangerously close to displacing a $200 point-and-shoot digital camera.”
– “Apple says Siri will improve with time — both because she adapts to you, and because Apple itself will periodically upgrade her brain.”
- “My advice is that owners of the iPhone 4 needn’t rush to upgrade; they can get the new operating system. But owners of older iPhone models, or those with basic phones, will find this latest iPhone a pleasure and a good value.”
– “In numerous tests at three different locations in the Washington suburbs, I averaged download speeds of nearly 7 megabits per second—better than in prior tests on Sprint and T-Mobile 4G phones.”