Apple's latest iPhone ups the ante once again, thanks to its dual-core processor, iOS 5 software, and 8MP camera with 1080p video
Editor's Review of the iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S is finally here, and - no matter which way you look at it - it's not the iPhone 5 we'd all been hoping for. Still, that hasn't stopped Apple selling over 4 million units in just 3 days, which makes it the firm's best-selling smartphone to date. So, do its nifty innards and slick new software make the iPhone 4S worthy of your hard earned cash? Read our review to find out.
Design & Build
Out of the box, the iPhone 4S looks near identical to its older sibling, boasting the same fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front and back, and the same chrome edges that last year got us all excited.
While some may be disappointed at the lack of tapered design and streamlined form-factor, the iPhone 4S - as does its brother - feels like a finely crafted piece of machinery. As they say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Under the hood, things get a bit more exciting. Apple has got rid of its single-core A4 processor, and has equipped the 4S with its A5 chipset. This is the same dual-core chip that powers the iPad 2, and according to the folks at Engadget, this clocks in an 800MHz. While on paper it's by no means on par with the Galaxy S2, the reworked processor makes things noticeably nippier, and offers up much-slicker visuals when it comes down to gaming.
OS & Interface
The iPhone 4S is the flagship model for Apple's new iOS 5 software - which although available on older iPhone models - equips the 4S with brand-new features straight out of the box.
While apps are laid out in the basic 16 grid design, a swipe from the top of the screen reveals Apple's new notification pane. Although, admittedly, this lifts cues from Google's Android operating system, it's a much-welcome addition to Apple's iOS software - enabling you to quickly glance at missed calls, texts, emails and appointments.
There's also brand-new features such as Twitter integration and iCloud syncing, but one of the stand-out features has to be iMessage. Essentially Cupertino's take on BlackBerry Messenger, iMessage lets you fire-off free messages to your iPhone-wielding friends, which appear tinted in blue to to distinguish them from SMS messages.
Of course, not forgetting Siri - Apple's brand-new voice-controlled assistant. Holding down the home button will conjure up your "humble assistant", from which you can ask it complex questions such as "Do I need a raincoat today", or "What is the square root of 78378". However, it's currently unable to answer any location based questions here in Blighty, as Apple doesn't yet have a deal with any UK providers of local information.
Saying that, Siri is undoubtedly the most-sophisticated voice-control app yet, and we managed to waste away hours of fun asking it humourous questions.
Multimedia & Storage
On the rear-of the iPhone 4S, you'll find an improved 8 megapixel camera, which comes with face-detection, backside illumination and a brand-new sensor. It's fair to say, the iPhone 4's 5 megapixel camera was one of the best in the market - and the 4S certainly improves on that with its more natural looking photos and much-more detail.
The shooter is also capable of recording 1080p HD footage. Next to the iPhone 4, video is much sharper and brighter. with bolder, more accurate colours and less noise.
With iOS 5, comes an improved Safari web app, which makes surfing the web even more pleasurable than on the last-gen iPhone 4. Apple has introduced Reader to its pre-loaded browser, which enables you to view an ad-free version of the page, which means you can quickly skim through longer articles.
Of course, which slick 3G and WiFi connectivity onboard, the Safari browser is just as nippy as before, too.
Apple claims the phone's battery life has also been improved, although we didn't notice a huge amount of difference between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. In fact, after around 7 hours of constant usage, the iPhone 4S was pretty much dead.
With the iPhone 4, Apple had one of the best mobile phones on the market, and the iPhone 4S improves on that thanks to its speedy processor, nippy-new software and excellent camera. Although there's not enough "new stuff" to warrant an upgrade from an iPhone 4, it's the perfect upgrade for current 3GS users.
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Apple iPhone 4S Specifications
115.2mm x 58.6mm x 9.3mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 3.5 inches
Resolution: 640 x 960
CPU: 1GHz Dual core
A-GPS with maps
Up to 14.4 Mbps download speed
Up to 5.76 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard USB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
8.0 megapixel camera
Auto Focus and LED Flash
1080p Video Recording
At 30 fps
Front facing camera with video calling
Battery Capacity: 1420 mAh
Talk Time: 840 minutes
Standby Time: 200 hours
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, WAV, eAAC+
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263