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Apple iPhone 4S Review

By on January 2, 2012
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We look at Apple’s annual refresh of their iconic Smartphone.

Good: Super fast, really good camera and the promise of what Siri has to offer.
Bad: Siri doesn't understand local names well, same design as iPhone 4, still restricted in many ways.
Price: AED 3149
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

So with not much difference as far as looks and form factor is concerned, lets take a look at what has changed. I’ll start out by focusing on the three areas that I think are the biggest improvements on the iPhone 4S

New Hardware

The iPhone 4S is equipped with the latest Apple Dual Core A5 chip which is the same chip found on the iPad. This makes the new iPhone 4S fast. Incredibly fast. While the iPhone 4 is no slouch when it comes to performance, you could still feel the stutter and lag when moving between applications. Not much so on the 4S where everything is just butter smooth. The touch response is probably the best I’ve experienced on a Smartphone and applications also load faster on the 4S. The following screenshot shows the score of SunSpider on the iPhone 4S.

That score of 2200 is pretty much as fast as any other Smartphone we have tested and almost 1200 points lower than the iPhone 4′s score of 3400.

Better Camera

I’m not as trigger friendly as some other people I know when it comes to using the camera on your Samrtphone. Yet, with the iPhone 4S, I took over 500 pictures within a week. Granted, this was mainly because I was on vacation with the family, but even on vacations, I don’t think I’ve even taken even half as many pictures from any other Smartphone. Yes, the camera on the iPhone 4S is incredibly good and more importantly, very fast.

With iOS 5, you can launch the camera from the lock screen and use the Volume+ button to take a picture. I found launching the camera and snapping a picture on the iPhone 4S to be faster than Samsung’s latest MV800 Point’n’Shoot camera that I was also carrying with me during vacation. Granted, the P&S performs better under lower-lit conditions and has an optical zoom, but the convenience of carrying and snapping from the iPhone 4S won.

One funny thing I found is that the built-in picture viewer of Windows 7 shows pictures I take from the 4S upside down, however Picasa shows them correctly and from I’ve read, it’s actually Windows that’s at fault. The iPhone 4S also does 1080p video recording which I also found to be of pretty amazing quality.

Siri

No discussion of the iPhone 4S would be complete without mentioning Siri which is finally taking the voice based usage model mainstream. Yes, there have been solutions before but none has really managed to pick up. My experience with Siri proved to be a mixed bag- something I was expecting for a very valid reason.

Using Siri to check the weather or set an alarm was a no-brainer. It would work almost every single time and didn’t require me to use a robotic tone that you’d expect of a voice based system. I could simply say “Wake me up at 7” or “Will it rain tomorrow” or even “Remind me to pay bills tomorrow” without any effort. Even slightly complex sentences like “Set up a meeting with Rabeeh for 4PM tomorrow” worked, although Rabeeh was replaced with “Chubby” and that is where Siri falters.

Using western names like John or Paul work fine but trying to call or text people with names like Taimoor or Rabeeh almost always never worked. I’m not sure if Siri will get trained over time to learn these names, especially since there is no manual correction or training- for example, I couldn’t define Rabeeh from my phone book when Siri couldn’t understand who I was trying to contact. That will significantly cut-down the usage of Siri in this part of the world. Also worth noting is that you need a data connection for Siri to work so if you don’t have 3G or are not connected to a Wi-Fi, it just wont work.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • Nad120103

    Hey BOSS…… pls correct the Apple online store price for 64GB unit…. its 23 thousand….. hehehehe…. :)

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Thanks- fixed!

  • Ulas Bilgenoglu

    Actually I’m quite unhappy with the 4S, the network connection is always dropping. When I say Aleta’s it’s like every 30 mins. or so :( Even the wireless connection drops some time and the whole network stack resets itself. It’s so annoying that I’m planning to go back to my old 3GS. :(

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Oh wow- I dont have any of those issues. Do you live somewhere where the network isn’t very good? Or maybe you just got a bad unit? Try replacing it.

    • Anonymous

      Same here. I posted about that on an earlier article http://bit.ly/vYCQpX
      It’s not a faulty device, Apple needs to fix it. You can read all about it on Apple’s support forums. You are not alone :)

      PS. Abbas can you approve comments on articles?

      You have 1 unapproved comment
      Everywhere? DIC, Karama, Diyafa to mention a few. Mind you, I didn’t have this issue with the iPhone 4 where 3G was decent. The 4S has a hybrid GSM (world phone) and you will notice a few differences yourself. Step out from an elevator and see how long it takes to regain a signal :) It also btw has a major flaw with outgoing calls & mute audio. http://bit.ly/uhsfoW Having said that, let’s hope Etisalat can fix most known issues if it’s at their end.
      A moderator needs to approve this comment before it will be published.

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