We look at Apple’s annual refresh of their iconic Smartphone.
While those are the three major additions to iPhone 4S, there are some other aspects worth mentioning as well. First of all Apple has tweaked the antenna design on the 4S to avoid any “antenna gate” issues that plagues the iPhone 4. Apple has also upgraded the HSUPA enabled radio to 14.4Mbps from 7.2Mbps so, technically, you can data at double the speed however, real word tests will differ from carrier to carrier and location to location. I managed to get between 7 and 8 Mbps download speeds when using Speedtest on the 4S. Also, the iPhone 4S is now a world phone totting both GSM and CDMA radios. While this is good in some ways, it also means that you can no longer enable/disable 3G mode on your device which can come in handy for saving battery life.
Coming to battery life, the first few days proved to be a bit challenging- probably because the battery requires conditioning and also because you tend to use your new device more frequently during the first few days- especially one that has as good of a camera. After the first week of use, the iPhone 4S would easily last me an entire day and during a less heavy day, I’d still have about 30% battery left. My typical day would involve using the phone for about an hour, a few text messages, lots of emails and IM’ing, taking a few pictures, listening to music while driving and have Bluetooth connected with my car. I’d say that the iPhone 4S has better battery life than most of the Android device I have tested but not necessarily as good as some of the BlackBerry devices.
Wrapping it up, the biggest question is whether the iPhone 4S is a good upgrade and that really depends on what phone you are currently using. If you are an iPhone user and have anything other than the iPhone 4, then the 4S is a definite yes. If you already have an iPhone 4, then you have to ask yourself whether you’re ok with it’s speed and camera quality or not and if you’re ok then there isn’t much reason to upgrade.
For BlackBerry users, the iPhone 4S is a huge step up from interface and applications, but if you’re too used to a hardware keyboard and live in a BBM connected world, then there isn’t anything that will appeal to you. Last and certainly not the least is the Android user. While I haven’t used ICS, I think the iPhone 4S provides a much more fluid experience than any Gingerbread based phone and I think that, on average, the app quality on the iPhone is better than Android. But iPhone has it’s shortcomings as well- such as the restrictiveness that Apple builds around it’s products. For example, you still can’t add an attachment to your email using the built-in email client but you can email pictures from the pictures app.
Personally speaking, I am loving the iPhone 4S. The interface is butter smooth and incredibly fast- without doubt, better than any device I have used. But I do miss a physical keyboard and the connectivity that I love about my BlackBerry. So I’m gonna turn into one of those people that you see carrying two phones at one time.