Criteria Comments Rating
- Reception and call quality Generally fine, with the occasional dropped call. Data feels faster on this device.
- Display The display looks slightly washed out to me relative to the iPhone 4. It's still gorgeous, but I'm not sure the change is a step in the right direction.
- Battery life On heavy-use days the battery life is slightly worse than the iPhone 4's.
- Camera It's fast shot-to-shot and the pictures are gorgeous.
- Ease of use It's like an extension of my body.
- Design and form factor Gorgeous and highly functional. Last year it was a 5, this year it's a 4.
- Portability (size / weight) A 5 last year, a 4 this year, though, to be fair, it is substantially more capable than the iPhone 4.
- Media support Always a strong suit for the iPhone. There's so much competency here, I'm kind of bored.
- Durability This case design holds up quite well in day-to-day use. It would get a 5 if I wasn't paranoid about dropping it.
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) I'm not thrilled with the available cases, but there's definitely no shortage.
- The camera rocks. It's fast to the initial photo and even faster shot to shot. I've taxed video recording more than I ever did on my iPhone 4 and it doesn't seem to generate as much heat.
- After a spotty start (load due to initial launch novelty, I'm sure), I'm finding Siri genuinely useful. She sets my alarm every night, is my sole method for adding reminders, and does a remarkable job typing for me. Last night she set the timer while we were cooking, and she changed the duration when I realized it needed to be shortened. Prior to a trip last weekend, she told me about the weather in Orlando. She can do all these things faster than my fingers can. (Yes, she's a "she" and not an "it".)
- In general, it is subtly faster than the iPhone 4. AT&T cellular data speeds feel noticeably zippier.
- Vibrate mode is much less disruptive. (I never complained previously, but I appreciate the improvement.)
- The 4S seems to burn through the battery a bit faster than the iPhone 4.
- Still no 5GHz Wi-Fi. I know, I know, it will kill the battery. So, why hasn't anyone developed a more battery-friendly chipset?
- My WaterField Suede Jacket-covered iPhone 4 survived a few three-to-four-foot drops onto concrete and a wood floor without scratches or cracks. I'm using the same (thin, not very padded) jacket for my iPhone 4S, but I still worry about cracking the glass.
- I'm not sold that the slightly washed-out tint of the new display is an improvement over the iPhone 4.
- I loved the iPhone 4 form factor, but I used it for a whole 16 months and would have been excited by something more fresh. The same design with a few less millimeters would have done it for me.
1 person found this review helpful
Edited comment on Camera
Rated Camera a 5
Edited comment on Portability (size / weight)
Updated detailed review