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Apple iPhone 4s review

8.9/10 AVG.
RATING



8.9/10
Informr score
The Apple iPhone 4s currently has an Informr score of 8.9 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 41 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

While the iPhone 4s does not look much different from the iPhone 4, it does boast both hardware and software related improvements. As you may know, the iPhone 4 had some problems with dropping calls due to the placement of its antennas. The iPhone 4s has been redesigned to eliminate this problem, and it is no longer necessary to worry about how to hold the phone to avoid dropping important calls.

The processor is also upgraded, with the A5 CPU being used. This is the same CPU that is used in the iPad 2, though runs at 800MHz compared to 1GHz in the iPad 2. Even with the slight speed decrease, the phone still is one of the best performers on the market. Up to 64GB of storage space is available as well, which is plenty even for the most demanding power users. The camera on the iPhone 4s is one of the best on any cell phone on the market. The photos it can create rival a dedicated point and shoot camera, with rich color and impressive low light performance, making it a significant step forward from the camera on any iPhone before it.

The iPhone 4s also introduces Siri, which is a computerized virtual assistant built into the iOS 5 software. Using this new voice technology, you talk to Siri naturally and she can help you do anything on the phone just by speaking to her, making it easier than ever to check the weather, send a text, or put an appointment on your calendar.

There are a couple weak points, but nothing that spoils the experience. The latest 4G capability is still not available so users who wish for the fastest data transfer speeds will want to look elsewhere. The back of the phone is still constructed of glass making it easier to crack (when dropped) than a phone with a plastic back.

Need to Know: iPhone 4s

1. The best iPhone yet. Super fast and user-friendly. (The Good)

2. Camera is one of the best on any phone. (The Good)

3. Still no 4G. (The Bad)

4. Not the most durable phone around. (The Bad)


Operating system
iOS
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
3.5"
Camera
8+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Cnet

With a premium build, good camera and free accessories in the box, Alcatel's Idol 4S is a solid midrange buy.

- Patrick Holland, Cnet
GSMArena

The iPhone 4S is blazing fast on the new dual-core CPU and graphics chip. And by the way, this is a long-term asset - new apps and services will take advantage and they'll be exclusive to the 4S. The iPhone is finally up there with the industry's finest cameraphones too. In fact, it may well have th...

- GSMArena Team, GSMArena
Good Housekeeping

As with all Apple upgrades, the iPhone 4S is better and faster than its predecessor — and was easily our top pick for a premium phone for AT&T customers. Enhancements include a more responsive dual core processor, an 8-megapixel camera with improved sensors, a sharper display, and slick ca...

- Good Housekeeping team, Good Housekeeping
UnleashThePhones

The iPhone 4S is just as excellent a smartphone as it’s recent predecessors. It delivers a huge range of functionality along with an entire ecosystem that all together makes it one of the best phones in the market right now. Things like AirPlay, which I’m a huge fan of, are neat little features inco...

- Clinton Jeff, UnleashThePhones
Techsmart

Whilst Apple’s new iPhone 4S may look like the outgoing model, its faster CPU, enhanced antenna and new optics combine to make it one of our top 3 smartphones currently on the market. Regarding Siri - it sure is an interesting concept, but we soon lost interest as the novelty faded. The iPhone 4S co...

- Hanleigh Daniels, Techsmart


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Apple released the iPhone 4s on October 14, 2011.


Apple iPhone 4s prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Apple's suggested retail price is $549.00. You can compare iPhone 4s prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Apple iPhone 4s user manual here.


Apple backs up the iPhone 4s with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your iPhone 4s has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Apple support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Apple's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.




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Quick view

Screen Size
3.5"

The Apple iPhone 4s's screen size is 3.5 inches with 640 x 960 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a Apple Dual-core A5 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the iOS 5 (Update Available: 9) operating system (OS).

Camera
8+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with VGA (640 x 480) resolution.

Storage
16/32/64 GB

Internal memory is 16/32/64 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
1430mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1430 mAh battery. Apple's performance ratings are 8.5 days standby time, 840 minutes, 540 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

iPhone 4s Specs

Overview
Release date October 14, 2011
Regions available USA, Canada, UK, India
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO Rev. A, HSDPA 7.2, HSUPA
SIM card Micro-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System iOS 5 (Update Available: 9)

Compare iOS Smartphones

Processor Apple Dual-core A5 1 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 16/32/64 GB
RAM 512 MB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.15 W/kg
Body: 1.18 W/kg
Languages No
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1430 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 540 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 840 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 8.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 11.4 x 5.9 x 1.0 cm (4.5 x 2.3 x 0.4 in)
Weight 136 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 640 x 960 pixels
Pixel density 326 pixels
Size 3.5 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Wallpapers
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Retina Display
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key Yes
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, MMS
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
Expansion Slot Info
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support No
NFC No
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
5x digital
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Face detection, Geotagging
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
VGA (640 x 480)
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, Protected AAC, AAC, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers No
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration No
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter Yes
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types DOC, DOCX, GIF, HTML, JPG, PDF, PPT, PPTX, RTF, TIFF, TXT, XLS
Weather Yes
Stocks Yes
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable ()
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Apple iPhone 4s Reviews
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Critic Reviews


Cnet

Not quite the deal it hopes to be

from Cnet

With a premium build, good camera and free accessories in the box, Alcatel's Idol 4S is a solid midrange buy.

Read full review

With a premium build, good camera and free accessories in the box, Alcatel's Idol 4S is a solid midrange buy.

Read full review

Less

GSMArena

A new level of well-being and fulfillment

The iPhone 4S is blazing fast on the new dual-core CPU and graphics chip. And by the way, this is a long-term asset - new apps and services will take advantage and they'll be exclusive to the 4S. The iPhone is finally up there with the industry's finest cameraphones too. In fact, it may well have...More

The iPhone 4S is blazing fast on the new dual-core CPU and graphics chip. And by the way, this is a long-term asset - new apps and services will take advantage and they'll be exclusive to the 4S. The iPhone is finally up there with the industry's finest cameraphones too. In fact, it may well have the best 8MP stills and Full HD videos a mobile phone can produce. iOS 5 is busy making a difference too with the iCloud, iMessage, OTA updates, new notifications and voice recognition. On top of that you get the best app store and the brilliant looks of the original iPhone 4.

Read full review

Less

Good Housekeeping

Intuitive navigation and layout but still no 4G

from Good Housekeeping

As with all Apple upgrades, the iPhone 4S is better and faster than its predecessor — and was easily our top pick for a premium phone for AT&T customers. Enhancements include a more responsive dual core processor, an 8-megapixel camera with improved sensors, a sharper display, and slick...More

As with all Apple upgrades, the iPhone 4S is better and faster than its predecessor — and was easily our top pick for a premium phone for AT&T customers. Enhancements include a more responsive dual core processor, an 8-megapixel camera with improved sensors, a sharper display, and slick call quality (the phone switches between two antennas: one for calling, one for receiving). Apple also added some nifty upgrades with iOS 5, harnessing cloud capabilities and giving users their own personal assistant with Siri. Consumer testers found this device extremely intuitive and easy to use. The phone has a relatively small footprint and keeps a thin profile, which consumers found comfortable to hold and make calls on.

Read full review

Less

UnleashThePhones

Neat design, fantastic camera, premium build quality

from UnleashThePhones

The iPhone 4S is just as excellent a smartphone as it’s recent predecessors. It delivers a huge range of functionality along with an entire ecosystem that all together makes it one of the best phones in the market right now. Things like AirPlay, which I’m a huge fan of, are neat little features incorporated which Apple has done a good job of pushing. And accessory-wise you’re spoiled for choice with an iPhone....

More

The iPhone 4S is just as excellent a smartphone as it’s recent predecessors. It delivers a huge range of functionality along with an entire ecosystem that all together makes it one of the best phones in the market right now. Things like AirPlay, which I’m a huge fan of, are neat little features incorporated which Apple has done a good job of pushing. And accessory-wise you’re spoiled for choice with an iPhone.

Admittedly, noone is really a huge fan of iTunes as a software package, but there is a bit of convenience in having a backup of your entire device, along with one app to deliver your music and video. With iOS5 you can choose to just sync to the iCloud anyway.

That all being said, it’s easy to criticize the iPhone 4S. The in-box headphones are poor, the screen could have been bigger, the battery life would have lasted longer, and there is no NFC, Expandable memory or Flash support. It could have gone with a different design than the iPhone 4, and iOS could be more open. I also have issues with the insanely expensive pricing of the iPhone 4S in India.

If these things are important to you, there’s plenty of choices elsewhere. There are more exciting smartphones out there that might draw your eye.

But if not, the iPhone 4S is most likely just exactly what you’re looking for.

Read full review

Less

Techsmart

Lack of a new design, full HD video recording, enhanced optics

from Techsmart

Whilst Apple’s new iPhone 4S may look like the outgoing model, its faster CPU, enhanced antenna and new optics combine to make it one of our top 3 smartphones currently on the market. Regarding Siri - it sure is an interesting concept, but we soon lost interest as the novelty faded. The iPhone...More

Whilst Apple’s new iPhone 4S may look like the outgoing model, its faster CPU, enhanced antenna and new optics combine to make it one of our top 3 smartphones currently on the market. Regarding Siri - it sure is an interesting concept, but we soon lost interest as the novelty faded. The iPhone 4S comes with an RRP of R7699 for the 16 GB model, R8999 for the 32 GB model and R10299 for the 64 GB model.

Read full review

Less

What Digital Camera

A significant upgrade over its predecessor

from What Digital Camera

Apple reckons the iPhone 4S has the best camera ever produced for a mobile phone, and we reckon they might be right. It redefines what photographers can reasonably expect to get from a camera phone. The speed of use and quality of the results exceeds not only any other phone we've tried but also...More

Apple reckons the iPhone 4S has the best camera ever produced for a mobile phone, and we reckon they might be right. It redefines what photographers can reasonably expect to get from a camera phone. The speed of use and quality of the results exceeds not only any other phone we've tried but also many cameras too. Based upon this test, compact manufacturers should start panicking now.

Read full review

Less

Top Ten Reviews

The combination of outstanding hardware, an exceptional OS and impressive apps make this the best smartphone available

from Top Ten Reviews

The Apple iPhone 4S is the next step in the evolution of the iPhone. Apple had already set the smartphone bar very high, and this device gives it a substantial nudge higher. The vast selection of iPhone apps continues to grow rapidly, expanding the phone's capabilities almost daily. The iPhone's...More

The Apple iPhone 4S is the next step in the evolution of the iPhone. Apple had already set the smartphone bar very high, and this device gives it a substantial nudge higher. The vast selection of iPhone apps continues to grow rapidly, expanding the phone's capabilities almost daily. The iPhone's computing capability is made possible by its fast A5 processor. Its video and still-camera capabilities far exceed previous editions, and the introduction of Siri, even though it's still in Beta testing, position this device far ahead of its competitors.

Read full review

Less

Pocket PC Central

Better battery life, best smartphone camera yet, high pixel density Retina displays

from Pocket PC Central

Is the iPhone 4S better than the iPhone 4? Unquestionably. But are the minor speed improvements, upgraded camera performance and Siri enough to justify the upgrade for most iPhone 4 users? I don’t think so.

By all accounts, the iPhone 5 will be a major update to the line, with a larger...More

Is the iPhone 4S better than the iPhone 4? Unquestionably. But are the minor speed improvements, upgraded camera performance and Siri enough to justify the upgrade for most iPhone 4 users? I don’t think so.

By all accounts, the iPhone 5 will be a major update to the line, with a larger screen, even faster performance, a new OS, LTE and possibly even new technologies like NFC. If you don’t mind spending $500 or $600 next year to upgrade to a truly new-and-improved iPhone 5, upgrade away. If not, don’t jump ship just yet; your current iPhone 4 with iOS 5 will carry you for the next seven months or so and won’t leave you missing much.

Read full review

Less

Digital Versus

Intuitive interface with improvements like notifcations and iMessage on a responsive handset

from Digital Versus

The iPhone 4S is as easy to use as ever, and sees the arrival of several improvements. The most substantial of these include visibly better photos from the digital camera and the faster processor speeds. The new voice services from Siri are a clear part of Apple's strategy to add more and more se...More

The iPhone 4S is as easy to use as ever, and sees the arrival of several improvements. The most substantial of these include visibly better photos from the digital camera and the faster processor speeds. The new voice services from Siri are a clear part of Apple's strategy to add more and more services to the basic product—we're just looking forward to seeing it work with some more apps.

Read full review

Less

Pocketables

Sub-par battery life, entirely new antenna system, graphics performance is amazingly better

from Pocketables

There were some of you who asked me why I would upgrade from a 4 to a 4S. To be honest, I wanted Siri and a different color.

But as I started using it more, I realized why Apple would release just a simple internal upgrade. This move positions the company to bring a brand new design next year, along with a few better specs, at the same price point. If Apple had chosen to release a new design, it probably would've been stuck running an A4....

More

There were some of you who asked me why I would upgrade from a 4 to a 4S. To be honest, I wanted Siri and a different color.

But as I started using it more, I realized why Apple would release just a simple internal upgrade. This move positions the company to bring a brand new design next year, along with a few better specs, at the same price point. If Apple had chosen to release a new design, it probably would've been stuck running an A4.

That being said, there's no reason you need to upgrade if you've already got an iPhone 4. There isn't enough of a performance boost yet; we'll have to wait for apps that can take advantage of the better hardware. If you've got a 4, you've got a great phone that will still outperform plenty of others.

Still, if you own a 3GS, now's the perfect time to upgrade; unless, of course, you're waiting for the redesign. But even if you are, I'd definitely consider the 4S. It's a great device, and one I know I'll enjoy using for quite some time.

Read full review

Less



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