Apple iPhone 4S - 16GB

October 10, 2011 10:01 am 1 comment

We tried a few indoor shots with the camera and definitely noticed a change from the iPhone 4. In addition to the sharper details, most colors were brighter. We’ll have to save our final opinion until we can gauge the camera under several conditions (a sunny day, with a flash, and so on), but we like what we see so far.

Videos also get a boost with the ability to shoot 1080p HD video clips at 30 frames per second and with video stabilization. Yet, even with all the improvements, CNET digital imaging editor Lori Grunin is quick to note that while the iPhone might have a killer camera, it’s no camera killer.

New carrier

Though it received very little attention during Apple’s presentation, the addition of Sprint is one of the day’s high points. Over the past few weeks, it was pretty obvious the iPhone family would expand, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that millions of new people can now join the iOS family without switching carriers. What’s more, Sprint is promising that it will keep its unlimited data plans, at least for now. That alone is a big point in the carrier’s favor over ATT and Verizon Wireless. On the other hand, we’ll have to see just how the increase in data-hungry users will test Sprint’s network and how the carrier’s strong Android lineup will withstand the new competition.

Once we get iPhone 4 review devices we’ll do a close comparison of how the Sprint models stack up against the ATT and Verizon versions in both data speed and call quality. But at the very least, we’re always glad to see more customer choice.

Connectivity


As widely reported, the iPhone 4S is a dual-band world phone, meaning it supports both GSM and CDMA. This is more significant for Verizon and Sprint customers, as it will allow them to use the iPhone even if they travel overseas. What’s yet to be determined is whether the carriers will unlock the preloaded SIM card, so users can swap it out for a prepaid international SIM card at their destination. We also don’t know if the CDMA models will offer simultaneous voice and data over the CDMA network. At present, that’s a significant limitation of the Verizon iPhone 4.

Meanwhile, for GSM customers, the iPhone 4S now supports HSDPA 14.4, so the smartphone is capable of reaching theoretical download speeds of 14.4Mbps down, 5.8Mbps up, which is double the speed of the iPhone 4. Note that ATT has taken some liberties with its marketing by saying it will be the only first U.S. carrier to offer an HSPA+ connection, but to be classified as HSPA+, the handset would technically need to be capable of reaching theoretical download speeds of 21Mbps, such as the Samsung Galaxy S II for ATT.

Of course, the lack of “real” 4G support for LTE on Verizon or WiMax on Sprint is troubling. Apple has its reasons, no doubt. Battery life remains an issue for high-speed phones and Apple must have decided that, at this point, it couldn’t offer its optimal customer experience on a 4G handset (remember that customer experience is really what Apple is all about). Secondly, Apple never jumps on a technology that is still growing, and it must think that 4G doesn’t cover enough people quite yet.

Design

As we noted earlier, the iPhone 4S’ design is nearly identical to the iPhone 4′s. Aside from being 0.1 ounce heavier, the iPhone 4S is exactly the same size as its predecessor. It also features the same 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina Display with a glass back and front. One thing Apple did redesign, however, is the antenna system. The new design will hopefully prevent another Antennagate situation and Apple says to expect even better call quality.

Pricing and availability


The iPhone 4S will be available for preorder on October 7; it goes on sale October 14 from ATT, Verizon, and Sprint in the U.S. It will come in black and white and pricing starts at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB.

iOS 5

The iPhone 4S will debut with all the features of iOS 5, which is Apple’s latest version of its operating system. We tackle that analysis in our separate iOS 5 First Take, so be sure to check it out. In short, it’s not a huge upgrade, but we welcome the new features like the advanced notifications and “PC Free.”

So should you buy it?

There’s no question that the iPhone 4S offers several attractive new features. Granted, some gadget enthusiasts who’ve spent months watching the “iPhone 5″ rumor mill spin out of control will be disappointed. And in a way, we sympathize. Indeed, the lack of highly anticipated features like 4G and a revamped design can be hard to swallow. But as long as the “antennagate” problems that we saw on the iPhone 4 don’t return, we can live without a new design. A bigger display would be nice, but we don’t see a real need for a thinner phone. Waiting for 4G is more troubling, but it fits Apple’s pattern of staying behind bleeding-edge technology. Android fans may gloat, but Apple fans shouldn’t be surprised.

In the end, the decision to buy an iPhone 4S will depend on your current carrier contract. If you aren’t eligible for an upgrade with a rebate, then we don’t think the new features are worth paying full price. On the other hand, if you can upgrade or if you’re a Sprint customer waiting to get your hands on the iPhone for the very first time, then you should consider it. Sure, there’s the chance that a better “iPhone 5″ will come next June, but that’s a long time to wait. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that Apple will even stick to that schedule. So go ahead and take the chance because in the cell phone world, something better is always around the corner.

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Article source: http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phones/apple-iphone-4s-16gb/4505-6454_7-35027110.html?part=rss&subj=latestreviews&tag=title

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  • Daddiguard

    You underrate the Full HD recording, double hard disk, double memory, double speed processor, unlimited imessage, and Siri. Certainly this IS a major upgrade? What is an upgrade, a fancy new case, or 4G that does not exist in the real world? Surprised, coming from a tech review.

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