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Hands on iPhone 4S Review

Apple iPhone 4S

Rating: ★★★★½

A lot of people were left grumbling after Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” keynote speech last week. “Where’s the iPhone 5” being the biggest out cry. Well let’s take a step back for a second. The iPhone 4S now possesses an A5 processor, which is identical to what’s in the iPad 2. It has an 8 megapixel camera and new virtual assistant in the form of Siri. So this is not merely a rehash of the iPhone 4.

Siri speech recognition on iPhone 4S

Hardware aside it was Siri that stole the headlines at the keynote. The demo was more than impressive. The prompts Apple has provided have helped with the learning curve. I’ve been able to set up reminders, search the web, play songs in iTunes and create SMS messages just by using my voice. This has forced me to project my voice more clearly. My usual muffled voice has lead to some interesting results. For example, while texting about wrestling to my brother, “CM Punk” came out as “Tiempo Pascal”.

Siri not quite ready for the UK

Siri trouble

Something my friend had spotted on MacRumours that I thought I’d test for myself – Location services don’t appear to be set up in the UK at the moment. A request of “Where am I” fed me back this statement from Siri. Not a massive problem as I always have Google Maps to bail me out of this situation. But it’s something Apple need to address ASAP.

Great new iCloud and iOS 5 features

Other new features stem from the release of iOS5. There are some fantastic features, which have been added such as tabbed browsing in Safari, the ability to create reading lists, new software to edit photos and movies and iCloud.

iCloud replaces the redundant MobileMe which never took off. Importantly it will now be a free app and you’ll be able to sync devices without the need to plug them into a computer. 5GB storage will be available for free, but you have the option to purchase more storage. On iTunes for example you will be able to re-download your music via cloud to any of your other iOS devices. You’ll also be able to do the same with pictures and movies on Camera Roll and documents.


iMessage is the to Apple what BBM is to Blackberry. You now have the ability to send instant messages from iPhone to iPhone. Also you’ll be able to do the same across iPhone to iPad and vice versa. This will help with the monthly free SMS allowance.

Features aside the process to get up and running was very straightforward. I was hoping for the iPhone to sync with iCloud straight out of the box. This didn’t work for me, so I resorted to plugging it into my Mac. Other than that all my contacts, messages and files transferred over from my 3GS to my 4S seamlessly.

Here’s some more articles you might like:


  • Better Camera
  • Siri


  • Siri needs tweaking
  • Not a massive step change from iPhone 4


All in all the iPhone 4S is fantastic and the jump from a 3GS is noticeable. There are still tweaks that need to be made to Siri, but that will come.

If you’re considering upgrading from an iPhone 4 only do so you’re out of contract. The iPhone 4 will continue to be supported by Apple for a long while. I don’t think there is enough to make the switch. The iPhone 4S is better than the iPhone 4, but it’s not substantially different.

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