After spending 10 days with the handset here is my final review and stance point. The review will be split into 3 sections: The Good, The Bad & The Bottom Line.
The iPhone 4S Launched in Ireland on the 28th, available to all networks. I decided to stick with Three as they offered the best data plan on their network which is Unlimited data (15GB then throttling) Along with mobile hotspot capability. The big thing here was with iOS5 capable devices, why bother texting? Use iMessage and rightly so. Most of whom I text have iMessage (Mum, Most of my closest friends) etc. I decided to choose the white colour this time along with 64GB and will be explained later on.
The iPhone 4S isn’t exactly Helga’s ugly sisters Phone. It’s more of the Hotter cousin of Hot. Basically, in tech terms we like to call this Phone: Sex on a stick. This thing is so easy on the eyes, especially in white which has a lot more advantages. For one on the rear and front finger prints isn’t evident so it doesn’t look like a walking CSI test kit. They redesigned the antenna bands on both white and black so they are symmetrical which to me means the phone looks a lot more taught out. Personally the antenna band beside the 3.5mm Headphone jack didn’t make much sense but that’s gone now. The buttons still have the same tactile feel as before and have pretty good responsiveness.
The screen on this is gorgeous and I haven’t seen one of the same quality, only near to it. Very crisp and sharp and video looks great on this device.
I think the big reason why I love Apple products and remain in the eco system is because they have one, they have hardware and content. Every manufacture like HTC or Motorola have the hardware. If it came down to hardware alone, I’d wait for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. That phone is a super computer. However Samsung, Motorola and HTC don’t have the Content or Eco – System. What do they offer on the Computer or tablet side?
For Apple it’s obviously iTunes and iCloud. I know iTunes is a weird one but I have content. I have my music, movies and dare I say TV Shows I want everywhere. Sure Android users will say: Plug in the mini USB cable then open the finder window, browse to the miniSD Car… …Then go to the Music iTunes director… I DO NOT want to hear that.
How much time do you think I have on my hands? Without the phone I got iTunes, AppleTV and iPad. All my content is perfect with artwork and ID3 tags with ratings etc and works flawlessly with my other equipment. I will pay more for equipment that works seamlessly with all my other tech so I need an iTunes syncable device. With iOS5 it’s handier with Wi-Fi sync. The same is for iCloud. I want to be able to sync eMail, Contacts and calendar across all my gear. The Apple eco-system allows me too. Not to mention FindMyiPhone is pretty accurate with tracking my gear with SkyHook wireless etc.
But enough about the synergy as that’s with iOS5 inside the iPhone 4S. iOS has obviously the App store, millions of Apps. However as for iOS5, that’s all I have to say so for in “The Good”.
Back to the iPhone 4S Hardware, the camera. I must say it again: Sex on a stick. This is the most fantastic camera I’ve ever used. I own a 14 megapixel Canon Ixus 130 and this 8 megapixel iPhone 4S looks even better than it. The 1080P Video Camera is the best camcorder device I’ve ever used, ever! Extremely crisp with the iPhone lens and the Video Stabilization is actually pretty good and I think could even mistake some to think that video footage was captured on a CCD camera, (CCD lens are the ones that don’t ripple like CMOS). I hate to say it but the future of POS cameras are nearly over and ARE over for those with Smartphones. I mean, I love the idea I just need my iPhone 4S and in extreme cases, my DSLR. Not to mention no POS Camera or Camcorder has the other capabilities of a iPhone or Smartphone, being able to upload to Twitter, FaceBook or YouTube not to mention the Video editing on iMovie for iOS. Photoshop is on the iPhone 4S, the phone already comes with intermediate editing built in with “Photos” app and well… Instagram, the image social network everyone is using! You can even buy cases from vendors now with zoom lens built into them.
Siri is a pretty nice niche feature on the phone. I don’t have a big use for this and I think mostly for me is probably a gimmick. It would work well for those with a busy life style. I’m pretty much only busy in School and well, no Phone policy in there. However if your that person who’s at the Gym on a treadmill and is moving Appointments, this Siri is smart. Your able to voice move appointments, changing contacts and has better voice to text than Google in my opinion. For my accent it works flawless under “American”. On google, she can hardly recognize what I’m saying. The trick is to speak Clear and moderately slow but natural. Your able to teach the phone words like “Jane Smith is my Mom” etc so you can speak to her like a normal person. To get rid of the douche factor, you can have it set automatically or manually (To save battery life, we’ll discuss later) When you put the phone to your hear, just voice to text away like your speaking to someone on the Phone. The short straw for Siri is that for most commands, you will need to be on 3G or Wi-Fi. It’s also pretty handy for asking Calories etc as a simple Google search never gives me the proper answers.
iOS5 is the most unfinished mobile operating system I’ve ever used, especially on iPhone 4S, just not iOS5 devices. Have you heard about the battery life? The first day I got the phone, went to bed with it set to 100% and gave it a nifty alarm command. Woke up the next morning past deadline to notice the phone was completely flat and missed my alarm. And I’m not the only one who encountered this, and some not even on iPhone 4S. Some theory’s include that the phones were so new they needed to be conditioned. I admit over the next few days the phone battery life got better and is nearly at a normal state, but this is no excuse. I went online and thanks to CNET how to, got my battery life working better. But I literally turned off most of the new features. One feature for Siri which I discussed in Good was to turn off this automatic feature where when you put the phone to your ear, Siri would activate automatically. I disabled that sucker as we think the phone is always monitoring the sensor for light movement. Another feature that could have been a culprit for people was contacts (I don’t think it was for me as I didn’t try the fix and my battery got better) where your phone might constantly ping the iCloud servers to fix a contact flaw (Like do you want to merge this two contacts and numbers together but in the background). Location based reminders might have also been a culprit and for safe measure, I did turn that off.
I’m just so mad at Apple that this happened. I mean, I buy a phone the most basic thing is: “Will it last through the day”. If I just wanted a new pretty phone I could have saved money and got a white 8GB iPhone 4 god forbid. I was promised even longer calls and the phone drains overnight!? No I will not build a bridge and get over this. Apple can’t let this screw up happen when you pay €349 for a phone and your tired to a 2 Year contract!
Outside of the battery life in iOS5, while the performance of the phone is better and not laggy like my iPhone 4. The performance is a lot better and no lag in day to day use, however it’s still a pretty buggy OS. Apps crash more than ever and weird occurrences where the springboard will crash and will take you to the lock screen where you have to enter the pass code and start all over again.
Judging by how much I written in “The Good” And the ratio of text to “The Bad” the Good outweighs it.
The Bottom Line:
I really like this iPhone 4S. I mean, it has to be my new phone. The main thing why I go back to Apple is because I have the eco-system with my AppleTV (Which the iPhone 4S can do this cool Airplay mirroring) and my iPad 2 and MacBook Air. I’m raging that Apple let the phone out prematurely with such a basic motor flaw of a mobile phone, the battery life and thank god I bought this phone the weekend of a Halloween week long break. I can’t imagine if I set my alarm for a Monday morning and the phone died before the alarm. So now the battery life is trained a little and has some cycles the performance is nearly normal again. The big features for me at the end were the camera and the white design. Siri is just a feature for me, it can’t do enough for me especially since I live In Ireland where outside the USA, location based commands will not work so I can’t ask to find a restaurant etc. The camera is just jaw dropping and the phone is gorgeous to look at. The entire experience of the phone with the bugs and flaws out of 10, I’d give it a solid 8. That’s a 4 star review, I mean it would definitely be a 4.5 if the day I got it, my first impressions with such a phone wouldn’t include it dying on me overnight.
I feel confident to be stuck in a 2 year contract with this device although I think if anything, I will just go for main devices and in future skip the “S” generation. So in 2 years either if the iPhone 5 or whatever it is will be out, go for that phone or just wait for iPhone 6 etc. Now that Apple has acknowledged the battery life issue and will be releasing a fix, I can recommend this phone to others. I want to be clear, if this phone got a 10 and had the battery life issue, I’d claim it Phone of the decade but still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone if the battery life issue was like before.
All in all, currently today: Solid phone upgrade, I’m in love with the design and camera. Siri is great for night time when your lazy and just shouting at it set my alarm without scrolling through clock menus. And I just love this iPhone. It’s perfect for me.