iPhone 4S Review
It’s 8:25PM, December 15, 2011 as I start writing this review. Normally there would be nothing special about this day but for today the Philippines Twitterverse is getting flooded with tweets about Apple’s iPhone 4S. Why? In just a few hours both Smart Communications and Globe Telecom will give out the iPhone 4S to those who were able to pre-register. Both companies are throwing massive parties with international acts. Smart is bringing in Lupe Fiasco while Globe has Kaskade. This is definitely a great time to share with everyone our full review of the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 4S Killer Feature
The iPhone 4S was initially met with a lot of criticism because of the supposed “minor” changes especially if you’re coming from an iPhone 4. We were actually on the side of “the-phone-sucks” until we were able to get our hands on it and try it out. The iPhone 4S may look the same but it has a faster processor and a ridiculously good camera. Siri is a nice add-on but I don’t think Filipinos will be using that feature that much. The biggest selling point of the iPhone 4S though here in the Philippines aren’t those features.
The killer proposition now is the support the iPhone 4S is getting from the telcos. Both Globe and Smart are offering it for free for Plan 2500 (2 years). That’s Php1,300 lower than the plan of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Php500 lower than the Samsung Galaxy Note!
Anyway, let’s get to the review!
Hardware and Design
The iPhone 4S looks exactly like the iPhone 4 except for the changes in the placement of the internal antennae. You’ll notice that the line at the top of the phone was moved to the left side.
What’s the benefit of moving that line? Well I don’t know how Apple did it but by re-arranging the internal antenna system they’ve solved that annoying Death Grip problem. Signal no longer drops when you hold the iPhone in a certain way.
The iPhone 4S sports the same 3.5″ (Retina Display) touchscreen of the iPhone 4. No doubt this is still one of the best displays in terms of pixel density. However some people might find the 3.5″ screen display lacking considering the trend these days is to have at least a 4″ screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note and the HTC Sensation XL comes to mind. But again this is a matter of personal preference. I know a lot of people who still prefer the 3.5″ screen because they can still send text messages with one hand.
Everything else is the same. Headphone jack at the top together with sleep/wake. Volume controls and mute at the left side, charging port at the bottom, and the camera at the back.
Software and Performance
The iPhone 4S has a new A5 processor which is supposed to make it faster. You won’t notice it that much if you’re coming from the iPhone 4 except when you’re playing hardcore games that require a lot of computing power. If you’re coming from other phones though then you’re in for a treat. The iPhone 4S offers a seamless, flowing, and natural experience. It’s very intuitive and I’m sure you’ll enjoy just flicking through your apps when you get it out of the box and activate it.
The App Store also keeps getting better and better! There are different apps available that can show you the true power of the A6 chip like Infinity Blade 2. I’m looking forward to seeing different kinds of apps that use the full potential of the iPhone 4S’ processor in the coming months.
One of the biggest highlights of the iPhone 4S is Siri. But does it work in the Philippines? Well to be brutally honest if you don’t speak decent english then it won’t. If you do, then it will. The only limitation right now with Siri is that it still can’t perform actions that involve locations. This means you can’t ask it for directions. However there are still lots of things you can do. Check out the photos below and don’t forget to read the captions.
You can also just say to Siri “Call my wife” or “Call my husband” and Siri will ask you to identify who that person is. After that each time you say “Wife” or “Husband” it will remember! In the photo below I said “Call my Wife” and tadaaa~!
I’ll try to take a video of talking to Siri and post it here during the weekend. Overall I like Siri. Definitely usable but you’ll have to intentionally create a habit of using the feature. Otherwise you’ll forget about it and just use the iPhone 4S as a regular phone.
This, for me, is where the iPhone 4S truly shines. If Steve Jobs were still alive he’ll probably call the iPhone 4S’ camera “magical” and “revolutionary”. I’d have to agree with him. For a camera on a phone this is ridiculously and unbelievably good! Here are some photos taken with the iPhone 4S:
I’ll upload more photos once I get the chance to use the iPhone 4S’ camera some more.
Last, but definitely not the least, we go to battery life. Sadly I’m not that happy with the battery of the iPhone 4S. If you’ll use this as your primary phone I strongly recommend that you always have your charger in your bag. You might also want to invest in a mobile charger. When I went out earlier this morning at 100% charge (around 9:00AM) I thought I’d last until 8PM. Sadly come 4:30PM I was already at 20%.
As a complete package the iPhone 4S is one of the best investments you can make today BECAUSE of the subsidy of the telcos. Getting the phone for FREE with UNLIMITED DATA at Plan 2500 is just too good to resist. You get a great phone that offers amazing browsing capabilities and social networking. It’s a media player (iPod). You can talk to it (Siri). There are hundreds of thousands of apps (App store). And the camera is just superb.
If you already own an iPhone 4 you might want to hold on to it and wait for the iPhone 5. However I really can’t blame you if you end up selling your iPhone 4 and going for an iPhone 4S instead. You can probably sell your iPhone 4 for 20k (second-hand). Just add 13k and you have the iPhone 4S. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
Globe or Smart?
Read the following: iPhone 4S Showdown: Fort Bonifacio (Episode 1), iPhone 4S Showdown: San Juan and Ortigas (Episode 2), and iPhone 4S Showdown: Katipunan. We’ll add to this as we get to do more speed tests in various parts of Metro Manila.
PS: Forgive me for the grammar errors in this review. I’m rushing this article so I can go to the launch event. Will edit when I get home.
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