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Apple iPhone 4S, Part 1: More Horsepower, Better Hardware

iPhone 4S: Looks Can Be Deceiving

Apple's iPhone is now the benchmark by which all smartphones are measured. No matter your opinion of Apple as a company, you have to acknowledge that there's clearly something special about its products. Chalk it up to unparalleled design or simply being in the right place at the right time (if you must), but the iPhone is a device that everyone seems to want.

iPhone 4 (left) & iPhone 4S (right)

Of course, it's one thing to set a standard. It's another to continue redefining that upper bound of innovation. There's certainly a case to be made that the new iPhone 4S doesn't change the game in the same way Apple's iPhone 4 improved on the 3GS. But that ignores Apple's proclivity for building something more than just impressive specs on the foundation of great hardware.

iPhone 4 (left) & iPhone 4S (right)

That's why it's wrong to judge the iPhone 4S on appearance alone. Yes, it looks just like an iPhone 4. And if you set aside the fact Apple is adding Sprint to its list of carriers, you can still count the changes on one hand. Notably, the iPhone 4S features the A5 SoC, an improved antenna design, HSPA+ support, and better camera hardware. However, those evolutionary improvements, taken together, make for a more compelling experience on a day-to-day basis.

  • maddogjt
    On the CPU spec chart, iPhone 4S is mislabeled as iPad 2
    Reply
  • halcyon
    Its a nice phone.
    Reply
  • acku
    maddogjtOn the CPU spec chart, iPhone 4S is mislabeled as iPad 2
    Thanks for catching that. Fixed!

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    ...that's what you'll get with an SGX543 MP2. Imagine the performance of the PS Vita with an MP4 and twice the Cortex9 cores.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    My only question is why is it only being compared to competition in the form of tablets? Why is there no Droid Bionic or the Galaxy SII?

    Are we to think the iPhone 4s is equal to a tablet? Especially considering the Bionic has a faster dual core (1GHz Core), more RAM (1GB), Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and is a phone, like the iPhone.

    Honestly this review is lacking since it doesn't compare actual phones from other companies (be it Android or WP7) and instead compares it to tablets.
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    Why do people think the iPhone 4S is revolutionary or just amazing? The Galaxy S2 is thinner, has a better CPU, and has a much larger screen. To me the 4S is a huge rip-off. iOS5 has a few things they've stolen of Android that people think are "new".
    Reply
  • tramit
    aznshinobiWhy do people think the iPhone 4S is revolutionary or just amazing? The Galaxy S2 is thinner, has a better CPU, and has a much larger screen. To me the 4S is a huge rip-off. iOS5 has a few things they've stolen of Android that people think are "new".
    I don't know about you but I also think it is amazing that a year later any iPhone can hold its value much better then its competing Android counterpart. When I purchased my Nexus S it wasn't to bad, but a couple months later and a huge chunk of the value was lost. Whether you like it or not the iPhone can hold its value due to the large demand.

    The GSII some would say is not revolutionary as well compared to the GSI which is the same approach it seems that the iPhone took from the 4 to the 4S. Even though the GSII has amazing hardware, the software still crashes quite often. You would think that with all the power under the hood that it would work more smoothly but it does not. My Nexus S with the most up to date Android software is still buggy at the most annoying times. If I weren't with T-Mobile I would have probably gotten the 4S. Hopefully the Nexus Prime will come to T-Mobile as well and ICS will have fixed even more bugs and work on a seemless and fluid user experience without crashing or having to send an error report.
    Reply
  • acku
    9521240 said:
    My only question is why is it only being compared to competition in the form of tablets? Why is there no Droid Bionic or the Galaxy SII?

    Are we to think the iPhone 4s is equal to a tablet? Especially considering the Bionic has a faster dual core (1GHz Core), more RAM (1GB), Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and is a phone, like the iPhone.

    Honestly this review is lacking since it doesn't compare actual phones from other companies (be it Android or WP7) and instead compares it to tablets.

    Agreed. Excellent point. We'll add other smartphone as reference points.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    Reply
  • AbdullahG
    aznshinobiWhy do people think the iPhone 4S is revolutionary or just amazing? The Galaxy S2 is thinner, has a better CPU, and has a much larger screen. To me the 4S is a huge rip-off. iOS5 has a few things they've stolen of Android that people think are "new".I have yet to find someone how thinks the 4S is revolutionary. Innovative, yes, but not revolutionary. And people think iOS5 has new features which Android had simply because people are more aware of the iPhone rather than Android phones. Living in NY, there are a lot of busy routes. One such route which is commonly used to get to Manhattan has a huge billboard advertising the iPhone. Remember, these routes are full of busy people getting to work and so on. The iPhone is going to look appealing to such people. Why? Because they make of majority of the market for smartphones.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    9521243 said:
    Agreed. Excellent point. We'll add other smartphone as reference points.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com

    I just happen to have gone from a LG Ally to a Droid Bionic (holy crap major difference.

    I can give you my sores but I am a bit afraid they might be off since Verizon tend to load the most crap they can.

    Overall its not too bad, its got a PowerVR SGX 540.
    Reply