iPhone 4S review

Same shape, different brain - is it enough of a change?

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Our Verdict

The iPhone 4S is Apple's best yet, and keeps the Cupertino brand front and centre in the minds of the prospective smartphone user.


  • Great camera
  • Fast processor
  • Superb graphics and screen
  • Slick OS
  • Solid feel in the hand
  • Siri voice recognition


  • Costly
  • No flash integration
  • Outdated contacts menu

Updated: Our camera team has spent some professional time with the iPhone 4S, so check out our in-depth findings of the snapper.

The iPhone 4S caught many by surprise, with Apple expected to release the iPhone 5 - but instead we got an iPhone 4 with overhauled innards.

While the masses were initially disappointed, the iPhone 4S features a glut of top-end tech that is designed to put it on a par with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2 - but does it manage to do that?

The changes to the iPhone 4S are easy to document - the camera has been upgraded to 8MP (with an improved aperture ratio), the CPU is now the same dual-core A5 processor as seen in the iPad 2, and a seven time increase in graphical processing power.

Apple iPhone 4S deals

Free Black Apple iPhone 4S 16GB, with unlimited calls, texts and 1GB of data for only £26 per month

Free White Apple iPhone 4S 16GB, with unlimited calls, texts and 1GB of data for only £26 per month

Check out our video of the iPhone 4S in action - is it the phone for you?

Also we've got Siri, Apple's voice recognition service - will this be a game changer for mobile phones or will it be nothing more than a gimmick?

iPhone 4s review

As we've mentioned, the iPhone 4S is almost identical in outward design to the iPhone 4, which might irk those that like to show that they've got the most up to date device from Apple when out and about with friends.

However, the flip side of this is that things like the plethora of iPhone 4 covers on the market at the moment will still fit.

iPhone 4s review

Apple has slightly changed the design of the iPhone 4S somewhat though, by changing to a dual-band aerial design, making sure it doesn't encounter an embarrassing repeat of antenna-gate we had to endure with the iPhone 4.

See how the retina display compares to the new iPad, and the newly released retina-ready MacBook Pro 2012 in our close-up comparison video:

For all those that haven't seen the older version of the phone, we'll take you on a tour of the new handset: the top of the iPhone 4S houses the power/lock button, as well as the headphone jack, plus a microphone for noise cancellation.

The right-hand side of the phone is devoid of any buttons, but holds the slot for the micro SIM card, which pops out using the included tool (or a paperclip).

iPhone 4s review

The bottom of the phone is pretty standard, with the Apple connector and dual speakers which pump out the (actually quite decent) sound.

The left-hand side of the phone sees the rounded volume keys, with the top one of these also acting as the camera shutter button to make it easy to snap with the new iPhone. We've also got the silencer switch too, which has been slightly moved upwards from the previous iteration.

iPhone 4s review

As you can see, Apple has altered its antenna band technology to move the gaps that plagued the iPhone 4's reception to a less-touchable location.


Global Phones, Tablets and Wearables Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been in charge of phones, tablets and wearables at TechRadar for the best part of a decade. He can instantly recommend the best phone for you, or can be found running around the nearest park with the latest fitness tech strapped to his wrist, head or any other applicable body part.