iPhone 4S review

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

iPhone 4S review
The definitive iPhone 4S review

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The iPhone 4S has the same range of calling options as before, and the contacts menu has barely changed in the latest version of iOS, but it's an easy system and one that people will pick up with little fuss.


The contacts system is one that makes simple sense: you hit the phone section, and are presented with many options, be it calling one of your favourite contacts list, seeing your missed or dialled calls, accessing the dial pad or just seeing the phone book in its entirety.

iPhone 4s review

It's as easy as you could imagine to add in a contact on the iPhone 4S, with a phone number entry presenting an option to save the number to a new or existing contact without a problem.

However, and this is a gripe we've had about the iPhone contacts' system for years - it's pretty basic and doesn't really add in a lot of functionality.

iPhone 4s review

You can add in some basic information, like a photo, address or instant messaging handle, but it pales in comparison to the super linked-up options present on the likes of the Android range.

There's no social networking integration, or message history present in the phonebook, which would surely be a pretty cool thing for Apple to add in.


You may have noticed that the iPhone 4 had a few... issues with its antenna. It was blown way out of proportion by many, as it was a slight attenuation issue present in a few handsets, but Apple is keen to make sure no such attack can be levied at it again.

We've already covered the new antenna system, and we're happy to tell you that it works just fine - no problem with signal quality no matter how you hold the phone.

iPhone 4s review

Call quality itself was top drawer throughout our test, with absolutely no drops no matter where we were. We've used other phones on O2 regularly around London, and the iPhone 4S showed itself to have more bars of signal in areas that have been notoriously dodgy before.

We did notice a number of times where the 3G signal would drop to Edge and take a little while to jump back to the fully fledged signal level. It would also be nice if we could see when the iPhone 4S is running on the super-speedy HSDPA 14.4Mbps connection speeds, but it seems Apple only thinks the masses needs to know when things are 3G or not.

iPhone 4s review

One thing we would have liked to see is smart dialling included, i.e. being able to type in a number and see the right name come up - surely that's something Apple is looking to include in the future?

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.