Apple iPhone 4S Review: Worth the Upgrade?

A review of the iPhone 4S and whether its worth the upgrade from the iPhone 4.
Apple iPhone 4S Review: Worth the Upgrade?

iPhone 4S a must have?

Before I dive into the review I want to make it clear that my opinions are based soley on whether to upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S features and iOS5 update give you everything you could want in a phone and more and I would choose it over any other phone on the market and its sales to date is proof. The question is whether the 4S device on its own is worth the $199 price tag and being locked into a network provider for another two years. My gut before I got the phone was no and I hate to say that after using for a few weeks now, my opinion hasn't changed. Heres a look at the positives and the not so positives.

Why Upgrade

The camera on the phone is the one thing that exceeded my expectations and might by itself make the upgrade worth it. With an 8 megapixel camera and the ability the shoot 1080p HD video, I never miss capturing a moment of my kids. I found that the photos seem more natural and the color clarity is much better. I have just started to play with the editing features and so far they are great. It's very easy to snap, crop, remove the red eye and post to facebook in a matter of a minute. The second thing that I found to be worth it, is the battery life. I can definitely make it through the day without charging and that's with bluetooth and wifi enabled, hefty text message and email usage and streaming content from either Pandora or SiriusXM radio. I will throw in the A5 chip as part of this section but I am going more based on because Apple told us. I see small improvements in speed but I will have to say I do not use the phone for much browsing or gaming so it is possible I wouldn't see all that much anyway. Other then the camera and the battery life, there is not much more to brag about. I do like that my playlist info now automatically displays in my car when I am streaming via bluetooth and will probably be happy that I can actually use my phone overseas but thats about it.

What Fell Short

When Apple announced the 4S, its big hitter features were iCloud and Siri. I'm not going to say they might be game changers in time but they aren't right now and are definitely not worth the upgrade. First lets look at iCloud. I was anticipating this being a free version of Mobile Me on steriods. Unfortunately, it's not and I am still trying to figure out how to get my Mobile Me iDisk back on my Macbook Pro. Maybe I don't know how to use it or maybe I am looking in the wrong places for good instructions but I am lost on how to use it other then accessing my purchased itunes content. It's great that it is free but it needs to be simple and its not. Now the much advertised Siri. I have seen so many try with voice command technology and I was very excited to see what Apple was gonna do here but I am sorry to say it fell way short of expectations. It may learn my voice and my tendencies over time but I really don't see it taking this technology to the next level. It has a hard time understanding what you are requesting and most importantly it is very slow. In the time it takes Siri to provide me with some feedback, I think I could open the browser and do a google search. I can understand it might take time for it to learn my voice and for me to learn how to speak to Siri the right way but the one thing it needs to be out of the box is fast. Its not and I find myself not using it.

Is It Worth It?

The iPhone 4S is a great phone but I think if you got the iPhone 4, you can wait this one out. There is nothing unique about this phone that makes me excited other then the camera and camera features. I think the big bang was with the iOS5 update and that you get with the iPhone 4. Apple products don't seem to depreciate so the price tag shouldn't be the deterant here. I actually got almost double for my iPhone 4 on ebay so I actually made money on the deal. The bigger question is whether you stay locked with AT&T or Verizon for another 2 years. Being an Apple junkie i'm kidding myself if I think I would wait but for those who aren't, hopefully I was able to shed some light on your decision process.

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