The iPhone 4S Review Roundup

Apple's iPhone 4S, in white
Apple's iPhone 4S, in white

The reviews are in. Here’s a glimpse at what everyone’s saying about the Apple iPhone 4S. Hit the links for the full reviews:

Build

“Though enthusiasts might be bored of seeing the same hardware for more than a year, this still feels like the phone to beat in the looks department. The glass back — while incredibly prone to shattering on impact — feels as sleek and sexy as ever. The metal antenna and solid, machined buttons feel high-end, expensive even. If this were a car, it would be a Mercedes.” [This Is My Next]

Camera

“Its photos are crisp and clear, with beautiful color. The low-light photos and 1080p high-definition video are especially impressive for a phone. There’s still no zoom and only a tiny LED flash — but otherwise, this phone comes dangerously close to displacing a $200 point-and-shoot digital camera.” [David Pogue, The New York Times]

Jason Snell’s Siri demo video

Siri

“Yes, others have done voice controls before — even Apple has had them baked into iOS for a few years. But most, including Apple’s previous attempt, have been awful. Others, like Google’s voice services built into Android, are decent. Siri is great.

“In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to hear: ‘both fill-in-the-blank-Android-phone and the iPhone 4S have voice control functionality’. But that’s like saying both Citizen Kane and BioDome are films. True on paper. Decidedly less true when you have to actually experience them.” [MG Siegler, TechCrunch]

Speed

“Two processor cores don’t necessarily mean the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the iPhone 4—that has a lot to do with how efficiently a device’s software can take advantage of spreading the workload across both cores. But the 4S’s upgraded processor definitely provides a large speed boost, akin to the upgrade from the original iPad to the iPad 2.” [Jason Snell, Macworld]

Overall

“Despite Siri, the iPhone 4S isn’t a dramatic game-changer like some previous iPhones. Some new features are catch-ups to competitors. I sense Apple chose to focus more on software and cloud service than on hardware. But, in my tests, the iPhone 4S performed very well. It’s a better iPhone for the same $199 entry price, at a time when some competitors are pricing their flagship smartphones starting at $299.” [Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD/Wall Street Journal]

“In a week of using the 4S, I found so many new things under the hood that, with a few cosmetic changes, the company could legitimately have called it “iPhone 5” and no one would have blinked.

“The speech-recognition capabilities are vastly better than on any other mobile device. The camera is much improved, not just in specs but in ease of use. And though the phone runs over 3G, or third-generation, data networks, it’s faster than some phones that are being marketed as 4G.” [Rich Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg]

“The iPhone 4 was my favorite product that Apple has ever made. The iPhone 4S has all the best features of the iPhone 4 — same look, same feel, same Retina Display — and adds several significant improvements.” [John Gruber, Daring Fireball]

MG Siegler’s iPhone 4S video sample (1080p)

iOS 5

Lifehacker’s ‘Everything You Need to Know About iOS5 in 7 Minutes’ video