The early reviews for Apples iPhone 4S are in and, as expected, reviewers who had anticipated an iPhone 5 are tempered in their praise. Still, they give the model points for its 8-megapixel camera, speed and the Siri voice-recognition feature.
Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walter S. Mossberg, for instance, notes the iPhone 4S isnt a dramatic game-changer like some previous iPhones. For that reason, Mossberg recommends that iPhone 4 users dont rush to upgrade, but download the new iOS instead. But owners of older iPhone models, or those with basic phones, will find this latest iPhone a pleasure and a good value.
Though Mossberg praises the phones brilliant new camera and faster, 4G-class download speeds, he dubs Siri, the voice-recognizing personal assistant, the standout feature. Siri isnt perfect, and is labeled a beta, but it has great potential and worked pretty well for me, despite some glitches, he writes.
The New York Timess David Pogue, meanwhile, was also captivated by Siri, though he notes its similarities to Dragon Dictation, a free iOS app. Apple wont admit that its using a version of Dragon Dictation, he writes, adding that Siri is infinitely better, though, because its a built-in keyboard button, not a separate app.
Pogue was also enamored with the 4Ss built-in camera, which delivers photos that are crisp and clear, with beautiful color. Though it lacks a zoom and has only a tiny LED flash, he says this phone comes dangerously close to displacing a $200 point-and-shoot digital camera.
In The Guardian, Stephen Fry gushed about Siri, the camera and the phones ability to offer service in various parts of the world. Siri, the high quality and ultra-fast camera, 30 fps 1080p HD video, globally available voice recognition and the introduction of two antennae (the phone seamlessly switches between whichever is getting the strongest signal) are features that make the 4S irresistible, he writes. Like Mossberg, he advises iPhone 4 owners who are tired of the upgrade race to download iOS 5 instead of buying the 4S.
On the downside, many reviewers also unfavorably compared the iPhone 4S to Android competitors and noted Apple lagged in some Android features. Joshua Topolsky at This is My Next, for instance, notes the phones Notification Center feature that collects all of your updates in one place, takes a page right out of Androids playbook.
Finally, theres the issue of call reception, a bugaboo that has plagued past iPhone models. Apple claims that the models two antennas will help that solve the issue. Topolsky wrote that it may have helped. In my testing, I did seem to be getting more bars more consistently, though its tough to say if it made any big difference in terms of call quality.
Mossberg, however, didnt see any change, especially if on AT&T. My AT&T model dropped too many calls, just as earlier AT&T iPhones do, he writes. My colleagues Verizon iPhone 4S dropped none.
Below you can find CBSs hands on segment with the new phone. Stay tuned in the coming days for Mashables take on the new iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 4S looks and feels exactly like the iPhone 4.Click here to view this gallery.
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