or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Review roundup: Siri makes Apple's iPhone 4S a worthwhile upgrade
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review roundup: Siri makes Apple's iPhone 4S a worthwhile upgrade

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
With the iPhone 4S set to launch on Friday, publications have been given an early look at Apple's next handset, and found that while it has a familiar look on the outside, its new camera and Siri technology found inside are impressive additions.

The iPhone 4S will be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany and Japan. It starts at $199 with a two-year contract for the 16GB model, and is available in capacities up to 64GB.

Reviewers said that while the iPhone 4S may lack the "wow" factor that comes with a completely redesigned handset, the latest iPhone still manages to impress by packing Siri and an 8-megapixel camera into a phone the same size as the iPhone 4.

The Wall Street Journal

Walt Mossberg declared Siri the "standout feature" of the iPhone 4S, but felt that Siri isn't enough to make the iPhone 4S "a dramatic game-changer like some previous iPhones."

"My advice is that owners of the iPhone 4 needn't rush to upgrade; they can get the new operating system," he wrote. "But owners of older iPhone models, or those with basic phones, will find this latest iPhone a pleasure and a good value."

Siri is "not perfect," Mossberg felt, but still "quite impressive." He said the system was accurate about 80 percent of the time, while the other 20 percent he had to try twice to get all of the words correct.

"But, in most cases, Siri didn't make more errors than I do typing on a virtual keyboard," he wrote.



Mossberg tested the AT&T version of the iPhone 4S, which he said average download speeds of nearly 7 megabits per second in three different locations in the Washington suburbs. A colleague's test of the iPhone 4S on Verizon found download speeds of less than 1 megabit per second.

He said despite Apple's claims of an improved antenna his AT&T model "dropped too many calls," while the colleague with the Verizon iPhone 4S experienced no dropped calls.

Mossberg praised the camera, stating it takes "the best pictures and high-definition videos I have seen on a phone." He said the pictures were of high quality, and the camera is much faster in taking the first shot and subsequent pictures.

While it's a "less dramatic" update, Mossberg believes that those buying the iPhone 4S will "likely be happy with it."

The New York Times

David Pogue singled out what he said are the "only four new things" of the iPhone 4S: the A5 processor, the 8-megapixel camera, the fact that the iPhone 4S is a world phone, and Siri voice recognition.

Pogue had praise for Siri, noting that it can be "mind-blowing" with inexact utterances and its ability to form a conversation. He called the range of tasks possible with Siri "incredible."

But, he cautioned, the system is not as smart as computers seen in science-fiction like "Star Trek." He expressed disappointment that Siri couldn't tell him how many minutes he has left with AT&T, or how to get ketchup stains out.

"And it's surprising that she doesn't interact with more of the built-in apps," he said. "It would be great if you could open an app by voice ('Open Angry Birds') instead of hunting through 11 screens, or turn on Airplane Mode by voice, or display a certain set of photos."



Still, Pogue said he has already found Siri to be a time saver, and Apple has even promised that the software will get better in the future as it learns the user's voice and Apple adds functionality.

He said other parts of iOS 5, which is also available for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, play "catch-up" with Android, like the new Notification Center or the ability to access the camera application from the lock screen.

"Android phones seem to come out every Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. Apple updates iOS and the iPhone only once a year," he said. "So Apple had a lot of catching up to do, even some leapfrogging.

"There are some rough spots here and there; for example, every now and then the 4S's camera app gets stuck on its startup screen. And while the battery still gets you through one full day, standby time is shorter than before (200 hours versus 300). But over all, Apple has done an excellent job."

USA Today

Edward Baig said the iPhone 4S takes the Apple's best-selling smartphone to "even loftier heights," but it does not mean that everyone who owns an iPhone should upgrade immediately."

He noted that many enhancements will arrive for existing iPhone users with iOS 5, a free software upgrade packing more than 200 new features.

Baig managed to get 4-megabit-per-second download speeds with the iPhone 4S, which he said was "decent" but not as fast as some 4G phones he tested. He also said call quality was "quite good," and he didn't experience dropped calls.

As for the camera in the iPhone 4S, he said it "matches, if not exceeds, many decent point-and-shoots."



Baig called Siri the "neatest feature" of the iPhone 4S, praising the broad ability of the software to accomplish a number of tasks simply by voice.

Even in beta, Baig said Siri is "pretty darn cool," despite having a few "blemishes."

He listed the pros of the iPhone 4S as Siri, a good camera, iOS 5, iCloud, the broad selection of the App Store, the new A5 chip, and the fact that it's a world phone. As for negatives, Baig singled out that there is no LTE version, and noted he encountered a glitch with Photo Stream where pictures taken didn't appear on all of his devices immediately.

Other takes

In addition to the mainstream media, a number of other publications have reviews ahead of Friday's launch of the iPhone 4S. They, too, came away with mostly positive impressions of Apple's handset.

Check out reviews from Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Jason Snell at Macworld, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Brian X. Chen at Wired, MG Siegler at TechCrunch, and Joshua Topolsky of This is my next.
post #2 of 58
Walt should test Siri himself in this video. Testing it is better than talking about it; It would probably work very well. But I can see why he wouldn't, because he cares more about making Apple look good to get great access for future products than potentially having the thing fail on camera (which it probably wouldn't do). Although now that Steve is dead and gone he might be a little more brave in the future - just like those Infinity Blade guys shouting the release date of that app from stage-left. They wouldn't have dared doing that with Steve there. Steve was a true visionary, a genius and remarkable many with many talents, but he could also be temperamental, childish, pig-ignorant and cruel and you just know he would have punished those guys for doing that - somehow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gsky67O5NY
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #3 of 58
Has everyone forgotten about this already, all these reviews and not one mention of the grip issue? Does the 4S lose signal by gripping without a bumper or not?
post #4 of 58
All these reviewers say pretty much what I've been saying for a while now. This is going to be a great upgrade for anyone who doesn't have an iPhone 4 already. If you've got an iPhone 4 now, I would recommend hanging on to it until the 5 appears next year.

It will be very cool to see the enhancements made to Siri. iOS updates are going to be more interesting now as I'm guessing that many of the incremental updates will tie in more and more apps to Siri.
post #5 of 58
64mb option should be in their lists

The 4S's 64mb storage capacity option should definitely be included in the list of noteable improvements over the iPhone 4. I've found 32mb a bit cramped lately, so this capacity bump figures in on the '+' side of 'upgrade or not' for 4 owners.
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericlmercer View Post

The 4S's 64mb storage capacity option should definitely be included in the list of noteable improvements over the iPhone 4. I've found 32mb a bit cramped lately, so this capacity bump figures in on the + side upgrade or not for 4 owners.

Be glad it is GB and not MB, which you probably mean with "mb".
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has everyone forgotten about this already, all these reviews and not one mention of the grip issue? Does the 4S lose signal by gripping without a bumper or not?

Oh get over it troll.

15 months with a naked iPhone 4 and no issues.
White Nexus 7 8GB
Black & Slate iPhone 5 32GB AT&T
Reply
White Nexus 7 8GB
Black & Slate iPhone 5 32GB AT&T
Reply
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has everyone forgotten about this already, all these reviews and not one mention of the grip issue? Does the 4S lose signal by gripping without a bumper or not?

Good question. I do know that the death grip hasn't affected me on an iPhone 4. I think the death grip has probably more to do with "crowding" the phone than anything else.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post

Oh get over it troll.

Don't call him a troll for saying that. It's a legitimate thing to say. Don't be influenced by that sometimes-a-RIGHT-BASTARD Gruber.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Check out reviews from Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Jason Snell at Macworld, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Brian X. Chen at Wired, MG Siegler at TechCrunch, and Joshua Topolsky of This is my next.

Joshua Topolsky always does the best reviews.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #11 of 58
Does it matter if you mail and calendar are iCloud or Google when it comes to Siri setting appointments and whatnot?

Can't find that answer anywhere.
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Does it matter if you mail and calendar are iCloud or Google when it comes to Siri setting appointments and whatnot?

Can't find that answer anywhere.

I think on the Apple site it says something about Reminders being able to sync to Google. Scrap that, my mistake, it actually says Outlook.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post

Oh get over it troll.

15 months with a naked iPhone 4 and no issues.

Ok, that's great for you. It would have been nice to see the early reviewers confirm that the issue is 100% gone in this new phone.
post #14 of 58
Siri is a paradigm shift in the time line of personal computers. A major one. While many Android fans are saying they have had this for a long time they simply haven't begun the realize that they call voice recognition compared to Siri is like comparing Microsoft DOS to OS X. I wonder how much of the new Apple facility is dedicated to Siri compared to the more well understood iCloud services.

The really big question for me is how much of a lead has Apple over all those that will be hard at work trying to copy Siri at this very moment? In the coming months Siri is going to be the single biggest reason many will move to an iPhone 4s.

I also sincerely hope Apple have an iPad version close at hand not to mention OS X! The later maybe a non starter for many reasons (although I hope not) but iPad seems a logical path.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Does it matter if you mail and calendar are iCloud or Google when it comes to Siri setting appointments and whatnot?

Can't find that answer anywhere.

My guess is we will be able to do far more with Siri when using Apple's own ecosystem but with some limited abilities with 3rd party ones until they modify their software. If I were Apple I'd be very wary of who I'd help in this respect given the history of such moves such as allowing Gates access to Mac OS and Eric Schmidt's inside knowledge ... but that's just me
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

My guess is we will be able to do far more with Siri when using Apple's own ecosystem but with some limited abilities with 3rd party ones until they modify their software. If I were Apple I'd be very wary of who I'd help in this respect given the history of such moves such as allowing Gates access to Mac OS and Eric Schmidt's inside knowledge ... but that's just me

I'm talking about using the built-in calendar and mail apps but with Google services instead of iCloud. My guess is Siri WILL work with other services and that Siri talks to the app and doesn't need to know what service the app uses.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Ok, that's great for you. It would have been nice to see the early reviewers confirm that the issue is 100% gone in this new phone.

It's not 100% gone from any phone. So why would you expect them to confirm that?
post #18 of 58
Remarkable how negative Walt Mossberg is in his seemingly positive review.
If he was hired to temper iPhone enthusiasm and thereby reducing iPhone sales he would do a great job.

J.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Ok, that's great for you. It would have been nice to see the early reviewers confirm that the issue is 100% gone in this new phone.

It was never an issue, so yes, it's completely gone.

J.
post #20 of 58
sure the integration w/ the os is great, but i've had siri on my iphone for more than a year and use it everyday. it provides links to phone numbers and addresses that, when clicked on, switch to the phone app or google maps. in iOS5 there is nothing new and groundbreaking, just better integrated.

having my notifications/texts to stop popping up in the middle of what i'm doing is the biggest new feature for me.

regardless, this article should say Siri makes iOS 5 a worthwhile upgrade. not the iPhone 4S.
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

It's not 100% gone from any phone. So why would you expect them to confirm that?

Denying that there was ever any problem with the iPhone 4 or claiming that it's the same for all phones is sticking your head in the sand, the hysteria blew over but there is still improvements to be made with this antenna design. Walt himself expressed that there was an excessive amount of signal loss and call dropping while handling the phone in certain ways, more so than other phones, this was confirmed by many reviewers. Placing a bumper on the phone caused a noticeable difference in call dropping.

Since Walt and other reviewers confirmed the issue last year, they should now try again and provide new observations. When I said 100% gone, I don't mean 0 signal loss, I mean that there is not enough of a difference to warrant putting a bumper on the phone, which is something that other phones don't need.

If anything, I just want them to help Apple by commenting that bumpers are not needed anymore.
post #22 of 58
Google voice search and/or Vlingo have been around for some time and on my new Galaxy S2 work great. Example: I say "Navigate to nearest CVS Pharmacy" and presto. So far the iPhone does not even have navigation built in. Or "Whats the capital of Austria"? But I am sure Apple managed to polish voice input up a bit and add some bells and whistles.
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

Google voice search and/or Vlingo have been around for some time and on my new Galaxy S2 work great. Example: I say "Navigate to nearest CVS Pharmacy" and presto. So far the iPhone does not even have navigation built in. Or "Whats the capital of Austria"? But I am sure Apple managed to polish voice input up a bit and add some bells and whistles.

Can the Google stuff track the context of an object, like an appointment? I was impressed in the video when Siri tells the guy running that he has an appointment conflict. The guy says, "Move it to 2." And Siri knows he's talking about the previously mentioned appointment when he says it.


That kind of natural interaction could set Siri apart.
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Can the Google stuff track the context of an object, like an appointment? I was impressed in the video when Siri tells the guy running that he has an appointment conflict. The guy says, "Move it to 2." And Siri knows he's talking about the previously mentioned appointment when he says it.


That kind of natural interaction could set Siri apart.

You are right, that where the magic Apple pixie dust comes in.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

You are right, that where the magic Apple pixie dust comes in.

Can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. Does Google do that or not?

People often discount Apple advances as trivial. But then everyone else implements them later. There are often complaints about things like Magsafe and the button-on-board trackpad as being no big deal.

The fact is, they're advances. And they are often implemented by Apple first, regardless of who invented them.

I'm happy to have a more functional trackpad and magsafe. And if Siri is a step forward that's good too, whether or not Google has something similar.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Walt should test Siri himself in this video. Testing it is better than talking about it; It would probably work very well. But I can see why he wouldn't, because he cares more about making Apple look good to get great access for future products than potentially having the thing fail on camera (which it probably wouldn't do). Although now that Steve is dead and gone he might be a little more brave in the future - just like those Infinity Blade guys shouting the release date of that app from stage-left. They wouldn't have dared doing that with Steve there. Steve was a true visionary, a genius and remarkable many with many talents, but he could also be temperamental, childish, pig-ignorant and cruel and you just know he would have punished those guys for doing that - somehow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gsky67O5NY

Claiming that Mossberg wouldn't do Siri on-camera because it might fail seems like a bit of a stretch. After all, if he's as concerned about making Apple "look good" as you suspect, it would be easy enough to do multiple takes until he got the results he wanted, or cherry pick a question that never failed.

And why this strikes you as an occasion to indulge in a little Steve bashing eludes me.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. Does Google do that or not?

No sarcasm here. I am sure that Siri will have an edge. I actually would have bought the new Iphone had it featured a couple more innovations like a better/bigger screen. As is now, the Galaxy S2 set a new standard.
post #28 of 58
I'm not sure if I want to upgrade to the 4S - although Siri (Personal Assistant) is a nice bonus feature.

I've read somewhere that Target is accepting iPhone 4 trade-ins towards a spanking new 4S.
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Claiming that Mossberg wouldn't do Siri on-camera because it might fail seems like a bit of a stretch.

It's not a stretch. When he often talks about these things pre-review even, he literally repeats word-for-word Job's lines and Apple's marketing sentences. Even Gruber doesn't do that.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianJNYC View Post

I'm not sure if I want to upgrade to the 4S - although Siri (Personal Assistant) is a nice bonus feature.

I've read somewhere that Target is accepting iPhone 4 trade-ins towards a spanking new 4S.

How much will it cost you? We'll you feel the pinch? If you won't feel the pinch upgrade to the 4S, if you will then don't. Simple.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

After all, if he's as concerned about making Apple "look good" as you suspect, it would be easy enough to do multiple takes until he got the results he wanted, or cherry pick a question that never failed.

That would make him more of a liar, he's not a liar.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

And why this strikes you as an occasion to indulge in a little Steve bashing eludes me.

I wouldn't call what I said "Steve bashing", that's the way Steve was.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

Regardless, this article should say Siri makes iOS 5 a worthwhile upgrade. not the iPhone 4S.

Siri is not part of iOS 5.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

Remarkable how negative Walt Mossberg is in his seemingly positive review.
If he was hired to temper iPhone enthusiasm and thereby reducing iPhone sales he would do a great job.

J.

That's sort of the way he reviews all of Apple's products. When he's on TV interviews though he's heavily positive; seemingly endlessly regurgitating Apple marketing speak.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Siri is a paradigm shift in the time line of personal computers. A major one.

I think so too. I can't wait for Siri to become part of iPad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I also sincerely hope Apple have an iPad version close at hand not to mention OS X! The later maybe a non starter for many reasons (although I hope not) but iPad seems a logical path.

I can see iOS 6 getting Siri and it supporting the iPhone 4. The reason I think it doesn't come as part of iOS 5 is the fact that it's in Beta, and that Apple isn't ready for 100,000,000 potential users at once.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has everyone forgotten about this already, all these reviews and not one mention of the grip issue? Does the 4S lose signal by gripping without a bumper or not?

Seriously? My personal experience... (and all of my iPhone owning friends too) the grip of death was a myth.
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
Reply
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
Reply
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has everyone forgotten about this already, all these reviews and not one mention of the grip issue? Does the 4S lose signal by gripping without a bumper or not?

Well everyone isn't an Antennagate troll

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Siri is not part of iOS 5.

hadn't noticed this until you mentioned it. i find it hard to believe that the iphone 4 would be unable to handle this feature. [since my iPhone 4 is handling this feature just fine with the siri app]
seems like a dirty ploy to get people to upgrade. i will wait until the next model refresh and hope that iOS 5 doesn't break the Siri app.

edit: Nope, this pisses me off. if i want to continue to use the app that i use EVERYDAY, i need to upgrade my phone. total BS.
http://modmyi.com/content/5480-siri-...er-oct-15.html
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Denying that there was ever any problem with the iPhone 4 or claiming that it's the same for all phones is sticking your head in the sand

If anything, I just want them to help Apple by commenting that bumpers are not needed anymore.

Ah, you're concerned that Apple needs help in antenna design.
You're not fooling anyone. Don't you have a Consumer Reports review to write?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Ah, you're concerned that Apple needs help in antenna design.
You're not fooling anyone. Don't you have a Consumer Reports review to write?

They have video evidence of a single finger bridging the gap causing significant signal loss.

Was it severely blown out of proportion? Yes. But the death finger touch was not the same as the choke holds and unnatural hand placements shown on the videos Apple offered as some sort of odd rebuttal.

Funny is they also slyly mentioned a I believe 300% dropped call increase (from like 1% to 3%)

The newer antenna I believe fixes the issue but to deny it ever existed even if overblown is disingenuous.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Review roundup: Siri makes Apple's iPhone 4S a worthwhile upgrade