Product Type: Apple Smartphone
Newest Review: ... highlight for me is having the ability to use FaceTime. This is only available on Apple products and is great for keeping in touch with ... more
Why Buy an iPhone 5?
Apple iPhone 4S 16 GB
Member Name: DanB7290
Apple iPhone 4S 16 GB
Advantages: Easy to use, infinite possibilities, overall great build quality.
Disadvantages: Sometimes scratches too easily, expensive, stock headphones are awful
I've had a 4S since launch, and quite simply it's the best phone I've ever had!
First up, build quality. It's typically Apple here, everything has a premium feel, with the glass and aluminium, it all feels very solid. However the glass does scratch relatively easily, so I wouldn't recommend sticking it in the same pocket as your keys and loose change without a case and screen protector. But with a case, you don't get to enjoy the sleek, wonderful design. I'd say the best trade-off here would be putting one of those clear screen protectors on both sides (they do produce them for the back as well). They're a relatively inexpensive way of protecting your iPhone from being scratched. I have seen a few friends with cracked screens and/or rear glass, due to dropping them. But in my honest opinion, if you're dropping a £500+ phone to the point of shattering the glass, you're probably too clumsy to own one and should go back to a Nokia 3310.
iOS is marketed as 'the world's most advanced mobile operating system', and this is true. It just has a better feel than Android, less clunky, everything is smoother, and to use that old cliche often applied to Apple, it "just works".
Apps are so easy to install via app store. I see no reason to jailbreak it, there are numerous arguments for doing so, but Apple design it to be the best product it can possibly be, why try and push it to do things it isn't really designed for?
Anyone who has used an iPod (which should be most of the Western world) will feel right at home with the music player. It's so simple to use, and coupled with AirPlay, you can set the song you want on your iPhone, and it'll play on AirPlay enabled speakers around the house. It is a very impressive feature, with minimal lag between pushing the button, and the song playing. But even when you're just using it normally, with headphones, it excels. I would recommend upgrading the headphones, as the stock Apple earbuds are predictably awful. In the early days of iPods, it was seen as cool to have the white Apple headphones, but a few years on, we know much better. I would recommend something with a headset; I use Sennheiser MX680i earbuds for heavy duty (i.e. sports) applications, and am currently testing a Bose in ear mobile headset. One thing I will say is make sure it's an iPhone specific headset, otherwise you get the one button to play/pause/change tracks, and make calls. iPhone specific ones have a volume control as well, which is very useful when it's not practical to get your iPhone out of your pocket (for example, while cycling).
Apple made a huge song and dance about Siri when launching the 4S, but after the initial mucking around with it (it still can't tell me where to play Extreme Jenga), the novelty wore off. But with iOS 6 having turn by turn GPS navigation, it is quite useful when cycling. Again, an iPhone remote headset will be useful here, holding down the main button on it turns Siri on and you tell it what you want to do (without headset, hold the home button for the same effect). I cycle quite a lot, and it is extremely useful in this situation, for example when I'm going somewhere new, I can ask it for directions to where I'm going, without stopping and inputting it myself, and 910 times it complies. Sometimes it can't understand what I'm asking due to excessive wind noise, but in general it's good. But in normal use, to be honest it's just quicker to do whatever it is you want to manually.
The only downside to iOS is the new maps. I can see why they did it, but Apple screwed up here. They wanted to distance themselves from Google, which is fair enough given all the lawsuits being thrown around in regard to Apple and Android. But they replaced Google Maps, one of the best and most respected mapping solutions out there, with their own effort, which has not had nearly enough development. Google maps have been over 10 years in the making, whereas Apple are 2 years at best into mapping; and it shows. Whole towns are positioned wrongly, missing completely, or invisible on the satellite image due to cloud cover. Heck, even most of Scotland is covered by cloud. The 3D imaging does work well, however in the UK it's pretty much just London, Birmingham and Manchester. I know eventually it will be improved, but to me it would have made more sense to hold onto Google Maps that little bit longer than release an unfinished, half baked product.
It is worth noting with iOS 6 that all the features of the recently released iPhone 5 are available on the 4S. Despite having a supposedly inferior processor, after testing an iPhone 5 in the Apple Store, apart from the extra half inch bigger screen, I saw no real difference. Yes, the iPhone 5 has 4G capability, but 4G isn't available in most of the UK, so it's rendered useless.
And if you're going for a 16GB model (the only one left in the 4S range now the iPhone 5 is out), I see no real reason why you'd pay more money for an iPhone 5, when the 4S still does everything just the same. It's not cheap by any means, but it's better value for money than the 5 by a long shot. However I will warn you, 16GB gets used up very quickly. Just 1500ish songs, and a relative handful of apps, and it's full. I recommend lowering the quality of your music to get more on there. I lowered mine to 192kb/s, and with all but the most expensive headphones (we're talking £500+ here), the sound quality difference is unnoticeable. But you get much more space; I freed up nearly 2GB doing this.
Apps are easy to come by, using Apple's App Store. Some say this method is restrictive, only allowing Apple approved software to be installed, but in my opinion this is a good thing; it protects you from installing anything dodgy. Just look at the Android market; it's mostly unregulated, so there are so many apps on there which do more harm than good. Here though, you know that Apple have tested it, and if they say it's good enough, then it must be. There are so many apps on the App store it's unreal. Whatever you want to do with your phone, there's more than likely an app which will allow you to do it.
In conclusion then, it's probably the best all round phone out there. It's so simple to use, even my grandparents, who are 71, can use it easily, without prompting from me. And yet it's so advanced, there's not really a limit to what it can do. There are as many apps available as there are things you want to do with the phone. It has a built in iPod; the world's best music player. Only downsides are it isn't what you'd call 'cheap', and the bundled headphones leave a lot to be desired.
Summary: 99% of the time, it makes the iPhone 5 look a bit pointless.