Product Type: Apple Smartphone
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My iPhone 4S.... A Love Story
Apple iPhone 4S 16 GB
Member Name: KLockwood75
Apple iPhone 4S 16 GB
Advantages: Looks good, easy to use, excellent sound quality, good camera
Disadvantages: Expensive, ties you into Apple store
Before I got my iPhone 4S, I was desperate for an iPhone. I was counting down the days until my contract finished and I could ditch my Samsung Galaxy Apollo (the early 'budget' version of the Samsung Galaxy) and get my shiny new iPhone. The fact that my husband got one three months before my contract finished just made me even more impatient. Eventually, the day arrived and my shiny new iPhone 4S arrived. And yes, it was love at first sight... apart from the day iPhone number one was snatched from my hand by a bike thief (causing me 36 hours of iPhone-less misery), we have been together ever since...
* The Phone *
My iPhone 4S is the black, 16GB version. It is a sleek, stylish phone which fits comfortably into my hand while still allowing me to work the touchscreen with my thumb. The screen size is very good - it is not the largest screen on the market but, to be honest, I think I would struggle to hold and operate a larger phone one-handed so I am more than happy with the size. The dimensions of the phone - if you're interested in that kind of details - are 4.5 inches high, 2.31 inches wide and 9.3mm thick. The weight of the phone is 140 grams and the screen size (across the diagonal) is 3.5 inches. It is a 3G phone, with Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth compatibility. It also features GPS and a digital compass.
If you're familiar with other Apple products such as the iPad and the iPod Touch, then the interface of the iPhone 4S will be immediately familiar to you. On setting up the phone (a simple, guided process), you are greeted with a touchscreen full of little squares illustrating the available apps. The phone doesn't come with much in the way of applications as standard but, once you have set up your Apple ID, there are a wide range of apps available via the App Store button. Features of the phone include a 8 mega-pixel iSight camera , a web browser (Safari), email (you can link it to your own email account), maps, messaging, calendar, weather forecasts, various clocks and timing devices, notes and reminders. Oh and, of course, a phone! There is also the slightly irritating Siri who you can give instructions to - I'm not a big fan of Siri, but I know that some people like to talk to their phones.
* Key Features *
Calls - In the past, the primary reason for having a mobile phone was to make and receive calls. These days I'm not so sure... I use my phone to message my friends and family, take photos, update my Facebook, browse the internet, track how far / fast I go on my morning run, run my eBay account and waste time playing Candy Crush far more than I actually talk on it. However, I do use it for calls most days and I have been relatively impressed with that element of the phone. The clarity of sound when making / receiving calls is very clear and it is easy to hear the person on the other end of the 'line'. Occasionally it does drop a call, but that is something that happens with all phones, and it doesn't happen very often. I like the way that you can have a favourites list in your contacts of all the people that you call most (that will be my Mum then!) as that makes it much quicker to find a number when you need it. There is also a key-pad for all the numbers that you actually have to type in, and a button to connect to your voicemail. The contacts themselves are organised alphabetically in a very clear style - clicking on a contact will give you their phone numbers, email address (if you have it) and the options of calling them, sending them a message or calling them via Face Time if they have an iPhone / iPad.
Messaging - As a bit of a text-addict, I love the way in which the messaging works on the iPhone 4S. The speech bubble graphics are a little bit gimmicky, but I like the way that you keep the thread of the conversation on your screen and can easily scroll back through a conversation to check on what was said. You can also add pictures to your text chats as well - something that I end up doing quite a lot. An added bonus is that iMessages (texts sent over Wi-Fi and 3G) are free between iPhone users - most of my friends have iPhones so we often use our phones for group text conversations - the only issue with that is if you don't have a Wi-Fi / 3G connection at the time you send the text, it will go through as a text message (which is ok for me as I have free texts anyway, but may be annoying if your contract doesn't). This facility also means that I no longer have to pay to text my friends in Australia. You can also send iMessages to an iPad.
Camera - One of my favourite features of the iPhone 4S is the camera. It is an 8 megapixel camera which is significantly better than any of my previous phones, although not as good as my proper camera. I find this good enough for taking photos when out and about with the children (and also for some less interesting work stuff), and having it constantly available means that I can always 'capture the moment'. You can also create HD videos using the camera function, another way of capturing those all too fleeting moments as my children grow up. The camera also has an LED flash - this isn't brilliant but it isn't too bad either. There are a variety of photo editing / sharing apps available - my personal favourites are iPhoto (which I had to pay for) and Instagram (which is free).
Internet - I use my phone frequently as a web browser when I am out and about and mostly the connection speeds are pretty good. Obviously it is dependent on the level of 3G coverage in the area you are in - we've been in places on holiday with no coverage (or a overloaded Wi-Fi connection) and, in those circumstances, you're lucky if you can get any pages to load. On a day to day basis, however, I find it very good and a vast improvement on my very temperamental old phone. At home on BT Infinity page loading is very fast - I think the phone is actually faster than my iPad over the Wi-Fi, although I use the iPad more at home due to the much bigger screen size.
iCloud - Everything on the iPhone is backed up to the iCloud - mine backs up every time I plug it into the mains power to charge. This is an invaluable feature, both for freeing up some storage space on your phone and for providing peace of mind. When my phone was stolen, I plugged the replacement back into the PC and it re-built the new phone to exactly mirror the old one - all the apps, all the photos, all the texts, all the contacts, even the progress I'd made on various games. The only things that I lost were a few photos and texts from the day of the incident, everything else was restored. For me, that is a brilliant feature of the iPhone 4S - although I don't think you appreciate it until you actually have to use it.
* Battery Life *
I've had my phone for over a year now (although this is the second version due to having to get a replacement after the bike thief incident) and I haven't had any real issues with the battery life. I do tend to charge it every night but the battery has only actually run out once - when I got a bit over-excited by Song Pop and spent the whole night playing it. However, friends who have had their phones longer say that the battery life does seem to deteriorate the longer you have the phone and, if you talk a lot, surf a lot and play music, then you may need to charge it more frequently. The 'official' claims on battery life is that you should be able to get 8 hours talk-time or 8-10 hours internet time (depending on if you are using 3G or Wi-Fi), but I think you have to take those claims with a pinch of salt.
* Cost *
To buy an unlocked iPhone 4S directly from the Apple Store will cost you a whopping £449. It is cheaper to get it on contract and pay a monthly fee, or on a Pay As You Go contract from one of the mobile networks. Contract prices can vary significantly based on a number of factors - you need to make the decision over which one is right for you.
*Final Thoughts *
Overall, I would definitely recommend the iPhone 4S. Yes, the iPhone 5 is bigger, faster and better but the iPhone 4S is still a genuinely good phone (at a slightly lower cost). You can get whatever you want to get out of this phone - it can be used predominantly for calling, texting and surfing the net or you can customise it to suit your lifestyle through installing apps. I use mine for so many things now that I would genuinely feel lost without it. I play music on it (although I only have a limited amount of my music on the phone - most is on the iPod Touch and I add playlists to the phone to stop it getting full), I use it as a GPS tracking device when I go out for a run, I buy and sell things via the eBay app, I use it to download vouchers for shopping and eating out... My husband even watches TV via the Sky Go app on his phone! Other friends use their iPhones for keeping track of their online banking although, since my phone got stolen, I've become a bit paranoid about having information like that on my phone so I don't have any banking apps installed. I can see that is a very useful feature though. In conclusion, I love my iPhone 4S and would not hesitate to buy another iPhone in the future.
Summary: My life, in the palm of my hand - I love it
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