Product Type: Apple Smartphone
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iPhone 4S (32GB)
Apple iPhone 4S 32 GB
Author Name: daisylee3
Apple iPhone 4S 32 GB
Date: 14/03/12, updated on 14/03/12 (72 review reads)
Advantages: Does everything anyone could ever wish for!!
Disadvantages: No major disadvantages for me
Purchasing an iPhone, for most people, is quite a big decision. iPhones are not cheap phones that last for a year or so then if they break it won't matter. These are high quality smartphones that cost hundreds of pounds (upto £600 depending on the storage capacity) which to most people, me included, is quite a large amount of money to be spending on a mobile phone, especially in the current climate. An iPhone isn't just a purchase on the off chance because it looks nice, it is an investment. Reviews play a hugely important role in peoples buying decisions - I should know, I read countless Amazon reviews and spent time researching the new features before purchasing mine and I think that it is important for the reviews and articles about such a popular, expensive spartphone to be as full of information as possible - and also be as honest as possible rather than acting like the product is God's gift! Not that it's awful or anything, but i'm sure you all get my jist. This is why i've decided to write an honest, detailed review about my iPhone, the new (and old!) features, the overall quality.. and how much I love it!
**What's an iPhone?!**
I'm sure everyone reading this review will of heard of an iPhone at some point in recent years, as these phones are so hugely popular and they're also available pretty much worldwide. In fact, I bet about 80 percent of people reading my review own an iPhone themselves, however for those who have been living in a cave for the past few years (!), an iPhone is a phone made by Apple Inc (who also make iPads, iPods and macbooks). The iPhone has a touch screen and is marketed as a 'smartphone'.
A smartphone is a mobile phone which has advanced features - for example it has access to the internet, is able to play music, has a high quality camera and so on. A smartphone is essentially a pocket sized computer with so many brilliant features it's almost unbelievable, after having owned an iPhone for over two years I can see why they're so popular. Prior to my purchase of the iPhone 4S, I actually owned an iPhone 3GS, which I had on contract with Orange, however when I saw the advert for the iPhone 4s I knew that I just had to have it, so waited until my 18 month contract was over (luckily when I saw the 4s I only had 3 weeks left of my contract!) and then bought it.
I wasn't sure whether to get a contract or pay full whack and own it outright, but in the end after reading *alot!!* of reviews and trying it out for myself in the Apple Store, I purchased it, contract free. iPhones were first introduced in early 2007 by Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer. Since then there have been several different models (aka generations) released including the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the most recent is the iPhone 4S, which is the model that I am reviewing. To be honest, despite the fact that I love my iPhone, I am still not completely sure that I will be keeping it for the next five years or so as at the rate technology is changing there will likely be a new version released soon with ten times the features etc which I do see as a downside because the iPhone 4S will be old news within no time, however for now I am content with the wide range of features and quality.
**Price and availability**
This is probably the most important part of my review, because who doesn't want to know the price or available options when buying such an expensive product? The price for the iPhone 4S does vary quite a lot. It can be purchased for a set sum of money but it is also available on a contract through phone companies such as Orange, O2 etc. The contracts range from 12 months up to 24 months and average at £36 a month depending on which company you opt to go with. As previously mentioned, I purchased my phone for the full price as I felt it was better value and I wouldn't be tied to just one phone network. I purchased my iPhone from the Apple Store as I felt that this was the best place to go to get excactly what I wanted (I wasn't willing to risk buying a dodgy one from eBay!) I paid £599 for my 32GB iPhone which is a hundred pounds more than the 16GB version at £499 and a hundred pounds less than the 64GB version at £699. Prices will vary where you buy your iPhone from but I doubt that even from somewhere like eBay you'd be able to get it for much less than £450.
**Value for money**
Obviously with such an expensive phone it's important to know if it's actually worth it. I bought my iPhone at the beginning of October last year, so have had plenty of use out of mine and I can honestly say that I am already addicted to it and take it everywhere! I think it was worth every penny, because it's so easy to use and so handy - it's got everything a laptop/computer would have but can fit in my pocket meaning I can check my e-mails and facebook no matter where I am. It also has a camera which is good quality and so many other features and it's incredibly sleek and attractive in design. It's very sturdy despite how neat and compact it is and for the high quality and countless features, I do think it is worth the money.
However, if you have a laptop and use it most of the time and don't really venture very far and don't need to regulary text, call or e-mail on the move then there isn't much point in getting an iPhone to be honest, because it is just like a mini laptop. If you haven't got money to blow and have to choose between and iPhone and laptop, I would go for the laptop as the only advantage that an iPhone has got when compared to a laptop is the camera and the phone function, which are available on laptops anyway (eg webcam, skype).
I do spend quite a lot of my spare time when at home on my laptop but find the iPhone handy for when I am out and about and want to check up on stuff (eg Facebook) and it's also handy for when i'm waiting around for appointments, buses, trains etc as I can listen to music, watch films or even speak to my boyfriend (and see him at the same time) on Skype!! I have got a feeling I will get the absolute most out of my laptop when I am back at university as it will be so handy for when i'm sat in the library studying and need to look something up without waiting around to use the university computers.
**Physical appearence and connectivity**
iPhones have a very distinctive appearence, they're a wide rectangular shape and very sleek. The iPhones are quite flat and compact and the iPhone 4S is 4.5 inches high, 2.31 inches wide and 0.37 inches deep. The shape is handy because it fits into the palm of my hand easily and it's easy to grasp securely, with not alot of effort as it's so light - it weighs just 4.9 ounces which when compared to a lot of other phones is extremely light. The iPhone is available in two different colours; white and black. I have the iPhone in white as I personally think that it's much more feminine (sorry to any men reading this who have a white iPhone - lol!) and I also think the white one is slightly less common than the black ones. I also like that it's a little more distinctive, so it comes in handy when my friends leave their iPhones laying around the house - I always know which ones mine as i'm the only one out of my friends (apart from one of them) who has a white iPhone.. which is nice, 'cause I feel a little unique lol!
The front of the iPhone is taken up by the 3.5 inch touch-screen, along with a button at the very bottom of the screen. I have no idea of the actual name of this button - I think it's the home button (?) however this is the button that takes you back to the main iPhone screen (eg if you're on the internet and press it, it will take you back to the main iPhone screen which has all of the icons) and it is also the button that wakes the iPhone up when it's locked itself (this happens when it's been inactive for a certian amount of time).
This button is circular with a square on the middle. It's excactly the right size for a thumb or finger and looks very neat. I love how large the touchscreen is; it's so easy to use and I can use more than one finger at a time which is handy when I am writing a long message as it takes much less time with two fingers rather than just one!! The iPhone casing is very glossy and expensive looking, and on the back of the iPhone it has the Apple logo, which is a silver apple which is an apple, underneath the apple logo it has 'iPhone' written on it. There are two small round camera lenses - one on the front and one on the back with the LED flash next to the one on the back, and on the front at the very top above the screen there is a 'strip' - this gives the phone its signal I think.
The on/off button is at the very top of the iPhone on the top right corner, it's easy to use and access and because it takes quite some pressure to push down, there's no worry of it turning itself off when it's in my bag - I walk quite fast and my iPhone probably gets thrown all over the place inside my bag so it's good that it can't turn itself on or off by mistake. On the left hand side it has the two volume control buttons which are easy to use, and there's also the ring/silent button. On the very bottom of the iPhone there's the pin-dock connector. This where the USB plug used to charge and sync the iPhone is inserted. Next to this on the left side is the built-in microphone and on the right hand side of it there's the built-in speaker. There is also a small hole which is the stereo headphone minijack, and all of my earphone fit into it fine. There's a small slot on the iPhone which can be opened either by Apple or by yourself with the help of a tool that they give you. This slot is for the mini sim to go in. The sides of the iPhone have a very modern, sleek silver metal rim which adds so much elegance to the phone; without it it wouldn't look half as good in my opinion.
**What comes in the box?
The iPhone comes in a compact rectangular white box, which has a picture of the iPhone on it along with 'iPhone 4S' written on the sides clearly. The box is made of good quality, smooth to the touch cardboard with the iPhone securely inside. Inside the box, along with your iPhone you get: a pair of Apple earphones, a white USB cable, a micro sim, a white plug that connects to the mains iPod via the USB cable, and two booklets - a quick start guide and an information booklet. The iPhone also comes with two of the Apple logo stickers which I chucked away as I saw little point in them.
There are seriously so many acessories available for the iPhone, ranging from chargers to cases. I love that there is such a huge range of iPhone cases as it enables me to change it regulary meaning I don't get bored of it - it's just like putting a little outfit on it, haha how nuts do I sound! There are leather cases, wooden cases, silicone cases and even specially shaped cases which resemble cartoon characters!! Accessories can be purchased from pretty much anywhere and hugely vary in price depending on the design and quality.
The iPhone is available with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage capacity. I have the 32GB, which is more than enough for my needs. I have so much music on it (4,706 to be precise) as well as over 20 short videos, 650 photos and 110 apps.. and I still have over 5GB of free space! Obviously though if you have very large, high quality music and picture files or very large apps (some take up over a thousand megabytes of space) it will take up more room. The speed of the iPhone despite being so crammed full of data is impressively fast and it doesn't lag or freeze etc.
I've found that despite how lightweight and delicate looking my iPhone is, it's actually quite durable. I've dropped it more than once and it didn't smash, although obviously I would not reccomend doing so! I was a little worried at first that the iPhone would scratch easily as it is so smooth and shiny. It does scratch a little but as long as you have a protective case it'll be fine and even if the back does get scratched, it'll be easy to cover up. The screen of the iPhone doesn't get smudgy or dirty easily which is suprisingly considering how much I wipe my fingers across the screen, it doesn't attract dust at all which is good and I barely ever need to clean it as it doesn't get dirty easily. I like how durable it is as that way I don't worry about using it out of the house, and it fits into my pocket and small clutch bag. Obviously though despite the durability of the iPhone it's not break-proof. I've had friends who have smashed or cracked the screen from dropping it by mistake, and I am also aware that the iPhone can get water damaged quite easily, so it's better to be safe than sorry and not use this while in the bath!!
The battery life on this phone is suprisingly good. With the amount of features it has I thought it'd be dead within a few hours of constant use, however I can use it all day before it starts showing as low in battery. I like that it gives you a warning when it's started to become low, as that way I am able to either charge it or quickly finish whatever i'm doing. Charging the iPhone is simple and it doesn't take too long either.
**Phone calls and call quality**
Well, in my opinion, the quality of the phone calls and the ease of actually using the phone for what it's meant for (ringing people) is the most important thing to mention. Making a phone call is extremely simple and I had gotten used to it within the first day of having my iPhone. To make a phone call, you simply 'click' (well, tap with your finger) onto the green 'phone' icon. This is at the very bottom of the screen in the left hand corner. Once you have clicked onto it, it brings up a list of options, for example it gives the option to see recent callers (handy for when my phones been off but the caller hasn't left a message), your contact list, the option to listen to voicemails and of course the option to ring someone by typing the number into the phone.
Apple state on their website that the iPhone 4S has a data speed of 14.4 Mbps (compared to the iPhone 4 at 7.2mbps), meaning that the phone connection doesn't lag and is as clear/good quality as possible. Calling someone is really simple and quick and it takes me literally 2 seconds to find a contact and call them. The sound is honestly crystal clear and hanging up is easy too - I hate those phones that haven't got clear buttons and make it hard to hang up from a call, where as the iPhone 4S has got a big red button labelled 'end' - once you press it, the call will hang up. While calling someone it gives a rundown of how long the call has been going on for under the contact name and it gives the options of muting the call, loudspeaker and facetime - facetime is amazing but I will go into that later. The call quality is brilliant and I have had no issues at all with people complaining about the quality of my phone (no 'I can't hear you' or 'your phone sounds weird' comments at all). Obviously if somewhere that has a low signal, the call quality will be slightly reduced but not to the point of being ridiculously bad. The loud speaker is also good quality and doesn't sound echoey or tinny.
**Text messages and chat**
It's simple to text on this phone and it's full of small features too. To text someone you simply press on the green 'messages' icon. This will bring up a list of any messages that are in your inbox. It will show the name of the person who sent it along with the message. If it's a long message then you will have to click onto it to read it. There is a search bar at the top of it which is handy, because if you type a certain word or phrase it will bring up any messages so it is really time saving if you want to refer back to what someone said but can't remember the exact phrase that they used etc. On the top right hand there is a symbol showing a square and a pen which you simply click on to write a message and in the top left corner there is an edit button which you click when you want to clear your inbox.
If I recieve a text then a small red circle pops up on the green 'messages' icon showing the number of unread texts that I have. It's a little like the Facebook notification symbol really! With the iPhone, once you send a message and recieve a message back, it will show on the screen like an MSN or Skype conversation would, so it's more like chat then actually text messages. The messages are displayed in bubbles and it shows the time when the message was sent next to each message which is a good feature too as you can see how long it takes someone to reply which helps to work out if they're too busy to talk if that makes sense!!
The mesages are also colour coded. The messages that the other person sends are grey and the messages that you send are green, which I like, but i'd like it if there was an option to change the colour scheme of the messages as it's very bland and unisex. It is also possible to connect to the internet directly from a text message if someone sends you a link, for example if i'm bored i'll ask my boyfriend or a friend to send me a good music video or something on Youtube and I can then click on it and be straight on it. Sending pictures is also a quick and easy process.
At the top once you've clicked onto a message it gives you an option to call the sender or edit the messages you have sent. To type a message back, you simply click onto the reply button (the sqaure with a pen) and a virtual keyboard will appear. It is so easy and quick to use seriously! Predictive text is also available to help avoid spelling mistakes but this often leads to more hassle and awkwardness than it is worth so I have mine turned off!! iMessage is the messaging system that the phone uses. This is a live chat rather than just text messaging and it can be used only with people who have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad - it's an iPhone version of blackberry messenger basically! It's totally free and really fun and easy to use.
FaceTime is amazing! It is just like Skype and so easy to use. To start facetime you just call someone then press 'facetime'. If they accept the facetime call you will be able to see them, and they'll be able to see you. You can type while on facetime or just talk, and you can also mute it if you'd rather just look at eachother than talk lol. You can also email the person you're talking to while on facetime. It's a great feature, and helps me keep in touch on a more personal level with old friends; seeing someone on the screen is a lot different to just seeing a message. Although FaceTime is quite a large feature it doesn't take too much time to load. It usually lags a little at first but after a few seconds it soon catches up and runs fine. It can be a little awkward at first because you have to hold the camera aimed at your face, which can result in an achey arm, however I usually place it on a window sill or table then sit in front of it - that way the person on the other end can see me properly rather than just seeing a close-up of my face!! The sound quality on FaceTime is fab and I would really reccomend it.
Siri Siri is probably the most talked about feature of the iPhone 4S and it's incredibly handy as well as entertaining. Siri Siri has voice recognition and it 'speaks' back to you to awnser questions. Mine has a man's voice, although I think there's a woman's voice too. He has an english accent and it's obviously quite a mechanical, computerised voice. Once I got used to it I began using it everyday, usually as a form of entertainment to be honest - some of the replies are hilarious, for example my boyfriend told Siri that he needed to hide a body and it replied with 'What kind of place are you looking for?' along with a list of funeral services! You can have conversations with it too which is fab when i'm bored and need a laugh - I told it I loved it once and it replied 'Oh stop it, Daisy!' Haha. It really is fab. It can read texts out for you if instructed, and with a simple instruction it can also reply to them for you. It can play certian songs, playlists and open certian apps too. It can do pretty much anything, it can be even used as a timer.
The thing that I mostly use Siri for is playing songs. I simply tell it clearly to play a certian song.. eg "Play 1901 by Birdy" and the reply will be something along the lines of "Ok, playing 1901" or "Ok, here you go". It can tell you the current weather, the forecast etc and my boyfriend's Siri on his iPhone refers to him as Daddy for some reason - I think he's got it set to that as his name haha. Siri can add reminders to the reminder list to save typing them, eg if I say "Remind me to get cheese from Tesco when Marc gets home", Siri will reply "Here's your reminder for when Marc gets home". When using Siri you need to fill out your contact details on your iPhone for example your email address, name, date of birth etc. These aren't compulsary I don't think but it makes it funner - my Siri knows my DOB and name which I think is cute!! The possibilities are endless. It can find numbers, find contacts, do Google searches if instructed and so on. The programme is easy to use, but you do need to speak clearly and slowly in order for it to understand what you said or you can get some strange, random replies.
**Camera and picture quality**
The iPhone 4s has the best camera i've ever had on a mobile phone and it is as good as (if not better) quality as my digital camera. The built in camera is 1080p HD with 8 megapixels. It is designed with special optics to collect as much light as possible, resulting in stunningly clear, vibrant photographs. The camera has loads of options including face recognition (which is very accurate), photo editing tools with which you can adjust the size, brightness etc and it can also remove red-eye. It also has a feature called HDR. This takes three photos at once (each less than a second apart) and then layers the best part of each picture together to create the ultimate piccie - so clever and it definetly works as i've had stunning pictures with my iPhone. I have an 8 megapixel digital camera and although it's the same megapixels, the overall finish and quality of the photos is much, much better. The camera focuses well and i've never had issues with blurry pictures because it captures them so quickly, for example it was my cousins little boys christening last weekend and he was waving his arms about when I took a picture, but there was no blurriness in the picture at all.
The camera is quick to take a picture - almost instant, but it can also be put on timer too for family pictures when there's not a spare hand to hold the camera. I love the 'mirror image' feature of the camera too. It has two cameras, one at the front and one at the back. The one in front captures whatever is in front of it, and I can only see what i'm photographing from looking at the screen which is fine and dandy but when I want to take self shots of my self it can be awkward with normal phones, but with this one it's easy. With one simple click the camera suddenly shows the person holding it due to the camera on the front, meaning I can see myself on the screen when taking a piccie - this saves so much time faffing around getting into different positions as I am able to see what looks best straight away. I love the camera and viewing the pictures is easy, it displays them as small square icons and to view a larger version I simply tap it with my finger. I have transferred several pictures to my laptop from my iPhone and even on a large screen the pictures still look great.
You can add different features to the iPhone for example Facebook and twitter. It comes with Youtube on it already which is handy. The iPhone 4S has iOS as its operating system, which is mega fast so no complaints there. The basic features that it comes with are..
The calculator is fab and really easy to use. It has all of the basic numbers and multiplications (eg plus and minus), however, it doesn't have the devide symbol as far as I know, maybe i'm just been stupid and can't find it but i'm pretty sure it doesn't have it which isn't a massive disadvantage but I think it's a bit silly for it not to have it.
This is handy as it lets you flick through the different days and it can go either forwards or backwards to see what date it will be on a certian day.
This is handy for when wanting to write something but not having paper spare, or when i'm bored I will write a draft of a review and then type it up when on the laptop. The notes can be saved or deleted.
This stores any photos you've added onto your phone via the USB lead and it allows you to create different folders and rename pictures.
This lets you browse through different apps and purchase them if you like. It is easy to do but you have to be logged into iTunes to be able to make a purchase. I am always careful when browsing incase my finger slips onto 'buy now' by mistake!
This lists all of the music on your phone. It is catergorised in a number of different ways; song title, artist name, or you can 'shuffle' for a random playlist. It is also possible to create playlists of your favourite songs. When you click on a song it will bring up the picture from the song's album if there is one and it will play straight away with the artist and song name at the top. If you turn the iPhone sideways you can flick through all of the albums on the phone.
This is the internet, it's so easy to use! The iPhone 4S has bluetooth and connects to the internet wirelessly. With one click i'm online and I am able to go onto google or whatever site I want. The screen can be turned sideways to be wider which is handy and if you tap the screen it will zoom in.
Downloading things is easy peasy and it's very fast. All you need to be able to connect to the internet is a wireless internet connection - I can use mine pretty much anywhere there is a wifi internet connection which doesn't have a password.
There are also volume controls, an alarm clock and basic settings.
This phone is amazing. It's full of features and is like a mini laptop! It does everything even the most hard to please person could wish for and the quality shines through. The speed is incredible and I really can not fault it. Although the iPhone 4S is expensive, I would certianly reccomend it as it's a great investment. 100% reccomended, 5/5!
Summary: A fab smartphone full to the brim with handy & entertaining features