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You could say I’m a bit of an Apple enthusiast; from the iPhone, to the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPod Shuffle, I’ve experienced them all and loved them equally - well, maybe not quite equally as the Daddy of them all is the iPhone, to be exact, the new iPhone 4S, which has been hailed as the best smartphone ever made and to be honest, it’s rather hard to disagree.
*** Availability ***
Thought I best cut to the chased - these things aren’t cheap, but then, would it have the same feeling if they were? Sim free (they aren’t available on pay as you go yet) you’re looking at anything upwards of £500, depending on what GB you’re after. On a monthly contract with 02, anything under around £50 a month and you’ll have to pay for the phone which on a 24 month contract works out at a massive amount of money…
… but is it worth it?
*** Setting Up ***
I’ve always found setting up Apple products to be surprisingly simple, given their reputation of producing some of the most technically sound products on the market. There are new sim cards for the 4S (and I believe the iPhone 4) which are called Micro Sims. These work in the same way that normal sim cards do and are inserted using the little fork type accessory that comes in the iPhone box. Inserting is easy and after turning it on and selecting the usual options (language, etc) all that is required is to plug the USB into your computer/laptop and sync with your iTunes account.
The great thing I have found as a previous iPhone user is that any apps I had on my old iPhone I’ve been able to add to my 4S through iTunes which saves you paying for them again.
In the box you will find all the usual equipment - charger, USB, and a standard pair of Apple earphones (which should be upgraded as soon as possible if you want to get the best out of your music).
*** Home Sweet Home ***
The iPhones interface has no doubt led the way for other smartphones, but there’s also no doubting that the iPhones is the most user friendly and intuitive, allowing you to move and delete apps as you please with little to no effort whatsoever.
The touch screen on the iPhone 4S is the best I’ve experienced on any touch screen. My previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S and it doesn’t even come close to the ingenuity of the iPhone. You’re able to scroll through contact names or music within seconds just by flicking your finger up and down the screen and the iPhone is equally quick to react to the slightest touch.
*** Generic Features ***
I thought I had best cover the boring bits before I get to the juicy stuff!
The iPhone 4 suffered terribly from reports of call cut outs and other reception issues, however, I’ve never encountered any problems with the 4S. Infact, if anything the sound clarity on a call is far superior to any phone I’ve ever used. Calls are always crisp and clear even when there’s background noise and I’ve never had anyone tell me that they’re having trouble hearing me during a call.
Making a call and storing contacts is also a doddle and when you’ve selected their name from your contacts list you’re able to select whether you want to message them, send an email, call them or even contact them through FaceTime, using the iPhone not only a pleasure, but hugely time saving too.
Texting is also a pleasure with the iPhone. Thanks to the ingenious touch screen the iPhone picks up every letter and the predictive text is the best I’ve ever used, it rarely makes mistakes when it comes to what I’m attempting to say. You can text in either landscape or portrait, a lot of people claim that landscape makes it much quicker and easier, but I’m in the minority that likes to use the portrait view. My favourite texting feature has always been the grammar corrector. It inserts apostrophes where needed and starts off with capital letters and full stops. The iPhone really is ingenious even down to the nitty gritty bits.
Email combined with mobiles was something that I never really ‘got’ until the iPhone came along. It always used to be an uphill struggle to sync your email account with your phone and it’s something that I used to give up on before I’d even finished. However, with the 4S you’re in good hands. The iPhone requires only your email address and password and then… voila, as if like magic you have access to your email account. It doesn’t have to be just one account either. You can sync multiple email accounts, so if you have a work and a home account this is the perfect solution.
*** Say Hello To Your New Best Friend ***
Siri is possibly the most talked about feature of the iPhone 4S. Whether Siri will really find a place in the market is still unknown but for now it seems to be wowing people across the globe. Siri is an automated voice in which you interact with. You can tell it to send a text to ‘Steve’ and it will compose a text before asking what you’d like to say and it will send it before you even have to lift a finger. It will also make calls for you and you can ask it questions like what the weather forecast is or what time it is in Australia. Siri recognises your voice brilliantly, it knows 90% of the things you say and it’s great fun to play around with.
Only time will tell as to whether Siri will find a permanent place in people’s everyday lives, but I for one would miss him if he were gone!
*** Say Cheese ***
The camera on the iPhone 4S has been boosted up to 8MP. The iPhone camera has always been something of a downfall, but the 4S has really hit the nail on the head, and with apps to heighten the camera’s functionality even more the camera has finally become a force to be reckoned with.
*** iOS5 ***
One of my favourite things about iOS5 is the new notification bar at the top of the page. You can drag this down at any point and it will tell you what the weather is like in your area, any birthdays/reminders that are occurring during that day and will allow you to read and reply to text messages without even having to exit an app to do so.
With multitasking, even if you are required to exit an app, when you go back into it you won’t be required to set it all back up as it will immediately pick up where you left off. So even when you’re not using it, it just runs quietly in the background without disturbing you. If that’s not sheer brilliance I don’t know what is!
iOS5 brings improved battery life and this really shows. Even when you have apps running in the background iOS5 makes sure that your battery isn’t being drained.
*** Battery Life ***
As I was saying, your battery life has now been improved. I used to get about a day if I was lucky out of my 3GS, but with my 4S I easily get and surpass a day. This way I can play all the apps I want and not have to worry about whether my phone will be out of battery before I make it home.
*** Safari ***
Not much has really changed with Apples mobile internet. Yes, it’s still brilliant. It’s fast, intuitive and a joy to use. You’re able to have multiple pages open at once, zoom in and out on things and generally surf the net just like you would on your laptop.
*** Be Careful! ***
One of the downsides of the iPhone has always been the fear of breaking it. It’s such a beautiful device that you’ll feel the need to wrap it up in cotton wool to keep it safe. This, fortunately isn’t necessary, but finding a good case and screen protector (Phonedevil) is essential. Phonedevil have even brought out back screen protectors for the iPhone 4 and 4S.
*** There’s An App For That ***
Yes, there really is. From slinging birds at green pigs to tracking down your friends and even your Apple devices when they’re lost, the list of apps really is endless and superb. I’ve found that Apple apps are a million times better than Android apps in every way possible.
*** iPod ***
The built in iPod is brilliant and just as good as an iPod touch. The sound quality is absolutely superb, better than my previous iPhone (the 3GS) and the sound quality for apps with or without headphones is absolutely sublime. Even with a 16GB iPhone 4S you’re able to store a lot of music combined with apps. Although if you’re a more hardcore user then I would certainly recommend the 32 or even 64GB models.
*** Stay Safe Out There ***
Even with apps like Find My iPhone, I’d always recommend putting a passcode on your iPhone to keep it secure if it’s tampered with or stolen. With the Find My iPhone app you’re even able to remotely wipe all of your information from your iPhone if you’re 100% that it’s been stolen.
*** Overview ***
To sum up, this is undoubtedly ‘the’ best phone I’ve ever come into contact with. The list of features is truly endless and it’s a pleasure uncovering them all. With its user friendliness combined with its fantastic looks this is a phone that you definitely won’t want to miss out on. This is 100% worth the price tag and I’d recommend it to anyone.