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iPhone 4S review

Same shape, different brain - is it enough of a change?

One of the greatest things about the original iPhone was the Safari internet browser, and that's still the case with the fifth iteration of the phone.

The iPhone 4S has the new and iOS 5-upgraded browser, and it comes with some nifty new features we'll get to in a moment.

The main feature of the iPhone 4S browser is the fact it's simply so fast, and able to handle pretty much any web page in seconds over Wi-Fi or 3G.

iPhone 4s review

We tested the loading time for the TechRadar website compared to the iPhone 4, and found that it was around 3 seconds quicker for the newer device over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections. When loading mobile-formatted sites, it was like there was no delay at all in some cases, with most loading up in under a second.

There's something that the Android browser has always had over the iPhone version in our mind, and that's the ability to resize the text to fit the screen should you want to get closer. That's still the situation now, with only two zoom levels on offer from the iPhone 4S should you want to read an article in a larger font.

However, Apple has done something new here and introduced Reader to the Safari browser. This means once the page has loaded you can hit the Reader tab in the URL bar to see a stark, e-reader-like version of the page, stripping out ads and unnecessary pictures to mean you can quickly and easily read the longer articles you want to.

iPhone 4s review

If you've ever used Instapaper, you'll know what the experience is like... you've got to feel sorry for that service now Apple has developed its own version.

Another way to read the articles you want to is the Reading List function, which is simply a temporary bookmarks list - you can sort them by 'All' or 'Unread' so you know which sites you want to check back with. It's a nice idea, and one that we found ourselves using more than we expected to, keeping a number of articles on the backburner when we didn't have time to scan through.

However, surely it would have made sense to format these automatically using the Reader, or at least have an option to? We found ourselves getting irritated with having to wait for them to reload every time to just reformat them... so maybe this is something Apple can change in the future.

Oh, and let's not forget our favourite refrain for an Apple iPhone review - the lack of Flash video. We've no idea how Apple has managed to survive all of these years without adding in some kind of Flash support, but those little error boxes strewn all over the internet still grate a fair bit.

Sure, they are abating as more sites become more mobile friendly, and HTML5 video support is built into the iOS browser, but that's still a long way from being an oft-used video format for the web, so iPhone 4S users will have to put up with a substandard internet performance compared to their Android counterparts when it comes to web video.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Service ProviderAT&T
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBNo
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, EVDO
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyiPhone 4S
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, CDMA 800, CDMA 1900, CDMA2000 1X
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemiOS
Brand NameApple
Battery Talk Time14 Hour
Product ModelMC918LL/A
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution640 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)138.9 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerApple
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersioniOS 5
Messaging TypeMMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), SMS (Short Message Service), Email, iMessage
Pixel Density326 ppi
Height114.3 mm
Width58.7 mm
Depth9.4 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time200 Hour
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameiPhone 4S 16GB Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Product LineiPhone 4S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberMC918LL/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

Picking up where amazing left off.

The dual-core A5 chip delivers even more power. The 8MP camera with all-new optics also shoots 1080p HD video. And with Siri, iPhone 4S does what you ask. Talk about amazing.