Still debating whether or not to spring for the new iPhone 4S tomorrow? While it does come with some shiny new hardware (and software) inside, not everyone will benefit from an upgrade. Debate no more — here, the pros and cons of the new smartphone, complete with a verdict on who should buy it and who should skip it.
New camera — The 8MP camera with simple editing features (crop, rotate, enhance, and red-eye reduction), a backside illumination sensor, and larger aperture (for better low-light and white balance correction) make the iPhone 4S’s camera one that competes with regular point-and-shoots. It will also come with face detection and image stabilization and the ability to capture HD 1080p video.
Faster processor — The custom A5 chip in the iPhone 4S is the same one you’ll find on the iPad 2, which means the iPhone 4S will be faster in processing speeds, games, and downloads.
More carriers — Since the iPhone 4S is compatible with CDMA and GSM cellular bands, you can use it in more places around the globe. Even on Sprint’s network, if you’re looking for a change.
Siri integration — Apple’s new Assistant feature basically turns the iPhone 4S into a voice recognizing personal assistant. The demo during the keynote was impressive and highlighted some interesting uses for the blind, hands-free texting, and more.
Wireless syncing — Raise the roof for wireless sync! This will be an iOS 5 feature that will be compatible for the iPad and iPod Touch as well, but I couldn’t help but mention the fact that you’ll soon be able to set up your devices and get updates without connecting your iDevice to a Mac or PC.
Airplay — If you’ve got an Apple TV, the iPhone 4S will allow you to stream what’s playing on your device to your HDTV with Airplay, which is built right into the new iPhone.
Fingerprint resistant — The iPhone 4S has an oleophobic coating on its glass exterior, making it resistant to fingerprints by repelling oils in your fingers.
No 4G — Still no 4G on the iPhone 4S. This is unfortunate, but you may not have to wait too much longer to get fast download speeds on your iDevice — analysts believe that Apple is waiting for better LTE chips before adding them into the iPhone, which could be as soon as early next year.
No NFC — Mobile payments on the iPhone will have to wait as Apple has excluded NFC (near-field communication) technology on the latest iPhone model. Of course, this won’t be a deal breaker for some of you who said you wouldn’t use it anyway.
All those leaked case images — We’ve seen too many leaked “iPhone 5” case images to forget about the wider screen, sleek form, and wider body. I’m betting the real iPhone 5 is just around the corner.
Other options — Why spend upwards of $199 with a two-year contract when you could spend $99 and get an iPhone 4? Sure, you won’t get the 8MP camera and Assistant feature, but it’s a really good deal nonetheless. Even better — the 3GS is free!
No unlocked models . . . yet — If you’re an avid traveler, you might want to hold off on purchase for a few months. According to Apple’s website, unlocked versions of the iPhone 4S are coming soon.
Should You Buy?
Our Verdict iPhone 3GS owners who have been waiting for their contracts to expire will get a much-needed bump in power, speed, and form factor with this update, and it’s one that’s worthy of your hard-earned dollars. iPhone 4 owners should stick to their current handsets and simply update to iOS 5 to get that “new phone feel.” You’d be better off waiting for the iPhone 5 next year.