Mobile

iPhone 4S reviews: New camera, CPU, and Siri are a winning combination

Not surprisingly, reviewers are gaga for Apple’s new iPhone 4S. While it seems like less of a compelling upgrade for iPhone 4 users, everyone else should find a lot to love about the iPhone 4S, from its new 8-megapixel camera, to the scarily smart Siri virtual assistant.

The iPhone 4S also sports Apple’s new dual-core A5 chip, which first appeared in the iPad 2. Most reviewers found that the new processor led to a noticeable speed improvement over the iPhone 4. And as we reported earlier, the A5 chip soundly trounces all of Apple’s Android competition.

This is my next’s Joshua Topolsky praised the iPhone 4s’ camera in his review:

The iPhone 4S took some of the nicest, cleanest photos I’ve ever seen from a mobile device. If you’ve ever thought about using a phone as a replacement for your point and shoot, feel free to start taking that concept seriously. The 4S produced crisp, balanced, colorful photos that were surprisingly low-noise and never over-saturated. The iPhone 4 sometimes seemed to be compensating for its limitations by exaggerating colors, but the iPhone 4S looks and feels like a real camera capturing true images.

One of the most exciting features exclusive to the iPhone 4S isn’t hardware, it’s the new Siri virtual assistant. By all accounts, Siri seems to be one of the most user-friendly, and surprisingly accurate, AI-based solutions ever to reach consumers. The New York Times’ David Pogue writes:

It’s mind-blowing how inexact your utterances can be. Siri understands everything from, “What’s the weather going to be like in Tucson this weekend?” to “Will I need an umbrella tonight?” (She has various amusing responses for “What is the meaning of life?”)

It’s even more amazing how Siri’s responses can actually form a conversation. Once, I tried saying, “Make an appointment with Patrick for Thursday at 3.” Siri responded, “Note that you already have an all-day appointment about ‘Boston Trip’ for this Thursday. Shall I schedule this anyway?” Unbelievable.

Apple says Siri relies on the new A5 chip to function, which is why it’s only available on the iPhone 4S for now. Still, existing iPhone 4 and 3GS owners will be able to get some of the benefits of Apple’s new iOS 5 software, which will be available tomorrow. Most notably, iOS 5 brings iMessage to other Apple devices, which could seriously disrupt the need for iPhone users to waste money on text messages.

Overall, the iPhone 4S appears to be a no-brainer purchase for most consumers, assuming you don’t mind a smaller screen than most competitors. Current iPhone 4 owners face a tougher decision, since they’ll receive plenty of upgrades with iOS 5. Still, the new camera and Siri seem reason enough to upgrade, especially if you can resell your current iPhone 4 for a decent price (like this writer did).

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