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First Impressions: iPhone 4S vs iPhone 4

How does the iPhone 4S stack up against its predecessor? We take an initial overview of Apple's latest smartphone.

Storage

Unlike most other competing smartphones, the iPhone has never had a memory card slot for easily adding more storage. This is needed now more than ever, since the iPhone 4S can shoot 1080p video which can easily gobble up lots of storage if you're not careful. The new 64GB iPhone 4S goes some way to compensating for this though the iPhone 4 had previously been limited to a maximum of 32GB.

Screen

One of the most impressive things about the iPhone 4 is its Retina Display. Rather than using the 960x640 pixels to simply display more information, Apple chose to use all those pixels to create incredibly smooth onscreen text and images that's very easy on the eyes. Only the 960x540 pixel screen of the Android-powered Motorola Atrix comes close. The iPhone 4S has the exact same screen which is to be expected smartphone screens with even higher pixel densities would likely be prohibitively expensive and difficult to produce, if they even exist at the moment.

The iPhone 4S will be available in both black and white.

Appearance

One of the most controversial aspects of the iPhone 4's design, besides is antenna, is its all-glass design. Although it looks and feels seductively great and despite Apple's claims of extreme durability, we've seen more than a few examples of easily cracked iPhones. Rumours of a MacBook Air-style unibody design will probably never come to fruition given HTC's use of a similar design in its smartphones. The look of the iPhone 4S is almost identical to the iPhone 4, so we don't expect any changes here. In other words, a case will probably still be a good idea.

So what are our initial impressions?

Verdict

The iPhone 4S isn't radical enough to be called the iPhone 5, but it's a compelling upgrade, especially for switchers and owners of the older iPhone 3GS. The Siri natural language voice control and dictation system look impressive and is highly likely to be exclusive to the iPhone 4S and its faster, dual core A5 processor – an example of Apple's tight hardware-software integration. For iPhone 4 users, it's trickier dependant on how much you'll use it, whether it’s a SIM-free purchase, or a contract upgrade. The 16GB iPhone 4S will cost £499 ex VAT SIM-free with pricing for the 32GB and 64GB models yet to be confirmed. The new phones will go on sale on October 14th, although pre-orders will be available on October 7th. We'll bring you a full review as soon as we can.

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