Apple iPhone 4S review

The iPhone 4S is here, but is it really worth the hassle of upgrading? Read our review to find out.

IT Pro Verdict

Although it's not perfect, the iPhone 4S is the best smartphone we've seen yet with a great screen, high-quality camera and a slick user experience thanks to iOS 5 and a broad selection of apps from the App Store. Most owners of the iPhone 4 will still be tied to contracts preventing them from upgrading, so the iPhone 4S is really aimed at owners of the older iPhone 3GS and smartphones running competing operating systems. Those users, as long as they can live with Apple's odder design decisions such as the lack of memory card slots, should seriously consider upgrading. For iPhone 4 that can upgrade, the free iOS 5 upgrades means the iPhone 4S isn't as compelling so they should hold off for now unless they're frequent camera users or drive often enough to make use of Siri.

ITPRO Recommended award

Lip reading

The standout new feature of the iPhone 4S has to be Siri, a voice-activated personal assistant. Simply hold down the Home button, the Siri interface pops up and you then tell it what to do, such as checking the weather, checking whether you have any upcoming appointments on a certain date, setting a reminder or dictating replies to texts and emails. Siri isn't like the traditional voice recognition and command systems on desktop computers where voice is used to control the cursor and onscreen controls. It's a completely separate, alternative iPhone interface in its own right one driven by voice rather than touch.

Create a reminder or check if you have any appointments on any given day using Siri.

The beauty of Siri is that it talks back to you. So if you ask it to send an email to someone, it can ask you whether you want to send it to that person's home or work address. If you tag your relatives with the appropriate labels in your address book (wife, brother, husband etc), you can command Siri to email your brother rather than having to say his full name. Siri also recognises the context of your question, so if you just asked it to check whether you have any appointments on Monday, if you follow it up by asking 'how about Tuesday', it will know to check your calendar for the following day.

If you're not a fan of touchscreen keyboards, voice dictation may be a viable alternative.