If you look back at my past reviews, you will see the article on Apple's iPhone 3Gs, which was my first iPhone. I used that phone for a little over 2 years.
When I noticed the phone starting to develop some issues, I knew it was time to replace it. The battery seemed to last half as long as it had when new and I noticed the GPS not functioning properly sometimes.
Nobody can really blame the phone. It definitely saw its share of drops and bumps over the time of ownership. One waist high drop on cement, remains in memory in which the corner of the phone came apart but thankfully still functioned.
I decided to jump into a new iPhone and the current model was the 4s but was on a tight budget so ended up with the 16 gigabyte model. With apps growing in size, and a desire for so many, I will definitely look for a larger capacity model on my next upgrade.
At first glance, the squared sides of the new design is more appealing. It also seems to be a bit thinner than the thickest part of the curved 3Gs case.
The metal band on the outside is another nice design feature. The matching buttons seem more sturdy and rugged and the band appears to add a bit of strength to the body.
The back on the 4s is simple to remove allowing easy customization or easy access to the battery, something the 3Gs lacked. I had tried a custom made silver back piece but I found it to be fragile and it broke easily. It seems the original Apple back piece is more durable.
Antenna issues that first popped up on the iPhone 4 seem to have been taken care of. With over 6 months of use, never experienced any signal loss while holding the metal band of the phone as defined in the earlier problem.
The speed of the phone is amazing. Apps that I used on the 3Gs ran so much smoother and sometimes had less load times. This is really a plus on intensive games which push the graphics of the phone.
The additional RAM is noticeable over the 3Gs as well. I often forget how many apps I have running in the background on the 4s while the 3Gs would constantly remind me by choking and chugging or allowing apps to fail and crash if I had too many running.
The camera on the iPhone has always excelled when compared to other smartphones and it just keeps getting better. Eight megapixels now offer the user more options and uses for their mobile photos. Combine this with HDR features of the newest iOS and the added LED flash for a truly more useful camera on the go.
The ability to shoot full 1080p video is also another great feature of the iPhone 4s. Once, we captured little movies to only watch as tiny windows on a computer and now with our phones we can capture stunning video worthy of viewing on the best of high-definition televisions. Amazing really.
I still have a compact VHS video camera that now seems very archaic. Even the effects built into the analog camera can be replicated and probably made to appear better in all the great iPhone video apps that are available.
After some bad experiences with cases and my 3Gs and some reviews claiming antenna issues with some 4s cases, I have been hesitant to buy a case for the 4s. I like being able to see the classic design and the smaller size too so it has been naked since purchase.
Speaking of smaller size, I am also fine with the screen size. I know there are many Andoid users touting larger screens but honestly feel no need for more screen. My phone is largely still, my phone. That's is a majority of its use. Larger screens means larger gadget to carry in my pocket.
The screen having retina display is nice but there again, not necessary in my opinion. I was perfectly happy with the quality of the 3Gs screen quality. Why? Because it was my phone that I just happened to use for games, music and ocassional video.
Retina display and anything more is just overkill for mobile devices in my use and eyes. It only succeeds in taxing bandwidth more on processing and internet connections that are becoming more restrictive in effort to gain the slightest amount of visual detail.
Perhaps with the surge in tablets and the interest in mini tablets, the perception of the smartphone will change to more inline with what I see. The phone will become less tablet like and remain more phone slash music player.
Would I recommend this phone to a friend or family? Most definitely. With ownership of two, I can honestly say I would recommend any of the iPhones to family and friends and especially the 4s. I feel each should purchase the newest model they can afford to get the longest enjoyment from use.
Apple will likely release a new model iPhone this fall. I look forward to see what it features but will most likely be passing on it and waiting for the following generation of iPhone when my cell provider contract expires. I am guessing that could be an iPhone 5s model by then looking at history of releases.