Product Spotlight: Apple iPhone 4S
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Product Spotlight: Apple iPhone 4S5:59 /
Of all the fantastic smartphones and cell phones you could tie up with a bow this holiday season, the most talked about is the one with sassy Siri. Find out why you should give the gift of the iPhone 4S.
-It may not the be the famed iPhone we all thought we were getting, but it's a pretty darn good phone in its own right and definitely work the buzz. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET, and I'm talking about the iPhone 4S. Unless, you've got an eagle eye on the internet, there's almost no visual difference in design between the iPhone 4 and the 4S. It's got the same striking curves, edges, and corners as the iPhone 4, and the same aluminum unibody build plus of panes of glass on both sides of the screen. All of which make the iPhone 4S a premium looking phone that everyone else keeps trying to match. Still, there are differences between the 2 starting with the carriers. Now, we've got 3 carrier options. We've AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Sprint is sweeping the deal by the being the only one to offer an unlimited data plan. For now anyway, so if that's important to you, you better nab it while you can. In addition, Apple has introduced a 64 gigabyte model to go along with its 16 and 32 gigabyte options. Because of the different storage capacities, the price ranges from about 200 bucks to 400 bucks. I should also mention that Apple is offering all of these and black and white. So, when you consider the carriers, the colors, and the 3 storage sizes, you actually have your choice of 18 different phones here in the US, [unk]. Fortunately, if there's a lot on the inside that also makes the iPhone 4S a tough phone to beat. It's got an 8-megapixel camera that does really great in low light situations. Thanks to a new backside illuminated sensor. The camera claims to let in 73% more light than the iPhone 4 camera and it snaps photos 33% faster. Let me tell you there is a noticeable difference. There are also some simple, but handy photo editing tools built in. Of course, there is a front facing camera too, which is good for Apple face time video chat and also good for 3rd party video chat apps. The camera takes 1080 HD video clips at 30 frames per second, which results in some very smooth looking video, but of course as these things go, one of my favorite camera features is also the simplest and that's being able to get to the camera from the lock screen without having to first unlock the phone. When? -Your satisfaction is all the things I need. -I don't know about you, but the word I've heard on everyone's lips since the iPhone 4s came out is Siri. This is the voice assistant with the sassy sarcastic personality that you can only find on the iPhone 4S. Voice actions on their own are nothing new. They are on Android. They are on Windows phone. They are on Blackberry, and you can even find voice prompts on a lot of feature phone. The thing is, you're usually concentrating on being clear and precise and using the correct words that the program can recognize. So, it always sounds you're barking orders at your phone. The thing that makes Siri standout is that you can be conversational asking questions like, "hey, how do I get to the movie theater or remind me to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow at 6." -Here's your reminder for tomorrow at 6 p.m. -If if Siri doesn't understand you perfectly, it's more fun to feel with her than it is with the other voice search apps. -Shall I create it? -Yes. -Okay, I'll remind you. -As fun as Siri is, it's only useful if you don't mind being that guy, the one who's talking into their phone. iMessage maybe more mundane in Siri, but for most people, I don't argue it's going to be more useful as well. It's basically free [unk] for anyone with the iOS 5 software upgrades and it's seamlessly built into the messaging app. You don't have to set anything off of wonder if you're sending a text to [unk]. IMessage just sense the message automatically. Apple isn't the first to come up with this concept by a long shot, but their implementation is instant and it's really smooth. The iOS 5 update also brings the iPhone 4S a new notification system that finally captures it up android mostly, and the same goes for twitter integration as well. So, if anyone was holding off on the iPhone because of these things, those reasons have just evaporated. There are couple of other things that help make the iPhone 4S an altogether really great phone and on one of those is the A5 processor, which is Apple's name for its custom dual core one gigahertz processor with a dual core GPU and that makes it good for gaming. The processor also would help to render photo so quickly. Now, here's another little nugget that's under the hood. The iPhone 4S supports both GSM and CDMA voice technologies, which is important for Verizon and Sprint customers. That's because it means that you can still use you iPhone 4S in GSM areas outside of the US. I'll be the first to admit, this phone is definitely less then perfect, and the most glaring omission of all it the fact that there is no 4G support. So, the carrier's fastest 3G speed is the fastest that you're going to be able to do things like stream and download media and also surf the web, but even though spite the lack of 4G, the iPhone 4S still absolutely deserves the spotlight. There are plenty of other really fantastic smartphones on the market and those with larger, but equally beautiful screens, those with excellent built quality phones with lightning fast 4G speeds, phones with more open and customizable environments, you get it. I'm with you. I really like those phones too and I like the choice on the market. However, the iPhone 4 S manages to bring together a really impressive number of shining qualities under a now iconic interface and design. So, basically, if you're thinking of buying and does gift for somebody else or for yourself, you really can't go wrong. However, if your are feeling extra generous, you might want to consider picking up a cover, a cleaning cloth and maybe a Bluetooth headset for handsfree calling. I'm Jessica Dolcourt. This is CNET.com and I've had my spotlight on the iPhone 4S for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.