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iOS 5 and iPhone 4S review roundup

iOS 5 and iPhone 4S review scores roll in, just days before the new device hits shelves this week. So what are reviewers saying about the latest Apple iPhone and iOS 5?

By Matthew Shaer / October 12, 2011

The iPhone 4S, pictured here, is set for release this week. Plus, iOS 5 is available now for iPhone 4 and iPad owners.

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The iPhone 4S, the latest handset in the popular iPhone line, hits shelves on Friday. The 4S takes the basic shape of the iPhone 4, and adds an array of improvements, most of them internal: A faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a voice-operated personal assistant app called Siri, the iOS 5 operating system. (iPhone 4 users can download iOS 5 now.) So how does the iPhone 4S stack up to past models? Unsurprisingly, pretty well.

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The design

Over at This is My Next, Joshua Topolsky notes that "there isn’t anything notable about the exterior of the iPhone 4S in comparison with the company’s previous flagship phone." Still, he continues, "compared with most (if not all) of its Android competition, this industrial design looms tall. Though enthusiasts might be bored of seeing the same hardware for more than a year, this still feels like the phone to beat in the looks department. The glass back — while incredibly prone to shattering on impact — feels as sleek and sexy as ever. The metal antenna and solid, machined buttons feel high-end, expensive even. If this were a car, it would be a Mercedes."

The speed

"[T]he 4S’s upgraded processor definitely provides a large speed boost, akin to the upgrade from the original iPad to the iPad 2," writes Jason Snell of Macworld. "The results of my general-performance tests showed the iPhone 4S to be roughly twice as fast as the iPhone 4. Apple claims graphics performance on the iPhone 4S has been boosted even more by the graphics component of the A5, with speed gains of as much as 7x. That’s a best-case scenario, but my tests with the GLBench Pro graphics benchmarking app did show enhanced graphics performance. One 3D test sequence played at roughly five times the frame rate of the same scene on the iPhone 4; another was roughly double the frame rate."

The camera

"Much will be made about the upgrade from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels with the iPhone 4S," writes MG Siegler of TechCrunch. "But the bigger difference is the engineering behind the new camera. Apple notes with pride that their engineers were able to completely re-architect this tiny camera to produce images that are on par with the nicest point-and-shoots available. They credit five 'precision elements' to record incoming light (versus four in the already excellent iPhone 4 camera) and the inclusion of a larger f/2.4 aperture to bring in more light."

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