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  • tipoo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Anyone know if there is a reason this hasn't made it into any Andriod phone yet? Does Google specify compatible GPU's, or is it cost, or development time, etc? Looks like it slaughters even the Mali 400 which is probably the next fastest. Reply
  • zorxd - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    The only reason is that no one used it yet. The TI OMAP 4470 will use the 544 which is probably a little faster.
    The SGS2 is using the slower Mali 400, however it was released 6 months ago. Yet it's not that bad, even beating the 4S in Glbenchmark pro.
    Reply
  • zorxd - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I meant no SoC vendor is using it. Reply
  • djboxbaba - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    The numbers were incorrect and have been updated, the 4S is ~2x faster than the GS2 on the GLBenchmark Pro. Reply
  • freezer - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    But not when running at phone's native resolution. Thats what people will use while running games on their phone.

    iPhone 4S has much more pixels for GPU to draw while having much smaller screen. Not very optimal for gaming right?

    http://glbenchmark.com/result.jsp?benchmark=glpro2...
    Reply
  • djboxbaba - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    Correct, but we're comparing the GPU's by standardizing the resolution. Of course in the native resolution this will change. Reply
  • thunng8 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I don't see any GL benchmark that the Mail 400 beats the 4S??? Reply
  • freezer - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    That's because Anandtech review shows only the 720p offscreen results.

    This gives very different numbers compared to running GL Benchmark Pro in phone's native resolution.

    iPhone 4S has about 60% more pixels than Galaxy S2, and so its GPU has to draw much more pixels in every frame.

    Go to glbenchmark.com and dig database yourself.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    The 544 should be identical to the 543 at the same clock and core configuration. It's effectively a 543 variant with full D3D feature level 9_3 support. The primary purpose of the 544 will be to build Windows devices, whereas for non-Windows devices the 543 would suffice. We don't have access to PowerVR's pricing, but it likely costs more due to the need to license additional technologies (e.g. DXTC) to achieve full 9_3 support. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Who will use it to support Windows Phone though? Qualcomm uses their own AMD/ATi based Adreno GPU. I guess it will be TI's attempt off getting Microsoft to support Windows Phone on their SoC in order to supply say partners of theirs like Nokia. Or might just be a later purchase/contract date for the other SoC vendors. Getting the IP-blocks later, but many did opt for the Mali-400 so why wouldn't they opt for the successor too? It seems to have worked out good. Samsung is just one of the vendors that usually did use PowerVR. I guess ST-E will use it in order to support Windows Phone on Nova A9540 SoC too. While Android vendors might opt for the older A9500 still.

    Interesting to see how Nvidia do lag in this field though.
    Reply
  • a5cent - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Nobody will use it to support Windows Phone. Ryan was certainly talking about Windows 8 and tablets. WP8/Apollo will run on Qualcomm's S4 SoC and on nothing else. An OS that can make assumptions about the hardware it is running on can include performance optimizations that would be impossible to do otherwise, and is also much easier to test. Apple and Microsoft seemingly agree that this is the better approach. Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Actually they will of course, see Brians latest pipeline post http://www.anandtech.com/show/5038/stericsson-anno...

    Windows Phone 7-series devices need DirectX/3D and SM3.0 support, it has been discussed before and it's precisely this that prompts them to release products on 544. ST-E will produce SoCs for Windows Phone in cooperation with Microsoft and in partnership with Nokia which they have supplied before and has an extensive partnership and relationship with. At least they would hardly care for Windows 8 when choosing parts. They will hardly support DX9 and SM3 on Mali-400. They wouldn't bother if it was just for Windows for ARM any way. Even though Ryan referred to Windows 8 it doesn't make my post any less relevant and justified.
    Reply
  • dagamer34 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    My best guess is that other SoC vendors would have had a hard time selling a SoC with that big a GPU until Apple did it. They don't want to loose the "speeds and feeds" game. We'll probably see more chips with larger dies in the future to compete with what Apple comes out with. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    This is extremely accurate. The best thing Apple could have done for competition was ship an iPad with a 122mm^2 SoC inside.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Not to mention every other application for ARM SoCs in this multimedia heavy world. It's more the tablet itself that drove this as well as other media player applications and all the other applications that aren't as power constrained as mobile phones. That was set out for for some time. Reply
  • mashimaroo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    i gave my spare case to my gf thinking it would fit right on until i noticed the vibrate lock switch was moved. My friends thought it was a defect but i knew there was no way. Unfortunately i had to buy another case after already shelling out $700. =( still im happy. The mirror ability is great and i can watch all my shows straight off my iphone to my aaxa p4 pico projector. All i had to get was the vga cord from the apple store for another $30.
    pretty much plug and play after though. ANGRY birds 80 INCHES instead of 3.5 inches. I'll admit its pretty fun to watch the giant birds fly across my walls.
    Reply
  • kishorshack - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Really loved this review
    kudos to anandtech team
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    1) Ridiculous BS sentences about "improved vibration" that obviously come straight out of Apple's marketing mouth
    2) No real comparison vs competitors (guess what, AMOLED screens wipe the floor with iphones, no wonder)

    No real comparison, but thorough kissing all over apple's butt. Formidable review, indeed....
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    If there weren't charts showing the faster CPU/GPU combination as compared to all the other Android competition.

    If there wasn't a thorough analysis of the screen, showing that the iPhone 4S trades blows (winning and losing) vs the best Android can offer 9eg EMOLED).

    If there wasn't a thorough analysis of wifi speed, battery life, as compared to other Android phones...

    You would have a formidable comment, indeed....
    Reply
  • rd_nest - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Where did it show faster CPU? Reply
  • dacramer - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    The browser benchmarks show the 4s as fastest, but this benchmark is FLAWED as a measurement of CPU performance.

    The benchmark compares Safari to the Android stock browser. The stock Android browser does not support 2 cores, only 1. So all Android dual cores phones would be nearly twice as fast with another browser such as Opera.

    I'm surprised Anand did not include this discussion in the review. He seams fixated on the idea that stock to stock browser is a valuable comparison when it totally misleads readers on CPU performance.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    In case you missed it, the Droid RAZR scored 10% faster than iPhone 4S in the SunSpider test.

    But yes, this is still mostly a software issue, and I expect the Android 4.0 browser to be even faster on the same chip.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    FYI, Google says the Galaxy Nexus scores 1983ms in Sunspider running ICS Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    "Where did it show faster CPU?"

    Where did it in my comment?
    Reply
  • Breit - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    I just run SunSpider 0.9.1 on my Galaxy S2, international model (everything stock, with Android 2.3.5) and it came in at 1626.5ms with Opera Mobile browser and 3354.8ms with the stock Android browser. So saying the CPU on the Galaxy S2 is weaker than the CPU on the 4S is just not right (and that by a big margin!).
    At least make comparisons with the best software there is and not just 'some' browser you eventually found on your phone...
    I'll bet there is someone programming his own browser just for the kicks or as an exercise for his programming skills and that browser scores over 9000ms in SunSpider. Does that mean the CPU in that phone is slow? ;)
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    You could achieve the same results on the iPhone too..

    The comparison is (rightly) comparing stock browser to stock browser, and the iPhone 4S is faster. It would be even faster again using say, Opera.

    As for some guy posting 9000ms - you can filter the results to 'best' times so this is a non issue.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Isn't there more to displays than just white level in nits, black level in nits (on a chart were I can't seem to find the Galaxy S II or the Infuse), and contrast (again, don't see the Samsung Galaxy S II or the Infuse on the contrast chart either)? Don't get me wrong, I don't agree in the slightest with the summary "this is apple cheerleading" but honestly the display comparisons are pretty lacking IMO. Where are the rest of them? There's more to a screen than just nits. Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    Last time iphone disappeared from comparison photo, from the one where it would pale in comparison, when asked, author "explained' that he simply "forgot" it in the pocket. (!!!). Now they didn't even bother. Round of but kissing on "retina" hype and phones disappearing from charts.

    Find contrast of Galaxy phones on the charts pretty please...
    Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Could you be any more of an Fandroid? Seriously. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Wait what?

    Almost every single page has a comparison to Android phones. Several of them have graphs showing the differences!

    And your comment on the displays may be your opinion, but actual measurements show otherwise. but hey, if you like your over saturated display with a much lower pixel density, thats your decision.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    Find contrast of BEAUTIFUL Galaxy phones on the charts pretty please... Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Yeah the 'beautiful' screens...

    The Galaxy screen is what, 480 x 800? on a 4.27 inch screen?

    The iPhone 4s is 640 x 960 - on a 3.5 inch screen.

    A much higher resolution.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    "1) Ridiculous BS sentences about "improved vibration" that obviously come straight out of Apple's marketing mouth"

    I'm sorry you feel that way, but the vibration unit is indeed different, and lends a completely different feel from every other device out there which just uses a spinning counterweight.

    I'd encourage you to try it on your own.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Great review, thanks Anand! If I weren't so stubborn I'd get an iPhone (because they really are great phones) but I just can't do the Apple thing. I like the openness, tweakability and choices provided by Android phones, but for the general population, the iPhone is pretty much the best option for the high-end market. Reply
  • zanon - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Hoorah, the definitive review is here at last! Thanks as always for your hard work on this.

    And yeah, the 543MP2 is a sick monster of a chip. Imagination Technologies really hit a home run with this one, simply amazing performance. Not just Apple either, I believe the Vita is using the MP4 version of this chip. With the show they've put on this time, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they do for the Series 6 Rogue ones that I think are still due next year. Or for that matter even if they do an update/shrink of these ones.

    Great to see so much competition between graphics in the mobile world, practically every major player has a foot in the water at least. I think this stuff will start to matter more and more too for items beyond games. Applications like further advances in augmented reality seem like they could use plenty of power, and are uniquely suited to mobile platforms. Things will get really nuts when retinal projection displays or some equivalent finally start filtering down into the main market.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    It's not really about the architecture, though, but about the size of the GPU = more performance. It's 2x the size and has 1.5-2x the performance of Exynos' GPU. Not that surprising.

    I'm not entirely sure why they had to use such a powerful GPU, though. Is it to make it easier to support higher resolutions? Because it can't be about the games. Why would it get 7x the performance of the previous iPhone 4 GPU, when it can only use 2x of that anyway?
    Reply
  • loganin - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    That's a pretty weak and factually wrong claim to discredit Apple's product, not that it's surprising coming from you.

    "Exynos SoC Same Size As Apple A5 In iPad 2"

    http://www.itproportal.com/2011/06/07/exynos-soc-s...
    Reply
  • zanon - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    loganin already addressed your claptrap regarding size, so we'll just ignore that. A few other bits stand out, however. The first is that, fundamentally, even if you were right so what? You don't win any points for improving in one way vs another, what matters is the result at the end. Regardless of the method PowerVR used the fact that the 543MP2 utterly demolishes the competition, and that it's a beast, would not change.

    Second, you failed to mention in your "1.5x-2x" the performance bit the fact that it's also clocked *50% slower* then the Exynos. Again, even pretending you were correct, your size difference *still* wouldn't explain the kind of gap we're seeing. Unlike size, which is not perfectly correlated with performance, clock rate pretty directly is. If the 4S's A5 was running at 1.2 GHz, it would be more like 2.8x the performance of the Exynos at the high end.

    >>Because it can't be about the games. Why would it get 7x the performance of the previous iPhone 4 GPU, when it can only use 2x of that anyway?
    Also, this bit is just WTF. You might have noticed that PC GPUs continue to increase in power? Despite resolutions not continuing to increase? WTF do you mean "you can only use 2x of that"?? At least until the level of complete photorealism with full real time physics modeling of everything is achieved there's always room to spend more power just making the scene look better. Duh.
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Erm, GPU clocks are independent of what the CPU is clocked at. I.e. just because the A5's CPU is clocked at 800MHz doesn't mean the GPU is.

    Apple never really releases what the internal clocks of their various components are running at.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Do you even know what 50% slower means? It means half the clock speed. It's not 50% slower. It's 30% slower than Exynos CPU.. It's the Exynos CPU that is "50% faster" than the A5 one.

    But that's not even what we were talking about. I was talking about the GPU, not the CPU. The GPU has a difference frequency.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Its still absolute nonsense to claim that the iPhone 4S can only use '2x' the power when it has available power of 7x.

    Not only does the iPhone 4s support wireless streaming to TV's, making performance very important, there are also games ALREADY out which require this kind of GPU in order to run fast on the superior resolution of the iPhone 4S.

    Not only that, but you failed to take into account the typical life-cycle of iPhones - this phone has to be capable of performing well for around a year.

    The bottom line is that Apple really got one over all Android manufacturers with the GPU in the iPhone 4S - it's the best there is, in any phone, full stop. Trying to turn that into a criticism is outrageous.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Actually it is about the architecture. How GPU performance scales with size is in large part dictated by the GPU architecture, and Imagination's architecture scales better than the other solutions. Reply
  • loganin - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    And I showed it above Apple's chip isn't larger than Samsung's. Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    But chip size isn't relevant, only GPU size is.

    All I'm pointing out is that not all GPU architectures scale equivalently with size.
    Reply
  • loganin - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    But you're comparing two different architectures here, not two carrying the same architecture so the scalability doesn't really matter. Also is Samsung's GPU significantly smaller than A5's?

    Now we've discussed back and forth about nothing, you can see the problem with Lucian's argument. It was simply an attempt to make Apple look bad and the technical correctness didn't really matter.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    What I'm saying is that Lucian's assertion, that the A5's GPU is faster because it's bigger, ignores the fact that not all GPU architectures scale the same way with size. A GPU of the same size but with a different architecture would have worse performance because of this.

    Put simply architecture matters. You can't just throw silicon at a performance problem to fix it.
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Well, you can. But it might be more efficient not to. At least with GPU's, putting two in there will pretty much double your performance on GPU-limited tasks.

    This is true of desktops (SLI) as well as mobile.

    Certain architectures are more area-efficient. But the point is, if all you care about is performance and can eat the die-area, you can just shove another GPU in there.

    The same can't be said of CPU tasks, for example.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I should have been clearer. You can always throw area at the problem, but the architecture dictates how much area is needed to add the desired performance, even on GPUs.

    Compare the GeForce and the SGX architectures. The GeForce provides an equal number of vertex and pixel shader cores, and thus can only achieve theoretical maximum performance if it gets an even mix of vertex and pixel shader operations. The SGX on the other hand provides general purpose cores that work can do either vertex or pixel shader operations.

    This means that as the SGX adds cores it's performance scales linearly under all scenarios, while the GeForce (which adds a vertex and a pixel shader core as a pair) gains only half the benefit under some conditions. Put simply, if a GeForce core is limited by the number of pixel shader cores available, the addition of a vertex shader core adds no benefit.

    Throwing enough core pairs onto silicon will give you the performance you need, but not as efficiently as general purpose cores would. Of course a general purpose core architecture will be bigger, but that's a separate discussion.
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I think you need to check your math. If you double the number of cores in a Geforce, you'll still gain 2x the relative performance.

    Double is a multiplier, not an adder.

    If a task was vertex-shader bound before, doubling the number of vertex-shaders (which comes with doubling the number of cores) will improve performance by 100%.

    Of course, in the case of 543MP2, we're not just talking about doubling computational cores.

    It's literally 2 GPU's (I don't think much is shared, maybe the various caches).

    Think SLI but on silicon.

    If you put 2 Geforce GPU's on a single die, the effect will be the same: double the performance for double the area.

    Architecture dictates the perf/GPU. That doesn't mean you can't simply double it at any time to get double the performance.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    But I'm not talking about relative performance, I'm talking about performance per unit area added. When bound by one operation adding a core that supports a different operation is wasted space.

    So yes, doubling space always doubles relative performance, but adding 20 square millimeters means different things to the performance of different architectures.
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Fair enough. But that really doesn't take away from the fact that the A5 is a relatively large chip and from the UV-scans of it, looks to use quite a bit of that die area for the GPU.

    I don't know if a similar scan has been done of Exynos but one can't safely say both chips are far bigger than SoC's traditionally used in this space.

    Though that trend appears to be moving forward with MSM8960 and Tegra 3.....
    Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    That leads to an interesting question: will Apple always have the largest SoCs, and thus (most likely) the highest performance in the mobile space?

    The reason I could see this happening is that Apple doesn't have to sell their SoC's at a profit, so they're paying closer to cost for the chips (excluding the fab mark up). Other manufacturers (like NVIDIA) need to make a profit on their chips.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    "I'm not entirely sure why they had to use such a powerful GPU, though. "

    And you know EXACTLY how Apple use the GPU do you?
    Does Siri run some of its workload on the GPU? Does the faster camera stuff (eg fast HDR) run on the GPU? Does Apple already have OpenCL running (for internal use) on iOS?
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    He must be an Android fan.

    Androids new marketing campaign will offer a revolutionary 'new' feature - the ability to have a slower GPU than other phones!!!

    Magical.
    Reply
  • InternetGeek - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    They might give AMD and nVidia a run for their money if they ever tried creating desktop products... Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Kyro 2 was a good chip, but obviously went to focus on the desktop market. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Maybe, but there's a reason such crossovers usually take so long. Look at Intel trying to get into this space, I don't doubt they will be good at it but it takes years of development. Imagination specializes in low power, it would take lots of development effort to get into the high power desktop game. Reply
  • _tangent - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I think this might be intentionally ironic given they got out of that game a long time ago :P

    On point though, anyone would given AMD and nVidia a run for their money with the right up front cash and expertise. I imagine the barrier to entry into that market is truly colossal though. Point is, the SGX543 MP2 is no evidence one way or the other.
    Reply
  • lurker22 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Before buying many people who got a 4s on AT&T told me how much better it was than their prior AT&T iphones.

    Anand, thanks for confirming and explaining the reasons.
    Reply
  • LordSojar - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Can't we have reviews as detailed as this for the really big name Android phones? They are always far less detailed and lack a lot of the testing put into this.... thing....

    Apple makes a few adjustments, tweaks a few things, adds in the same processor that's in the iPad 2, and we have a highly detailed, scientific review that covers every single aspect, even if said aspects are the same. Samsung releases a new phone that has overall better features, faster CPU, faster NAND, a different and arguably better (or at least equal) screen, and mums the word?

    The bias is getting a bit out of hand at this point... We get that you're big time Apple fans, but cmon... At least do a major review of this caliber for the Droid RAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket (LTE on AT&T!). Even if you combine them into one review, just make it THIS detailed for once instead of giving Apple the huge, super detailed ultra review!
    Reply
  • Formul - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    There is about a dozen fairly similar android phones every month. As iPhone gets refreshed just once every year (this time year and a half) and has bigger market than any single android phone out there it makes sense to make the review thorough. I guess Nexus Prime and even Razer will get similar lengthy reviewsa ... as did many other android phones before that (galaxy s2 for example had about the same as this one).

    You are the one biased here. Counting the number of android articles on any gadget blog will seriously outpace the iPhone by far. You should shut up and read what you want, no one is forcing you to read this blog or any particular article on it. I dont read android articles, i dont care about android all that much. Why do you have to troll here if it does not interest you after all?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I believe we did just that for the Galaxy S 2 review:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4686/samsung-galaxy-...

    We don't have the RAZR, Galaxy Nexus or S2 Skyrocket, but we typically do a deep dive whenever there's a new platform transition or something truly unique to look at.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • LordSojar - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Hmm, touche Anand, I had forgotten about how detailed the S2 review was.

    The RAZR doesn't warrant a particularly detailed review I suppose, but I think the S2 Skyrocket might warrant a detailed antenna review etc considering the transition to LTE along with, what should be a major change to the antenna and should (I think) have QC's MDM9615 or MDM8215 chips in it... which is a big deal considering those could yield not only significant speed gains along with an antenna update, but some major throughput.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    'Samsung releases a new phone that has overall better features, faster CPU, faster NAND, a different and arguably better (or at least equal) screen'

    I hope you are comparing to the OLD Samsung, in this sentence, rather than comparing to the iPhone 4S.

    The CPU/GPU performance of the iPhone 4S is not comparable to the Galaxy S2, and I would argue the features are very much superior too.

    Which, incidentally, along with the dual-antenna design, Siri, brand new camera, makes the iPhone 4S much more of a step up than the Samsung Galaxy to Samsung Galaxy S2. (The Galaxy S was about the same performance as the iPhone 4. The Galaxy S2 is slower than the iPhone 4S, therefore iPhone 4S is a bigger upgrade).

    And of course, as Anand said, they thoroughly review most phones, and as the other poster says, the Android phones come out way more often so over the same length of time they get at least as much if not more coverage.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    The Galaxy S2 released in May. The 4S released in October. The next Galaxy phone, the generation the 4S is actually going to compete with, is the Galaxy Nexus. What I'm saying is your point would hold more water (or any at all) if Samsung didn't make 2 upgrades in the space of time it took Apple to do 1 so the differential between generations is hardly an apples to apples comparison (pun intended). Reply
  • thunng8 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    But the Galaxy Nexus isn't any faster than the S2. The main benefit is the new operating system and higher resolution screen.

    The Nexus is actually a significant step backwards from the S2 in terms of camera (likely from the samples on the prototype) and GPU (definitely since it is using the SGX540) performance
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Release dates will not stop phone users comparing the iPhone 4S to the Androids released in March 2012, just like they compared all the Androids over the last 17 months to the iPhone 4.

    The iPhone 4S, right now, is competing with the Galaxy S2 directly.

    The Nexus Prime, as the other comment alluded to, is a significant downgrade from the Samsung Galaxy S2. Indeed, it uses the same GPU as used in the much older Samsung Galaxy S (albeit clocked higher).

    The Galaxy S to S2 took approximately a year inbetween generations (June 2010 to May 2011), which is very much in line with the typical Apple release cycle of annually (this year was the exception). Even this year, with the extended timeline between iPhone 4 and 4S, Samsung didn't make 2 upgrades during that time. Your point would hold more water (or any at all) if it had.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    It's obvious you're not making a real comparison between current products but instead of admitting that you pretend it's a non-issue and then strangely fought that issue anyway by suggesting I'm not actually right to call you out on these shenanigans. So thanks for being obtuse about this, it makes it much easier to dismiss your position as that of an irrational fan-boy (at least it does when combined with the condescension in some of the other threads you've commented on here). Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    'It's obvious you're not making a real comparison between current products'

    Erm, huh?

    That's EXACTLY what I'm doing.

    What YOU'RE doing is asking is to compare a phone which isn't even out yet with a phone which is. You're trying to 'pretend it's a non-issue' that the phone you say the iPhone 4S should be compared with wasn't even out when this discussion started. THAT is the definition of fanboy-ism. It's like the constant like of Android fans 'x WILL be better when it eventually comes out' - and THAT is obtuse.

    So, the only comments which can be dismissed are YOUR fanboy comments about 'x phone released in x months will be better'. Turns out you were wrong anyway, but that's irrelevant - the bottom line is you don't want iPhone to be compared to CURRENT Android phones, but instead compared to FUTURE ones.

    Rational, much?

    As it happens, it's out now, and isn't even much of an improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S2
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    The cameras seem to be about the same, according to Anand. I've actually found the SGS II camera to be a bit better in photo comparisons. Siri? I still think it's more of a gimmick for now. Maybe in 5-10 years it will be actually useful. Once the novelty expires, people will barely even use it in a few months. The same happened with FaceTime which everyone went crazy about at launch, and then they stopped using it completely.

    The CPU of the SGS2 IS faster than iPhone 4S CPU. There's no way Apple managed to get a 50% performance improvement for the same Cortex A9 chip that Samsung is using.

    I think Anand can confirm this. He wasn't very clear in the review. He was only talking about the improvements it gets over the old Cortex A8.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Subjectively similar, but if you read the detailed analysis, the iphone4S camera is sharper even without resorting to a high level of software sharpening. Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Hardly anyone bought an iPhone 4 for facetime. That's very different from what's happening with Siri, whether it stays that way long term or not. Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Where's your evidence that the CPU in the Samsung Galaxy S2 is faster?

    Apple aren't using the same chip, they're using their own custom version of it.

    The CPU/GPU combination in the iPhone 4S is faster, full stop.
    Reply
  • kepler - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I disagree, there were plenty of review for Android phones, as they come out. He did the Incredible and Thunderbolt pretty thoroughly. The difference is that he can't review 15 Android phones from 5 different manufacturers every month.

    I'm sure we'll get a great spread on the Galaxy Nexus, and possibly the Razr, as they are big ticket items. I know I pretty much just skim the Apple stuff, as I'm not a big fan of Apple, its practices of litigation over innovation, not to mention the moral distaste of Mr. Jobs. I think iOS is a child's OS, behind the times as it is, and Siri is just a gimmick to try to keep the outdated OS alive for (hopefully) its last iteration.

    Of course, none of that means that it isn't a good product.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    'iOS is a child's OS'

    Just like Google is a child's search engine.

    As Einstein said, everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.

    Usability matters.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    In what universe is hardware or practical OS performance faster with Android?

    Your bias, keep an eye on it.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    In what universe did you have a chance to compare (legit) OS performance on the same hardware, you clown? Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Huh? In what universe could you not understand a basic sentence?

    He didn't say he'd measured two different OS's on the same hardware. He essentially said he could compare the REALITY of both sets of phones (Android and iOS) by taking into account their PRACTICAL performance, that being performance taking into account BOTH the hardware they run on and the software they run on.

    In other words, in the real world, iPhones DO use iOS, and Android phones DO use Android, putting one OS on the other hardware (which you are suggesting) would be completely irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is how they both ACTUALLY perform, given the reality of their software. And that has been measured throughout this article and shows the iPhone 4S is currently the best performing phone there is.

    Even taking the software aside, direct comparisons have been made between the Mali-400 in the SG2 and the much faster 543 in the iPhone 4S.
    Reply
  • claytontullos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I feel as though the throughput difference between ATT and Version/Sprint isn't being leveraged enough.

    I would really like you guys to review the Samsung Galaxy Note paying special attention to if it bridges the gap between tablet and phone.

    -
    Clayton
    Reply
  • CharonPDX - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I am often in crowded areas where I theoretically have a strong 3G signal, but have no data throughput. Yet if I drop to EDGE (on my old iPhone,) I can get slow-but-usable data service.

    I also use it to save battery life.

    On the 4S, I can't do that any more. And *REALLY* aggravatingly, Apple advertises "2G battery life", yet you can't force it into 2G mode any more!
    Reply
  • Davabled - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    With Field test enabled, do numbers closer to zero indicate a better connection? (I'm referring to the numbers that replace the bars in the upper left corner) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Correct :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Formul - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    why the huge drop from iPad 2 to iPhone 4S in the GL benchmark pro? its only about 30% performance .... any explanation? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Because the number was incorrect :-P Fixed now :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • ZebuluniteX - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Great review as always Anand!

    In addition to the GL benchmark pro results Formul mentioned, I was also surprised to see the Motorola Droid RAZR for some reason do far better than other Gingerbread-based Android smartphones. It is listed as using different version of Android (2.3.5 vs 2.3.4 or older), but given that very similar results were shown between the iPhone 4S and Honeycomb-running Galaxy Tab 8.9 in your 'iPhone 4S Preliminary Benchmarks' article (where the 4S was a bit slower than the Galaxy Tab in SunSpider, and marginally faster in BrowserMark), I'm guess those are just mislabeled Galaxy Tab results. Is that the case?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Thank you - be sure to thank Brian Klug as well, he really did the bulk of the heavy lifting here. I just popped in to talk about silicon and battery life.

    The RAZR numbers are what we ran at the RAZR announcement: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4981/motorola-droid-...

    The improvement is likely due to an updated browser from Motorola. I included those numbers effectively as a placeholder until Ice Cream Sandwich arrives :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • ZebuluniteX - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Ah, thanks for the clarification, I missed that article. Hmm, that's interesting that, apparently, Motorola "ported" Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich's browser optimizations to Gingerbread (or at least I assume that's what happened)...

    I'm in the market for a smartphone, and while I was leaning towards the 4S since I already am in the Apple ecosystem via an iPod Touch 2G, before pulling the trigger I wanted to read the Anandtech take on it. The review was excellent as always - thanks again to both you and Brian!
    Reply
  • Formul - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    that was fast! i knew something was not right as there was no mention of this in the text :-)

    thanks for another great review, keep up the good work! :-)
    Reply
  • zanon - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    The article wrote "The expectation that Apple will always deliver more than just a hardware upgrade is likely what made Siri a 4S exclusive."
    While only time will tell for sure, it seems quite possible that graduated ramp up had a bigger role to play here. As you say, most of the heavy duty lifting for Siri is going on server-side, and in turn local processing needs aren't too bad. However, the natural flip side of that of course is that the server-side infrastructure is required for the service to work at all, and resources aren't unlimited there either. Even with it limited purely to 4S users, Siri still had some availability problems in the first few days as millions activated and tried to user it simultaneously. It's not hard to imagine what would have happened if every single one of the tens of millions able to upgrade to iOS 5 *also* tried to start using it immediately. Apple has built a huge data center and that's all well and good, but nothing substitutes for actual working experience when it comes to massive software services.

    By limiting the initial rollout, Apple can do performance profiling, get an idea of average loads after initial "let's try it" dies down, and so forth. Staggering a rollout also means being able to plan for the general load rather then suffering the classic and well known double-bind of
    A) Building for a peak load, and ending up being left with a lot of extraneous hardware that barely gets used.
    B) Building for the average, then suffering from embarrassing and headline generating outages for a week or two.

    It's true they could just decide to keep it 4S only, but given they are still selling the iPhone 4, and probably make plenty of profit on that now very mature device, I think there is a decent chance they'll roll it out to a wider audience down the road.

    Also, a few typos:
    Page 2:
    I think the phrase is "pretty much par for the *course* for Apple..." rather then "par for the case".

    Pg 9, WiFi:
    "...newest WLAN, Bluetooth, and FM *cobo* chip" should I think be "combo".

    Pg 15:
    ...4S, without a (big blank, presumably some sentence was supposed to go here?)

    Pg 16:
    "aren't simply *academical*" should be "academic".

    Again, great review, thank you.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    That's a very good point, I will add it to the discussion. The sinister view is to assume Apple did it to differentiate, the balanced view takes into account infrastructure, which is exactly what you did here :)

    And thanks for the corrections :)
    Reply
  • robco - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I've been using the 4S from launch day and agree that Siri needs some work. That being said, it's pretty good for beta software. I would imagine Apple released it as a bonus for 4S buyers, but also to keep the load on their servers small while they get some real-world data before the final version comes in an update.

    The new camera is great. As for me, I'm glad Apple is resisting the urge to make the screen larger. The Galaxy Nexus looks nice, but the screen will be 4.65". I want a smartphone, not a tablet that makes phone calls. I honestly wouldn't want to carry something much larger than the iPhone and I would imagine I'm not the only one.

    Great review as always.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I'm torn on screen size myself. Pocketable is nice. But I'm intrigued by the idea of a "mini-tablet" form factor, like the Samsung Galaxy Note with it's 5.3" screen (1280x800 resolution) and almost no bezel. That's HUGE for a phone, but if it replaces a tablet and a phone, and fits my normal pants pockets, it would be an interesting alternative. The pen/stylus is also intriguing. I will be torn between small form factor vs mini-tablet when I make my phone upgrade in the near future.

    To Anand and Brian: I'd love to see a review of the Samsung Galaxy Note. Maybe Samsung can send you a demo unit. It looks like a refined Dell Streak with a super-high resolution display and Wacom digitizer built in. Intriguing.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    That's why I got an Archos 5 two years ago. And what can I say? It works.

    Sadly the Note is A) three times as expensive as the Archos
    and B) not yet on Android 4

    there's also C) Codec support will suck compared to the Archos, and I'm pretty sure Samsung won't release an open bootloader, like Archos does.

    I'm hoping that Archos will soon release a re-fresh of their smaller size tablets base on OMAP 4 and Android 4.
    Alternatively, and equally as expensive as the Note, is the Sony dual-screen tablet. Looks interesting, but same caveats apply....
    Reply
  • kylecronin - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    > It’s going to be a case by case basis to determine which 4 cases that cover the front of the display work with the 4S.

    Clever
    Reply
  • metafor - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "Here we have two hypothetical CPUs, one with a max power draw of 1W and another with a max power draw of 1.3W. The 1.3W chip is faster under load but it draws 30% more power. Running this completely made-up workload, the 1.3W chip completes the task in 4 seconds vs. 6 for its lower power predecessor and thus overall power consumed is lower. Another way of quantifying this is to say that in the example above, CPU A does 5.5 Joules of work vs. 6.2J for CPU B."

    The numbers are off. 4 seconds vs 6 seconds isn't 30% faster. Time-to-complete is the inverse of clockspeed.

    Say a task takes 100 cycles. It would take 1 second on a 100Hz, 1 IPC CPU and 0.77 seconds on a 130Hz, 1 IPC CPU. This translates to 4.62 sec if given a task that takes 600 cycles of work (6 sec on the 100Hz, 1 IPC CPU).

    Or 1W * 6s = 6J = 1.3W * 4.62s

    Exactly the same amount of energy used for the task.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Err sorry, I should've clarified. For the energy calculations I was looking at the entire period of time (10 seconds) and assumed CPU A & B have the same 0.05W idle power consumption.

    Doing the math that way you get 1W * 6s + 0.05W * 4s = 6.2J (CPU B)

    and

    1.3W * 4s + 0.05W * 6s = 5.5J (CPU A)
    Reply
  • metafor - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Erm, that still presents the same problem. That is, a processor running at 130% the clockspeed will not finish in 4 seconds, it will finish in 4.62s.

    So the result is:

    1W * 6s + 0.05W * 4s = 6.2J (CPU B)
    1.3W * 4.62s + 0.05 * 5.38s = 6.275J (CPU A)

    There's some rounding error there. If you use whole numbers, say 200Hz vs 100Hz:

    1W * 10s + 0.05W * 10s = 10.5W (CPU B running for 20s with a task that takes 1000 cycles)

    2W * 5s + 0.05W * 15s = 10.75W (CPU A running for 10s with a task that takes 1000 cycles)
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I wasn't comparing clock speeds, you have two separate processors - architectures unknown, 100% hypothetical. One draws 1.3W and completes the task in 4s, the other draws 1W and completes in 6s. For the sake of drawing a parallel to the 4S vs 4 you could assume that both chips run at the same clock. The improvements are entirely architectural, similar to A5 vs. A4.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    In that case, the CPU that draws 1.3W is more power efficient, as it managed to gain a 30% power draw for *more* than a 30% performance increase.

    I absolutely agree that this is the situation with the A5 compared to the A4, but that has nothing to do with the "race to sleep" problem.

    That is to say, if CPU A finishes a task in 4s and CPU B finishes a task in 6s. CPU A is more than 30% faster than CPU B; it has higher perf/W.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    It is race to sleep though. The more power efficient CPU can get to sleep quicker (hurry up and wait is what Intel used to call it), which offsets any increases in peak power consumption. However, given the right workload, the more power efficient CPU can still use more power.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    When you say power efficiency, don't you mean perf/W?

    I agree that perf/W varies depending on the workload, exactly as you explained in the article. However, the perf/W is what makes the difference in terms of total energy used.

    It has nothing to do with race-to-sleep.

    That is to say, if CPU B takes longer to go to sleep but it had been better perf/W, it would take less power. In fact, I think this was what you demonstrated with your second example :)

    The total energy consumption is directly related to how power-efficient a CPU is. Whether it's a slow processor that runs for a long time or a fast processor that runs for a short amount of time; whichever one can process more instructions per second vs joules per second wins.

    Or, when you take seconds out of the equations, whichever can process more instructions/joule wins.

    Now, I assume you got this idea from one of Intel's people. The thing their marketing team usually forgets to mention is that when they say race-to-sleep is more power efficient, they're not talking about the processor, they're talking about the *system*.

    Take the example of a high-performance server. The DRAM array and storage can easily make up 40-50% of the total system power consumption.
    Let's then say we had two hypothetical CPU's with different efficiencies. CPU A being faster but less power efficient and CPU B being slower but more power efficient.

    The total power draw of DRAM and the rest of the system remains the same. And on top of that, the DRAM and storage can be shut down once the CPU is done with its processing job but must remain active (DRAM refreshed, storage controllers powered) while the CPU is active.

    In this scenario, even if CPU A draws more power processing the job compared to CPU B, the system with CPU B has to keep the DRAM and storage systems powered for longer. Thus, under the right circumstances, the system containing CPU A actually uses less overall power because it keeps those power-hungry subsystems active for a shorter amount of time.

    However, how well this scenario translates into a smartphone system, I can't say. I suspect not as well.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I believe we're talking about the same thing here :)

    The basic premise is that you're able to guarantee similar battery life, even if you double core count and move to a power hungry OoO architecture without a die shrink. If your performance gains allow your CPU/SoC to remain in an ultra low power idle state for longer during those workloads, the theoretically more power hungry architecture can come out equal or ahead in some cases.

    You are also right about platform power consumption as a whole coming into play. Although with the shift from LPDDR1 to LPDDR2, an increase in effective bandwidth and a number of other changes it's difficult to deal with them independently.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    "If your performance gains allow your CPU/SoC to remain in an ultra low power idle state for longer during those workloads, the theoretically more power hungry architecture can come out equal or ahead in some cases."

    Not exactly :) The OoOE architecture has to perform more tasks per joule. That is, it has to have better perf/W. If it had worse perf/W, it doesn't matter how much longer it remains idle compared to the slower processor. It will still use more net energy.

    It's total platform power that may see savings, despite a less power-efficient and more power-hungry CPU. That's why I suspect that this "race to sleep" situation won't translate to the smartphone system.

    The entire crux relies on the fact that although the CPU itself uses more power per task, it saves power by allowing the rest of the system to go to sleep faster.

    But smartphone subsystems aren't that power hungry, and CPU power consumption generally increases with the *square* of performance. (Generally, this wasn't the case of A8 -> A9 but you can bet it's the case to A9 -> A15).

    If the increase in CPU power per task is greater than the savings of having the rest of the system active for shorter amounts of time, it will still be a net loss in power efficiency.

    Put it another way. A9 may be a general power gain over A8, but don't expect A15 to be so compared to A9, no matter how fast it finishes a task :)
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    You are both correct, and you are also both wrong.

    Metafor is correct because any chip, given a set number of tasks to do over a fixed number of seconds, regardless of how much faster it can perform, will consume more energy than an equally power efficient but slower chip. In other words, being able to go to sleep quicker never means a chip becomes more power efficient than it was before. It actually becomes less.

    This is easily logically provable by splitting the energy into two sections. If 2 chips are both equally power efficient (as in they can both perform the same number of 'tasks' per W), if one is twice as fast, it will consume twice the energy during that time, but complete in half the time, so that element will ALWAYS be equal in both chips. However, the chip which finished sooner will then have to be idle for LONGER because it finished quicker, so the idle expense of energy will always be higher for the faster chip. This assumes, as I said, that the idle power draw of both chips being equal.

    Anand is correct, because if you DO have a more power efficient chip with a higher maximum wattage consumption, race to sleep is the OFTEN (assuming reasonable idle times) the reason it can actually use less power. Consider 2 chips, one which consumes 1.3 W per second (max) and can carry out '2' tasks per second. A second chip consumes 1 W per second (max), and can carry out '1' task per second (so is less power efficient). Now consider a world without race-to-sleep. To carry out '10' tasks over a 10 second period, Chip one would take 5 seconds, but would remain on full power for the full 10 seconds, thereby using 13W. Chip two would take 10 seconds, and would use a total of 10W over that period. Thus, the more power efficient chip actually proved less power efficient.

    Now if we factor in race-to-sleep, the first chip can use 1.3 for the first 5 seconds, then go down to 0.05 for the last 5. Consuming 6.75W. The second chip would still consume the same 10W.

    Conclusion:

    If the chip is not more power effficient, it can never consume less energy, with or without race-to-sleep. If the chip IS more power efficient, but doesn't have the sleep facility, it may not use less energy in all scenarios.

    In other words, for a higher powered chip to reduce energy in ALL situations, it needs to a) be more power efficient fundamentally, and b) it needs to be able to sleep (race-to-sleep).
    Reply
  • djboxbaba - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Well done on the review Brian and Anand, excellent job as always. I was resisting the urge to tweet you about the eta of the review, and of course I end up doing it the same day as your release the review :). Reply
  • Mitch89 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "This same confidence continues with the 4S, which is in practice completely usable without a case, unlike the GSM/UMTS iPhone 4. "

    Everytime I read something like this, I can't help but compare it to my experience with iPhone 4 reception, which was never a problem. I'm on a very good network here in Australia (Telstra), and never did I have any issues with reception when using the phone naked. Calls in lifts? No problem. Way outside the suburbs and cities? Signal all the way.

    I never found the iPhone 4 to be any worse than other phones when I used it on a crappy network either.

    Worth noting, battery life is noticeably better on a strong network too...
    Reply
  • wonderfield - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Same here. It's certainly possible to "death grip" the GSM iPhone 4 to the point where it's rendered unusable, but this certainly isn't the typical use case. For Brian to make the (sideways) claim that the 4 is unusable without a case is fairly disingenuous. Certainly handedness has an impact here, but considering 70-90% of the world is right-handed, it's safe to assume that 70-90% of the world's population will have few to no issues with the iPhone 4, given it's being used in an area with ample wireless coverage. Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I agree with both of these. I am in a major capital city which may make a difference, but no amount or technique of gripping my iPhone 4 ever caused dropped calls or stopped it working.

    Very much an over-stated issue in the press, I think
    Reply
  • ados_cz - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    It was not over-stated at all and the argument that most people are right handed does not hold a ground. I live in a small town in Scotland and my usual signal strength is like 2-3 bars. If browsing on net on 3G without case and holding the iPhone 4 naturaly with left hand (using the right hand for touch commands ) I loose signal completely. Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Well the majority of people don't lose signal.

    I have hundreds of friends who have iPhone 4's who've never had any issue with signal loss at all.

    The point is you DON'T have to be 'right handed' for them to work, I have left handed friends who also have no issues.

    You're the exception, rather than the rule - which is why the issue was overstated.

    For what it's worth, I don't believe you anyway.
    Reply
  • ados_cz - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I have the 4S now and the problem is gone but once my girlfriend comes with her 4, I will make a video and post it to prove you wrong. People have no problems only in areas where signal is really strong. Why would I possibly want to lie? Reply
  • wonderfield - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    What's of concern here is not whether the issue (signal loss) can be demonstrated but whether the phone is, in Brian's/Anand's words, "usable" with the defect or not. It's certainly possible for the GSM iPhone 4 to be rendered unusable in a low signal strength area with a natural, right-handed grip just as it can be rendered unusable with a death grip. That's not to say the phone will be unusable in most scenarios, however, because in most scenarios the phone should function properly. There are certainly edge cases, and the issue is more significant for those who're left-handed and for those who live/work in very poor coverage areas (where it can become an issue), but, again, that's not the typical use case. It's why I categorize Brian's claim that the GSM 4 is not usable without a case as being disingenuous.

    Realistically, you don't need a "really strong" signal to have not have any problems with the phone, you only need a signal great enough to overcome any attenuation introduced by making contact with the antenna. The extent of the attenuation, as demonstrated in another Anandtech article to which you might refer, is not as significant as portrayed by some media outlets.
    Reply
  • ados_cz - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    As far as the need for good signal went I needed to use the case all the time otherwise I would always have to hold the phone in unnatural way. iPhone 4/S is a really beautiful piece of hardware and It was really upseting that I had to use the case and spoil the desing. My close friend living just 15 miles next to me in Perth does not use the case and when he does not care to not to hold the phone in sensitive area, the call drops. It happend to me with him on the phone on few occasions. Few of my friends at uni need to use the case for iPhone 4 as well. The problem was not overstated. Either learn to hold the phone unnaturaly avoiding joining those two critical antenna strips or use a case. I opted for a case. My friend in the London got on well without case, but he learned to hold it by the to when calling. Anyway, I am glad that I have the 4S now and I think my girlfriend does not mind the case on her (former mine) iPhone 4. It so well made piece of hardware and so affordable here in Britain. You are being ripped off in US. Check the deals for iPhones on www.three.co.uk I got mine iPhone 4 for 69 pounds 5 months ago with two years contract for 35 pounds a month (2000 mins any network, 5000 mins mine network, unlimited 3G data with no fairu user policy). I paid 189 pounds for girlfriends (now mine) 4S for 32GB white version just few days ago and she got the same 35 pounds contract. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    "I have hundreds of friends who have iPhone 4's who've never had any issue with signal loss at all."

    Really? Name them. Numbered from one to at least two hundred if you please.

    Overstating the strength of your anecdotal evidence doesn't make you look right it makes you look biased.

    For what it's worth, I think you're a huge tool for, well, being such a huge tool.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Don't be ridiculous.

    To label someone a 'tool' for stating that their friends don't have issues with signal loss on a phone, is quite frankly ironic.

    To suggest I would list my friends names in a bid to convince such a low level individual is even more ridiculous than the rest of your comment (which is a lot).

    If you really need hard evidence, I'd point you in the direction of the millions of iPhone customers who gave the iPhone 4 the highest satisfaction ratings of any phone, full stop. Bit hard to imagine that happening if they cant make calls on it, don't you think?

    To claim I'm overstating my quite logical claim doesn't make you look right, it makes you look biased.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    I labeled you a tool because your response to another commenter saying they experienced an issue you and 'your friends' never saw was 'your a liar' or more literally "For what it's worth, I don't believe you anyway." That's where you were a tool, that part right there.

    Your 'hundreds' comment was absurd and you know it. To obtusely pretend I'm actually asking you for a list of names and act like that's absurd (it was obviously rhetorical) is to miss the point which was: you do not actually have 200+ individual examples from 'friends' to draw from. That's absurd.

    Your claim was hardly 'logical' it was an absurdly overblown statistic that, even if it was accurate, would still be anecdotal. As are you're 'millions of iPhone customers' by the way. The phone looses signal if held incorrectly. That is the objective reality, full stop.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    How ironic that your justification for calling me a tool, is that I essentially disbelieved someone else, after that's all your comments to me are based on.

    Not only that, but how ridiculous and illogical to say someone is a tool for not believing something. Grow up?

    'Hundreds' is not absurd at all, perhaps it sounds absurd to a social recluse? But I can actually name at least 200 friends of mine who use iPhones. Sorry if having friends is a strange concept to you. How dare you claim that you 'do not believe' my 200+ friends claim - that makes you a tool (it's a definition handed down to me by someone special).

    Even if my claim was anecdotal, so what? Your criticism of my claim wasn't that it was anecdotal, and I never masqueraded it as anything other than what it was?

    The 'MILLIONS' of iPhone customers is not anecdotal at all, by the way - they HAVE factually given the iPhone 4 the best user ratings of any phone of all time. That's reality, fact, pure and simple. They wouldn't do this, if they couldn't make phone calls, don't you agree?

    I own an iPhone 4, and it doesn't LOSE (wtf is 'looses') signal in any meaningful way (as in, it never affects call quality or causes calls to be dropped) if held in any way I want. Unbelievable that you make such claims then try to define them as 'objective' - exactly the criticism you levy at me.
    Reply
  • gcor - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Reading the specs on a lead acid 12v battery I have, I discovered that the higher the load in amps, the lower the total amp hours the battery will output. For example, the spec's say that a particular model can deliver a max of 1 amp hour over 20 hours, but only .5 amp hour over 12 hours.

    I'm guessing this is also true for the batteries in smartphones and laptops. This assumption seems to be supported when looking at the 3D gaming battery life results in the review, where a 10% increase in power consumption on the 4S, resulted in a 25% drop in battery life.

    I assume this has implications for the "race to sleep" concept, as an increase in amp draw by the device may reduce the battery efficiency enormously, as well as actually using more power.

    Anyway, just a thought to add into the mix when estimating a % speed increase required for a pay off in additional sleep.
    Reply
  • kylewat - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    My biggest problem with the 4S is its standby battery life. I will try the recommended fix, but subjectively the race to idle makes sense. The biggest difference is that the 4 had a tremendous idle battery life, practically imperceptible to the end user regardless of settings while the 4S seems to have simply awful standby power usage. It is probably harder to test than active use, and I hope Apple comes up with a software fix as rumored in the news today. Reply
  • Pliablemoose - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Your recommendations mirror my own thoughts, picked up 3 iP4's in the last month, 2 ATT models to put on Straight Talk for $499/year each with unlimited talk text and data (yes, I know it's not really unlimited data) for my kids, and a Verizon iP4 for me. I actually replaced a ThunderBolt with an iP4, got tired of the poorly executed radio software and the constant reboots to keep it connected. The ThunderBolt is a heck of a 4G LTE modem, sort of a poor phone, and definitely a brick with the extended battery it needs get me through a day of web surfing and stock trading.

    Saving my upgrade next year for an iP5, and keeping my fingers crossed for at least a 4" screen.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "Furthermore Apple even seems to be ok with combining a process shrink with a new architecture as we saw with the iPhone 3GS. It's generally thought of as a risky practice to migrate to both a new process technology and a new architecture in the same generation, although if you can pull it off the benefits are wonderful."

    I don't believe Apple has actually pushed a new process and architecture simultaneously. Up to now, the iPod Touch was generally the test platform for new processes as a shrink on an existing architecture.

    The full evolution is:

    iPhone 2G/1st gen iPod Touch/iPhone 3G 412MHz ARM11 90nm
    2nd gen iPod Touch 533MHz ARM 11 65nm
    iPhone 3GS 600MHz Cortex A8 65nm
    3rd gen iPod Touch 600MHz Cortex A8 45nm
    iPad 1/iPhone 4/4th gen Touch 1GHz/800MHz Cortex A8 45nm
    iPad 2/iPhone 4S 1Ghz/800MHz Cortex A9 45nm

    It is curious that we haven't seen a shrink of an existing chip as a pilot for a next gen process, either Samsung 32nm or TSMC 28nm, although the iPod Touch not being updated this year didn't leave many options. It would no doubt be too risky to put a new process pilot chip on the iPhone 4S. I believe iFixit did find some different markings on the 2011 iPod Touch, but I haven't heard about any size difference so that makes a large shrink unlikely. Is there any chance the 2011 iPod Touch could be piloting the A4 on a TSMC 40nm process as a means of getting that relationship off the ground? Is there enough commonality in the tools for the 40nm and 28nm processes to make piloting on 40nm a worthwhile interim step?
    Reply
  • bak0n - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    It gives my Android something to look up with the Iphone locks up for no apparent reason. Reply
  • cokain - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    ...can you find objective reviews. Quality > quantity. Reply
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I've actually found Siri to be a time saver for sending text messages too. I've not used it much in crowded environments, but when I'm alone or in a car, it's must faster to say "Tell Andrew I've just left and should be there in about half an hour" than it is to unlock the phone, scroll to the messages app, launch the app, find the right contact, and then type the message. Siri lets me skip a lot of the setup there, activating while locked and using "Tell Andrew" to skip a bunch of the steps. Reply
  • deeselcyde - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Our company just upgraded our 3gs' to the 4s this past week and my phone (through Verizon) rarely gets a 3g signal while everyone else does, heats up to an ungodly temperature, and the battery lasts about 4 hours. Took it in to a "genius" and they said the antenna was screwed up. My replacement should be here tomorrow. I'm hoping it's all good. I'm sure it will be. Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Any local voice control or all sent server-side for processing?

    In other words, when wanted to call a contact or play an artists on the iPhone 4 Voice Control figured it out on the device. Does Siri determine what needs to be to sent to Apple?
    Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    ArsTechnica analyses the data sizes used for Siri. Bottom line: It shouldn't affect most users limited data plans.

    » http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/11/how-data...
    Reply
  • indianidle - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    As a Computer Science grad student, I love the way you guys methodically analyze all the tiny bits that make up a smartphone. As a new iPhone 4S user (just got it last week), I can see why it's so great! Thanks for the review again!

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • shashank7040 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    and very nice info. Reply
  • shashank7040 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Nokia Bendable Phones...........http://goo.gl/NhHKX Reply
  • SunLord - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know if the 4s supports EVDO rev b? Since sprint will be rolling it out next year as part of it's network upgrade? Reply
  • SunLord - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Ignore that totally missed it on the first page :P Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Siri Successfully Ported to iPhone 4, iPod touch
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/iphone-4s-siri-phone-4...

    Remember that it is a former app, developed by a third party, now withdrawn from app store.
    Reply
  • mymomentummedia - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Bikini swimsuit iphone 4s review.... you will like this lol
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eNxXBIV9_s
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Excellent review. Siri clearly has a lot of potential as well. Not convinved by Apple's screen size though - as the missus says, bigger is better!

    We have a lot of Iphone's being used in our business, most of the users swear at them rather than by them for the simple reason that the way the iphone handles email (we are of course on a MS Exchange server) is... lets just say the only repeatable comments are along the lines of clunky, useless, frustrating, it then goes downhill.

    Is the combination of iPhone 4s and IoS5 anybetter?
    Reply
  • peroni - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    What can I say, fantastic job with this review once again.

    The missing switch to disable 3g could be problematic in the area where I live.

    When 3G is on and I enter an area with no 3G coverage my iphone 3GS takes ages to switch. I settled with leaving 3G off permanently.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I was looking forward to it. :-( Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Looking at those table we are very likely to get a new Design with next version.

    And a New CPU architecture A15,
    As well as new Node Shrink
    And i am guessing LTE as well...

    That is lots of new things going into a new product.
    Reply
  • chrisk1250 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    How do you show the WiFi signal strength as a numeric value on iOS? Reply
  • anandtech pirate - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    nice review,

    now lets see a review comparison of all the US variants of the SGS2 phones.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    That's next on Brian's list :) I'm back off to storage and CPU land for now :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Pata - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Will these factors (bluetooth and gps) be incorporated in future tests? I now keep bluetooth and the gps on for Siri and geofenced reminders. I'm guessing that Android phone users might be soon be using bluetooth more often as well, given all the bluetooth watch accessories that will soon be available for their platform. With bluetooth and gps left on, with find my friends, reminders all running in the background, my iPhone usually doesn't last anywhere up to 9 hrs of usage. Reply
  • DukeN - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Thanks Anand for reviewing every single Apple, iOS, Android/Droid major and minor update since the summer. How about we perhaps devote 2 frickin pages to cover/preview/benchmark some of the newest Blackberry devices?

    Heck you even covered turds like the HP Veer, and Windows Phone devices.

    Perhaps we can devote a couple of pages to the smartphones that have a quarter of the market?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • jamyryals - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Even as a [forced] Blackberry user, I'd rather they didn't spend their time reviewing Blackberry devices.

    Also, it is "biased" in that case.
    Reply
  • SicMX - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Fantastic review, keep up the good work!

    PS. Especially appreciated the in-depth review regarding the camera + image quality.
    Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Nice article Brian, Anand. One clarification for Page 8, Siri can't read emails - only incoming (new) text messages. She'll tell you this herself if you ask her to read your emails :)

    And one comment, the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 is a big leap forward in my opinion. The Bluetooth stack in every other iPhone revision was missing the Serial Port Profile stack, which severely limited hardware developers. Since the 4S is "Bluetooth Smart Ready", it should support all kinds of fun new sensors and gadgets without the need for additional hardware.
    Reply
  • _tangent - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Great in depth review! Anandtech is one of the only places you can find this sort of analysis, and for the technically minded consumer, it's an invaluable resource. Kudos!

    I'm a bit confused by the GPU arms race in the mobile space. Aren't we reaching a point where the screen is small enough and far enough away from your face that the law of diminishing returns applies? Unless the ultimate objective is to have us all connect our phones to tvs or other displays for gaming on a larger scale.

    I'm not sure where i stand on mobile gaming these days. I have a relatively capable android handset, but find myself not even playing the 3D games already available. Not because they aren't good or pretty enough, just because intensive 3d gaming slams my battery, is less well suited to the odd 5 minute opportunity i get to game on the go, and the lack of physical controls for more "conventional" games is often frustrating. In any case, having lived with the handset for 6 months or so, i'm not clamoring for better 3D performance. Maybe plenty of people are though.

    I'm not personally a fan of Apple products. Not because they don't offer a great UX and aren't well polished in their own right, but because the cost apparently associated with that is too high. As a software developer by trade I find their draconian, fascist approach to the appstore and development in general somewhat distasteful. I don't equate choice and flexibility with complexity. That said, i don't mind Apple in a world where they have competitors offering an alternative philosophy This drives everyone to innovate which is great for us as consumers.

    Hopefully ICS will bring Android up to par with iOS from a UX point of view, whilst retaining the flexibility and customization that much of it's user base has come to appreciate. I look forward to a similarly comprehensive look at the Galaxy Nexus and other ICS phones as they're released!
    Reply
  • Shinobi123 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Why is the New Razr missing from most of the graphs? It was in the first few, basically the only reason I kept reading this article.. But it wasn't included in any. :( Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    They probably aren't done testing it. Reply
  • rimshaker - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    As usual, the very best in depth product review available. As a EE, no review is ever thoroughly complete until I read it here on Anandtech. Wonderful!

    My only question is how to display the numerical wifi RSSI without using 3rd party apps? I tried it in field test mode but the wifi icon never changes like the cell signal does.
    Reply
  • dubthedankest - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I second this question as well as the one prior on how to enable the numerical RSSI for WiFi - that would be very helpful.

    Great review!
    Reply
  • crankerchick - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Nice in depth review. AnandTech is the best place to get quality reviews. Thanks! Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I don't really see how a doubling of bandwidth (3GS->4->4s) is "more dramatic" than a tripling (3G->3GS). I am also not really impressed that smartphones now have the bandwidth of PCs from 7 years ago. After all, they have a great copy sheet. Reply
  • Soldier1969 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    If you already have a I4 this is NOT worth the upgrade! Waste of money. Much better options out there for a upgrade path the 4S isnt it...and Ive had the Iphone since release. This was a huge disappontment and failure for Apple. The only reason it sold as much as it did was all those people that still had the 3GS from 2 or 3 years ago or new customers. If you had a 4 already your just a "moop" if you upgraded to one of these! Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Depends what you are looking for in an upgrade. That graphics performance is pretty incredible. If you want to develop games pushing the boundaries of what is possible graphically on a mobile device the 4S makes a lot of sense. Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    The graphics performance "in a benchmark". As you could see in the review, it only gets about double the FPS in real games, because it's bound by memory bandwidth.

    I doubt the games can run any faster or look any better than other current GPU's in mobiles.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    wow, what an absurd statement. Several games that were optimised for the new graphics increased their details level greatly and also added FSAA. You should have a look before passing judgement. Reply
  • *kjm - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Unless your like me and on Sprint comming from a Samsung M800 that is going on 4yrs old. I would think "most" people that can upgrade don't to stay off contract as long as the phone is working for them. Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    What would be a 'better option' right now, to upgrade an iPhone 4 to? Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    The differences are not that big hardware wise at this point, so it will be more of a decision based on software. If you like iOS 5 you get an iPhone 4S, if you like Android 4.0, you get a Galaxy Nexus. If you like a different phone design, you get a Droid RAZR.

    I don't think the upgrade from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S would be worth it anyway. Maybe from iPhone 3GS, for those who want to stay in the Apple ecosystem.
    Reply
  • weiran - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    > If you like a different phone design, you get a Droid RAZR.

    Which is ugly as sin, and isn't really an "upgrade" from an iPhone 4.

    IMO from a design POV the most interesting iPhone competitor right now is the unreleased Nokia Lumia 800, for hardware and software.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Hardware wise, the difference between the iPhone 4S CPU/GPU combination and Android competitors, is huge.

    If you want the best performance, I don't see any other way to turn.

    As for the software, I like most users would happily use Android or iOS - they've largely converged anyway.
    Reply
  • name99 - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    "If you had a 4 already your just a "moop" if you upgraded to one of these!"

    OK, so most US customers on on a 2yr plan. Upgrading for them is impractical, if for no other reason then for carrier reasons. And then you are COMPLAINING that Apple produced an upgrade that (in your eyes) gives them no reason to upgrade???

    What exactly is your problem? You're like someone who goes to a restaurant and complains "the food sucks --- and the portions are too small".
    Reply
  • dennykins - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Hey! I have that "Introduction to Modern Optics" book too! Pretty old, but still relevant Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    "It is admittedly curious that Apple hasn’t decided to make some other larger change to distinguish the 4S from the other two"

    There was, of course, also precious little visual change between iPhone, iPhone3G and iPhone 3GS. Likewise for plenty of other upgrades across the Apple line in the last ten years. I don't know why Anand thinks it's strange. For YEARS Apple has made the point that you buy an iMac --- and you get the what Apple thinks an iMac should be today. You don't buy an iMac XV371. You don't buy an iMac 7. You don't buy an iMac 20011. You buy an iMac --- which may or may not look like its predecessor, which may or may not have last been updated three, six or
    nine months ago.

    It's obvious that Apple wants to bring that same mindset to phones (and iPads). Screwing with people's expectations of an update in July was simply the first step in breaking the mindset of a particular schedule for upgrades. Of course there are issues that make it more difficult to do this cleanly, for example carrier involvement and the ridiculous subsidized pricing model --- which means that Apple has reason, at least for now, to keep older models around. But there are obvious advantages to Apple in switching to this model, including
    - not being forced to release SW too soon. I think we'd all agree iOS5 was released under pressure, and that iOS 5.1 will be the release 5.0 should have been.
    - Apple's been able to ignore pressure from a stream of constant Android updates for the past two years, but at some point annual upgrades may just be too slow. At that point it would be nice to have the option of minor upgrades (cf the recent PowerBook Pro upgrades), say boosting the CPU from 800 MHz to 1GHz, without it being a big deal --- something to shut up the crowd that looks at specs, while being ignored by the mass audience that does not care about specs and doesn't want Apple talking about them.

    Not that this will stop haters from claiming that "people buy iPhones for fashion"....
    Reply
  • KPOM - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Good observation about the upgrades. Yes, it's entirely possible we'll see minor spec bumps as the iPhone has become a staple of Apple's product line. We don't notice all the the upgrades in the Android world (how many people know or even care about the differences between the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy S II Skyrocket ?), partly because they happen all the time.

    Also, Apple has never been a company to change the design simply for the sake of change. They tweak a design until they "get it right," but then stick with it a while. This year's MacBook Air, for instance, is a big update from last year's (Core i5/i7, backlit keyboard, 4GB RAM standard on most models), but they didn't change the external design. It's still selling extremely well and received good reviews. I think it's the same with the iPhone. The 4S has some significant improvements, from the faster processor, better camera, and better antenna.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I'm glad you guys adopted my suggestion to report how snappy a phone feels, based not only on CPU benchmarks but also on the speed of flash, and things like the launch time of apps.

    In the spirit of constant complaint that is the web, can I now ask that you continue to do this for all future phones, not just iOS devices.
    Yes, you have fanboi readers who care only about how wonderful their platform is; but you do also have a number of honest readers who are genuinely interested in things like how the speed of flash (including the speed of SD flash) varies across devices, and how launch times (for comparable apps) vary --- which, of course, depends on both HW and also SW/OS decisions.
    Reply
  • Drasca - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    There's a small typo that I'm surprised no one else has caught. Perhaps I am the only one that cares enough about this particular subject enough to. On the last page, 4th to last paragraph, we see:

    "we’ll hopefully see the technology mature into something more like what years of science fiction moves have promised us."

    I believe you mean movies here.

    I caught it in particular because I've been discussing amongst my friends how modern technology is the future promise of older science fiction. Oh gosh gee wiz, we have instant mobile communication across the globe, including video! We talk into our portable devices and they think for us. These devices are an extension of ourselves. In a way, we've become like the borg in that we're connected to community at large. Facebook is a form of hive mind group consciousness. Heck, we can track each other near-instantaneously and some folk are vividly aware of each other's locations.

    These are interesting times, and what has only previously been explored as supposition has become reality.

    I still want my flying cars and teleporters. Also, Holodecks and the AI behind it. Plus, the bridge of the starship enterprise D with its big comfy captain's chair and massive screen.
    Reply
  • anishannayya - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    If you want an iPhone, you really don't have a choice. Either you get the 4S or go find an Android phone. Reply
  • shashank7040 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Asus Eee Pad being the first tablet With Slide out QWERTY........http://goo.gl/B4rJU Reply
  • thevibenow - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Check out our review of the Iphone 4s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35v1kkaPM9s
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Anand, you said the GLbenchmark is the only good cross-platform graphics benchmark. Was GLBenchmark made originally for iOS? Don't you think that it could be biased (possibly unintentionally) towards shader performance in its scores, which would make it favor the PowerVR GPU's more?

    At the end of the day, these are all just syntethic benchmarks, and sometimes they could be way off from real world performance tests. So what if GLBenchmark doesn't give a too big score for stuff that the other chips are good at, like physics, geometry, whatever, and it gives higher score for shader stuff?

    Another question, don't you think shader performance is starting to limit what the games can show about now? Will it really help games that much if they received 20x shader performance in the next 2 years?
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Glbenchmark was originally release for Linux, Symbian and Windows Mobile. Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Also you do realize that Glbenchmark consists of many tests including some primitive tests like fill rate and Geometry?

    By other Gpu, do you mean the Mali-400 or GeForce ulp? The standout result I saw was how weak the Mali was at geometry being 4x slower while fill rate was less than 2x slower than the 543mp2
    Reply
  • lemmo - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review, but did I miss analysis on audio quality... for music, not voice quality?

    You've started this with the Galaxy S2, really useful, and I believe you're developing your testing methodology. But any indication how the iPhone audio quality compares to S2, Prime and others?
    Reply
  • cacca - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    if nobody has photo-shopped the images at page 3 i not quite strenge that you have a better throughput.

    iPhone 4 test done at PM 4.24, a normal afternoon, with quite a lot of traffic

    iPhone 4s test done at AM 3.34, a quite early bird, no problems or fight for resources with other phones

    To you is normal to test at so different times? An for you there is no difference between a late afternoon and 3.34 in the morning?

    bah
    Reply
  • koinkoin - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    I was wondering what the battery time is when you call with a headset. I do almost all my call with a headset to keep my hand free (on the wheel or keyboard). How much does this affect the battery time.
    Also I use a Blackberry and it always check for new email, I sometime read the mail while on the phone, when you do the talk time test is there a connection for email open?
    Reply
  • koinkoin - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    I was wondering what the battery time is when you call with a headset. I do almost all my call with a headset to keep my hand free (on the wheel or keyboard). How much does this affect the battery time.
    Also I use a Blackberry and it always check for new email, I sometime read the mail while on the phone, when you do the talk time test is there a connection for email open?
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    I dont think the results the new camera deliver are superior to the one in the iphone4. Judging by the vast number of shots Engadget compared between these two phones and a couple other premium phones, the iphone4s shows alot more noise than the older model, even in broad daylight. Its probably the increased pixel count, which cant be countered by the other improvements.

    Its not bad, but its also not better than the old camera. The old saying remains true: more pixels doesnt equal better pictures.
    Reply
  • jwwpua - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    In the section WIFI, GPS, AUDIO, SPEAKERPHONE, I don't see anything about the speakerphone. Is it louder? Any tests done? Clarity?

    Thanks, great review!
    Reply
  • freezer - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    I think you should have the GPU benchmark using phone's native resolution. That would give more accurate results in real world gaming situation than running all phones using same resolution.

    The iPhone 4S 3.5" screen has much more pixels than Galaxy S2 4.3" screen which gives latter advantage in 3D speed. That is because the GPU has to draw every pixel in every frame. There's no way around it.

    In fact running GL Benchmark 2.1 Pro High in native resolution gives very different results as Galaxy S2 comes at top:

    http://glbenchmark.com/result.jsp?benchmark=glpro2...
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    You do realize that the top 3 results are all vsync limited? They are all close to 60fps. That makes it not a great test to show the full potential of the gpu. Reply
  • ReverendDC - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    I was wondering why there were no WPs in your comparison. They have comparable screens, functionality, and features.

    This is NOT to start a flame war. I am curious about how some of the newer WPs especially line up (Titan, Lumina 800, Focus S, etc).

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • mymomentummedia - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    Here is a 360 degreee review of the iPhone 4s with a beautiful girl in a swimsuit... no complaints here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eNxXBIV9_s
    Reply
  • yeatzeck - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    According to the Chipworks (http://www.chipworks.com/en/technical-competitive-... in iPhone 4S is Sony's camera (they even X-ray it).
    You probably have to update the review.
    Reply
  • mosmov - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    You've run the Taiji for many devices so far.
    I'd like to see the number also for 4S to align the result with other devices in my memory.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, January 02, 2012 - link

    Taiji is for Android... Reply
  • Conficio - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Text dictation is a neat feature for sure, but to be honest I’m still not likely to rely on it for sending or replying to messages. It’s convenient while driving but the accuracy isn’t high enough to trust it with sending messages to important contacts.


    Here is the viral tip for Apple (or its competitors). Make it an option to deliver the text as well as the ability for the recipient to actually listen to the voice command recorded (sans the edit commands, etc.) That will become fast the fastest way to leave voice messages, because you don't have to wait for the phone to dial, time out and get through the voice mail instructions.
    Reply
  • HelloChris - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Long time reader, but something in this review made me register a username so I could add to the comments...

    Anand's webpage-refreshing battery life test saw the iPhone 4S achieve around 10 and 11 hours, for 3G and WiFi, respectively. However, MANY new 4S owners (including myself) have been getting battery life which is roughly half of that. I just finished reading this whole review, and I have to wonder if the test unit sent to Anandtech might have been hand-picked by Apple? 10/11 hours is just so much more than everyone else seems to be getting. I've averaged 6.5 hours of total usage, and this includes several hours of use where I'm using absolutely no 3G/WiFi data, and minimal processing power (example: viewing a PDF, viewing pictures, reading items on my Google Reader feed)...

    If you look on the major apple forums there are multiple threads where there are many users experiencing the same conditions.

    Also, I'm aware of the battery issue with iOS 5 (which Apple acknowledged last week and has a beta update out already for) which implies that this is indeed a software, not a hardware issue.

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but if it's the case that AnandTech received a well-performing test unit, that would explain their extraordinary battery life.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    I think you answer your own question.

    It sounds like your phone is affected by the battery life issue for which a software patch has been released, wheras Anand's probably wasn't.

    The vast majority of iPhone 4S owners didn't experience any issues with battery life.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    To care about "improved vibration" I have first to be somehow concerned with current "unimproved" vibration. Which I don't. And I don't know any person that is. Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    You don't have to be concerned with something to care about getting an improved version.

    For example, I may be quite happy to work for a salary of £1,000,000 a year, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't care if my salary was doubled.
    Reply
  • Grandpa - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Anyone heard of staticgate yet? How come nobody gives a review about the static issue on the iphone? Reply
  • mymomentummedia - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Here is a funny iphone 4s review... iphone 4s plus a 50.cal Barret sniper rifle. what do you get?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsVEbRt6g94
    Reply
  • chillstatus - Monday, November 14, 2011 - link

    I made sure to switch my dataplan over to the "Unlimited Data Plan for iPhone 4S" and when I run the field test, it still says it's using wap.cingular. I live in Los Angeles, and am wondering how I can get it to use the faster network. Anyone else have this issue? Reply
  • rhch - Sunday, February 05, 2012 - link

    I just found out that my 4S wifi range is not as good as my old iPhone 4 or iPad 2.
    4S gets much earlier "no connection" with Safari, Appstore etc when i take distance to my hotspot.
    Can someone confirm this?
    Reply
  • AlexD - Monday, February 06, 2012 - link

    With this commend I ask for help to find a developer for an iPhone-App that enables to use the 4S for the catching of light below 380nm (UV) and above 780 nm (NIR). The purpose is to identify light emission of materials (inks, plastics) outside the visible range and to visualize it with the smartphone. Even a slight range (e.g. >320nm or <850nm would help me.
    I would also be very greatful if somebody could explain what range of wavelength the 4S camera sensor is catching, if there are filters which can be removed or exchanged or the like to enable the above function. Thanks in advance for your support.
    Reply
  • meace - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Is the POP memory attachment to the A4 permanent?
    As in... could that pop ddr sdram of 128 *2 be replaced with 256 *2 ?
    I'm guessing there's no way that it's coming apart without damage
    (maybe even in a clean room) but I'll ask.
    Reply
  • Rizi - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    At first glance <a href="http://cellocean.com/iphone-4s-specifications-2210... phone</a> seems identical to its predecessor, except for the distinctive top-mounted incisions which signifies that a new design of the antenna is lying in wait inside. However, when you switch on the phone you will find that things are different. The 4S does not require activation via the computer except that you are restoring the data from a pre-existing iTunes backup. The phone can be set up as a new phone or restored from an iCloud account. In the event that you do not currently have an Apple ID, there is the option of creating one. A number of iPhone 4 users will ask themselves why they would need the iPhone 4S when the iOS 5 upgrade, which is free of charge, will equip their existing phone with the majority of the new features that are in excess of 200. However, it is important to note that the iPhone 4S is the best phone that Apple has built to date. The A5 dual-core processor, which makes things obviously nippier, is new and it is a feature that is also incorporated in the iPad 2. Web pages load quicker, apps launch faster, multi-tasking is a great deal more fluid and Pages and other resource-hungry apps now permit you to edit documents with no lag. Another great feature of the A5 processor is that it allows you to mirror the content of the iPhone 4S over AirPlay. When operated wirelessly, the iPhone 4S can push out up to 720p to the Apple TV. When connected to HDMI, the number will increase to 1080p. The ease of pushing content of the small screen to the big screen of the fly is an unexpected delight, particularly when you begin to rotate and zoom. In addition, it is something to brag about to owners of iPhone 4; the earlier model just cannot handle with the demands of this technological wizardry. The two antennas that run across the top of the iPhone 4S can both receive and transmit data, enabling quicker 3G connections. Apple has asserted that highest speed of download by way of HSDPA is 14.4Mbps, which is two times as quick as the iPhone 4. A major overhaul has been done to the camera, it now has the capacity to record 1080p video and take eight-megapixel stills. In addition, face detection is an upgrade and it works really well. Reply
  • vitaprimo - Saturday, August 18, 2012 - link

    I don't think it's the phone's fault that much. I have two iPhone 4s (not 4Ss) on different carriers (Telcel and Iusacell) and the never lose signal, no matter how tightly I grip them and I don't use cases. Now, one of the carrier is relatively new in my state and out of the major cities I've had a few dropped calls but they always connect back. I use to have iPhone 4Ss and I noticed no difference; I lost a bag with the phones in it so I'm using my old 4s until the sixth comes out--hopefully in less than two months.

    This whole antenna issue seems to just be affecting carriers in the US--that being AT&T.
    Reply
  • phero - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    Thank you very much for this extensive review, especially the part about power consumption. It has given me all the information I needed for a well informed decision on which phone to buy. Reply

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