iPhone 4S: Initial impressions and discoveries [Updated]

iLounge is continuing to test the iPhone 4S ahead of our comprehensive review, but we wanted to bring you some of our initial findings beforehand. We experienced some serious delays trying to activate one of our AT&T units; connecting it to a Mac and trying to activate through iTunes seemed to fix the issue. In testing done at our Buffalo, NY offices, the iPhone 4S shows no noticeable 3G speed difference from the iPhone 4, suggesting that improved download speeds will be very location-dependent, and will depend on the status of AT&T’s towers in a given area. The 64GB version of the iPhone 4S offers 57.24GB of usable capacity, compared to 58.04GB for the 64GB iPod touch 4G. Finally, in our initial camera testing, we’ve found the iPhone 4S to offer more detail and reduced noise, but surprisingly, early comparison shots give a slight edge in color rendition to the iPhone 4.

Updated: We’ve discovered some new details we wanted to share. Notably, for users restoring their new phones from a past Backup, they may find that Siri is turned off. Simply open the Settings app, tap on General, tap Siri, and turn it on. With Siri turned off, the iPhone 4S reverts to the far less powerful Voice Control, as seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 4S’ 1080p videos take up ~24Mbps, compared to ~11Mbps for the iPhone 4’s 720p captures.

Updated x2: We have since posted video comparisons showing off the differences in the iPhone 4’s and iPhone 4S’ cameras—especially notable is the latter’s built-in stabilization—as well as the results of our initial 3G speed tests, which show AT&T retaining its significant advantage over Verizon and newcomer Sprint.

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