Underneath the bonnet, the iPhone 4S sees Apple upgrade its showcase smartphone and bring it more into line with its competitors’ models in 2011. A dual core processor, the impressive A5 chip combined with no reduction in battery life means it more than stands up against the rest of the market.
The Samsung Galaxy SII has proved itself to be one of the most popular smartphones of the year, winning the gong at the T3 Gadget Award and selling over 10 million Galaxy S2s. Yet Apple made its name in the market on multitasking and headline features. How does the phone of the year compare with the new iPhone 4S on features like operating systems, cameras and apps, the things that made the smartphone so revolutionary in the first place?
First the operating system. Android made real ground in 2011, utilising updates to iron out issues (There have been two since the SII launched in February). The SII shipped with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread offering an updated interface design, a factor which undoubtedly made the SII the smartphone of choice for many while iPhone users were left with an earlier iOS4. Even though you can compare different iPhone contracts at best-mobile-contracts.co.uk it is still much cheaper to buy the Galaxy SII, something which is a big factor for many people.
However the iOS5 brings with it over 200 new features that makes the iPhone 4S a force to be reckoned with. The new notifications tool may seem Android inspired as does the removal of the auto-correct text but it is connectivity that makes it stand apart. Whereas Android does not yet have a uniform model across tablets and smartphones, iOS5 and the iCloud make the iPhone4S one device in a wider family, allowing the option of sharing material across a number of devices.
iMessage means users can send messages to other iOS users for free while improved reader lists in safari make it easier to share information via social networks and among devices. Android may tackle this with the ice Cream Sandwich but how this will work on individual devices is not yet known. With the SII being such a popular device it may fare better in terms of an Ice Cream Sandwich update compared to some other Androids. Galaxy owners can also make use of Samsung’s ChatOn app, similar to iMessage, but which can be used on any platform or smartphone (iMessage can only be used between iPhones).
Playback has been one of the most popular aspects of the Galaxy SII. Its larger screen combined with 1080p video playback, combined with a fast dual core processor has made watching films and videos fast and un-clunky. Compare this with the ability of the iPhone 4’s 720p videos and there is only one winner. The iPhone 4S increases the smartphones capacity but as Apple still places restrictions on codecs this means it is likely the Galaxy will remain the more popular on this judging matter.
Big headline news and a much lauded upgrade on the iPhone 4S is the new 8 megapixel camera which, teamed with a 1080p HD video makes many feel they can leave their compact at home. The 4S does include face recognition while both have an autofocus and LED Flash. The SII weighs in with exactly the same spec making them firmly balanced on the camera front.
The popularity of the Samsung Galaxy SII stemmed from its speed, sleek finish and ability to adapt and update its Android operating system. The iPhone4S offers very real competition. While still not possessing the same super large screen, its iOS5 brings Apple to a new level of multi-tasking. It comes down to personal preference. Apps are often better quality on the iPhone, but are more easily customised on Android. For the first time this year, both manufacturers are probably more evenly matched than they have been for some time.