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Real-world use of the iPhone 4S produced mostly positives, but with a few warnings we’ll share here.
Battery life is advertised as great, but be careful. Even if you keep your settings exactly the same from a previous iPhone or if you switch from another platform, you’ll find the iPhone 4S is very sensitive and will definitely need tweaking and attention if you’re away from a charger for several hours. When we first took the iPhone 4S out of the box, the phone burned through about 20 percent of its battery life in about an hour. (In that hour we used Siri a few times, listened to music, checked e-mail, and sent several texts. Still, the battery drained far faster than what most people will be used to.)
We needed to go back into the settings and turn off the “Location” services for all apps, and then turn them back on one at a time -- measuring each one for how many hits it made to the CPU and antenna while draining battery life. This curtailed much of the battery life drainage, but we also turned the brightness down from 20 percent to 10 percent. While that made it a little more difficult to view, this action also spared a lot of battery life. Eventually we managed the settings so that, while idle, the iPhone 4S only lost about one percent of its battery life per hour -- which most can live with.
Using the on-board, 8 MP camera is a joy -- but it will eat through more of your on-board storage than earlier iPhones. This means that, in the past, if you took a photo with your iPhone that took 2 MB of storage, now it will take a little more than 4 MB. If you use the iCloud service and Photo Streaming, that will help -- but you’ll need to stay more on top of your available storage than previous iPhone models. (The same holds true for the 1080p HD video that iPhone 4S will let you shoot.)
With iPhone 4S’ dual-core processing, we also noticed that prolonged use of CPU-intensive functions like GPS or Siri tended to lead to the handset getting hot. Not warm, but hot. This is understandable, but it’s also a bit disconcerting. (As soon as we stopped using those apps, the phone immediately cooled down.)
Next: Getting To Know Siri