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Apple iPhone 4S Digital Camera Review

The iPhone 4S has the best camera we've ever tested on a smartphone.

$173.00 at Amazon


The refrain common refrain over the past decade—since cell phones started snapping pictures—has been that mobile phones will kill standalone cameras. Now it seems likes phones are helping cameras to thrive. Sales are up, even in a crummy economy. Everyone is a photographer now, even if they just post a few phone snapshots to Facebook. More would-be Ansel Adams loyalists are discovering that they actually like to take photos. They learn to recognize the advantages of a proper camera, whether it's a long-zoom compact or a full-fledged, interchangeable-lens DLSR, and upgrade from their humble camera phones when they can.

But that leaves us wondering about cheap point-and-shoots: They're meant to take good-enough photos for sharing online, just like the cameras built into phones like the Apple iPhone 4S, on review here. The best camera is the one you have, and when your iPhone is always in your pocket, it's hard to justify a pocket cam, even if it barely costs $100.

We're reviewing the 4S as a point-and-shoot, not because we expect fantastic performance, but because we want to see if its camera is good enough to replace a standalone pocket camera. (And just to be clear, we're testing the 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera, not the front-facing, VGA-quality camera.)

The Apple iPhone 4S is available in black and white shades in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations, starting at $199.99 on contract with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Apple iPhone 4S, take a look at these other point & shoot cameras.


  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Color
  4. Noise
  5. Resolution
  6. Video
  7. Playback
  8. Hardware
  9. Controls
  10. Design & Handling
  11. Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS Comparison
  12. Samsung MV800 Comparison
  13. Nikon Coolpix S4100 Comparison
  14. Conclusion
  15. Photo Gallery

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