The iPhone 4S might look disappointingly like its predecessor, but Apple thinks beauty is only skin deep -- asking us to look beyond a familiar frame to the hollow of hopped-up hardware hiding inside its new smart phone.
One of those new components is the A5 chip, a powerful processor Apple reckons makes the 4S perfect for gaming and other processor-intensive activities. We've pitted the 4S against other devices in a few benchmark tests, so how does it fare?
As you can see in the graph above, the 4S beat its predecessor, along with Samsung's Galaxy S2 and the HTC Sensation. It didn't quite beat our iPad 2 running iOS 5, though. There's no shame in that -- Apple's second-generation tablet is frighteningly fast.
That's a good indicator of how speedy the 4S is in general. We also tested the 4S' gaming potential using an app called GLBenchmark 2.1, specifically its Egypt test, which runs a game-style 3D scenario and monitors how the phone performs when it comes to pulverising polygons.
The 4S scored 6,568 in the standard version of this test (higher is better this time), destroying our iPhone 4's score of 1,621. The evidence was plain to see on-screen -- while the iPhone 4 struggled and stuttered in places, the 4S sailed through the test, rendering each detail without breaking a sweat, or dropping the framerate.
We also ran this test on our Samsung Galaxy S2, and it scored 4,757. That's a good score, and the phone handled the 3D test with very little stuttering, though it doesn't quite match the result we squeezed from our 4S.
We've also been playing demanding games such as Infinity Blade and Real Racing 2 on the iPhone 4S, and it handles both with ease. We suspect it will be a while before developers release apps that push the processing power of the 4S to breaking point.
On a purely anecdotal level, the 4S feels very snappy indeed, with apps opening quickly, and no lag when you swoop through menus or type out messages.
Do you have an iPhone 4S? Do you think the bump in processing power makes it worth getting, or has Apple dropped the ball by not tinkering with the phone's design? Let us know down in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.