iPhone 4S Is the Best Smartphone of 2011: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: Apple's iPhone 4S is widely celebrated as a worthwhile investment for consumers. But its success this year goes beyond simple market appeal.

Download the authoritative guide: Big Data: Mining Data for Revenue

Apple's iPhone 4S, which launched just a few months ago, was the best handset released this year. From its solid design to the quality of its software, Apple's handset went a long way in pushing the industry forward, and showing other handset makers how to build a device.

Of course, there might be many out there who disagree with that sentiment. They'll say the iPhone 4S' lack of a big, 4.3-inch display or 4G connectivity is enough to disqualify it. They might also point to Apple's odd decision to keep the device's design the same as its predecessor, iPhone 4, as a reason products that brought something new to the marketplace this year should top it on a "best of" list. Those critics might even say that by virtue of their operating system, Android-base handsets deserve to be placed above the iPhone.

But those critics are wrong. Apple's smartphone is still the top choice for consumers and enterprise users around the globe. And to say otherwise, given how many poorly conceived products hit store shelves this year, is ridiculous.

Read on to find out why the iPhone 4S was this year's best smartphone:

1. Best design on the market

Apple's iPhone 4S has the best design on the market. Its glass finish gives it a sleek look, and its prominent display and small physical home button leaves no question on how to use the device. It would have been nice if Apple had shown off a totally new iPhone design this year, but it didn't. Even so, the device is still better looking than competing products.

2. A new wireless system is a welcome addition

When the iPhone 4 launched, consumers found reception would cut out when the device was held in a "death grip." The iPhone 4S, however, comes with a new wireless system that addresses that issue and also allows for 4G-like data transmissions over AT&T's 3G network. The device might not be 4G, but it's close, and as Consumer Reports reported earlier this year, its signal quality is outstanding.

3. Siri, anyone?

Siri is one of the biggest advancements made this year in how users interact with devices. Now, iPhone 4S owners can talk to their smartphone to write SMS messages, check for appointments and more. Siri still has a long way to go, but it's the first step toward an entirely hands-free approach for using smartphones.

4. The apps are still tops

Google's Android Market made significant strides this year in delivering apps to customers. However, the marketplace is still far behind Apple's App Store in terms of high-quality programs that people want to use. Plus, the Android Market has many apps that have been found to include malware.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...