Which iPhone to buy: Compare iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4s Features
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Compare Apple iPhone Features
The iPhone 5 is longer and significantly thinner than its predecessor. This means that it’s more comfortable to hold, and it practically disappears in a pocket. This is only accentuated by its aluminum back: the backs of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are made of glass.
Some think the iPhone 5 could have easily been called the iPhone Air. By comparison, the older iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 feel like paperweights after using the incredibly light iPhone 5.
Though the pixels-per-inch (PPI) are identical, the iPhone 5 display gains an extra half-inch of real estate. This ups the resolution and shifts the aspect ratio to an oblong 16:9. Long time iPhone users may find it strange at first, but will soon appreciate the extra room for apps, photos, and web pages.
Apple also opted for a thinner display in the new model. Combining a layer of touch sensors also brings those pixels closer to the surface. The company also boasts of 40 percent greater color saturation in the iPhone 5.
There are noticeable boosts of speed in each successive model. The A6 chip in the iPhone 5 is a screamer, breaking smartphone benchmark records. Though the A6 was originally believed to run at 1GHz, 9to5Mac and others report that it dynamically clocks itself up to 1.3GHz (it may also underclock too, to save power).
The iPhone 4S still performs well for a representative of less modern smartphone technology. The two-year-old iPhone 4 is a bit sluggish for 2012 standards.
The iPhone doubles the RAM of its two predecessors. This is another factor in its blazing-fast performance.
Though the older iPhones originally shipped in different storage models, the cheaper models sold at present are more limited. The $100 iPhone 4S offers 16GB, while the free iPhone 4 gives you 8GB.
The iPhone 5 takes Apple’s handset into true 4G speeds, with LTE (where available). Actual LTE download speeds can range from 8Mbps to upwards of 40Mbps, with low latency to boot. It may be faster than your home broadband connection.
The older iPhones are confined to slower 3G speeds, though AT&T likes to label the HSPA+ 14.4 in the GSM iPhone 4S as “4G.” I prefer to call it “3G+”: faster than other 3G, but not in the same league as LTE.
In the US, Verizon can brag of the best coverage and widest LTE footprint, AT&T promotes its faster 3G speeds and growing LTE network, and Sprint – though its LTE is in infancy – is the only carrier to offer unlimited data.
Uptimes are similar across all three devices. That doesn’t, however, make this category a wash: maintaining battery life while improving performance and adding LTE is no small feat.
The camera in the iPhone 4S was a big leap ahead of that in the iPhone 4. The difference between the iPhone 5 and the 4S is relatively small. Apple did improve a key area in the iPhone 5: low-light shooting.
The front-facing (FaceTime) camera also got an upgrade in the iPhone 5. This was likely done to make video calls look better on the longer screen.
Best smartphone, iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4s? Summing It All Up.
The only reason to choose the iPhone 4 over its successors is to save money. Considering that in September of 2011, you could have argued that the iPhone 4 was the best smartphone on the market, free in 2013 isn’t a bad buy.
However, there are some great deals to be had on iPhone 5 these days.
So, do you splurge for the latest and greatest, or save a few bucks with Apple’s older iPhone? That’s your decision, but remember that the upfront cost is merely a fraction of what you pay during a two-year contract. Also consider that buying an older iPhone today means your four-year-old smartphone might really be struggling at the end of its contract. Of course, by then, there’s always another (new) iPhone just around the corner!