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iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5: Is It Worth Paying More For 5?

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With the iPhone 5 now readily available in Apple Stores across the US along with some great deals from carriers like StraighTalk and Walmart, many iPhone 4S users could be contemplating bumping up to the latest iPhone this year. So should you?

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5: should you upgrade?

While the iPhone 5 does boast some upgraded hardware, on the software front it is identical to the iPhone 4S. Both run the same iOS 6 version and there are no features left out of the older model. This wasn’t the case last year when we compared the iPhone 4 to the 4S where the iPhone 4 didn’t have Siri.

On the hardware front, the major differences between the iPhone 5 and 4S are the build quality, processor, LTE and bigger display. We left the camera out because while there have been improvements it wasn’t a big enough step up to consider.

On the topic of build quality, the iPhone 5 and its redesigned aluminum body has been heavily criticized from being able to be scratched easily. Unlike the glass iPhone 4S, there have been reports of its scuffing very quickly with normal day to day use. The iPhone 5 is also much lighter than the 4S and this can be both a positive and negative feature as some people feature a bit of weight on their smartphone as it gives the feeling of a more expensive device.

In order to make the iPhone 5 thinner, Apple had to make a couple of sacrifices. It has a harsher, older vibration motor than the one on the 4S and its battery life has taken a dip given that it now has a bigger display and LTE to power but only a 10mAh larger battery because of space & weight constraints.

On the positive side, the iPhone 5 has a larger display with 16:9 resolution and LTE capability. The larger display while only being 0.5-inches bigger makes a world of difference. The iPhone 5 is also still easy to hold despite the added size. As for LTE, anyone who has used it will tell you that you can’t go back to 3G after it. If you live in an area with LTE coverage, this is a big point. If not, then it is the larger display that will catch your eye.

The iPhone 5 also has more processing power under the hood thanks to the faster chip and more RAM. Unfortunately the difference is minute as both running iOS 6 appeared buttery smooth in performance. The iPhone 5 did manage to launch apps quicker but the difference in time was negligible.

So while the iPhone 5 has been touted as a major upgrade, it isn’t so far away from the iPhone 4S. If your contract is up then do upgrade, if not hang in there for the iPhone 6 as it may be able to exhibit a bigger change.

Till today, people confuse my iPhone 4S for an iPhone 5. Apple have said that the iPhone 5 has been redesigned but it is more of an evolutionary upgrade than a revolutionary one. That’s my two cents.

Green, emission free, recyclable… these are the words you usually find in Joshua’s stories. From hybrid cars to intuitive technologies for consumer electronics, Joshua leads our green news stories.