Do I upgrade? iPhone 4 vs 4S

The iPhone 4S launched in October, and now here we are in December, ready for its South Africa launch (tomorrow, Fri 16th). Is it worth upgrading? Or switching from another mobile brand? Gearburn does the world’s most concise iPhone 4S upgrade guide.

The 4S is a lot more powerful than the iPhone 4. Moves from single-core A4 to a 1 GHz dual core A5. First-for-iPhone dual core graphics co-processor. You can also now get an iPhone 4S with a thumping big 64GB of storage on board. Still no SD card slot. Boo!

The AI, voice-activated interface that you can ask questions or give instructions. A group of devs came up with a version called H1siri they say runs on iPhone 4, but it’s at least buggy, and may steal data.

Camera has gone from 5 to 8MP, with a much better lens for sharper shots and better pictures in low light, with a bigger F2.4 apperture. The camera also has video stabilisation and face detection, and shoots in 1080p instead of 720.

The display is still only 3.5”. By now you have Android phones rocking 4.5” inch displays – that’s a 70% bigger area. Apple sticks to 3.5”. Why? Because Steve Jobs wished it so. And because 3.5” is a good size for a touch-screen phone in ergonomic terms – set by how far your thumb can reach without becoming awkward. 4” displays are about the limit for those with large hands, and 4.5” displays often require holding with one hand and touching with the other. Great for the marketing specs arms race, not so much for the phone user.

Bottom line: Gear it or Burn it
So do we Gear it or Burn it? As a phone, it’s great, as an upgrade to the iPhone 4, it’s great. So if you have the cash, or your contracts coming up, the 4S is worth it for the performance increase alone. The Gearburn jury is still out on Siri.

iPhone from first generation to now

iPhone (Jan 2007)
Processor: 412MHz Arm 11 with 4, 8, 16GB memory.
Features: 3.5” 320*480 display and EDGE data

iPhone 3G (June 2008)
Processor: 412MHz ARM 11 with 8 AND 16GB memory
Features: Internet connection now HSDPA for 3.6Mbps. GPS added

iPhone 3GS (June 2009)
Processor 600MHz ARM Cortex A8 with 8, 16, 32GB memory, and now 256MB RAM.
Features: Better 3.2MP autofocus camera, data upgraded to 7.2Mbps HSDPA.

iPhone 4 (June 2010)
Processor: New-generation Apple-designed 1GHz A4 processor with 16 and 32GB models.
Features: First to get the “Retina” display with 640×960 pixels for 326ppi resolution. Noise cancellation introduced for better call quality, camera upped to 5MP, flash and front-facing camera added. Data connection now HSPA

iPhone 4S (Oct 2011)
Processor: Latest generation A5 dual core processor running at 1GHz with dual core graphics co-processor, with 16, 32 or 64GB models.
Features: Bumped up to 8MP snapper with better optics, face detection and video stabilisation (now at 1080p). And it gets the Siri AI voice interface.

Roger Hislop


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