Apple iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S: Which one is the better buy?

“Apple’s iPhone 5, available for pre-order on Sept. 14 and on sale Sept. 21, has a starting price of $199 for a 16GB model and a two-year contract via AT&T, Sprint or Verizon,” Kelli B. Grant writes for MarketWatch. ” As part of the launch, Apple dropped the price of the older iPhone 4S to $99 for a 16GB model and a new two-year contract with a carrier… The iPhone 4 will be free with a two-year contract.”

“Experts say that at the new lower price points, the 4S is a pretty good deal. ‘It’s still a very, very good phone,’ says Eddie Hold, a vice president for market research firm NPD Group. Apple’s forthcoming operating system, iOS 6, will also be available to 4S owners as a free upgrade—and should help them keep up with many of the new features, including the updated iTunes, the new Passbook service for storing loyalty card sand ticket bar codes, the enhanced Safari browser and the smarter Siri,” Grant writes. “Make no mistake: The iPhone 5 is a substantial upgrade, and there are a fair number of features that 4S buyers would be missing out on. The 5 boasts more processing power, supports speedier 4G LTE data networks, has longer battery life and comes with a better camera that shoots 1080p video with the rear-facing camera and 720p video on the front-facing camera. With competitors rolling out bigger phones, the larger screen alone—4 inches instead of the 3.5 inches on older models—makes the new iPhone a ‘must-have product,’ says Hold.”

Grant writes, “Consumers will need to weigh their budgets against the advancements, says Schwark Satyavolu, co-founder of plan-comparison site”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. It certainly is a good buy for some, especially for someone that may already be stretching to make the purchase – it’d certainly be better to spend their $99 on an iPhone 4S than to spend the same money and end up with a crap Android phone (well, I guess they’d end up with two crap Android phones, since they are always buy one get one free).

    The iPhone 4S is still a great phone (heck, my iPhone 4 is still a great phone).

  2. For most people who use the technology it’s a no-brainer iPhone five all the way. But per haps for an elderly person who doesn’t use all the features but wants a nice phone iPhone 4 and would do just fine, it’s free now I believe with a two-year contract you can’t get much better than that.

    1. Watch your tongue there, whippersnapper. (Siriously, the iPhone is so much easier to use, every person should have one. Why waste time with tiny screens, arcane menus and limited functionality.)

        1. That sounds kind of totalitarian. People should be free to make their own choices.

          Food stamps are necessary to allow additional food to be sold to keep demand high enough to justify farm subsidies. How would farmers get by without welfare payments?

  3. Having viewed the IPhone 5 video on Apple, this thing is beautiful. This the ultimate IPhone. Can’t wait to upgrade and get this beauty in my Hands it’s sleek and sexy. IOS 6 enhancements take it over the Top.

    1. An upgrade to the processor in terms of overall speed and graphics capability, a longer lasting battery, faster data connectivity, a bigger screen, a better screen, a better camera (front and back), better sound. The design is visually similar to the iPhone 4s, but in terms of the front layout that hasn’t changed since the beginning (Screen and home button) because it works and still looks good. The surround is similar, but the fit and finish is just so much better. If the old design look bad, or was dated then it might be a fair comment, but it’s not.

  4. That video of the machining of the unibody shell was, by itself, enough to make me want to upgrade from my 4S. There is simply no other phone so exquisitely made. No plastic phone can compete. It is a thing of beauty.

  5. I don’t understand why anyone buys a phone on contract. I just got a 64GB 4S in perfect condition on eBay for $500 and popped in a microsim for $45/month for unlimited everything and no contract. You can get the 16GB 4S for $350 unlocked and then sell it in a year for practically what you paid for it. Over a two year contract, you could save almost a thousand dollars. It is so shortsighted to care about a $100 difference in purchase price over the term of the contract.

      1. I went to Straight Talk from T-Mobile and my coverage has improved dramatically. I have not dropped a call in the entire time I have had the phone and I can place calls from home now, which I couldn’t do on T-Mobile. Straight Talk uses the AT&T network which I am surprised is this good. I was waiting for the 5 to get a Verizon phone, but realized their coverage wasn’t that much better than AT&T’s. Needless to say, I’m very happy with my decision, both monetarily and operationally.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.