Apple iPhone 4S full review
The iPhone 5 has finally been announced by Apple and it looks as if the Californian company has really gone to town on some of its features. Here we are putting some of the new iPhone 5's key features up against its predecessor the iPhone 4 in what we call an iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison review.
In a display of tremendous cowardice we're not going to tell you whether it's worth upgrading from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, as the case will be different for almost every person. Instead we will arm you with some facts and some expert opinion to let you make an informed decision for yourself. See also: iPhone 5 review.
Before we go another further it is worth pointing out that the iPhone 5 has largely taken over the iPhone 4S pricing structure, a 16GB iPhone 5 being sold without a contract for £525 on the Apple store website. See iPhone 5 price in UK for more information.
So here it is, the iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison review… See also Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review.
iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5 comparison review: Design
The iPhone 5 is the first Apple iPhone that has changed the screen size since the original iPhone launched way back in June 2007. You'll notice straight away the main change to the iPhone 5 from the iPhone 4S (and all previous iPhones) is the screen size. The new iPhone 5 has a taller screen that measures in a 4-inches. Previously the iPhone 4S had a 3.5-inch screen. Take a look at iPhone 5 specs and features too.
Apple had a thing about keeping all of its screen sizes the same for continuity reasons; however the growth of Android and the success its top-end smartphones had with larger screens has forced Apple to boost the screen size. What this means is that the millions of apps that have been designed to work on the 3.5-inch iPhones will not fit the iPhone 5. See also iPhone 5 release date, specs and rumour round-up.
The solution that Apple has come up with for the iPhone 5 is to centre apps designed for a 3.5-inch screen and grey out the areas not filled on the new 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5. Take a look at iPhone 5: what you need to know too.
As you can probably work out, a bigger screen means that the surface area of the iPhone 5 is also bigger than the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S measures in at (HxWxD) 115.2 x 58.66 x 9.3mm, the new iPhone measures in at 123.6 x 58.6 x 7.6. Obviously things to point out are that the iPhone 5 has grown in height and slimmed considerably in depth.
Impressively the iPhone 5 also appears to have been on a bit of a weight-losing mission. The iPhone 4S weighs 140g, while the iPhone 5 comes in at a relatively puny 112g. If you're a percentages person, that means the iPhone 5 is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, it's also 20% lighter...and it now holds the title of the world's thinnest smartphone.
iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5 comparison review: Processor
Perhaps one of the most important, but ultimately overlooked upgrades that the iPhone 5 has seen is with its processor. The old iPhone 4S uses a dual-core Apple A5 chip, where as the iPhone 5 uses the new A6 chip.
Apple has claimed that in comparison to the iPhone 4S' A5 dual-core chip, the new A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 is 2x faster at CPU tasks and also has 2x greater graphics performance. All in all the A6 chip in the iPhone 5 is said the be 2x faster across the board than the iPhone 4S.
The new A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 is 22 percent smaller and is more efficient too, which goes someway to explaining why Apple are claiming how the iPhone 5 has the same battery performance as the iPhone 4S despite having a smaller battery.
iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5 comparison review: Storage
Where once there were hopes that Apple would blow everyone's socks of with some new mega storage options, now there are the cold hard facts that say it is sadly not the case.
Apple has kept the internal storage of the iPhone 5 completely the same as the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5's bottom model comes in at 16GB. Users can opt for an iPhone 5 with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage, with the original £525 price tag of the 16GB iPhone 5 jumping up by £100 respectively for each storage option.
While Apple has still shied away from offering its customers the option to use an expandable memory slot - a feature that is currently available to many Android smartphones - iOS 6 and its improved integration with the iCloud will offer some extra storage option for the iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison review: Camera
The smartphone megapixel arms race is long dead. Manufacturers are no longer kidding customers that the number of megapixels in a camera is what makes it take a good picture.
When you bear that in mind, it goes a long way to explaining why the iPhone 5 features a 8Mp camera, just like the iPhone 4S. The main difference is that the camera in the iPhone 5 is 25 percent smaller in size, and has a few new features that help it trump the iPhone 4S's camera.
The main camera features of note in the iPhone 5 are that it has a, a hybrid IR filter, a five-element sapphire crystal lens, and a fast f/2.4 aperture. Furthermore the iPhone 5's camera now has a dynamic low-light mode, which in layman's terms means it can work a lot better in low lights, two f-stops better to be precise. All of that and it now takes photos 40% faster.
iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison review: Software
One of the main areas that the iPhone 5 can be distinguished from the iPhone 4S is with its software and OS. The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's new iOS 6 operating system, which on the surface has 200 new features.
To keep this article manageable we are not going to go into these features in great depth as we already have an iOS 6 review, which will tell you all you need to know about how the iPhone 5 benefits from the new iOS 6 operating.
However, some new features of note are: an improved version of Siri that is more in depth and able to tackle more questions/requests.
Also there is a new feature called Passbook, that allows you to collect all of your passes in one place, including cinema tickets, airline boarding passes, sports tickets etc. A cool additional feature here is that when you are near an event the pass will automatically load onto your screen ready for you to use.
The iPhone 5’s integration with iOS 6 and iCloud means that you can you open and edit all your documents on your iPhone 5, edit and save them, then the next time you open the same document on other iOS 6 devices, the changes you made on your iPhone 5 will be automatically updated, and vice versa.
To find out more about iOS 6 and the iPhone 5's software to be like take a look at our iOS 6 preview.
Apple iPhone 4S: Specs
- Touchscreen smartphone
- UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, GSM, EDGE
- world phone: quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz and CDMA
- 3.5in (960 x 640) 3:2 capacitive IPS touchscreen, aluminosilicate glass, with oleophobic coating
- 326 dpi, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness
- 16GB, 32GB and 64GB NAND flash storage
- Apple A5 (dual-core based on ARM Cortex A9 CPU/PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU) processor
- 512MB RAM
- Bluetooth 4.0
- rear-facing 8Mp still/1920 x 1080 video camera
- front-facing 640 x 480 video camera
- white LED flash
- assisted GPS
- three-axis gyroscope
- proximity sensor
- ambient light sensor
- digital compass
- dual mics
- 3.5mm stereo headphone/mic jack
- earphones with remote and mic
- USB power adaptor
- 5.25Wh lithium-ion battery
- 115 x 59 x 9mm