What benefits does the iPhone 5 really have over the iPhone 4S?

 Even if you don’t have an iPhone 5, I’m sure you’ve all heard that it’s thinner, faster and lighter than older iPhone models. Apple really did everything they could to produce a game-changing design (the thinnest, lightest and fastest phone ever) – including inventing new technologies. But did Apple manage it, and is it worth buying an iPhone 5 (with the premium that you pay for it) rather than opting for a cheaper iPhone 4S. To help you make a decision, here’s a bit of research that we’ve done on the similarities and differences between the two models.

Differences

Alongside the form factor change and the material from which the phone is made – aluminium body with ceramic glass (on the white and silver model) and pigmented glass (on the black and slate model) – you will also notice the removal of the iPhone 4S’s 30-pin dock connector and the introduction of the much smaller lightning port, which means that (without an adapter) your old chargers are now redundant.

Alongside this disadvantage, there are also advantages, such as the fact that it’s less fiddly than the old connector (it works whatever way up you plug it in), plus you’re rewarded with a thinner and more compact phone. 

On the iPhone 5, the back case made from aluminium might survive a bit longer than the glass one on the iPhone 4S, but on the other hand the bezel, which is also made from aluminium, is more prone to nicks and scratches than the steel one on the iPhone 4S. 

Another thing you notice straight away is that the headphone jack is no longer at the top of the phone but has now moved to the bottom left-hand corner, similar to what we see on the iPod touch and which, we’d say, is a much more convenient location.

The iPhone 5 is the first ever phone to adopt the recently approved and Apple-designed nano-SIM standard (it looks exactly the same as the normal SIM and micro-SIM, but it’s even smaller – all the excess plastic around the metal contacts have been trimmed off).

We hope that the introduction of a bigger screen won’t put off those people who hate large screened phones. It shouldn’t, because the difference is of merely 0.5 inch (a 4 inch screen compared to the 3.5 inch screen on the iPhone 4S). That means that Apple doesn’t want to give up on the thumb-friendly nature of the device (the fact that we can scroll our thumb mostly around the whole display one-handed) but has thought also at the game-lovers and movie-watchers. 

And if we’re talking about games, movies and images, we must tell you that you won’t notice a huge jump in resolution – 1136 x 640 pixels compared to 960 x 640 pixels on the iPhone 4S. However, the iPhone 5 uses this screen real estate better because videos are distributed across the whole screen (a 16:9 aspect ratio) unlike on the iPhone 4S where it seems to appear in a box. We think you’ll see this as a real plus when you watch videos or movies on phone.

The A6 processor on the iPhone 5 makes the phone almost twice as fast as the iPhone 4S in terms of graphics and web pages load, and the memory RAM has been doubled from 512 MB to 1 GB (a must to keep up with the improved processor).

Apart from the bigger screen and better processor, a major improvement is the addition of LTE internet connectivity.

You know now that the iPhone 5 looks different from the 4/4S and we’ve outlined the main differences between the two generations so we hope you won’t get tricked as some people did when the iPhone 5 was released!

Similarities

There are quite a lot of differences between the two latest generations of iPhone but there are also quite a lot of similarities (otherwise, no one would have a second thought about if they should or shouldn’t upgrade to the new phone).

If you were waiting for a more powerful camera on the iPhone 5 you’ll be disappointed, as this still shoots 8MP and 1080p video record, as does the iPhone 4S (though, the technology inside is slightly improved). As well as a better camera, you might have expected an improved battery, but again, no change – it will still last up to eight hours of talk-time and internet usage on 3G. The LTE technology on the iPhone 5 might even drain the battery’s life a little faster.

No change to the internal memory (flash storage) (16 / 32 / 64 GB), pixel density (326PPI) or cores (Dual-Core).

The call quality seems to be the same, with the exception of a noise canceling mic which was added on the back of the phone and helps with the call quality somewhat.

Now, our conclusion would be that even if you find all this underwhelming, you’ll still have a better smartphone experience with the new iPhone 5. But of course, it all depends on what matters to you. It’s worth checking out this great iPhone deal comparison tool on Moneysavingexpert.com to see what kinds of prices you can expect.

We’d love to hear what you think about the two models and whether Apple really have produced a game-changing device in the iPhone 5!

P.S. Be careful! At the moment, if you break your new iPhone 5, a repair would do some serious damage to your budget as the original parts are still astronomically expensive and quite a rarity (we’ve asked our suppliers why that and it seems it’s due to a supply and demand issue!).

Published
March 11, 2013