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Which iPhone Model Should You Buy: iPhone 5S vs 5C vs 4S

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iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S

image copyright Apple Inc.
iPhone 5C

iPhone 5C

image copyright Apple Inc.
iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

image copyright Apple Inc.

Not so long ago, when you wanted to buy a new iPhone, the choice came down to one thing: how much storage would you get and, as a result, how much would you pay? Then the iPhone came to Verizon and you had to decide not only how much storage you would buy, but also what carrier you wanted.

With the introduction of the iPhone 5S and 5C, deciding which iPhone to buy has gotten a whole lot more complicated. Instead of just having to choose between two storage capacities and two phone companies, there are now three models and four companies: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The options for iPhone models to choose from are the iPhone 5S, 5C, and 4S.

While the iPhone 4S may be the same model that has been available since 2010, and the 5C is pretty similar to last year's iPhone 5, familiarity doesn't necessarily make choosing between the three iPhones easier. So, if you're faced with the choice of which iPhone to buy, here are some tips that may make that decision a little easier.

Why Buy the iPhone 5S

Pros

  • It's the latest & greatest - Since the 5S is the newest high-end model, when you have it you're on the cutting edge of iPhone technology. This generally means that all aspects of the iPhone 5S are superior to its predecessors. It does, also, have all the basic iPhone features, like Siri and FaceTime.
  • Large screen - Like the 5 and 5C, the 5S has a 4-inch Retina Display screen running at 1136x640 pixels.
  • Faster processor - The iPhone 5S's Apple A7 processor is, according to Apple, about 40% faster than the A6 processor in the 5C. The A7 is also 64-bit, meaning it can access more memory at the same time than the 32-bit A6. This doesn't necessarily translate into a speed boost, but it can improve performance in some processing-intensive tasks.
  • Better camera & video - While the 5S's camera is 8 megapixels, just like the 5C's, it has a number of other improvements, including slow-motion video recording, dual-flash for better color fidelity, automatic image stabilization, and more.
  • Fingerprint scanner - As of now, the iPhone 5S is the only iPhone with an integrated fingerprint scanner built into the Home button. This is a great security feature--when you have it, you can forget about needing to enter passcodes and passwords to access your device and accounts.
  • M7 Motion co-processor - This new chip works with the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope in the 5S to enable new kinds of sports, fitness, and physically aware apps.

Cons

  • Price - The only real con is the price. Since it's the latest and greatest, the 5S is the most expensive, with prices running US$199-$399 when you sign a two-year contract.

iPhone 5S Review

 

Why Buy the iPhone 5C

Pros

  • All the best of the iPhone 5 - Despite its looks on the outside, the iPhone 5C is essentially an iPhone 5 with a new design. This means that all of the strengths of last year's iPhone 5 are present in the 5C, including the 4-inch Retina Display screen, improved camera, 4G LTE networking, slim design, and more.
  • Slightly improved camera and battery - You won't see major changes here, but there are small, under-the-hood improvements to the 5C's camera and battery.
  • Colorful cases - Tired of Apple's insistence of boring black and white colors for the iPhone? Then the iPhone 5C is for you. Think of the "C" as meaning color: you can get it in yellow, pink, white, green, and blue.
  • Lower price - The iPhone 5S costs as little as $199, but that requires a two-year phone contract, which can cost nearly $2,000 depending on your options. You'll still need to take the two-year contract to get the lowest price on the iPhone 5C, but if you do, you can get a 5C for just $99.

Cons

  • Older feature set - As noted above, the 5C is very similar to last year's iPhone 5. While that was a great phone, buying the 5C means that you're getting features and hardware that are closer to last year's model than the cutting edge.
  • No fingerprint scanner - Since the features of the 5C aren't on the cutting edge, you won't get the latest and great features, such as the 5S's fingerprint scanner.

iPhone 5C Review

 

Why Buy the iPhone 4S

Pros

  • Siri - Want to take advantage of the impressive and useful voice recognition features offered by Siri? You'll need an iPhone 4S because Siri doesn't run on earlier models.
  • Fast processor - The iPhone 4S's A5 processor isn't as fast as the processor in either the iPhone 5S or 5C, but it's still plenty fast for most uses.
  • Better camera & video - You'll get an 8 megapixel camera that can record 1080p HD video. While it's not as good as the 5S's camera, it's close to the 5C's.
  • Better battery - The 4S's better is a bit better than the 4's; expect to get about an extra hour of talk time from the new phone.
  • Price - The iPhone 4S is now free a two-year contract.

Cons

  • 8GB only - The iPhone 4S offers just 8GB storage capacity, so you may have to pick and choose what you sync to your phone.
  • Smaller screen - The iPhone 4S's screen is 0.5 inches smaller than the 5S and 5C's and runs at about half the resolution.
  • Slower wireless data - The iPhone 5S and 5C's 4G LTE networking is much, much faster than the 4S's 4G.
  • Slower processor - The iPhone 4S's processor is about half as fast as the processor in the 5C and much slower than the processor in the 5S.

iPhone 4S Review

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