iPhone 4s: Is It Still Worth Buying?

Apple’s iPhone 4s is well over two years old, but Apple is still selling the device in its online store and in retail locations as the company’s entry-level smartphone. The $0 price tag after signing a two-year contract is extremely enticing, especially for folks who are on a budget, and you can even nab a used iPhone 4s for well under $200 off-contract if you look in the right places.

This makes the iPhone 4s one of the best deals in terms of up-front cash you’ll spend, as far as Apple’s current lineup is concerned. However, is it worth it to save this kind of cash in order to get the iPhone 4s and skip the newer iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c? Many folks are still happy with their iPhone 4s after owning it for two years, but if you’re in the market for a new phone right this minute, is the iPhone 4s still a good buy?

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The iPhone 4s Still Kicks Butt…

I had the iPhone 4s up until I got the iPhone 5s on release day back in September. I didn’t need to upgrade to a better phone, but I was able to upgrade, so I did it anyway. I could’ve easily stayed with the iPhone 4s for at least another year, and my wife is still rocking hers; she loves it.

The iPhone 4s also still fully supports iOS 7, and as we all know, Apple is notorious for keeping older iOS hardware out of the running for newer software updates. However, the iPhone 4s is the last iPhone to come with mostly everything that iOS 7 offers, with the iPhone 4 getting the short end of the stick with dumbed-down visual effects and not as many iOS 7 features that you’ll get on the newer hardware.

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Granted, there were a few issues with iOS 7 performance on the iPhone 4s, including an annoying keyboard lag that affected a lot of users, but it’s easily fixable and we haven’t heard of anymore problems since.

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We still love the design of the iPhone 4s. Granted, it’s not as thin as the iPhone 5/5s, but it’s a massive improvement over the plastic-laden iPhone 3G/3GS that came before it. Plus, the iPhone 4/4s was the first time that Apple included a high-resolution display (known as a Retina display), making text and images appear sharper than any other phone at the time– it even has the same pixel density as the iPhone 5s.

…But There Are Better Options

Then again, while the iPhone 4s is still a great device, there are much better options that are available right now. The iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5 all offer better performance than the iPhone 4s. Even the iPhone 5c, which only costs $99 on-contract is a huge upgrade from the iPhone 4s.

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If a $100 difference is a big deal to you, just remember that you’ll be locked into a two-year contract paying at least $70 per month for service. This adds up to nearly $1,700 over two years, so $100 is extremely negligible. Thus, there’s no need to settle for something less when you can get a top-of-the-line handset for just $100 more, or even just $200 more for the iPhone 5s.

It’s a Great Deal, but Don’t Be Fooled

Don’t get me wrong, though; the iPhone 4s is a bargain, and if you need an unlocked, off-contract smartphone, most people usually buy a used model so that they don’t have to shell out $650 for a brand new model. You can get a used iPhone 4s for under $200 on eBay, making it a good, cheap option if you don’t want to be stuck on a contract.

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However, if you’re like most folks, you’re on a two-year contract, and subsidized pricing allows you to get a flagship smartphone for a fraction of the full cost. With that said, you’d be crazy not to get the better phone.

Comments

  1. Andrew. says

    Sure the iPhone 4S is still a great phone and perfectly adequate, even if it’s not as capable as its successors. I’m still using mine, and will continue to do so for a while yet. BUT … I have the 64GB model. That’s useable. As is the 32GB model. And the 16GB one too, at a pinch, if you don’t plan on carrying much video and music with you. The only currently available new iPhone 4S is the seriously crippled 8GB model. And that’s 8GB before iOS overheads. On my 64GB model, only 57GB is usable, with the other 7GB taken by iOS. So an 8GB device isn’t likely to have much more than 1GB actually usable. That is NOT a good buy, and NOT a bargain.

    • BallsModels says

      That doesn’t make any sense, only 1GB usable on the 8GB phone? Maybe more like 7GB usable… I think your math sucks, dude.

      • Andrew says

        I suggest you read my comment again then before throwing petty little insults around. It makes perfect sense if you take the trouble to read it properly. And my mathematical capabilities do not suck. Dude.

          • Andrew says

            Fairly lowbrow trolling there, posting multiple replies using different names. You are untitled to your opinion, incorrect though it may be, but 64 – 57 = 7 and 8 – 7 = 1, whether you like it or not. All clearly explained in my original comment, and entirely correct mathematically.

            Anyway I’ve said my piece, I’ll take my leave of this article and its comments now and go find some intelligent people to converse with.

            Happy trolling.

          • Jarryd says

            The math done here is wrong, buy an 8gb one and you have 6.8gb usable. iOS doesn’t take 7gb of room up.

    • Jarryd says

      Your math comparison is right in a way, but wrong. On the 64gb model, the 57gb would be usable, with the other 7GB been for iOS. 8GB device has 5-6gb free. It’s fine, it can get 100 or so songs, a few apps, photos.

  2. Trssho91 says

    I don’t have a 8gb device, but you will most likely end up with in around 5.5-6gb free. Ios overhead is 1-1.5gb. What you guys are missing is the overhead from the formatted file system on the emmc (think PC hard drive). The storage file system overhead is proportional to it’s size, in around 9% give or take. That’s why you have what you do Andrew, while apple gets away with a 8gb model. Btw, my 16gb 5s gives me about 12gb free, just for another baseline.

  3. Vieraskynä says

    Thanks for the review. In european point of view the contract pricing seems very odd. Could you do the math on basis of how much is the phone price alone. This could be done by comparing contract price of the new phone (70 usd/month + 100 usd for the phone) And off contract price of used one (200 usd for phone + similar call&web plan without the phone) = this would give a bit more fair view on the cost of having the latest phone. I might be guessing, but if you don’t include the phone in contract, you can have smaller monthly bills?

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