iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c comparison review

Apple's iPhone 4S and iPhone 5c are the lower-cost iPhones available to buy from Apple, and you could be having a tough time trying to decide which is right for you. Here, we compare the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5c, including their features, specs and design, to help you choose between them.

The iPhone 4S is now two years old while the iPhone 5c is an all-new iPhone, so that alone could be enough to help you decide between the two. But if age doesn't concern you, let's take a closer look at the differences between the two iPhones.

See also: iPhone 5s review

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: design

Let's start with the outside. The iPhone 4S is available in black or white, and has a completely glass back rather than the glass and aluminium that you'll find in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 5c, on the other hand, has a plastic back that's available in five colours: green, blue, yellow, pink and white. You won't find a single seam or join in the unibody-style design.

The other difference you'll notice is the screen size. While both Retina, which means nice, crisp images, the iPhone 4S has a smaller, 3.5in display rather than the taller, 4in display found on the iPhone 5c.

When it comes to thickness and weight, the iPhone 5c is just slightly thinner and lighter than the 4S. It's 8.97mm thick compared with the iPhone 4S's 9.3mm, while it weighs 132 grams, eight grams less than the iPhone 4S.

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: specifications

The processor

The iPhone 4S has an A5 chip, which is slower than the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5c. In some of our tests, the A6 processor was three times as fast as the A5, so if it's speed you're after, the iPhone 5c should provide a better performance than the 4S. that said, the iPhone 4S is still not a slow piece of kit.

Battery life

Both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5c have built-in batteries that charge via USB. The iPhone 5c requires a Lightning cable, while the iPhone 4S still uses the older 30-pin connector.

The iPhone 5c has the better battery life out of the two iPhones, offering up to 10 hours 3G talk time, 250 hours standby time and 8-10 hours of internet use.

The iPhone 4s offers a little less. Apple claims it'll last up to 8 hours for 3G talk time, 200 hours on standby and between 6 and 9 hours for internet.

Connectivity

Talking of internet, the iPhone 4S is not compatible with 4G LTE services, so you'll be stuck with the slower 3G connection. The iPhone 5c is compatible with 4G from the likes of EE, O2 and more.

Capacity

There's one other big problem with buying an iPhone 4S from Apple, and that's the capacity. The iPhone 4S is now only available in 8GB, which doesn't leave much space for apps, photos and videos.

The iPhone 5c is available in bigger capacities of 16GB or 32GB.

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: camera

There's not much difference between the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5c camera. They're both 8 megapixels, and both have an aperture of f/2.4.

They both have a single LED flash, a hybrid IR filter, autofocus and tap to focus features, as well as face detection and photo geotagging.

Apple has improved the camera in the iPhone 5c, though. It should produce better low-light performance and improved noise reduction compared with the iPhone 5S, and also offers faster photo capture, though iOS 7 has sped up photo capture for the 4S, too.

In addition, the surface of the lens on the iPhone 5c is made of sapphire crystal, which Apple says makes your images clearer and sharper.

The front-facing camera is significantly better on the iPhone 5c, too. It's the same as the iPhone 5s, Apple's flagship iPhone, in fact, at 1.2 megapixels and a capability of capturing 720p HD videos.

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: iOS 7

The iPhone 4S is unable to use iOS 7's new AirDrop feature. It requires an iPhone 5 or later, so the iPhone 5c can benefit from it. Plus, there are wallpapers designed to match with the colours of the iPhone 5c models, which are a fun added touch that iPhone 4S owners won't get.

Other than that, though, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5c are both able to run the new mobile operating system, so whether you've got an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5c, you'll still get the new-look iOS on your device.

Master iOS 7 with our 30 iOS 7 tips.

 iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: other differences

The iPhone 4S takes a Micro-SIM card instead of the smaller Nano-SIM that the iPhone 5c can house. Plus, if you buy an iPhone 4S, you'll get the older design of headphones rather than the newer EarPod design.

iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5c: price

Of course, there's also the matter of the price.

For the 8GB iPhone 4S, which is the only model available from Apple, you'll pay £349.

For the 16GB iPhone 5c, you'll pay £469, while the 32GB iPhone 5c costs £549.

It's worth noting that, for the same £549 it'll cost for the 32GB iPhone 5c, you can get the 16GB iPhone 5s with the improved camera and Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Complete Guide to the iPhone 5s & 5c, on sale now for just £2.99 

OUR VERDICT

Overall, we think those with a smaller budget will be satisfied with what the iPhone 4S can provide, as long as you're aware that 8GB is likely to mean you'll run out of space pretty quickly. If you'd prefer a bigger screen, or love the five new colours, the iPhone 5c is an impressive new smartphone. The processor is significantly faster, but the camera isn't massively improved, so you won't miss out on much there. It's worth noting that the iPhone 4S is bound to become obsolete pretty quickly in comparison to the iPhone 5c. What we mean by this is that Apple's iOS 8, likely to arrive in autumn 2014, will probably have many features that won't work on the iPhone 4S, but will work on the iPhone 5c. In addition, the iPhone 5c has the newer Lightning connector so will work with more accessories such as speakers and docks than the iPhone 4S, as the 30-pin connector gradually gets phased out.

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