An iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5 Face-Off & How to Get the iPhone 5 for Free

By , dealnews Senior Feature Writer

After months of speculation and rumors, Apple's latest iPhone has arrived. The new iPhone 5 sports a bigger screen, 4G LTE connectivity, and a thinner glass/aluminum design. But how does the contract-subsidized $199 iPhone 5 stack up against the newly-discounted $99 iPhone 4S? We compared the major differences between the old and the new to help you decide if the latest iPhone is worth the extra Benjamin.

Is It Worth the Price?

Unlike the iPhone 4S (which didn't stray far from its iPhone 4 DNA), the iPhone 5 is a much more radical departure from its predecessor. A larger 4" display, faster A6 processor, and LTE capabilities are just a few of the iPhone 5's most compelling new features. Under the hood you'll also find a dual-band 802.11n antenna (which allows for faster Internet browsing over WiFi) and a 720p-capable FaceTime camera.

Apple also claims it has improved the iPhone 5's battery life so users will be able to squeeze up to 8 hours of battery life on LTE, whereas 4S owners only get 6 hours on 3G. Whether or not those battery claims are accurate remains to be seen, but the iPhone 5's new, taller design should theoretically allow for a bigger battery.

The single new feature that may have iPhone owners hesitant about upgrading is the iPhone 5's new connector: Lightning. With Lightning, Apple is ditching its nearly-decade-old 30-pin connector for a smaller one. The new iPhone 5 will require a special Lightning 30-pin adapter in order to work with your existing iPhone accessories.

For iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 owners, upgrading to a new iPhone is a no-brainer, especially with Apple's latest round of price cuts that leave the iPhone 4 at $0 and the iPhone 4S at $99. At this point, there's no reason anyone should have to rely on the much older iPhone 3GS. Those iPhone 4S owners who are still under contract should wait until their obligations are met before upgrading to the iPhone 5, or face steep penalty charges from their wireless provider.

How to Get the iPhone 5 for Free

Thanks to the magic of trade-in sites, it's possible for iPhone 4 owners to buy an iPhone 5 at a fraction of its retail price, or if you're lucky, for free. (We focus on iPhone 4 owners, since they're the most recent generation of iPhone users to be eligible for a subsidized phone through 2-year contract extension.)

First, you must trade-in your iPhone 4. As of September 13, Glyde is offering up to $205.52 for a 16GB AT&T iPhone 4 with "some scratches." Amazon Trade-In is also offering $195.50 for a similar "good condition" iPhone 4 16GB. Other sites, such as eBay, can fetch you upwards of $300. (Though keep in mind eBay later charges fees for items sold on its sites.) The good news is that even if you waited until today to sell your aging iPhone, there are still a number of trade-in services that are offering a significant amount of money, which you can then use to lower the cost of your iPhone 5 purchase. Just don't wait too long, as the value of your old phone will only continue to go down with time.

An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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1 comment
check out jimmy kimmel's review of the iphone 5. it will answer your question "should i upgrade to the iphone 5?"