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iPhone 4S Overview

The iPhone 4S has one of Apple's most iconic looks— beautiful glass sandwiched on either side by a stainless steel band. Compared to the earlier iPhone 4, the 4S is roughly twice as fast because of its Apple A5 chipset. The iPhone 4S also has a much improved camera capable of recording 1080p video, and it supports Siri, AirPlay, and 4G/LTE data connections for faster browsing speeds.

Even today, the iPhone 4S holds the title as the best selling iPhone ever produced. Apple still releases iOS updates for the iPhone 4S, making it clear that this phone can stand the test of time.

Shot by an iPhone 4S

Before buying a used iPhone 4S

Apple has released several newer iPhone models and discontinued production of the iPhone 4S, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pick up a used iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S was a powerhouse in its time and it has aged very well. While not of much good for early adopters who crave the best technology out there, the iPhone 4S performs well for buyers who are looking for an affordable first step into the Apple ecosystem.

Not sure if you should buy a used iPhone 4S or go with a more recent model? The answer lies in which features of an iPhone are important to you. Below, we give an overview of some of the strengths of the iPhone 4S and some of its weaknesses too.

What's Great About the iPhone 4S

1. Price Point

It has been a few years since the iPhone 4S has been discontinued and its price point in the used market reflects this. It is the least expensive model you can buy that is able to update to the newest iOS released by Apple. You can expect to shell out anywhere between $50 and $190 when buying a used iPhone 4S.

2. Small Size

If you have smaller hands, the newer, larger models might be tough for you to operate one-handed. The iPhone 4S is small enough that almost anyone could use one hand to hold and use it at the same time. With its smaller size, the iPhone 4S is easier to grasp and less likely to tumble out of your grip.

3. Perfect for Everyday Tasks

The 800 MHz dual-core A5 chip and the 512 RAM in the iPhone 4S makes it perfect for making phone calls, sending texts, and using apps like Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook. You might experience a small lag in opening some of these apps, but you won't find that the extra time significantly affects your use of the phone.

But Watch Out For...

1. Internet speeds using data (not Wi-Fi)

If you're often relying on your phone to browse the internet or download apps using your data only, you might find the iPhone 4S too slow for you. The iPhone 4S only supports the 3G network, meaning it won't be able to get a download to top 14.4Mbit per second. To put this in perspective, the LTE network supported by the iPhone 6 can reach download speeds 10x faster than an iPhone 4S.

2. Less than top-notch photography

The iSight (back-facing) camera on the iPhone 4S takes 8 megapixel photos and can record 1080p videos, which is about on par with newer models like the iPhone 6. Since the iPhone 4S, Apple has managed to improve camera capabilities by including sensors that records more information about the photo, making your pictures less grainy. If you're looking for the best-in-class camera on your phone, your best bet would be to opt for one of these newer models.

That being said, the iPhone 4S still has photo capabilities beyond what you might find on some newer, low-end phones. For example, last year a report on Forbes found that the HTC One M9’s camera faired worse than the then three-year-old iPhone 4S.

iPhone 4S Trivia

  • the slogan used to market the iPhone 4S was, "The most amazing iPhone yet."
  • the iPhone 4S sold 4 million units in the first three days of initial sales
  • like the iPhone 4, the 4S is only compatible with a micro SIM card, unlike the smaller nano cards used by the iPhone 5 and up
  • the iPhone 4S was the last model to use the original 30 pin charging port
  • the "S" in iPhone 4S stands for Siri— it was the first iPhone to feature the virtual assistant
  • during production, the iPhone 4S had the codename N94
  • the iPhone 4S was Apple's first "World Phone", which means it can operate on the multiple frequencies that exist across the globe
  • the Apple A5 processor in the iPhone 4S doubled the speed and increased the graphics power 7x compared to the iPhone 4
  • Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away the day after the iPhone 4S was announced
  • the iPhone 4S has been retroactively stylized by Apple with a lowercase "s" as of September 2013, making it the "iPhone 4s" to fit with the new lowercase iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s
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