iPhone Deals: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S?

iPhone Deals: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S?

The iPhone, for many people has become almost a necessity, particularly those constantly on the move, those with busy schedules and those requiring more from their phone than the norm.

The choice as to whether a 3GS will suffice, or whether the improved power and functionality makes the iPhone 4 and 4S worth the extra expense is still up for debate.

For some, the wide variety of applications and the compatibility with other apple products is their reason for choosing an iPhone, for others it is the sleek design and ease of operation.

The demand has soared internationally, and network providers are growing very much aware of the ways to exploit this, imposing higher rate tariffs, longer contracts and upfront fees to help cover the cost of the expensive handset.

Tell me more about the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

When opting for an iPhone, it is important to consider the benefits and disadvantages of the various different models and assess which handset, long term, is going to get you the most for your money, whilst providing you with the services you require.

For some that will mean getting the latest and greatest is essential, but for others, the iPhone 3GS may provide all the facilities you require at a much lesser cost.

When comparing models, you should observe the upfront cost (if any), plus the cost of the tariff over the full duration of your contract, thus providing the total cost for the handset. In some instances, it may be worth opting for a second hand unit from eBay or a refurbished model directly from your network provider and pairing it with a SIM only deal to maximise savings.

A plethora of options exist, and this article will illustrate some of the best deals and alternative methods of getting that illustrious iPhone.

If you can’t afford to buy the phone directly from Apple, signing up to a contract will be the best way to spread the load, but it is far from cheap. If it is an 18 or 24 month contract, find out if it is possible to downgrade after 12 months, as many providers allow you to lower your minutes/internet usage tariff after the first year, but wont necessarily advertise this fact up front. Be careful however, if you downgrade then exceed your usage, the charges can be high.

Below we will look at the main features of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and listed at the bottom of the page are the cheapest deals currently available on the market.

iPhone 4S

This is Apple’s flagship Smartphone, made available in October 2011. It comes in a variety of models, a 16GB, 32GB and 64GB version.

Whilst being the most expensive of the three iPhones, it is well at the forefront of phone technology and should be a strong contender for some time (the heavily delayed iPhone 5 being not expected until late 2012). It is also the first iPhone to provide a Blackberry type messenger service (it is as yet unknown as to whether the previous iPhone will be able to run this app) and features a dual core processor similar to the iPad 2.

Main features of the iPhone 4S

  • Available in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB in either white or black
  • Powered by the new dual-core 1Ghz A5 chip, which is claimed to provide two times more power and seven times more graphic performance than the iPhone 4, running Apple IOS 5.
  • 3.5-inch 960×640 screen with Retina Display.
  • Upgraded 8-megapixel camera, back illuminated (so works well in low light conditions), capable of shooting 1080p video.
  • A front facing camera, for using video calling via the FaceTime application
  • Advanced voice recognition control technology ‘Siri’, enabling you to ask questions to your iPhone such as ‘what’s the weather like today’ and it automatically displaying the latest weather in your area.
  • Download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps
  • Airplay Mirroring (wireless connectivity to your TV allowing your screen to mirror that of your iPhone – ideal for gaming)
  • 8 Hours of 3G battery life

iPhone 4

Although recently superseded, the iPhone 4 is by all means still a very modern iPhone, and is identical cosmetically to the iPhone 4S. It originally attracted bad publicity due to problems with its antenna, however Apple assured customers that this had been resolved in phones manufactured a few weeks after release.

It is widely renowned as being a superb smartphone and was a huge step forward from the iPhone 3GS.

  • Now available in 8GB model (meaning reduced cost – currently £430 from Apple, or around £40 on contract) as well as 16GB and 32GB, also in white and black.
  • Powered by 1Ghz Apple A4, running Apple IOS 5
  • 3.5 inch 960×640 screen with Retina Display
  • 5 megapixel camera, capable of shooting 720p video
  • A front facing camera, for using video calling via the FaceTime application
  • Download speeds of up to 10Mbps
  • Wireless streaming to Airplay enabled speakers
  • 7 Hours 3G battery life

iPhone 3GS

The main advantage to currently opting for the earlier iPhone 3GS over the iPhone 4 is that most network provides will provide this handset completely free on many of their lower £15 – £20 tariffs, meaning it is a very cost effective way to experience Apple’s Smartphone technology.

  • 8GB, available in black (or white from some retailers, but not direct)
  • Powered by 600Mhz Cortex A8, running Apple IOS 5
  • 3.5 inch 480×320 Capacitive Touch Screen
  • 3 megapixel camera (but no flash, so taking photos in the dark is pretty much out of the question), VGA video capture
  • Video calling not available as no forward facing camera
  • Price direct from apple is currently £320 or free on most networks from around £15 – £20 per month.
  • Download speeds of 7.2Mbps
  • Wireless streaming to AirPlay enabled speakers
  • 5 hours 30 minutes 3G battery life

Which iPhone should I go for?

Carefully analyse the total cost of the handset over the duration of the contract. See if it is possible to downgrade after an initial period, thus saving money for the last 6 – 12 months if you’re not using as many minutes/ MB as you’re paying for.

Be aware that a shorter contract will mean an upfront cost, but the handset will be yours a lot quicker, meaning you change to another networks sooner (if you get the handset unlocked) or simply get a SIM only deal.

Then, ask yourself some questions…

  • Do you really need the latest model? If you can afford to wait, the iPhone 4 may soon become superseded and so rapidly fall in price, particularly as competitors catch up with technology and better tariffs. If an iPhone 3GS provides enough functionality and applications as you require, it may well be worth you saving and waiting.
  • Do you need a new iPhone? Countless second hand units exist on online auction sites in addition to the second-user refurbished handsets available from your service provider. Make sure the handset, if bought from a network, comes with a good warranty period though.
  • Conversely, if bought from a website such as eBay, check to see the handset will run on a standard SIM-only tariff (otherwise you will need to get the handset unlocked, thus incurring further cost).

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