Apple iPhone 4S, 4, and 3GS versus Android

Oct 4, 2011
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Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 4S during its Let’s Talk iPhone event today, now giving us three models to choose from at three distinct price points. With new two-year contracts, the iPhone 3GS is free, the iPhone 4 is $99, and the iPhone 4S ranges from $199 to $399 depending on storage capacity of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB. With plenty of variety and competition from Android, let’s take a look at some iPhone alternatives in these three tiers.

The iPhone 4S has turned out not to be the dramatic iPhone 5 revamp as most had hoped. However, it does feature a more powerful A5 dual-core processor, said to be twice as fast as the previous CPU with 7 times faster graphics. It also has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera that boasts speedy snapshots, which Apple touted as being faster than rivals HTC Sensation, Droid Bionic and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is certainly the top alternative to the iPhone 4S at the moment and it’s heading to T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint priced about the same as the 16GB iPhone 4S at $199. The Samsung device also rocks a dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a better 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It also features a larger 4.3 to 4.52-inch display (depending on carrier), thinner and lighter chassis, and is NFC-equipped. Apple’s iPhone 4S has disappointingly stayed with the 3.5-inch display, no NFC chip, and no 4G support.

Make sure to check out iPhone 4S vs Galaxy S II vs HTC Sensation vs DROID BIONIC vs G2x for a more in depth comparison of the iPhone 4S and rivals in its tier.

The iPhone 4 at $99 has a bunch more similarly priced Android alternatives and in this category the hardware comparisons leaves the handset looking rather mediocre. For instance, with the same $99 you can get AT&T’s LG Thrill 4G with far superior specs, including a faster dual-core processor, larger 4.3-inch display, and even a dual-array of 5-megapixel cameras capable of 3D video and still capture, if you’re into that kind of thing. Other $99 alternatives include the HTC Inspire 4G, Samsung Infuse 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy S.

As for the free iPhone 3GS, its in a pool with Android contenders such as Verizon’s Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, T-Mobile’s HTC Wildfire S, and AT&T’s Pantech Crossover. None in this category are particularly appealing, although the Xperia Play does offer unique slide-out gaming controls, but hey they’re free and the choice ultimately becomes a platform preference.

So which iPhone alternatives would you recommend? Let us know your buying tips in the comments!


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