iPhone 4S Review and Best Plans1

The entry level iPhone 4s is 2 years old but can still teach rivals a thing or two about style and quality. See below for reviews, specifications and the latest pricing for the iPhone 4s.

Compare Apple iPhone 4S deals in Australia

Here's a list of all the top Apple iPhone 4S deals we recommend in Australia. These are handpicked based on quality of the network, what you get in with the plan, and of course, value for money.

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Carrier & Plan What you get What you pay
Apple iPhone 4S

$5 a month after your
$5 handset credit+

Optus

$ 35 Optus My Plan

Unlimited standard text and MMS to Australian Mobiles. Optus Mobile Fair GoTM Policy applies.

300 min

500 MB

24 months

Free delivery for online orders

All for use within Australia. Cost of 1MB included data is $0.03

$40 / month
$5 handset + $35 plan

Min. Total Cost $960
over 24 months

Apple iPhone 4S

$0 a month after your
$10 handset credit+

Optus

$ 50 Optus My Plan

Unlimited standard text and MMS to Australian Mobiles. Optus Mobile Fair GoTM Policy applies.

600 min

1 GB

24 months

Free delivery for online orders

All for use within Australia. Cost of 1MB included data is $0.02

$50 / month
$0 handset + $50 plan

Min. Total Cost $1,200
over 24 months

Apple iPhone 4S

$0 a month after your
$10 handset credit+

Optus

$ 60 Optus My Plan

Unlimited standard text and MMS to Australian Mobiles. Optus Mobile Fair GoTM Policy applies.

Unlimited

2 GB

24 months

Free delivery for online orders

All for use within Australia. Cost of 1MB included data is $0.01

$60 / month
$0 handset + $60 plan

Min. Total Cost $1,440
over 24 months

Apple iPhone 4S

$0 a month after your
$20 handset credit+

Optus

$ 80 Optus My Plan

Unlimited standard text and MMS to Australian Mobiles. Optus Mobile Fair GoTM Policy applies.

Unlimited

5 GB

24 months

Bonus 2GB data

All for use within Australia. Cost of 1MB included data is $0.01

$80 / month
$0 handset + $80 plan

Min. Total Cost $1,920
over 24 months

Apple iPhone 4S

$0 a month after your
$20 handset credit+

Optus

$ 100 Optus My Plan

Unlimited standard text and MMS to Australian Mobiles. Optus Mobile Fair GoTM Policy applies.

Unlimited

8 GB

24 months

Bonus 3GB data

All for use within Australia. Cost of 1MB included data is $0.01

$100 / month
$0 handset + $100 plan

Min. Total Cost $2,400
over 24 months

Where to find Apple iPhone 4S deals

There are many plans for the Apple iPhone 4S out there, but below are the ones and a good place to start your search. Good luck!

Why get the Apple iPhone 4S?

The Apple iPhone. For the last 7 years it's been the benchmark for all smartphones. Alone it accounts for more than 50% of phone sales in Australia. The 4S is current entry level iPhone. Adequate camera. Adequate video. Siri to talk to and iCloud services to store your stuff. If you're on a budget and you love the Apple brand then the iPhone 4s is the one for you. 

What's good
Cheapest new iPhone
Camera still pretty good
Useful and fun voice assistant
Huge app selection
What's not so good
Smaller screen than Androids
Fragile when dropped
Lacks widgets
Fastest speed is 3G
ProcessorA5 Dual Core 1GHz
Memory8 GB
Camera8 MP
Video1080 x 30 FPS
OSiOS7
Dimensions115.2 mm x 58.6 mm x 9.3 mm
Weight140 g
Network Support2G / 3G
Screen Size3.5 inches
Screen Resolution640 x 960 pixels
SIM TypeMicro SIM

Apple iPhone 4S – Review

First, a quick summary

 

Pros of the iPhone 4s

  • Valid entry level option iPhone for Apple lovers on a budget
  • Adequate everything, camera, phone features, battery

Cons

  • 3G is the fastest speed it’s capable of
  • 3 year old technology
  • Screen is squintingly small
  • Easily marked chassis & easily broken screen

Many of us thought we’d get our hands on an iPhone 5 back in 2011, but it didn’t happen, instead we got the iPhone 4S – “the most amazing iPhone yet” according to the folks at Apple. It’s 3 years on now and the iPhone 4s is very much the entry level Apple phone. Below, we critique the good and the bad of the phone and do a quick comparison with equivalent Android phones.

 

The 4s still looks good

Apple are great at design. Even 3 years on, this is a beautifully crafted device, designed with clear purpose. It still looks modern and sophisticated, Trolls don’t get it, and feel that every phone must have the specs of the latest pc and a ridiculously big screen. Not to mention an operating system with 20 thousand features and spaceship type settings.

Simply put, the iPhone 4S is designed around the user and not for the sake of technology. The components are there to achieve an elegant form factor and power an excellent – not to mention beautiful – user interface. And the iPhone 4s delivers on every element of that. Aesthetically, it looks and feels good (although the edges don’t curve which made it uncomfortable to hold for extended periods on the phone.) The weight is just right.

They’ve cracked the ariel problem they had with the phone that preceeded the 4s. I talked on the phone ( with a headset mind you ) all the way in to the Whatphone offices – the drive takes an hour – and there were no drop outs. Obviously, the network operator’s signal strength has a lot to do with this but, having made the same drive, talking on other products and experienced problems, I felt confident the whole time with the iPhones.

 

Apple does battery, basics & setup well – mostly

Similarly, the battery life was, in my opinion, good. With moderate usage during the day, including an hour’s radio streaming, I found the battery consistently outlasted the day.

The keyboard was not notably different by appearance from it’s Android equivalents but it was far more effective than the equivalent Android products I’ve tested over the last few months. I experienced fewer typing errors, even in portrait usage than on any other device.

On top of the feel of the hardware and software, set up using iCloud ( more on this below ) was slick – it transferred a bunch of my stuff – music I’d downloaded, contacts, etc – over seamlessly and I didn’t have to think.

That said, what the heck Apple are doing requiring me to insert a pin in to the side of the device in order to be able to get a micro SIM in, I don’t know. They’re supposed to be the best in the world at user experience! If they think fishing around in the bottom of my kitchen drawers looking for something think and sharp is a good experience, they want to think again!

 

iOS 7.0 is just brilliant

This is Apple’s mobile operating system and it’s just brilliant. It works the way you expect it and it does what you need without complicated settings or unnecessary stuff you don’t need. Even the entry level iPhone runs Apple’s latest iOS software, 7.0. Most people have a familiarity with Apple products now and the User Interface is pretty consistent across them which is a bonus. Unless you’ve been locked away for the last 10 years in a tall tower, or, perhaps worse, a dark dungeon in Germany, you can pick the iPhone 4/ 4S up and use it straight away.

In itself, the interface is great. It’s reliable. It’s simple to use and effective. It doesn’t have the same ‘first version glitches’ that some of the newer Android devices’ OS ( Operating Systems ) do. You cantell Apple had worked through some product iterations. It’s suave, mature and smooth.

 

You might as well give your digital camera away

I’m not exaggerating in saying that you might as well give your digital camera away. Well, that’s unless you are an SLR freak with a neat kit. The iPhone 4S comes with an 8 megapixel camera and some fine optics which essentially means you can take quality photos that look great both on screen and print. I’ve never thought much of cameras on phones and found them ok enough for semi decent snapshots, but the camera on the iPhone 4S is pretty impressive and delivers sharp and vivid photos in all kinds of light conditions.

Once taken (easy point and shoot type approach), your photos are easy to share, store safely on iCloud, and of course – every app imaginable to edit and do all kinds of things. The 4 S records 1080 at 30 frames per second, the 4 720 also 30 frames per second. The difference is more than noticeable. If you do either of these things, the 4S is the one for you.

 

Apps are a strength of the Apple platform

This is pure awesomeness- highly entertaining and practical. You have a great choice of apps for work, play and everything in between. Ok, I pinched that from bit from an Apple ad but the point is that it can make wasting time more enjoyable and/or help you become very efficient and disciplined in a whole lot of things.

There are apps in pretty much every category: photography, games, business, travel, fitness, news, entertainment, education music and the list goes on.

The Apple app store is arguably the best when it comes to choice and quality. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of useless apps but there are enough customer reviews and info online to point you to the best ones. Not to mention Apple’s app store makes it really easy for you to find the apps you like. There are plenty of free apps, and yes, some of them you have to pay for, but with the average price for an app being $1.87 I think they represent great value for money.

 

Installed apps were disappointing

On the software side, the installed apps were lacking. Out of the box, all the Android phones I’ve used have the TuneIn Radio app which I use every day. with this iPhone, I had to download it. I felt short changed. The interaction with the device’s UI ( User Interface ) was slower than I’d been used to. I missed my widgets to tell me the weather and tides on my homescreen.

 

Siri is more fun than useful

Siri is your personal assistant. Using your voice, ask your iPhone to do things like sending messages, scheduling appointments on your calendar, add a reminders etc. This is still in early stages (or beta) but man, this has come a long way. This is not what we use to have on older phones that were supposed to dial numbers on voice command (and never worked), it actually figures out things like what the weather would be like when asking “should I take an umbrella to work today?” type question.

It also has some humorous answers for the smart asses that like to have a go at Siri.

 

Retina display

Apple really made a big thing out of this one. It basically means superior screen quality that makes images look sharp, text crisp and graphics rich. Some of the components are the same you find on iPads and some Apple screens so it’s pretty good. I was a bit skeptic about this one, but must admit I was proven wrong. Everything is sharp, my photos look better than they actually are, and you start seeing other screens (like your computer monitor) as a little inferior. Some other manufacturers have really stepped it up here too, but coming from an iPhone 3Gs this was a big difference.

 

iCloud services

You’ve probably heard about “the cloud” quite a bit lately, but this has really been around for a while. In true Apple fashion, they just made it sexier, fun and more accessible to the average consumer. And then made some TV ads to make it very desirable. Don’t get me wrong, this is great, you can take anything you have on your phone -like photos, music, calendar, contacts documents etc – and store it safely on the web.

You can then access all this stuff from your phone and other devices (of course, iCloud is very much designed for your other apple products like iPads, iMacs etc). So instead of having some photos on your phone, others on your computer, and a big mess that just get annoying – everything just sits on the cloud.

 

Apple’s ‘ecosystem’

For the last couple of years, Apple have shipped around half of all the Smartphones the operators sell. The sheer number of devices in the market creates a bunch of useful stuff ‘surrounding’ the iPhone product itself. Loads of accessories. ( Who, these days, does not have a drawer full of Apple leads and chargers ? ) Brilliant online support and commentaries for any question you might have on any aspect of your interaction with the device. The app store is brilliant. The iTunes store has anything you would want.

 

Compared to equivalent Android phones

Hardware wise, the key thing that struck me when comparing the 4s with it’s android equivanents was the screen. It’s just so small. Against even the Galaxy SII, let alone the Galaxy SIII, the Apple device’s ‘face’ was tiny. The colours on it seemed less vivid than newer screens. Watching films was harder. I had to download an app called oPlayer from the iTunes store – and pay for it – to watch .avi files which the Android devices I’ve reviewed did out of the box – and, by the way, to struggle with figuring out how to transfer them through the restrictive Apple software.

The glass of the 4s’s screen goes all the way to the edge which explains why I’m always noticing other people’s cracked screens. There was no expandable memory slot which exposes people to having to buy an expensive, high end, 32 Gig or 64 Gig model if they think they’re going to be keeping a bunch of content on their products. I was left feeling restricted.

 

Summary

From my point of view, the Apple iPhone 4s has a great set of features, especially considering it’s the entry level device. You don’t get to be the biggest tech company in the world by producing second rate equipment. You don’t pay your CEO more than half a billion dollars US in his first year for lacking vision or delivering a sub standard range. But iPhones are everywhere. That has good bits and bad bits. On the plus side, you know what you’re getting when you buy one. But I have to admit, that, for me, that’s at least part of the problem. They don’t stand out any more. And the ecosystem which supports them and improves the experience for beginners constrains those who have more experience with Smart mobile phones.

On top of that, the screen’s too small now – we’ve got used to bigger. The lack of configurability on the Apple product frustrates next to more flexible Android devices.

Apple iPhone 4S Customer reviews

1
By luis

"Love it"

This phone is great! Yes, it's a bit expensive than the competitors, but you can't compare it!
1
By Cassandra - Canberra

"iPhone 4S to suit any lifestyle"

I absolutely love my iPhone 4S. Having the ease of access to email, music and Safari is a great plus. You can customise your phone with apps to suit your lifestyle.
1
By Jacob

"Best Smartphone in my opinion"

Love the features, incredible choice of apps, great connectivity between ipad and iphone via icloud. Good camera even for video. Battery life can still be an issue. Unfortunately reception is still nowhere near the old Nokia quality, but good enough in urban areas. Overall a winner for me...
1
By Susie - Adelaide

"iPhone rocks - apps are fanatstic"

I can't get enough of the apps.
1
By Tara

"brilliant iphones!"

Look no further, the iPhone is the way to go.
1
By Rik

"The best phone I've ever had"

This is, quite simply, the best phone I've ever had. I love it. It looks great and I spend my whole life using it. I can't imagine life without my iPhone now !
1
By Beno

"Best phone i ever had"

This is the best phone I've ever had
> See more reviews

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Questions about the Apple iPhone 4S

How can I transfer apps from an iPhone 3GS?

Just connect your iPhone 4S to the same itunes as your 3GS or do it through the app store on your 4S

How different is it from the 4?

The form factor is very much the same, but it's faster, comes with a better camera + a front one

Can I make video calls with the iPhone ?

Yes, and they call it Face time :)
> See more questions

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More info about the Apple iPhone 4S

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