Sprint getting iPhone 4S, will I bite?

Summary:As a long-time Sprint customer it thrills me that the carrier will finally get the iPhone. Will I drop my Android phone for the iPhone 4S?

The big Apple iPhone event was understandaby overwhelmed this week, but the new iPhone was laid out in detail. While some felt the iPhone 4S was only an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 4, the new guts of the phone make it an impressive smartphone by any standards.

iPhone 4S specs

  • CPU: Dual-core A5 processor
  • Memory: 16, 32, 64GB options
  • Connectivity: GSM/EVDO, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Display: 3.5 inch Retina Display
  • Camera: 8MP low light
  • Size and weight: 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches; 4.9 ounces

Both the processor and the camera are two nice upgrades, and while a larger display would be nice it's not a requirement for me. There is no question this phone will be very fast, which will come in handy for the Siri Assistant software.

The big news for me was that Sprint will finally be carrying the iPhone. I have been with Sprint for several years, through a Palm Pre, HTC EVO 4G, and currently a Nexus S 4G. The new iPhone lacks 4G of any type, so if I upgrade from my Nexus I will give up 4G connectivity.

Is the iPhone 4S on Sprint worth an upgrade to me? While not definite (I'm too big a geek to rule anything out permanently), my gut feeling is no. The lack of 4G doesn't bother me that much as my home office is still not covered with Sprint 4G (WiMAX). That's a real bummer that Sprint still has not covered my area, and at this stage probably won't. I end up using my Nexus S 4G over 3G or Wi-Fi most of the time, so the lack of 4G on the iPhone wouldn't really impact me much.

I have used a number of 4G phones, both WiMAX and LTE, and while the fast speed is nice it does run through batteries like crazy. I suspect this has something to do with Apple's choosing not to include 4G yet, especially since coverage is not universal yet.

Even though 4G is not a factor, I will likely pass on the Sprint iPhone 4S. It's purely financial, as I don't qualify for an upgrade on Sprint for another year. While the subsidies pricing with a new contract is as expected ($199, $299, $399) for the 16/32/64GB models, the unsubsidized pricing is pretty rich for my blood. As my buddy Matt Miller points out the subsidy is a decent $450. I could live with the 32GB iPhone 4S, but without an upgrade that phone will set me back a cool $749 and that's just not going to happen.

If I qualified for the subsidized pricing I might be tempted, but to tell the truth I am happy with the Nexus S 4G. It's not an easy decision given my addiction to new gadgets, but it's not a significant upgrade over the iPhone 4 to make me jump at all cost. Of course my wife sure likes her iPhone 4 on Verizon...

Related:

Topics: Telcos, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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