A week of massive launches - and iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S
As smartphones use more data, networks continue to slash inclusive data

Do we even need to say what this week's big news is? Is there any chance you've missed so much as a single chance to rest your eyes on the hot new technology the world is screaming for? Yes, the AMD FX-8150 is finally out, with hot multithreading action, terrific overclocking potential, and a sleek look that we can only describe as sexy.

Also, Apple released the iPhone 4S. It's quite good.

Beyond the hottest processor ever to get three stars and be waved away with little more than a 'meh', it's an important week for mobile fans everywhere.

On the Apple side, we've seen the launch of iOS 5 and iCloud, to say nothing of the brand new HTC Titan for all three Windows Phone fans out there.

The only side missing is Android, which was due to have an event promoting Ice Cream Sandwich this week, but decided to postpone, most likely to stop the adulation over the AMD FX-8150 stealing any of its thunder.

Cost continues to be the dark cloud over all of these great phones though, not helped by the fact that 24 month contracts are now the standard - as seen in our iPhone 4S tariff guide. If you want one for free, you're looking at pledging over £45 a month for two years of desperately hoping you don't drop it in the toilet.

Networks offer less inclusive data

More worryingly, as much as these phones are built around being able to mainline data - tools like Siri especially - we're now getting far less of it thrown in. 250MB here, 500MB there... a far cry from the unlimited data packages of old.

At this point, there's little sense not just biting the bullet and buying an iPhone 4S outright. That way you get it unlocked and can switch to a PAYG deal that includes data, and doesn't leave you with several hundred unused minutes a month if you just want to check your e-mail and ask Siri who directed Gremlins 2. (Joe Dante, to save her a little effort. No, you're welcome. And remember to buy milk).

It's well worth shopping around for even better savings, not all of which involve leaving the telephone giants. Giffgaff for instance, which puts on an indie air but is actually an O2 company, offers the option for unlimited data and texts, plus 250 minutes, for £10 a month.

O2 proper? On its well publicised Simplicity offering, you're looking at £16.50 for a few more minutes, but just 500MB of data. The word is "Hmmm..."

Whether you're upgrading now or have it to come soon, now is a good time to install a few stats programs (if possible) or start making note of how much you actually use your phone, and making sure you're not paying over the odds when upgrade time comes.

It could well be that you're on exactly the right contract, and if so, hurrah! The odds are though that what you picked some 18-24 months ago may not mesh with how you currently use your device, and it's well worth knowing before negotiation time exactly how many minutes, texts and MB of data you're using instead of working on the more traditional "I reckon" scale.

As for us, we're heading down to the TechRadar postroom for the fifth time in as many sentences to see if our crate of iPhone 4Ss has finally arrived.

Siri, finish this Week In Tech for us. There's a good AI.


The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.