iPhone 5 Buying Decisions: 10 Things to Consider Before Making a Deal

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-12-04

iPhone 5 Buying Decisions: 10 Things to Consider Before Making a Deal

Apple’s iPhone 5 is the most popular smartphone on store shelves right now. The device comes with a 4-inch display, 4G LTE support, and software in iOS that most people really like.

Although the iPhone 5 is facing stiff competition from companies like Samsung and Motorola, analysts agree that Apple is selling more units of the handset than any other single model from competing smartphone makers.

Until recently, the iPhone 5 was so popular that customers who purchased it needed to wait several weeks for the device to be shipped to them. Now, though, the device is available within a few days, making it more likely that consumers will head to stores to pick one up. But before they do, they should consider a number of factors. The iPhone 5 is a great product, but it shouldn’t be a snap decision for any particular customer to buy one.

Read on to find out about the different factors customers should consider before they decide to buy Apple’s iPhone 5. Remember: expediency isn’t always the best idea.

1. It’s a bit pricey

The iPhone 5 is one of the more expensive smartphones on the market. Customers who want to buy the 16GB model will be set back $199 with a two-year agreement. The 32GB option costs $299, while the 64GB model goes for $399. Those who don’t want to pay that much should look closely at alternative devices.

2. Is iOS the right operating system?

Apple’s iOS is a difficult operating system to handicap. The software’s ease-of-use makes it a top option for those who don’t want to deal with a lot of bells and whistles. Advanced users, however, will find more features in Android, including multi-user support and near-field communication. Deciding whether a more-advanced operating system makes more sense is always a prerequisite to buying the iPhone 5.

3. Storage capacity matters

Those who have already decided that they want an iPhone 5 will then need to figure out how much storage they need. For some folks, 16GB is just fine. For others, bumping storage up to 32GB or 64GB is required. In most cases, it’s best to stick with the 32GB or 64GB options, since they future-proof users who download a lot of videos. Don’t forget: storage size really matters.

4. How important is 4G LTE?

Is Apple’s integration of 4G LTE all that important? If so, then opting for the iPhone 5 is a must. However, for those who aren’t in areas where LTE is available or unnecessary, it might be a good idea to consider the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. Those devices are cheaper and work fine without access to a 4G LTE network.

iPhone 5 Buying Decisions: 10 Things to Consider Before Making a Deal

5. Don’t forget the Samsung Galaxy S III

Whenever one considers the iPhone 5, they must realize that the Samsung Galaxy S III is an extremely attractive alternative. That device comes with a bigger screen, a better processor, and more features, like near-field communication. To some customers, the Galaxy S III might just be a better purchase option.

6. Apple’s odd update schedule

Apple has been following a rather odd update schedule lately. Apple introduced the third generation iPad in March 2012. Just a few months later Apple released the fourth-generation iPad in November. So far, Apple has stuck to a predictable iPhone launch schedule. But waiting until the spring of 2013 to pick up a new handset might not be a good idea. After all, if Apple launches a new iPhone next summer or fall, as expected, it might be a good idea to wait for its latest product. Those who want to buy now, on the other hand, should go with the iPhone 5 and not wait for the next device. Timing is everything with Apple products.

7. Upgrade eligibility

As noted, Apple’s iPhone 5 starts at $199. However, that pricing is only available to those who are eligible to sign up for a new two-year contract with a carrier. So, before buying the iPhone 5, customers should make sure they’re eligible for an upgrade. If not, they’ll be forced to pay hundreds of dollars more.

8. Fear the break

It’s believed that the iPhone 5 comes with Gorilla Glass 2 technology, limiting the chances of it shattering when it falls. The device also has an aluminum backing to safeguard it in a fall. However, the iPhone 5 isn’t invulnerable and can be broken after one too many damaging experiences. And when that happens, customers need to either buy a new iPhone 5–at the unsubsidized price–or pay Apple hundreds to fix it. In other words, think seriously about iPhone 5 damage costs.

9. Does work support it?

The iPhone is entering the corporate world at a rapid rate. And in many cases, companies are allowing employees to bring their devices into the office. Before buying an iPhone 5, it might be a good idea to speak with your IT decision-maker and see if the device is supported in the office. If so, bring it in and use it.

10. Think seriously about the design

Apple’s iPhone 5 has a different design than what was found in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The device is both taller and thinner, making it slightly more difficult to use with a single hand. It’s also important to remember that the device has a headphone jack on the bottom, making it somewhat odd to pack in your pocket when listening to music with ear buds. Is the iPhone 5 design bad? Not a chance. But it does have some compromises that can’t be overlooked.

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