The iPhone 5s is now more than a year old, supplanted by the newer iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Apple’s never-ending push to get us to buy the latest and greatest. If you’re in the market for a new iPhone, though, you might want to wait a bit before you rush out and pick up the newest model.
Of course, the new iPhone models have a number of advantages over the year-old iPhone 5s hardware. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have bigger screens with higher resolutions, faster processors, and the ability to use the Apple Pay mobile payment system. They’re pretty great phones, but whether they’re exactly what you need depends on what you’re looking for in an iPhone. If you’ve got to have the newest, shiniest toy on the block, you’ll definitely want to go with one of the newer iPhones. If you’re mainly looking for a digital tool, though, you’ll have some things to consider.
Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better
The biggest thing – no pun – about the new iPhones was the increased screen size for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It marked the first time in three years that Apple changed the screen size on its flagship product, and it was quite a leap. Even the smaller of the two new iPhones’ screens is seven-tenths of an inch larger diagonally than the display on the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 Plus is a full inch and a half larger diagonally.
All that adds up to much bigger screens than the iPhone 5s on both new models, screens that display a ton more content. Of course, that comes at a cost: a much bigger device footprint. If your iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 is currently all the phone your hands can handle, or if one-handed operation is absolutely essential for you, you’ll want to stick with the iPhone 5s when you upgrade, because you’re probably not going to like the increased heft of the newer models.
The smaller size of the iPhone 5 also means that it’s going to fit more comfortably in your pocket, and more safely. The stories about how easy it is to bend the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are a bit overblown – it almost always takes considerable effort, or some seriously tight jeans – but the new iPhones do appear to be much more bendable than their predecessors. That’s an unfortunate result of Apple’s ongoing push to make each iPhone thinner than the one that came before. The iPhone 5s, though, is a tough device, and likely much tougher than whatever pressures your skinny jeans can exert on it.
The iPhone 5s Still Has Some Fight Left In It
Again, the iPhone 5s is only a year old. It’s not exactly a dinosaur. That A7 processor is still fresh enough to run not only Apple’s iOS 8, but also most of the games that are out in the App Store. You can run a truly graphics intensive title like XCOM on the iPhone 5s with no problems aside from a lengthy initial loading time, so that should tell you just about all you need to know about the iPhone 5s’ processing power.
What’s more, the iPhone 5s will likely stay capable of running the most popular games for some time to come. Have no fear that your 5s won’t be able to run the latest version of Clash of Clans or the Kim Kardashian game; developers for those apps are always going to keep older iPhone models in mind. If you’ve just got to run the latest, most graphics intensive titles, though, you’ll want to pick up one of the newer iPhones.
The long-short of it is this: the iPhone 5s is going to stay capable of running the newest version of iOS and the most popular apps and games for at least another year, at which point the 5s will probably start to show its age. Were you to pick one up today, you’d get a solid and serviceable smartphone that will stay serviceable through your whole contract, which brings us to the next point.
The Price Is Definitely Right
Right now, you can pick up a 16GB iPhone 5s from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon for just $99 on contract or $549 unlocked, with the 32GB model going for just $50 more. If you want to grab a newer iPhone model, it’s going to cost you at least $100 more. The iPhone 6 starts at $199 on-contract, while the iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 on contract.
Think of that extra hundred or two hundred bucks as money you could spend on a great case for your new iPhone 5s, or money you could spend on any number of apps that will run on your new iPhone. Better still, you could stick it away until next year when the new iPhones come out, when, of course, you’d buy the now-lower priced iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
[Lead image via YouTube user TechSmartt.]