Author Topic: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?  (Read 13431 times)

waltworks

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Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« on: January 19, 2015, 09:40:47 PM »
Help out a luddite, folks. Facepunching welcome if needed. I've put off getting a pocket computer/smartphone for... until now. I'm foolishly proud of not having one.

But family obligations mean that not being able to easily look at the family calendar (online) and my flip phone's inability to receive texts on time mean that it's finally time to bite the bullet, as the lack of smartphone is causing me enough problems that my 50-cents-on-ebay motorola probably isn't worth it (people get amazingly annoyed when I tell them I can't use google maps to find their house and they have to give me actual directions... and I don't blame them).

Our terrible mobile contract is up, so I'm taking the whole family over to Ting. Eveyone else is on an iPhone of one sort or another and a lot of the shared stuff (calendars) is easiest done via Apple so I'm going to be just like every other hipster and go with that.

Ting's secondhand phone pimps (Glyde) sell a refurb'd Iphone 4 for $100. They sell a 5 of some kind for about $200.

If my priority is to be able to interact with my family as needed, do I need to get the 5? Will I regret getting the 4 in a year when it's even more obsolete? Keep in mind, I don't *think* I'll spend my time surfing the web, sending nude snapchats, or otherwise doing the usual dicking around that people do. I have been wrong about my own virtuous nature before, though, maybe I'll be a phone zombie too.

I don't care about taking pictures.
I don't care about any social media and don't have any social media accounts.
I send maybe a couple texts a day.
I talk on the phone a decent amount with customers and tend to forget to charge my phone (I'm aware this will have to change).
I don't watch movies or TV.
I am in WiFi range 99% of the time but when I'm not it's when I'm transporting the kids somewhere and seemingly often that's when I need to make/receive calls.

So, for $100, would you take the 4 or the 5? Why? Any other tips for a smartphone noob?

Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to help me out.

-W

caliq

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 09:47:25 PM »
I think the iphone 4 had issues with the iOS update that came out when they dropped the 6 (iOS 8?).  I would check into that, but other than that I can't see a reason to spend more for a 5 over a 4.  I have a 5S and have no issues with any of the usage you need it for, but this is my first iphone so I don't know how it compares to a 4.

CDP45

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 10:31:08 PM »
Get the 5c, it should have a newer battery, same or better hardware as the 5. Buy used on Amazon from a highly rated seller with more than 100 good reviews , because Amazon has 30 day return policy, glyde is only like 24 hrs (I love selling on glyde). Must be a sprint iPhone to work with ting which is an amazing service. You'll regret getting a 4, you won't regret a 5c or 5s.

The iphone is a powerful tool that will more than pay for its cost in the time you save.

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 11:37:18 PM »
I certainly think personal technology can be worth paying up for, as I've seen previously on this board. The important thing is knowing that you can't pay up for everything, or you're by definition not Mustachian. Apple products are the one area of my life that I (as well as arebelspy) pay up for. For MMM, it's good organic food.

For me, having a good user experience and design on products that I use every day is quite important. And Apple products last for a long time too, and are supported well by the company.

I think that as of now, I would not advise anyone to get any Apple phone older than the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5 (or iPhone 5c, which is exactly the same thing, but with different industrial design) will do as well.

If you can't afford a newer iPhone, I wouldn't go with Apple at all, and would instead get a low-end Android. Personally, I would (and have) given up many other things rather than not have Apple products. But it's a different decision for different people.

You have to make the decision for yourself.

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 11:44:45 PM »
Great feedback, everyone. I'll get a 5/5c on Amazon (hey, 6% off, I'll go buy a gift card or two with my Amex Blue card at the grocery store).

-W

eljay

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 11:47:01 PM »
I'd get the iPhone 5.

I just replaced the iPhone 4 I'd had for 3 1/2 years. I'm not a huge phone user but the following issues were making it no good for me:
- Poor battery life - needed to be charged every day - more often if you actually talked on it (I'd read battery optimization articles etc. to no avail).
- It was poor at picking up data signal - I live in a semi-rural area - might not be a problem if you're in a city
- Camera sucked (not one of your criteria)

Eljay

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 12:08:07 AM »
Yeah, the iPhone 4 already doesn't run the latest iOS, and it won't be long before most apps require iOS 8. Also older versions of iOS may not get the security updates the newer ones get.

Get the 5 :)

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 02:44:21 AM »
How about getting the 4 now, and the 5 when it's $100? Then sell the 4 or keep it as a backup. You're out the same $200 (less if you sell the 4).

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 04:42:11 AM »
How about getting the 4 now, and the 5 when it's $100? Then sell the 4 or keep it as a backup. You're out the same $200 (less if you sell the 4).

And you have to live for one year with a very subpar user experience. Maybe that's worth it to you. Maybe it isn't. But it's not just a free roll.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 06:54:03 AM »
I have the 4. It works. I can play on the internet, apps, text, and make phone calls.  I wouldn't pay more for something different that does basically the same thing. No siri on it, but I've never seen a need to have my phone talk to me.

If I play on the internet all day, it needs to be charged daily. Otherwise, ever 2-3 days is plenty.

Zombie Burger

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 07:45:43 AM »
While the iPhone 5/5c is a good phone, keep in mind it's over 2 years old already. It's also the last 32-bit phone Apple ever shipped - an architecture I'm sure they'd like to drop like a hot potato. I would not expect more than another 2 years or so worth of updates for it. Just something to be aware of, but not the end of the world. Lots of Android phones do just fine without any regular updates at all.

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 08:50:47 AM »
While the iPhone 5/5c is a good phone, keep in mind it's over 2 years old already. It's also the last 32-bit phone Apple ever shipped - an architecture I'm sure they'd like to drop like a hot potato. I would not expect more than another 2 years or so worth of updates for it. Just something to be aware of, but not the end of the world. Lots of Android phones do just fine without any regular updates at all.

As I said, the iPhone 5s is really what I would recommend as the bare minimum. The A7 and TouchID are no joke. I would neither recommend nor advocate against the 5/5c now. I would activate discourage anyone buying a 4s or earlier phone. If they were going to do that, they should just go with Android instead.

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 09:06:02 AM »
The A7 and TouchID are no joke.

I'm sorry, but I can't pass this comment up. TouchID, like all fingerprint biometrics, will always be a joke.

If someone really wants access to your phone, they're eventually going to get it. Using fingerprint biometrics as your device security instead of a passphrase (especially on a device that people want to use for email access and banking) is basically putting up a giant "STEAL MY PHONE AND ROB ME BLIND" sign on your back for anyone to see. Granted, security is imperfect at best, but biometrics isn't the magical panacea that the industry wants you to think it is.

Angie55

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 09:14:08 AM »
I have the 4S and it works pretty well. Thought it would be terribly slow when I finally upgraded to new iOS but I think it made it faster.

DH has a 4 and it is slowly dying. Phone will turn off at various random battery percentages with no warning and will not work again until it is plugged in. Text messages take forever to send. And just today it started telling the wrong time. I still don't understand that one.....

I would not get a 4. 4S maybe. For us I would say 5 or higher but I don't want to have to carry 2 different charging cords.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2015, 09:20:22 AM »
While the iPhone 5/5c is a good phone, keep in mind it's over 2 years old already. It's also the last 32-bit phone Apple ever shipped - an architecture I'm sure they'd like to drop like a hot potato. I would not expect more than another 2 years or so worth of updates for it. Just something to be aware of, but not the end of the world. Lots of Android phones do just fine without any regular updates at all.

As I said, the iPhone 5s is really what I would recommend as the bare minimum. The A7 and TouchID are no joke.

He literally just wants to make texts and calls... How is a 5s a "must"?

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2015, 09:29:32 AM »
He literally just wants to make texts and calls... How is a 5s a "must"?

Because planned obsolescence, a more powerful processor and biometric security are "no joke".
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 09:32:32 AM by I.P. Daley »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2015, 09:29:52 AM »


DH has a 4 and it is slowly dying. Phone will turn off at various random battery percentages with no warning and will not work again until it is plugged in. Text messages take forever to send. And just today it started telling the wrong time. I still don't understand that one.....



How long has he had the 4 though?  The OP would be getting a -new- 4, not a used one, right?

(Edit: Never mind, I see it is a refurb. I want to be the original owner of my phone, personally, so that would change my decision. When I got the 4 a year ago, it was well out of date, but it was still new.)

4alpacas

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2015, 01:57:52 PM »
Wow!  I made an unmustachian choice when I jumped into the smart phone/data plan options a few years ago.  I purchased the 4S.  I still use the 4S.  It's completely functional with the new iOS.  My DH has had the 5, 5S, and now the 6 (all phones through work).  My phone is great.  My battery life is better than my DH's 5 and 5S.  It's smaller.  I will admit the slow-motion video feature is awesome, but I would never use it. 

For what it's worth, I like having an iPhone for iMessaging instead of texing (cheaper with my Ting plan, allows WiFi imessaging).  When my iPhone dies, I will probably stick with an Apple...but a very old, "obsolete" iPhone that I can buy for a huge discount.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2015, 02:12:59 PM »
*Checks to see which forum he's posting on*

The iPhone 4 used to be THE flagship phone. Yes, that was years ago.

It could have battery issues that a new phone wouldn't have. $15 or so and you've got a new battery. If it's a proper refurb, that should be taken care of already.

If someone had an iPhone 4s and was looking to upgrade, I'd wholeheartedly agree that he/she should NOT get the 4. It'd be a downgrade, most definitely! But coming from NO smartphone, the OP is going to be amazed by the fact there's a touch screen, and icons, and color, and IT CAN TAKE PICTURES AND POST TO FACEBOOK OMG OMG!!!!

I'll admit I don't know much about iPhones (had the original, played with a 3GS, that's about it). Does the iPhone 4 really run such an outdated version of iOS that it can't run most/all of the popular apps out there? I have an android phone that still runs Gingerbread. I can't get some google apps on it (but I can find older versions, or third-party versions that work fine, a.k.a. Calendar). Everything else I need works (Facebook, Goodbudget, OurGroceries, Viber, etc.). Now, the phone I have that's stuck on Froyo, that's another story. Last year when I was setting it up, I had about a 70% success rate finding apps I needed, and a few didn't work quite 100% (I'm looking at you, Viber). Still, for a phone that was 4 years old and was abandoned before the GB update (that would literally have taken care of all my app problems), that wasn't too bad.

I'd love to recommend the Moto G phone. $100 or less on eBay (eBay says you can have one for the Sprint network for $79 or less; do your own research because I haven't). I think it was just updated to Lollipop. If everyone else in the family is using iPhones, I'd probably get one too. Android would be my second choice (lots of app cross-compatibility between iOS and Android).

neo von retorch

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2015, 02:28:54 PM »
Great feedback, everyone. I'll get a 5/5c on Amazon (hey, 6% off, I'll go buy a gift card or two with my Amex Blue card at the grocery store).

-W

Cannot tell - is it sarcasm?! From what I can tell, these are $400+ phones. I do not understand why. As @NumberJohnny5 mentioned, the Moto G ($180 brand spankin' new) has all the hardware (except the previously debunked fingerprint scanner and overpriced A7 processor) as an iPhone... a beautiful screen, amazing computer in a pocket abilities and can read online calendars. Is your family's online calendar proprietary (i.e. locked to Apple devices?!)

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2015, 02:35:52 PM »
I am seeing them for <$200 on Amazon.

All of my extended and immediate family are on iOS devices. I'm already aware of several things that are harder to deal with if I wanted to be the odd man out, and I'd lose the wife/sister free tech support too.

-W

Great feedback, everyone. I'll get a 5/5c on Amazon (hey, 6% off, I'll go buy a gift card or two with my Amex Blue card at the grocery store).

-W

Cannot tell - is it sarcasm?! From what I can tell, these are $400+ phones. I do not understand why. As @NumberJohnny5 mentioned, the Moto G ($180 brand spankin' new) has all the hardware (except the previously debunked fingerprint scanner and overpriced A7 processor) as an iPhone... a beautiful screen, amazing computer in a pocket abilities and can read online calendars. Is your family's online calendar proprietary (i.e. locked to Apple devices?!)

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2015, 02:48:06 PM »
All of my extended and immediate family are on iOS devices. I'm already aware of several things that are harder to deal with if I wanted to be the odd man out, and I'd lose the wife/sister free tech support too.

This doesn't sound like a purchase based on needs so much as one built upon peer pressure and proprietary platform lock-in.



Does the iPhone 4 really run such an outdated version of iOS that it can't run most/all of the popular apps out there?

Yes, it no longer receives security patches or OS updates. Planned obsolescence, just like the rest of the fargin' iOS line.

*Checks to see which forum he's posting on*

You and me both.

I think it's time to go outside for a while.

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2015, 02:56:17 PM »
As I said, I am facepunch-positive. What would you get in my shoes?

-W

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2015, 03:31:42 PM »
What would you get in my shoes?

What I already have. A $35 used Nokia C3 using either an AT&T or T-Mobile based MVNO (I'm on P'tel Real PAYGO) where I wouldn't spend more than $20/month, and let the iPhone lovers hate. Oh yeah, and I'd pick up a $5 Rand McNally map for your car.

Anyway, have you read the guide yet (and coming from Sprint), or are you just following MMM's one size advice and the subsequent groupthink with the Ting switch?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 03:38:51 PM by I.P. Daley »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2015, 03:39:45 PM »
When I saw the title of this thread, I could just visualize IP Daily at his desk:



I'm impressed by your restraint, sir.


[Modified to be a little less graphic pic. I had originally included the Scanners head explosion gif.]
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 03:45:14 PM by Tetsuya Hondo »

geekette

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2015, 03:55:21 PM »
Non-techies (like me) kinda like something that generally works out of the box.  If the rest of the OP's "ecosystem" (family) uses iPhones, it will be very easy to get things going.  If he has a question, someone will probably know the answer.  Is that worth $65 to $135 extra?  It's up to the OP.

I have an iPhone on a $10/month plan.  For me, it's not status or peer pressure, it's the fact that it works very well for me.  On the rare occasion it doesn't, I don't have the hardware folks pointing fingers at the software folks, and there's ample info online (and off, in the form of friends) for figuring things out. 

iMessage is great for those of us on cheap plans.  I'd say 99% of my texts are free (or if I'm out of the house, nearly so).  TouchID is probably no more/less secure than a password, but it's convenient.

I realize people can choose cheaper phones.  They can also eat cheaper food, buy cheaper clothes, get cheaper cars, etc.  For us, on this site, it's about choices and what you personally find important.

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2015, 04:12:01 PM »
Yeah, I was sort of hoping this wouldn't turn into an apple-sucks vs apple-rules debacle. Suffice to say saving $100-200 over a few years on hardware doesn't matter enough to me that I would trade it for my in-house tech support and pre-existing familiarity with at least the basics of using iOS devices. If I were that concerned about the upfront phone cost I obviously would have posted this with a different title, or just stuck with my 25 cent, 5 year old flip phone.

Yes, IP, I'm sure I could cut down our communications costs further with enough effort and I've read (several versions as time has passed) the Superguide. It's awesome, and it's clear that you LOVE this sort of lifehacking, as do I. I'm not interested in that level of effort here, however, and Ting is cheap enough for us that the law of diminishing returns is kicking in too. I want something that will require minimal futzing around with and stress and will work seamlessly with, as geekette so eloquently put it, my ecosystem, which includes at least a dozen Apple devices just in the house right now, plus what must be hundreds more among my close friends and family.

Yes, that's peer pressure. But they're peers *I chose* and they are generally smart, frugal people. Their collective decision to use Apple stuff means something to me. I also get really sick of hearing anti-Apple rants from Android users, and basically never hear the inverse from Apple people (many of whom are, of course, skinny jean wearing hipster asshats... I won't argue with that). So there's that. 

As for the atlas, no thanks. I  mean, I could just use orienteering gear or dead reckoning and save the $20 the atlas would cost...

-W
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 04:14:25 PM by waltworks »

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2015, 05:17:19 PM »
Does the iPhone 4 really run such an outdated version of iOS that it can't run most/all of the popular apps out there?

Yes, it no longer receives security patches or OS updates. Planned obsolescence, just like the rest of the fargin' iOS line.

What open security bugs are there? Are they actual serious ones, or the "if you hand someone your phone, they can wreak havoc on it" kinds of bugs? Is it vulnerable to the "plugging into a hacked charger" issue?

I couldn't find a list of security issues that were still present on the 4. All I could find is a security patch issued to it February of last year. So I dunno.

I don't expect it to get the latest OS. In fact I'd kinda prefer it didn't. I've heard the iPhones tend to get slower and slower as they get upgraded to newer and newer versions of iOS. I'd prefer they get upgraded once or twice, then just security patches past that point.

Anyways (and yes, I know that's not the correct spelling!). Here's what I recommend, in my personal order.

* Moto G for $79. I won't link to the ebay auction, but I see one with a title of "Motorola Moto G XT1031 *Android* Cell Phone Sprint GOOD TO GREAT 187923" that is $79 free shipping. This runs a recent (possibly the most recent) version of Android. It'll do the majority of what iPhones can do, ESPECIALLY if you're not a power user. The main issue I see is everyone using iMessage and you won't. IF you can get them to install another messaging app (such as Viber), then problem solved.

* iPhone 4s. I see several ebay auctions around the $100 mark. In fact there's one that ends in less than an hour, no bids at $75. Buy it Now is $110. Free shipping. Several under $100. Just be careful, you have to read the description that the seller puts in (which is underneath the ad-text telling you about how awesome the phone is and all the specs, maybe a video which is generic to ALL phones of that type). Look out for "BAD ESN", "Locked", "iCloud Issue/Locked", "Cracked screen", "Not Working", etc. In fact, if it says "iCloud" or "See Description" I immediately skip the listing and don't bother looking at it.

* iPhone 5c. I see them around the $150 range. One particular auction is $155 buy it now with free shipping. It doesn't come with charger, so add $10 or so for that (if you already have a usb charger, just buy a decent iPhone cable for a few bucks).

* iPhone 5s. $200 and up. Be careful because a lot around this price range have issues (not because the 5s is a bad phone, I'm saying a lot in the $200 range have a bad esn, and/or cracked screen, and/or iCloud locked, and/or....). I see one that is $200 plus $9 shipping. Fair condition. Does have dreaded "iCloud" word in description, but it's to say "iCloud has been removed" which is a good thing.

Whatever you get, make sure it's from a reputable seller. Pay using PayPal, and choose to fund using a credit card. Any issues, a reputable seller should make it right. Still have issues? Dispute with ebay and PayPal. STILL have issues? Contact your card company. So far, I've never gone beyond an ebay/PayPal dispute, and even that's rare.

Oh, and of course, if you must have Sprint, search for Sprint in the title. Verizon, Verizon in the title. T-Mobile or AT&T, it could have either in the title and say "Unlocked" and you'll be fine, though you may not get the fastest 4G available (if you're on prepaid, you probably wouldn't anyway).

Now, if it were ME, I would pick a Moto G for Verizon (have to be careful, MOST of them are prepaid models and cannot be activated on anything but a Verizon prepaid plan...this includes NO MVNOs). Check the MEID, make sure it can be activated on Tracfone's BYOP plan. Costs $5-$10 to activate, then $20 per 90 days for 180 minutes, 180 texts, and 180MB data. That's enough for light usage. For an iPhone, I'd pick the iPhone 4s, same plan (anything newer is 4G and takes an LTE sim card from Verizon, which does NOT work with Tracfone's BYOP plan). But shhhhh, don't tell I.P. Daley. He hates anything related to Tracfone, and his reasons aren't completely unwarranted. I'm willing to sacrifice some sanity in exchange for a few bucks.

Jags4186

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2015, 05:58:46 PM »
I upgraded from a 4 to a 5 and then from a 5 to a 6plus when work decided to pay for it instead of me. I highly recommend the 5.

I never had a gripe with the 5 and would still be using it today if it weren't for the free phone.  In fact, my 5 is updated to the latest software and is my car music machine these days.  The 4 was significantly slower, lagged, etc.  I would not recommend getting an iPhone 4 or 4S at the point in time.  Of course it WILL work but to me little things like checking Facebook or scrolling on a webpage shouldn't annoy you.  They will on an iPhone 4.

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2015, 06:47:31 PM »
I've yet to actually weigh in outside of sound-bite quality snippits, but Walt, you've finally posted enough on the situation that I'm going to respond appropriately... especially now that it appears that you haven't already pulled the handle.

There's been a lot of interesting advice across the board thus-far with the whole Android-iPhone arguments. Geekette makes the most sound thus far on general approach.

I will point out that I've never once balked at an iPhone as a tool if it can be justified. Can it in your case? I'm not sure, your reasons thus far are for iCal calendar support, in-house technical support, and GPS... things that aren't exactly unique or even superbly done features on iOS. My chief complaints are the price for what it does, the inability to easily replace or remove the battery, the lack of external storage support, the data usage, the fragility of the device, the lock-in nature of the platform, the deliberate planned obsolescence, and my general problems with the slab-touchscreen-pictogram-no-physical-input user interface that I have with all smartphones. It doesn't mean that they can't be useful tools for some people, but I firmly believe and have witnessed that most people don't buy or use them as such... and when you start approaching things from the toy aspect, none of them are worth the money because they become a liability. I recommend phones like the Nokia C3 because they're cheap, functional, versatile, and tough as nails. I have friends who own Otter box cocooned smartphones and their lives flash before their lives when their precious slips out of their hands. I can throw my phone on the ground and not give a toss. That's peace of mind at a fraction of the cost.

Regarding the iPhone specifically, avoid the 4 (and earlier). It was abandoned with iOS7, which is a pretty big turkey all things. As others have pointed out, the upgrade from iOS7 to iOS8 for the 4S was actually an improvement for performance and usability. IIRC, there's also a couple of unpatched security holes in iOS7.1.2, but I'm not going to root through Secunia right now to prove a point... however, at the rate critical security bugs are found in iOS, I'd rather remain current... but if you're not using a web browser or randomly connecting to WiFi hotspots or online, that does reduce the hole if it goes EOL. If you're willing to stick your neck out accordingly and don't use it in any manner that makes security a true critical point, the 4S is reasonably priced. The only other problem is further compatibility with cloud-based Apple reliance if you go down that road, as a non-supported iOS will eventually lead to some features not working too great down the road, though GPS is GPS and webdav is pretty stable.

The 5 and 5c are already well into overkill territory for your needs, but they'll survive one or two iOS generations longer than the 4S will, which will probably go EOL later this year without being too horrendous price wise. However, I'm not sure if you can justify the price difference, but that's a question you need to ask yourself. Buying anything more than that for your needs is succumbing to the kool-aid and frittering money. A7! Fingerprints! Giant screens! 64bit! *twirls finger* Does it make calls? Can you use Sygic Maps on it? Can you sync the calendar? Them's some pretty low hurdles to jump, and they don't need anything higher than the 4S to achieve.

If you're determined to get a smartphone, I can't make hard financial arguments against the iPhone over an Android device given the usage you actually need and the price of the used market on the end of what will work for you. I can make hard arguments about open standards, greater platform independence, build quality and the like, but at its core, Android sucks just as much as iOS does... and many of the Android phones recommended thus-far, even used and reasonably priced, have the same crummy forced obsolescence issues that the iPhone does. Just because I got my mother a Moto E doesn't mean I'd recommend off the cuff an Android phone that doesn't have a non-user replaceable battery for anyone else. Unfortunately, budget and necessity when coupled with time sometimes creates compromise.

Regarding Ting, for family setups and multiple lines, it can be a frugal option, but they aren't the only ones. I'd only recommend Ting if you're coming from Sprint, or technically even T-Mobile here in a few weeks. If you're coming from Verizon with LTE handsets that are GSM unlocked or AT&T, there's also Consumer Cellular and Ting shortly (again though Ting on the GSM end only if T-Mo coverage is good for you). Ideally, the best, easiest, cheapest, and most environmentally friendly MVNO choice is the one where you don't have to replace any phones and network coverage is mostly what you've already grown to expect. That's really all I have to say on carriers.

Bottom line, get what you need, and don't be afraid to pay for what it costs... no matter the price. I'm still not convinced by you specifically that a smartphone is anything more than a solution to a mostly manufactured problem, but I'm not you and I don't know the whole situation.

Yeah, I was sort of hoping this wouldn't turn into an apple-sucks vs apple-rules debacle.

It is what it is, man. The most ridiculous things in life seem to inspire the greatest furor in the first world.

Metta

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2015, 07:06:24 PM »
Whether it is or isn't, wait until February to buy your phone:  https://ting.com/blog/ting-to-offer-service-on-a-gsm-network/

In February Ting will offer service on either CDMA (Sprint) or GSM (ATT networks, etc.) This opens up lots and lots of phones to you and the greater competition should mean better prices.

If you are too anxious to wait two weeks, Ting has a refurbished iPhone 4S on sale for $129 today and that looks like a deal to me.

gimp

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2015, 07:26:19 PM »
Daily, with due respect, while it is true that the fingerprint scanner can be cracked, it poses a minimum threshold that's better than a weak password.

You and I both know that, well, they're called lusers for a reason. There is no substitute to a strong password, from which the system generates a key (using a known and accepted strong algorithm) which is used to encrypt the entire phone (see above about algorithm). And indeed, there are known and accepted methods to make a strong key from a weak password, which prevents cracking messages remotely. However, weak passwords with local access - especially, say, shared passwords - especially, say, if those shared passwords were downloaded from an alternate source - well, that leads nowhere good.

A fingerprint scanned raises the minimum threshold required to break into the phone. Someone who has their hands on your phone needs to either bypass the scanner (not known to be possible, at least not publicly; I have no knowledge of this), or to fool the scanner. Yes, someone who knew his shit posted a way to fool the scanner very quickly. It can be replicated by someone with knowledge and tools. And access to your fingerprint which needs to be lifted, if I remember correctly.

Ideally, in the half hour or so it takes (at the minimum), someone can notice their phone gone and lock it down remotely.

On average, it's a good thing.

I would also posit that users really, really suck at security, and taking it out of their hands (pun!) with a good implementation will almost always improve the average.

I would also say that finger print + password > password alone. The problem of course is that biometrics make people overconfident with false security, I agree with that. Some people really do think fingerprints are entirely unbreakable, which is of course not true. But it's a hell of a lot better than your dog's name...

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2015, 08:04:42 PM »
I wish people wouldn't attack straw men arguments of my posts without actually reading them or my prior posts in the thread. I specifically said that IF a buyer cares about user experience such that he or she is willing to make the tradeoff of spending more on a phone, which is a very personal decision (and one that some, such as arebelspy and myself make), then getting at least a 5s makes a lot of sense because it is quite a big leap from the 5. I never said that this applies to everyone. Some people like spending more on organic food. Such as MMM himself. I am extremely frugal elsewhere, but I care about the user experience and design of my consumer electronics, such that I am willing to save even more elsewhere to pay up for Apple products. If you don't care, you shouldn't get an iOS device in the first place. There are a lot of cheaper options that are more bang for the buck, if you are literally only calling and texting. But if you are going to get an Apple product, you shouldn't get one that offers a subpar user experience when you can pay a little bit more to get one that offers a great user experience.

And as for Touch ID, security and passwords are only as good as their implementation. Data has shown that after Touch ID was introduced, people on iOS actually started having any security at all! It massively improved people's data security, because previously many people had no passwords at all on their devices. Now they do.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 08:06:30 PM by innerscorecard »

CDP45

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2015, 09:56:21 PM »
I like the 5 and the 5c , though I recommend the 5c because it's a year newer hence a year newer battery life on average, and about the same price maybe even a little cheaper. I just don't think most people will notice the higher performance with the 5s. It's not easy to swap batteries for novice users of electronics, could easily screw that up and disable phone, though there are some reputable reap air shops that will do it for $50, but best to put that money towards a newer model. I just think the 5c is at a nice price point within the offerings. I use mine for work, and the iOS is very intuitive and easy to use, and seemingly very stable. I actually also carry an andriod phone, and it does not play as nice with other systems as my iPhone 5. People are tribal members, and wtf I cant send/receive group texts with andriod?

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2015, 10:00:52 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the great insights. I have a month before the Tmobile contract is up so I will strongly consider non-Apple options and do more research.

Just to clarify, too: I have several other reasons for wanting a smartphone/pocket computer. I didn't feel it was worth mentioning that originally but maybe this will clear things up for folks who want to talk me out of it.

-I need to take lots of relatively decent resolution but not super pro photos of small metal things for my business. My wife's iPhone has proven better at this than my digital SLR from a decade ago (surprise, surprise) and it also saves a ton of time to be able to simply email photos to customers without doing a camera upload. My wife does not like me taking her (clean, new) phone into the metal shop.

-Many of my customers pay me with credit cards and my wife gets very annoyed at me trying to borrow her phone to run them. Sensing a theme here?

-My business is one that relies on word of mouth and as much as I hate it, I'll probably eventually have to start advertising via instagram (of course, once I sign up for it, it won't be cool or popular anymore). I could borrow the wife's phone...

-My 2010 vintage laptop is on it's last legs and while I am not naive enough to think that a smartphone can do everything my laptop can, it would be nice to have a backup internet/computing option for when the old girl finally dies.

-There are some fun things (tracking mileage on my bike rides, angle finder, doing quick metric/SAE conversions or trig without walking out of the shop to my computer) that I could use a smartphone for that wouldn't really use any extra time or brainpower on my part or hopefully make me into another phone zombie.

-W

gimp

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2015, 10:15:20 PM »
Quote
-I need to take lots of relatively decent resolution but not super pro photos of small metal things for my business. My wife's iPhone has proven better at this than my digital SLR from a decade ago (surprise, surprise) and it also saves a ton of time to be able to simply email photos to customers without doing a camera upload. My wife does not like me taking her (clean, new) phone into the metal shop.

As a photographer... well, hobby photographer.

And this is of course only my opinion, and not that of any company I work for.

My dSLR from 2005 takes photos that outclass anything an iphone can ever hope to do. Of course, to be fair, it used to cost $3000 when it was released, and has glass in front that has new-MSRP prices of over a thousand sometimes...

The key to a good photo is not megapixels, it is lighting. If you want to make good photos of small metal things for your business, the proper setup is this.
- One dSLR, of pretty much any vintage. $200 gets you a very capable camera. Example: Canon T3 / 1100D, sold used from Keh, is $250 link From cheaper sources, this can be had for $150 to $200 in good condition.
- One macro lens, preferably in the 90, 100, or 105mm focal length. With crop factor of smaller cheaper dSLR bodies, 60mm will do fine. For example, in the $300 range from Keh again link From cheaper sources, a suitable macro lens can be had for $200 and a great one for $300.
- Lighting. Lighting, lighting, lighting. You will probably want: two manual flashes for $35 each, these are very cheap, not great but cheap amazon link, as well as some softboxes which you can DIY for under $10 or buy for $20 amazon link
- Free software to edit - darktable in my preference

"But wait, isn't this way more expensive than just getting an upgrade to the iphone?"

Well, yes, it is. But you ever look at photos put out by businesses and wonder how they look so good? It's because there's a professional doing the lighting and editing. Frankly, an iphone will be fine with the lights, except it's not really built to control the lights. The camera + macro lens, on the other hand, lets you get in really really close, it gets your image flat (as opposed to the wide-angle distortion from close-ups with any cell phone camera), and it has superior... well, pretty much everything. If you invest into it - time and money, but mostly time - you will get professional results. No cell phone will get you anywhere near what a proper lighting rig will.

The lighting rig is under $100. If you could sync a phone to the flash units, you could do it. Otherwise, about $400 for a barebones dslr and cheap macro lens will be an investment, along with the lights, that will most likely last you a decade and still result (after appropriate editing) in far better product images than a phone ten years from now. (With the caveat that the flash units probably won't live longer than 5 years, if that. They're cheap.)

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2015, 10:23:06 PM »
That's great info!

I'm mostly doing process pictures for customers (ie, here's me cutting this part of your new bike frame on the lathe!) so controlling the setting and posing the part isn't usually necessary.

I think if I wanted really nice photos, I'd need to invest in ME and go take some classes. Equipment is hardly the main problem - I'm a total hack. My goal with the phone isn't really to make the photos I use better - it's just to save me time and hassle.

-W

Hotstreak

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2015, 10:45:26 PM »
For what it's worth, Ting will sell you an HTC Evo 4G refurb for $50.  I've had this phone since it was brand-spanking-new about 5 years ago, and have had zero problems.  This phone has an okay camera (fine for easy work-stuff like you're talking about, not so great for quality family photos & action shots), nice screen, good battery life.


Now that I've dropped it a few dozen times too many, and it's literally falling apart, I think I will replace it with the exact same model.  Will shop around for a better deal of course.

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2015, 11:10:01 PM »
-Many of my customers pay me with credit cards and my wife gets very annoyed at me trying to borrow her phone to run them.

As a guy who's had to deal with security and PCI compliance for CC transactions and POS management, do your customers and yourself a favor: use a stand alone card terminal. If you insist on going the iOS/Android route anyway, make sure the device is used for nothing else and is always kept patched and ideally offline as much as possible except when running transactions. Outlay cost is going to wind up being a wash between the two, most likely, and the stand-alone unit will be far lower maintenance and probably last you a good decade or more.

You've seen what Gimp had to say about photography. He's spot on, but again, if point and shoot is all you need... just remember that the optics on a point and shoot for a phone in a metal shop is probably not going to hold up and last for long. Your wife is right to be wary of that. If you need a camera, it almost might be better to not go dSLR at all but a lower-end Canon or Nikon digital point-and-click with a built-in lens cover and a macro photo mode. Under $50 down at a pawn shop, probably still better pictures than an iPhone.

You should also factor ruggedness and durability given the environment the phone is going to be subjected to. I personally wouldn't want to use a touchscreen anything that's going to be used in a metal shop. IP67 certification only goes so far... and Apple doesn't do that, but to be fair, almost nobody does.

The rest? *shrugs shoulders* That's a value call for the most part, excuse the laptop. Although 2010 can be elderly and decrepit for most consumer laptops, it's nothing for a Thinkpad. I've got a 2008 X61s that's still solid as a rock. If the current laptop is on its way out, it might be better to trade it off before it shuffles off the mortal plane and consider a refurbished Thinkpad T or X series laptop from US Micro sooner than later. An iPhone might work in a pinch for access, but if you need a computer, you need a computer... but this too is assuming you're uninvolved with or willing/able to exit the Apple ecosystem if it's already creeped in on this front.

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2015, 11:11:44 PM »
A smartphone is a great tool. Different people require different tools. It seems like your life would greatly benefit from a smartphone. An iPhone is an especially great smartphone. Many buy it that can't afford it. But if you can afford it (you are willing to make the tradeoff to pay up for it), it is an especially fantastic tool with the best user experience, app ecosystem (it can do a lot more than Android phones because it has better apps), accessory ecosystem, and support from Apple. I've used a lot of Android phones and every day when I use my iPhone, I can see the difference I paid for. For me, it's 100% worth it.

Now it may not be worth it for other people. It's a very personal decision, like how much you spend on good food.

By the way, I have an iPhone 5 that I bought used on eBay for hundreds of dollars less right when the iPhone 5s was released. I plan to keep on using it as long as I can. As I said in a blog post, which I would like to if I were allowed to, I got it repaired extensively and cheaply here in Shanghai so that I could save a lot of money and not have to buy a new one.

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2015, 11:13:18 PM »
A smartphone is a far better camera than a traditional digital camera. It is the camera that you always have with you. That mobility has proven to be far more important in real life than some abstract notion of picture quality. Once smartphone cameras became "good enough" (either the iPhone 4s or iPhone 5, or the Android equivalents), in both hardware and software, digital cameras were rightfully doomed. They were the inferior tool for the job.

Just as it's foolish in life to run with the herd just because it is the herd, it is also foolish to be anachronistic just to be contrarian.

ClaycordJCA

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2015, 01:06:01 AM »
I have a 4s and it is beginning to have issues. So is my wife's. Both need to be recharged  more than once a day. Mine occasionally shuts off with no warning when reaching 20% battery life. I'd spend the extra $100 and get the 5.

innerscorecard

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2015, 01:14:55 AM »
I have a 4s and it is beginning to have issues. So is my wife's. Both need to be recharged  more than once a day. Mine occasionally shuts off with no warning when reaching 20% battery life. I'd spend the extra $100 and get the 5.

You can change the battery. Either yourself with online instructions or have someone else do it for you. In China I can get a new battery, changed for me, for less than $10. Shouldn't be that much more if you buy the battery on eBay and do it yourself.

MayDay

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2015, 05:44:31 AM »
I have to say, having had a smartphone with a good camera and a crummy one (moto g) the difference is amazing. I'm currently using my old phone that got run over by a car (yah be careful which pocket you put your phone in while biking) because the camera is great.

I use it for family pics only. I don't walk around with a digital camera in my pocket, but I always have a phone.

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2015, 10:04:50 AM »
I have to admit I'm confused by advice to buy more standalone stuff to accomplish the things I could accomplish with a smartphone - let me be clear: an iPhone (or modern droid) camera is better than what I am using now for *my level of skill* and my needs. I'm sure with some practice/training and a nice DSLR I could do really, really nice photos. But that's not what I need. I need to shoot halfway decent ones quickly and not have to spend time uploading them. The time savings of using a phone to do this over my existing Canon is probably 20 or 30 hours a year, which means on the order of $3000 worth of my time. Even if I had to replace the phone every 6 months and pay full retail it would be well worth it.

I think mobile depositing checks would save me a ton of time too. I hate going to the bank every week.

I won't go into the CC/security debate except to say that I am satisfied *enough* with the security of using square/paypal/etc and I have carefully analyzed the costs and found them to be much cheaper than standalone credit card processing setups for what I do. And again, I often need to run a CC when I'm not at the shop, so portability is key.

I'm confident I can keep a phone alive in my life. I have a wallet from when I was 7 years old that I still carry, a hand me down iPod for music that lives in the shop that has been there for >5 years, and I've never broken or lost a phone in almost 20 years of having them. Admittedly, flip phones are less fragile, but still. I think I've only had 3 phones in that entire time.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

-W

gimp

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2015, 11:22:37 AM »
Ah, an idea not covered: macro lenses for a smartphone. They're on the order for $30 or so, and get fantastic close-ups if you need them. They just slide right over an iphone.

The dSLR is just "how you do it if you want it perfect" not "how you should do it"; Daily is right that a cheap point-and-shoot camera for $50 would work better and save your cell phone from whatever damage may come from the workshop... but yeah, we understand that the phone has advantages to it. If it's the right tool for you, go for it.

The upgrade is not a terrible deal. If it makes sense, especially if it saves you time as a business, go for it. We are spoiled for choice; there are a lot of phones that would work well for you, so there's no need to have an iphone vs android debate, it's as stupid as mac vs pc; whatever works for you works for you and that's as far as it goes.

Daley

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2015, 01:40:41 PM »
Walt, keep in mind that smartphones aren't always a one-size-fits-all solution. The more physical things people typically try to get one portable device to do, the worse it does everything.

I'm also not saying that a smartphone might not be useful for your usage situation.

What I am pointing out, however, is how delicate these devices really are in comparison to what you have been using, and I'm reminding you that you're going to be using it in a metal shop. Do you plan on keeping your phone on you while you work? Two core functionalities, visibility with input and camera function, depend on the smartphone glass both over the screen and the camera lens not being scratched to kingdom come. Nor would it be worth your time to use those plastic protectors as they'll get scraped up even faster than the glass in these sorts of environments, especially if they frequently get used in this same said environment. There's also the potential for electrically conductive "dust" exposure through open holes. I know you state that you've kept a hand-me-down iPod in the shop for five years, but is it a touch or the older classic model with the buttons? How much do you carry it around and handle it throughout the day? As much as your current phone? As much as your potentially new smartphone? Are there any open holes for regular dust exposure, or do you keep the headphone jack plugged in all the time?

I only ask to make sure you've already considered these issues.

I'm also pointing out the security risks and financial liabilities of mixing business banking with personal devices. It's not a question of if, but when these things could be compromised. It's also typically not best to put all of one's eggs in a single basket. Redundancy and points of failure if this thing is going to be so critical to your business should be considered. What happens if you do wind up having to replace your smartphone every six months? Would this be a genuinely frugal solution, or might this be evidence of the wrong tool for the job?

It's about the right tool(s) for the job. I don't discount the value of a single device, but if using a smartphone the way you've been talking were genuinely as valuable to your workflow and a time savings as the case you're making, you probably would have done it long before now. Don't let the idea of the what-if "potential" drive your purchasing. We're talking about tools here, tools designed to help simplify your life and make business easier. Just as you do not want to cut corners on these things, you also don't want to overspend or buy something expensive that doesn't last. Sometimes, separating functionality by having a dedicated unitasker if that function is important enough is a better option. If I need to drive a nail, I'm not going to hammer it in with the broad side of my Leatherman.

The time savings of using a phone to do this over my existing Canon is probably 20 or 30 hours a year, which means on the order of $3000 worth of my time. Even if I had to replace the phone every 6 months and pay full retail it would be well worth it.

This right here combined with the title of this thread... this is why I'm going to state what I'm about to. You are being irrational about this purchase, and you probably haven't thought it through as much as you should... especially for the investment spent that you're looking to make. If you actually meant what you typed, this thread wouldn't be here with you asking for group opinions over a piddly $100 price difference between a used 4S and a 5.

What I see is a guy trying to justify buying an iPhone, but confused about what he might actually need. I'm not here to spend your money, but you asked for help and facepunches.... I have no doubt that an iPhone or any smartphone could simplify some parts of your life, but I am concerned about their durability and the subsequent cost given the usage and environment, as well as the potential subpar performance for some of their key tasks.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 01:42:56 PM by I.P. Daley »

gimp

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2015, 02:00:13 PM »
That's a pretty good point. If the phone makes that big of a difference - get an iphone 6+ or whatever. The difference is a few hundred bucks and it would pay for itself. A hundred bucks, as far as business goes, is hardly a thing worth worrying about, and if it makes that much difference it's almost too small an upgrade.

I might compare it to a programmer deciding whether s/he wants a second 17" monitor. If it will make a difference: get two 24" business class ones instead, it will almost surely pay for itself quickly.

---

The problem for security is that chances are you'll be fine, so you grow bold. When things are compromised, it's unlikely to materially affect you, or at least you think that's the case. Security is an insurance policy you hope you will never need, but it better be damn good if you do.

pshawgs

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2015, 04:12:36 PM »
Your family all has iPhones?
Can't you get some of their old ones?

waltworks

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Re: Is an Iphone 5 worth an extra $100?
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2015, 04:25:31 PM »
Honestly, I have, if anything, been irrationally opposed to getting a smartphone for at least the last 5 years. I am swallowing my flip-phone pride even considering it! I resisted cell phones themselves for a long time, too. C'est la vie.

Since I'll still have my drawer of ancient phones, my computer, and my camera, I'm not super concerned about having all my eggs in the smartphone basket. I figure I can go back to making do with my obsolete stuff if I need to. For $200 it seems like a worthwhile experiment.

Durability is probably the #1 concern here and I will keep that in mind. I have not had any issues with other touchscreen devices in my shop (iPod is an early touch model) as what I'm doing doesn't really generate any dust (sharp bits of metal that stick to your clothes, though... ugh) but there's only one way to find out.

-W