Choosing the right iPhone 5s may be challenging for some, but my choice is crystal clear thanks to my experiences with the iPhone 5. Apple’s offering more iPhone options than ever with the iPhone 5s release, making it more important than ever to carefully evaluate your options. Unfortunately, not all iPhone 5s models are born equally . Starting September 20th, Apple will sell a total of 84 distinct iPhone models in the United States. Yes you read that right. At the top of the heap is the iPhone 5s, available in three colors and storage capacities. The iPhone 5c is Apple’s new slightly more affordable model and will come in two storage sizes and five colors. The 8GB iPhone 4s in black or white will be offered for free with a two-year contract. So why am I leaning towards a white iPhone 5s on AT&T, rather than all the other options? Read on for my detailed explanation: Read: iPhone 4S Lives On Alongside iPhone 5S, iPhone 4C
Upgrading from the iPhone 5
It’s important to note that I am not a typical smartphone user. As part of my duties here at GottaBeMobile I own and use several devices. I have an iPhone 5 on three of the four major U.S. carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon). I also use an HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Nexus 4. Rather than trying to split all of my time evenly between all of these devices, I simply use whatever works for me at any given time. I use my HTC One more when I want to produce highlight videos. I use my Verizon iPhone 5 for data-intensive tasks like streaming movies, since it’s the only device I have that’s on an unlimited plan. So why do I want to upgrade one of my iPhone 5 units? At first glance the iPhone 5s is very similar to the older model, but there are some key features that I really like. The iPhone 5s has a new motion processor that makes it a better fitness companion. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is something I’d really like to use. I’m a camera freak, and the iPhone 5s has a better camera than the iPhone 5 that I want to use. The newer iPhone is faster, allowing it to run more features in the new iOS 7 camera app, including slow motion video and 10 frames-per-second photo bursts. Apple claims the iPhone 5s will also have slightly better battery life. Yes, these are all relatively minor updates to the iPhone 5, but most of them matter to me. Read: iPhone 5s: AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile – Which Carrier is Best?
iPhone 5s Color Matters
iPhone color choice didn’t matter much beyond personal preference prior to the iPhone 5. But with the iPhone 5 I learned a lesson. Scratches and scuffs show up really easily on the black iPhone 5, while the white iPhone 5 keeps its good looks in the same conditions. My black iPhone 5 looked used and abused, even though I kept it in a case. Apple uses the same anodized aluminum construction for the iPhone 5s as it did on the iPhone 5. The black iPhone 5 color scheme is being rebadged as ‘space grey’ on the iPhone 5s and the grey is now lighter.
Scratches to the anodized surfaces don’t show as much on white iPhones since the aluminum beneath the it is the same color. As you can imagine, the aluminum beneath the space grey and new champagne gold anodized surfaces are indeed also grey, which means it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing visible scuffs and scratches on the back of your space grey or gold iPhone 5s. Like most people, I don’t like my expensive gadgets to look like crap due to normal use. Even though I prefer the sleek black/grey look, I’ll be looking for a white iPhone 5s when it launches this Friday.
AT&T is the Best Carrier (for me)
I switched my primary phone number from Sprint to AT&T the day the original iPhone launched. I loved the original iPhone, but I really hated AT&T. The wireless carrier was the exclusive iPhone carrier in the U.S. and it quickly earned a bad rep for poor reception and dropping calls. Things remained miserable for years until AT&T geared up for stiff competition and got its act together. Now AT&T is the best carrier for me and my family because of its solid and speedy 4G LTE coverage in San Francisco. http://youtu.be/jY1skNmubWE In general, AT&T’s 4G LTE network is faster and more reliable than Sprint’s, T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks in San Francisco. When AT&T’s 4G LTE isn’t available, its 4G HSPA+ network fills in the gaps. AT&T also allows iPhone users to talk on their iPhone while using it to access the Internet. Sprint and Verizon simply kill the iPhone’s Internet connection when calls come in. T-Mobile can handle simultaneous voice and data, but its LTE network is still spotty in some parts of San Francisco. As I always tell readers, wireless carrier networks’ reception, speed and reliability can vary from house to house and city to city. While AT&T might be the best carrier for me, I have friends and relatives that live in AT&T dead zones just a few miles away and are better served by Verizon. Read: iPhone 5 4G LTE Speed: AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Verizon
Apple charges way too much for the privilege of extra storage capacity, but paying $200 now is much better than having to actively manage apps and files to make sure I don’t fill my iPhone 5s up. As it is, I occasionally need to cleanse my 64GB iPhone 5 of unwanted pictures, videos and apps to make sure I have enough room for new content. If Apple offered larger capacities for more money I’d likely jump at the chance to buy a larger drive. I didn’t always need such a large capacity, but now that I’m a father I shoot a lot more video and download the occasional Disney movie. Feature films take up 1.5GB to 2.5GB of space. Shooting video on the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s takes up about 150MB per minute. The base 16GB iPhone 5s will only have about 13GB of available storage. The screen grab to the right was taken on my 16GB iPhone 5 and shows how little room is available on it. Sure, I don’t have to worry about taking still photos or installing lightweight apps, but adding a couple of movies and a few videos games could max it out to a point where I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything with the phone.
Weighing Your iPhone 5s Options
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which iPhone 5s model is best. The $399 price tag for the model I want is tough for some to swallow. Some people view the white iPhone 5s as being too feminine. Most importantly, I don’t recommend anyone buy an AT&T iPhone 5s if they live in an area that doesn’t have reliable coverage. Being able to consistently place and receive calls is much more important than speeds. Regardless of what you decide, I recommend ONLY buying the model that best meets your needs. If you decide the durable white version is for you, don’t let a salesperson talk you into buying another color if they’re out of stock. The same goes for capacity and carrier. Simply do not let a salesperson rush you into an alternative that doesn’t work for you.