This year the decision isn't as easy as in years past — most reviewers agree that the leap from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5 isn't quite as huge as something like the leap from the iPhone 3g to the iPhone 4. But others love it, calling it the nicest object in their posession, and say if you can afford it, you should upgrade. If you're on the fence, here are some pros and cons to consider.
Reasons not to upgrade to the iPhone 5:
- Some of the most significant features come with iOS 6, which you can get for free on your old device.
- The rear camera on the new iPhone is only marginally better than the camera on the iPhone 4S — some even say it's worse because of its more compact sensor.
- The iPhone 5 is lighter, but it's also slightly taller. Your thumbs may not cover the full length of the screen as well, none of your old cases will fit, and it will feel slightly longer in your pocket.
- Some of your favorite apps might not look so great on the larger screen, unless they are updated right away — especially on the white iPhone 5, where the black border on old apps won't blend into the phone itself. Apps you love that are no longer supported by their developers may never look good on the larger screen.
- The new connecting port on the iPhone 5 is entirely different than any other iOS or iPod device you own. None of your old docks or accessories that use the old port will work with the iPhone 5, unless you splurge for Apple's $30 adaptor.
- The appearance of the phone, aside from height, is very similar. The overall shape of the iPhone 5 is much like the iPhone 4, so your old device won't look as out of place as say, the iPhone 3g.
- You might have to pay more for LTE network coverage.
- You'll save at least $200.
Reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 5:
- The iPhone 5 is 20% lighter than the iPhone 4 — for something you carry everywhere, every day, that's not insignificant!
- You might not even need a case for the iPhone 5. You can no longer shatter the iPhone's glass just by dropping it on a corner. Much of the Phone is now aluminum, and the glass Apple chose for the iPhone 5 is much stronger. If you're like me and have had to pay the price of shattering your iPhone 4's display, this is pretty significant. You can finally enjoy the iPhone's beautiful design just the way it is, without the worries that come with it.
- Thanks to the iPhone's new design, antenna issues won't be a problem the way they were with the iPhone 4.
- The iPhone 5 is faster in every way — perhaps the fastest smartphone on the market. It loads pages in Safari faster, it renders video faster, and it will edit and process photos faster.
- If your data plan supports LTE, loading data from the internet on the iPhone 5 will be just as fast as using a wi-fi connection, even on the road. Web, video, and even Siri will be much faster.
- The new iPhone's screen is not only larger, but it's better in terms of color quality and contrast. So, everything will look better.
- If you FaceTime a lot (or like to take self portraits), the iPhone 5 has a much improved front facing camera.
- Most reviewers seem to agree that the iPhone 5 is just a beauty to behold — if aesthetics are important to you, this alone could push you over the edge after holding the device.
- Since iPhones hold their value pretty well, you might be able to sell your old iPhone for most of what it costs to buy a new iPhone 5, depending on the model you own and its condition.
(Image composite: Ambika Subramony)