What to buy: iPhone 5S vs iPhone 6

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dingado, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. Dingado macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    Hi guys,

    My last iPhone was the 3G (not even the s!) so it's been a while since I've had an iPhone. (Been an Android user since then) Well, I figured it was about time to go back.

    As a college student I would like to save money so I narrowed it down to either the 5S or the 6. I would ultimately like to buy a used iPhone 5s as it would most likely be much cheaper, but I am dreading buying a used phone from a stranger and truly knowing whether it's unlocked, paid off, not stolen, and battery is not horrible. Note: Regardless of the phone, I am buying it UNLOCKED.

    Buying a brand new iPhone 5s from Apple seems a little silly, when I can put in a little over a $100 more and get the 6, but is it really worth it?

    Honestly, the screen size to me does not matter all that much.

    I hope you can give me some opinions as I am struggling making a decision. It's not like I can't afford the 6, but I would rather save money if it's not going to end up making me regret the purchase for the next two years. :mad:

    Thanks for any advice that you can provide,

  2. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    Save your money and get a 16GB iPhone 5c (from a carrier) for $0 on a 2 year contract. Then pay the unlock fee, usually $50 or less to get it unlocked.
    Unless you need an A7 chip because you do intense gaming on your phone, stick with the re-issue of the iPhone 5, that's a huge upgrade from the 3G anyhow.
    Just avoid the 8GB phone, coz after iOS 8 and "other" storage have eaten up most of it, you'll have about 2-3GB of actual user space left.

    You'll need less cash upfront and can spread the device subsidy out over 2 years. Then go BYOD afterwards and pocket the discount on the monthly rate plans.

    Anyhow, that's the sensible choice for students.

    Full disclosure, I used to own a 5S unlocked, sold it for cash and did exactly the above. I'm personally not impressed by the new 6 or plus.

    I'm with the Steve Jobs school of thought. Phones should be compact light easily carried devices, not phablets. And tablets should be "full sized", which is why I own an iPad Air 1 and NOT a Mini.
  3. addictive macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2008
    Yes, I agree you want to buy unlocked. You also need to seriously consider what capacity you are going to buy and I would definitely say 16GB is too small regardless of the model you buy.

    The iPhone 5S is now only sold at 16gb and 32gb by Apple. I made the mistake of only buying a 16GB last year and it is my most recent biggest purchasing mistake, I really would love the extra capacity for more music and more space for photos and apps.

    I think the iPhone 5S is a fine model, very well built and with it being 64 bit and having an A7 processor you are going to be fine running apps and games (metal API) on it for a few years. The camera is very good too. I like the feel of it in my hand, very sturdy.

    I would recommend you go down to the Apple store and compare all the handsets together and see what your preference is. I think really it is going to come down to personal preference on how they look and how they feel because you are not going to notice significant differences under the hood between the A7 and A8 in the iPhone 6.

    You might prefer the 6 for the larger display. Or you might think its too thin and that you don't like the protruding camera or the lines on the back of the model. A case would remedy those things.

    Make a list of the differences between the 5S and the 6 and see how important they are to you when you have them both in your hand.

    Personally if I was to buy a new phone this year I'd get the 6Plus. Yes, it is huge but it looks fantastic. However, I'm very happy a year on with my 5S and the only thing i'm annoyed about is my 16GB capacity. Make sure you get a phone with a large capacity because that will likely be the issue you may regret over the next two years.
  4. imaccooper macrumors regular


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    I have the 5S and i just bought my wife the 6. Both are fantastic phones, but my personal preference is for a smaller phone (as one person suggested it would be best to go hold both and see which you like). If you use your phone like most people (calls, texts, browsing, emails occasional gaming) then it wont make much difference which one you get. Unless you are hurting for money and cant afford the $100 difference then my best advice would be to go put both phones in your hands and see which one you like. I absolutely love everything about the 6 except for the fact that it is just slightly to tall for my thumb to comfortably reach the top row of apps (small hands and short fingers). For that reason and that reason only I am staying with my 5S. Whatever you decide you will definitely like either one of them.

    As for storage, 16GB is definitely a minimum but if you intend to have any music downloaded to your device then i would suggest larger (i have no music on my 16GB and had to delete some apps to have enough room for ios 8)
  5. Dingado thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    Thank you all so much.

    So here's what I got so far:

    iPhone 5S in a 32gb.

    Do I go for the used or new option? Again, I am afraid of getting a faulty, stolen, not fully paid for, not unlocked device with the used option but I wouldn't mind a used device as long as it's working as intended.

    Do you guys have any advice for this? Is Swappa the best and only way to go? For the 32gb version it seems like they land on about $500 and this is usually just without the charger and headphones and then I might as well get a NEW one from Apple with the charger and headphones included for $599?

    I don't really understand how they can charge so much for a used device. :confused:

    Also, I want to do T-Mobile. Can I get a device that is locked to AT&T if I buy it used? I am not yet sure how all of that works.
  6. iYiy-yiy-uh, Oct 27, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014

    iYiy-yiy-uh macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014
    Unless you needed the additional features of the iPhone 6, I would recommend a used 32gb or 64gb iPhone 5S. I've seen lots of 32gb unlocked 5S's on Craigslist for under $400. Also, if battery is of concern, reputable battery cases are relatively cheap on the 5/5S since it's been around for 2 years now. 16gb just isn't enough with how large apps are becoming (though, you may disagree being a long time iPhone 3G user). I purchased a used iPhone 5S 16gb unlocked (T-mobile model) a few months ago for $350 but I kind of wish now that I had gotten a 32gb model despite the fact that I don't really store much of any media on my iPhone besides a few ebooks and the camera roll.

    This should go without saying, but if you buy used, just make sure you do your research to ensure it is fully paid off, not reported stolen, blacklisted, etc. Also, make sure that the phone doesn't have a replacement plan on it. I've heard of some people getting scammed because the seller had a replacement plan on the phone and then reported it as stolen after selling it off, so then that iPhone basically becomes an expensive iPod touch with a nice camera.
  7. Dingado thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    And your second paragraph is EXACTLY why I am worried about buying a used phone. How can I make sure that this does not happen to me?
  8. iYiy-yiy-uh macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014
    Call the carrier or meet at the carrier's store during business hours. Make sure the seller has the account info for the line that was previously used on the phone you're buying if you want to check whether they had a replacement policy on the phone. I almost ran into a problem because the seller was selling his sister's phone. It might be slightly different depending on the carrier.
  9. addictive macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2008
    Buy new from Apple

    If you want peace of mind I would suggest you buy new from Apple.

    Any issues you subsequently have with the iPhone you just take it to the Apple store and they know you purchased it from them.

    As you plan on keeping the phone for two years or so I would suggest you buy new and therefore the battery has less chance of being degraded over the lifetime of your phone.

    I'd also suggest you consider purchasing AppleCare+ for the iPhone as it does cover two accidental damages (such as water damage) for an additional fee.
  10. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2012
    Windy City
    Throwing in another option if you are looking for a piece of mind. I know it is just iPhone 5, but $409 you can get iPhone 5 64GB unlocked.
    Still better than $450 8GB iPhone 5C from Apple or $600 iPhone 5S 32GB


    I purchased two phones from this seller (I believe other on this forums too) and I am %100 satisfied.
  11. auhagen macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    I was in the same boat, and as I dont have a lot of money, I ended up buying a brand new iPhone 5s 64 gb, from someone who just have bought it, but wanted the new iPhone 6 instead.

    In denmark we dont have to speculate about debt in the phone, because it's the one who buys it from the operator, who is hanging on the bill, no matter what.

    So instead having to pay 6000kr for a iPhone 6, i ended up paying 4000kr for a factory new, still sealed iPhone 5s. Great buy, and could not be happier.

    I did the same thing with my iPhone 4, when I bought that one.
    So since my transit to Apple, I have only paid 7300kr for two brand new devices, that should have cost me 11600kr. In the end thats a hell of a lot of money, and I for one does not need the newest anymore :)
  12. acm1108 macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2013
    I say make the investment and get the iPhone 6 -64gb. You'll have the latest and greatest phone that will be receiving updates for the next 3-4 years. I would imagine the iPhone 5's and 5c's will get ios 9 & 10 but at a cost of speed, ask iPhone 4s users about ios 7 and 8. Might as well get a phone that will last you, especially being in college. And if for whatever reason you need to sell it to make "quick cash" you can bet you'll get 350-400 on craigslist easy.
  13. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Don't get a new 5s, for $100 you might as well have applePay. But if you can find a good one, used makes a lot of sense too. I just got a used 5s from the MR marketplace. Hundreds less than a 6 and as a bonus, all the best accessories are flooding ebay for next to nothing. Got a new wallet case and macro kits for 75% off.

    I might wait for the 8 to come out so I can do the same with the 7s!
  14. Dingado thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    I wish I had access to the MR Marketplace but unfortunately I need about 230 more posts. (now 229!) :p
  15. Spectrum Abuser macrumors 65816

    Spectrum Abuser

    Aug 27, 2011
    Why do you absolutely have to have the phone unlocked? Most carriers have the iPhone these days; on contract for dirt cheap. A 32GB iPhone 5S for $149? That's a steal.
  16. salils macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2005
    Because contracts with carriers are no fun and if someone travels outside the country or wants to use their phone on another carrier it's convenient to have an unlocked phone. The additional cost of the phone typically factors into your monthly bill.
  17. Spectrum Abuser macrumors 65816

    Spectrum Abuser

    Aug 27, 2011
    If you take the time to do a simple excel spreadsheet you'll realize that you rarely, if ever, break even on that. Especially in the United States. As for traveling. Most carriers have given breaks on foreign phone use in the past year or so. And if you actually travel enough to justify the cost you should have no problem affording an unlocked phone.
  18. Tom-Create-Pro macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2014
    I use the 5S and really like it, the 6 plus is huge and the 6 is still far too big for me. If you don't mind a big phone and don't mind paying a premium, sure grab the 6, but if you want something that still feels like a phone my recommendation is the 5S.
  19. woodlandtrek macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I'm a firm believer in staying a version or two behind the latest release. A used off-contract phone does 95% of what a new iPhone would do, but might cost half as much. There are no contracts to deal with, so phone service can be had for cheap, depending on your needs. Accessories are actually reasonably priced online and at closeout shops.

    You don't necessarily need to get a "factory unlocked" phone to have freedom to move between carriers. An off contract verizon iPhone will accept any GSM sim, and AT&T or TMO iphones can be used with lots of MVNOs as well. Factory unlocked may be the best route, but know your options before paying extra.

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