A newbie’s guide to buying an iPhone5

Did you pounce on the iPhone 5? I did. It is my first smartphone…ever. I realize I’m late to the party, but I had my reasons and most of them had to do with money.

No disrespect to Team Android, but if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, you can’t help but consider the one that 5 million people want.

Unlike many who waited in long lines, my experience was pretty painless. It only took an hour at Verizon to sign away my life pay for my phone and accessories. And that was it, until I realized that wasn’t it. If you’re a smartphone newbie like me, you could end up spending more than you have to. Here are a few things to look out for:

Shameless upselling: Screen protectors, iPhone case, car charger, oh my! By the time you add a bunch of accessories to the cost of the phone, $199 for the 16G with a two-year contract, you could just buy the 32G version for $299. The Verizon salesman sold me a pair of $30 Skull Candy headphones even though the iPhone 5 comes with what? Headphones.

There is no way around the price of an iPhone 5, but accessories can be found much cheaper. Screen protectors can be had for $3 online instead of $15 for a pack of three. Cases run about $20 to $30, but you can get a free one for a limited time at ZooGue (you pay for shipping).

Data Plans: This is where it really gets confusing. How much you pay for service depends on your provider, your usage, if you have a family or individual account and so on. Finding someone to help you navigate this can be a challenge, so do your research before you go shopping. Consult a comparison of pros and cons across providers (along with handy coverage area maps) or go directly to your service provider for side-by-side plan comparisons.

Early-termination fees: An iPhone 5 shouldn’t be an impulse buy, but even if it is, you may not lose your shirt. Service provider contracts that reduce the price of the phone come with early termination fees. But a recent report from Priceonomics showed the resale value of  an iPhone beats that of an Android or BlackBerry 18 months post-purchase. An iPhone retains 53 percent of its value, the equivalent of $312 cash, so you can probably sell it online to help offset the cost of cancelling a contract.

So, that’s what I learned, but I’d love to hear from you iPhone experts — what else could this iPhone newbie have done to get more iPhone 5 value for the money?

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– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

24 comments Add your comment

A newbie’s guide to buying an iPhone5

September 25th, 2012
5:55 am

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)There is no way around the price of an iPhone 5, but accessories can be found much cheaper. Screen protectors can be had for $3 online instead of $15 for a pack of three. Cases run about $20 to $30, but you can get a free one for a limited time at …and more » read more » [...]

New user

September 25th, 2012
8:59 am

I could have written your first paragraph myself! I got one Friday and retired my 1995 version cell phone! I’m loving it so far, but still need a case. I’m looking for one today, hoping to find a cute one cheap!

New user

September 25th, 2012
8:59 am

Another question…do I need screen protectors? What are they for? I’ve heard the screen doesn’t scratch easily.

[...] From Atlanta Blogs News Source: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2012/09/25/a-newbies-gui... ____________________________________________________ [...]

Nedra Rhone

September 25th, 2012
9:21 am

@New user So glad to hear I’m not alone! As for screen protectors, I think it’s a matter of personal choice. Here’s some chatter from the Apple discussion boards.. Anyone else have thoughts on screen protectors?

mystery poster

September 25th, 2012
10:19 am

I bought a pair of headphones from Groupon Goods for $12, and saw the exact same ones at the Verizon store for $50.

As far as cases and screen protectors, I buy from handhelditems.com. I don’t have an iphone, though. I think they have stuff for every type of phone.

BuckeyeInGa

September 25th, 2012
11:24 am

You’re going to need a good protective case if you drop your phone. You should always shop online for the accessories. It’s cheaper.

Michigander

September 25th, 2012
12:01 pm

I used screen protectors on my iPhone 3S, but not the 4. They were $5 a Marshalls. Those kinds of discount stores are good for getting things likes protective case. I prefer the silicone ones that reduce shock should you drop your iPhone on tile. #crackedscreenproblems.

Tech Head

September 25th, 2012
1:41 pm

Buying ONLINE is the best way. Amazon has some the best deals. They have cases for $2 or $3.. Some are even less. I have about 10 cases that I spent about $8 on. Screen protectors (for the IPhone) are the most worthless thing on this planet. Gorilla glass is just that. Gorilla!! Head phones should be Bluetooth. Get a pair of Bluetooth head phones and you will never want to mess with wires again. Again. Amazon some low as $23 with great sound. IOS 7 and Iphone 6 with NFC and cordless chargers will cut the cord permanately for the Iphone. Even though Androids have been free for a few years. To Reallly save buy a refurbed IPhone 4S. You get everything Siri Retina new chip. The only thing missing is a longer screen. If you want a bigger screen you should really get Galaxy SIII.

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

September 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

So the notion that 5 million people want an iPhone 5 is the only reason I need to buy one myself? Way more than that have purchased Chryslers. Doesn’t mean I’m going to buy one.

Those 5 million are part of some strange cult that can’t reason with logic.

gritsiam

September 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

if you are hard on phones the otter boxes are worth the money

Nedra Rhone

September 25th, 2012
2:53 pm

@Tech Head Wish I had those tips last week. Thanks for great input!

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Steve

September 25th, 2012
9:39 pm

While I agree with buying online .. shop local first.

I say that because I simply cannot tell you how many ’smart phone junkies’ I work with that have bought multiple cases thinking they would be great but they were not nearly as good once they saw them in person. An eye test is extremely important unless you go with some of the well established cases.

Screen protector is not neccessary. Put the extra money into a really good case.

Know yourself. I simply have a leather case with cardboard innards because I have dropped my phone maybe once in 20 years of using cell phones. But .. if you have a personal issue with dropping things, then by all means put the extra money into a really good case. While some people chang phones every time the wind blows, many people keep them 2-3 years after the original contract period. Do you want to waste another $200+ dollars on a new phone because you wanted to save $10 on a case. Bad choice.

Steve

September 25th, 2012
9:45 pm

Reverend .. the mantra is the same for other brands, just reversed. How many people bought other phones that were slower, less user friendly, and more prone to issues and OS glitches? An example would be my work buddies having to hard boot their Android phones once a week and trying to tell me I am lying when I tell them I have only hard restarted my iPhone once in 3 years (and it is the truth).

Many of those people above bought other brands simply because they refused to buy an iPhone because they hated Apple. So yes, there are fans on both sides, but don’t trash people buying iPhone simply because of the numbers. The numbers are there for a reason. It is a much more stable phone, but you pay for that luxury with slightly limited app flexibility and depending on phones, some other cons.

Point blank, I upgraded to an Android about three months ago and got the ‘moeny back’ for my old 3gs. Within two months I was buying a used 3gs and selling my Android because it was a cheap, glitch-ridden phone.

mrlucky7

September 25th, 2012
10:24 pm

as a long time iphone user you could not invest better if you buy the otterbox defender case for your phone it will eliminate the need or perhaps desire to opt for the insurance. it will save your screen and protect your whole phone from damage

mrlucky7

September 25th, 2012
10:28 pm

screen protectors are a waste if you buy a strong case, my defender has worked for me so many times it is worth its weight in gold

Tom in Marietta

September 26th, 2012
12:14 am

Dear The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan:

Wrong! If 5,000,000 Chryslers were sold in one day, they probably wouldn’t have gone bankrupt! Think my friend!

John

September 26th, 2012
4:38 am

If you buy any accessories from anywhere but eBay or other online discount stores, you’re wasting money. You can normally buy at least 5 accessories for the price you can buy 1 at the phone store or the mall. Screen protectors are a waste of money, they sometimes prevent you from using the touchscreen as you would like to. The Otterbox is great if you want a bulky phone. I always buy the Apple protection plan and it is well worth the money. I have bought numerous inexpensive cases on eBay and like to have a variety of them just for the fun of it, most of them for .99 cents and free shipping and the majority of them are excellent cases. Online is the way to go.

Diddy

September 26th, 2012
11:27 am

I just bought a nice ultra slim case for my iphone 4S for $3 on ebay. Bestbuy has a very very similar case they sell in their store for $29.99. Always buy online!

Also, don’t buy Apple’s $30 power adapter to connect the ipphone 5 to your old devices. Wait until the knockoffs hit ebay. They will probably only be $5 if that.

Diddy

September 26th, 2012
11:34 am

Otterbox cases are too big and bulky. That defeats the purpose of having a thin, sleek iphone. I always go with a ulta thin case with a hard rubber outter surface to provide grip. Accidents happen, but just handle it with care and you will be fine.

Also, I have had every iphone since the original (with the exception of the newest iphone 5). Never had Applecare. I don’t see why it’s needed.

Nedra Rhone

September 26th, 2012
11:44 am

@diddy Do you have insurance with your carrier? Wondering if I need this. I’ve asked about six iPhone users and only one has insurance.

Diddy

September 26th, 2012
3:33 pm

You don’t need any insurance. Just treat your phone like a $700 computer, because that’s what it is. You wouldn’t carelessly carry around a laptop or place it somewhere it could get damaged would you?

Just remember that Apple gives you a 1 year warranty on the phone. You don’t need to fill out any forms. They can pull all the info they need from your phone’s serial #. The warranty doesn’t cover any damage you cause by dropping it, spilling water on it, etc. I recently took my phone to the Apple store at Lenox because the volume slider wasn’t working right and they gve me new phone. They may not do that in all cases but it’s good that they really stand behind their products.

ldb

September 28th, 2012
6:47 pm

eBay is the best online site to buy any and all phone accessories that I have found yet and I am a phone fanatic. It is the only place I purchace mine, especially iPhone accesories and even for my Ipad. eBay has it all, screen protectors, otterboxes, etc at low costs. Hope this helps!!