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?
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog