iPhone 5S

The Complete iPhone 5S Buying Guide

Let’s start with a huge dose of honesty: trying to figure out the differences between the iPhone 5S and all the other iPhone models out there can be pretty freaking confusing.

Some of the greatest minds of our time have anguished over the tough questions. What is the nature of the universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? Should you buy the latest iPhone right away or wait until the next generation comes out?

There are people who earn their livings debating these questions and other questions like them. Somehow, we never really make much progress. Mostly because those first two questions are basically unanswerable. But as far as iPhones go, well, the conversation gets bogged down in leaked schematics and release-date rumors.

When choosing their next phone, people often base their decisions on what might be coming down the pipeline rather than on what we actually know is out there. This common practice makes an already arduous subject even more difficult to tackle. Our verdict? Forget agonizing over when the iPhone 6 will grace us with its presence and only ask yourself: should I buy an iPhone 5S?

Start with the phone you currently have. Take some time and think about your current device: do you love it? Hate it? Wish it would grow into some hyper-conscious entity voiced by Scarlett Johansson? (Cool it, Joaquin Phoenix, it’s not going to happen).

Realistically, you probably have a few needs that could be met a little bit better. You probably want your next phone to be faster, smoother, and a bit less beat-up looking. How you use your current device and what you want your device to do for you in the future is a crucial thing to get straight. Actually, it is probably the key piece of information that will determine whether you are happy with your next purchase or if you cringe every time you have to use it.

We have put together this convenient guide to answer the question: should I buy an iPhone 5S?

iPhone 5S: Device Profile

Before we make any recommendations, we want to be sure that we are all on the same page here. Below are the most important features of the 5S:

Camera: You are an avid mobile photographer and you want the most accurate coloring, natural-looking skin tones, and crisp photos. A wider f/2.2 aperture, dual-LED flash, and a 1080p HD video with slow-motion capabilities will make your Instagram feed envied by even the most professional photographers.

A7 Processor: You have a wide array of photos, games, and apps that would burden most phones with lags and crashes. The iPhone 5S has a 64-bit mobile processor, twice the power of the 5C, and can handle games and apps with the grace and agility you expect from Apple.

M7 Co-Processor: Your iPhone can now collect, process, and store sensor data, even when your device is asleep. This will enable apps to be aware of the type of movement you’re experiencing, whether that is driving, walking, running, or sleeping. This is great for the fitness buff, who can use apps to better track their physical activity levels.

LTE: More support for LTE bands and other ultra-fast networks than any other phone available on the market. Perfect for those who demand high speeds that you can take with you across North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Touch ID: You realize how precious the data is on your device and you want to protect it. With the Touch ID, you can replace your lock screen code with the touch of your finger to unlock your device.

Bearing all of this in mind, we submit to you the following recommendations on whether or not to upgrade to the 5S. This information has mostly been crowdsourced via Reddit, though we have only pulled basic specs for our purposes. If you are interested in an extended discussion of device warranty, car chargers, or if you just want to say thanks to Reddit user bbqturtle for compiling the guide, make your way over to the Official r/iPhone iPhone 5S Buying Guide.

Old PhoneGeneral VerdictWhat you would get if you did upgrade
iPhone 5NOTouch ID, slightly better camera, slightly faster processor, slow-motion video, M7 co-processor
iPhone 4SMAYBETouch ID, slightly better camera, much faster processor, slow-motion video, M7 co-processor, larger screen, faster wireless networks
iPhone 4YESTouch ID, HUGELY better camera, much much faster processor, slow-motion video, M7 co-processor, larger screen, Siri, faster wireless networks
iPhone 3GS or BelowDEFINITELYTouch ID, HUGELY better camera, much much much faster processor, slow-motion video, M7 co-processor, larger HD screen, Siri, Apple support, iOS 7, access to thousands more apps, access to updated app content, faster wireless networks

Size Suggestions

16GB iPhone 5S: Good if you don’t keep a large amount of media on your phone. Maybe 100hrs of music, no big apps (especially 3D games). You might find yourself deleting music and photos to make room for new apps and software updates. Your camera alone may take up half of your space if you are an avid photographer.

32GB iPhone 5S: Good for a larger amount of music and media. Don’t expect more than a few full-length movies and half of a pretty-well maintained iTunes library to fit. You will probably need to search for things to remove around once every 3 months.

64GB iPhone 5S: Upload your whole music library (unless yours is crazy big). Don’t worry about size of apps. You can also fit a greater number of HD movies and other media without overwhelming your iOS.

You can save more than $100 by buying an iPhone 5S with Orchard. Browse all our phones online from the comfort of your own home and have your purchase shipped right to your door for free!

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