iPhone 5S :: Is it Worth the Upgrade?


On Friday morning, I stood in line at my local Verizon Wireless store for about 30 minutes to get first dibs on the new iPhone 5S. This is the first time I have ever stood in line for a new piece of technology. I am sort of a late adopter. I didn’t get an iPhone until they had been around for a few years, and I didn’t get a tablet until last Christmas. I’m one to wait and see how things work for others before I jump on the bandwagon, and as much as I love shiny new things, I really hate the learning curve. Learning new technologies stresses me out. I just like things to work. Immediately. Instant gratification much? Ha!

But I have been wanting the iPhone 5 since it was released, and I have been waiting anxiously for my contract to be eligible for an upgrade, so when I heard the iPhone 5S was coming out this fall, I started watching the news. And when the release date was announced, I put it in my calendar.

My iPhone 4S was still in great condition and working fine, but it was starting to get slow, and what can I say, I like to have the latest model — whether it is phones, clothes or cars, I like to stay current. Call me vain, but that’s the truth.

Plus, I was intrigued by the promises of a better camera (which I use a TON for my job and as a mom of three rapidly growing kids) and a faster processor and the availability of the 4G network.

So. Is it worth upgrading?

Here’s my take so far.

The camera. is. awesome. I took this picture of my husband in a dimly lit restaurant when we went to lunch the day I got my new phone.


Even he was blown away by the picture quality, and he’s not easy to impress. Just for kicks, I took his Windows Phone and took the same shot, and it was way overexposed.

Compared to my iPhone 4S, the 5S is super fast. Everything is moving at the speed of light. I didn’t realize how pokey my 4S had become. Sure, a lot of that was because it was getting older, but still. The 5S is in a whole other league.

The 5S is also much thinner and lighter than the 4 and 4S models, which is really nice.

But here’s the clincher. I traded in my 16 GB 4S and got a store credit for $200. YES, I said $200. The new iPhone 5S in the 16GB with a plan is $199. So my new phone was basically free.

Well, it would have been, except I went for the 32 GB. But you get the point. It was almost like getting an amazing new phone for nuttin’.

Pssst. You can also trade in your old iPhone for an Amazon gift card.

So my answer to the upgrade question is . . . it depends.

If you have an iPhone 3 or 4, it’s a no brainer. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest wireless phone retailer and upgrade today.

If you have the 4S and you like to have the latest and greatest, AND you are eligible for an upgrade, I highly recommend moving up to the iPhone 5S. If you aren’t eligible for an upgrade yet, wait, but go ahead and update to iOS7. I really like it the notification center and the overall new look.

If you have the 5, you probably should just upgrade your iOS and wait for the next iPhone to be released. But it might be worth pricing out your trade in. You might be able to get the 5S for “free” if your iPhone 5 is in good condition.

That’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth!

Oh, and before you ask, I got the iPhone 5S in silver. I would have gotten gold, but evidently it is the thing to have, and they were all sold out. The gray/black combo is sleek, but it seems more like a guy’s phone to me. I like the white face, so I went with silver.

As far as the 5C — it is basically the iPhone 5 in pretty colors. The iPhone 5 will be discontinued. The 5C is still a great phone, and if budget is an issue, it’s definitely worthy of consideration. It’s also great for kids.


  1. Megan says

    I hve the 4 (not even the 4S) so I am really looking forward to my 5S arriving in a few days! It is going to make a world of difference because my 4 is really, really slooooooooow.

  2. says

    I traded in my 4 for the 5c. They were out of all the 5s (other than 64g) so it was an easy decision. I got $100 for my 4 through Verizon and got the basically free swap too! I would add that if you are coming from a 4 or older, the 5c will still be a huge improvement that is well worth it! The camera is almost as good as the 5s and a major improvement over my 4.

  3. says

    Our phones haven’t arrived yet, but when they do, our old phones are being mailed/sold to http://www.gazelle.com/ – we’ve got commitments of $200 per phone from them, as long as the phones are mailed by Oct. 15th. That makes our phones pretty much free too. So in case folks are looking for an alternative to the gift card, Gazelle might be worth checking out.

  4. says

    Well, I just upgraded from a flip-phone to the iPhone 5 about two months ago, so I’m not upgrading again. I did, however, get my 5 for only $99 due to these new phones coming out, so it was a win for me. I love the new colors though! I’m also a fan of the i0S7 upgrade. The camera in my phone is better than my real camera. Seriously. It also works faster than my laptop.

  5. Beth says

    I don’t have a smart phone yet and am happy keeping it that way for now, but I always enjoy your review posts. I like that you don’t shy away from telling people what you would suggest in various scenarios, much nicer than just a list of pros and cons that people have to weigh.

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