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iPhone Q&A - Updated October 15, 2013

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What are the "pros and cons" of the iPhone 5? Is the iPhone 5 worth it?

Please note that the iPhone 5 has been discontinued. However, this Q&A has been updated subsequently and can be quite helpful for anyone buying or selling an iPhone 5 on the used market.

Only you can decide if one of the iPhone 5 models -- the iPhone 5 (GSM/LTE 4, 17/North America), (CDMA/LTE, Sprint/Verizon/KDDI), (GSM/LTE 1, 3, 5/International), (CDMA China/UIM/WAPI), and (GSM/LTE/AWS/North America) -- is the right smartphone and "worth it" for you, but you can evaluate the pros and cons to see if your needs are met.

This quick summary can help in your decision making process:


  • Extremely thin, sleek, and very light weight design with a relatively durable aluminum back panel.
  • Beautiful ultra high-resolution 4-Inch "Retina Display" (1136x640, 326 ppi) provides more viewable area without increasing the width of the device.
  • Effectively global 4G/LTE support.
  • Quality camera for a smart phone is capable of shooting 8 megapixel stills and 1080p 30 FPS video.
  • Significantly faster than all earlier iPhone models with improved graphics performance.
  • Battery life is long enough to provide all day use for many.
  • Three noise canceling microphones provides significantly improved call quality compared to earlier iPhone devices.
  • Support for a vast library of third-party apps and webapps.
  • Relatively inexpensive if tied to an often expensive contract.


  • Aluminum back panel can be subject to scratches and dents, so much so that some shipped scratched from the factory.
  • Case is so light that it almost feels fake and some users may prefer the "heft" of the earlier iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 models.
  • Camera lacks optical zoom.
  • Battery life can be shorter than official estimates, particularly for mobile data use.
  • Lightning connector is not backwards compatible with the earlier Dock Connector or thousands of existing third-party accessories.
  • Nano SIM card may be a hassle when traveling (although a larger SIM can be cut down to fit).
  • Unlocked and contract-free models are considerably more expensive than contract encumbered models and the iPod touch line.

Ultimately, if you need a smartphone, the iPhone 5 certainly is a solid choice.

Site sponsor PowerMax has a good selection of used iPhones -- including iPhone 5 models -- available for sale free of sales tax.

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