10 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Buying The iPhone 5

iphone 5 concept

Photo: Antoine Brieux

The iPhone 5 will be the “it” device of the year, but it’s not for everyone.The potential drawbacks include the price, its likely fragility, and the consideration of consumers being locked into other contracts.

So how do you decide if it’s the phone for you?

Is your current wireless contract expired or going to expire soon?

Luckily, three out of the four major wireless carriers in the U.S. (Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T) sell the iPhone. But if you're on T-Mobile or another carrier, or you're simply not happy with your current service, see when your contract is up. If it ends on or near September 21, the expected iPhone launch date, you're good to go.

If not, here are some tips you can use to get out of your contract without paying extra fees.

For current iPhone users only: do you have an iPhone 3GS or earlier model?

In our opinion, iPhone 4 and 4S users won't have much cause to upgrade. But if you're still rocking a 3G or 3GS, you should pull the trigger on a new phone. The speed and performance improvements will be highly worth it. Plus it's about time you tried out Apple's gorgeous high-resolution Retina display.

Will this be your first smartphone?

Although we're deep into the smartphone revolution, most people still use old-fashioned feature phones. If you're getting a smartphone for the first time, the iPhone is the perfect device for beginners. It's easy to use. Easy to set up. And has the best selection of apps.

Do you care about having a high quality display?

The iPhone's Retina display is absolutely a consideration. Text looks beautiful and games look great. If you haven't yet seen it, test drive one in person so you can make a more informed decision.

The iPhone 5 is going to be taller than previous models -- does this sound good to you?

All the credible leaks point to the iPhone 5 being slightly taller and skinnier than the iPhone 4S. Don't expect it to feel the same in your hand as other iPhones.

But what if you want a screen that's even bigger?

It looks like Apple is about to finally cave to user demand and increase the iPhone's display size to about 4 inches. Not big enough for you? Then you're better off with one of the several great Android phones out there.

Samsung's new Galaxy S III is a great place to start. It has a brilliant 4.8-inch screen. You'll love it.

Do you break phones a lot?

iPhones can be delicate things. If you're a known klutz, you should get a protective case or a different phone entirely. Another way to phrase this question would be 'Could you handle potentially destroying a $300 phone?'

Do you like being on the cutting edge?

The iPhone 5 will be the 'it' device of the year. If you're an obsessive early adopter who needs to have the latest and greatest, this phone is a no-brainer purchase.

Do you want more control over your phone?

Apple notoriously limits what you can do on the iPhone. You can't choose your own default web browser. You can't get live home screen updates from your favourite apps using widgets.

If that's a problem for you, you're better off with an Android phone or Windows Phone.

Do you want to save money?

Apple will almost certainly start the new iPhone at $199.99 with a two-year contract.

That's a pretty reasonable price, but there are plenty of other great smartphones that cost $100 or less. For example, you can get the excellent HTC One X on AT&T for $99.99.

(Yes, we realise Apple will likely drop the iPhone 4S to $99.99, but we're talking about the iPhone 5 here.)

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