In Sunday’s paper, I noticed that Best Buy is offering a trade-in program where you can swap your 16 GB iPhone 4 or 4s for a brand new iPhone 5. By slashing the price of the iPhone 5 by $50 and offering a minimum trade-in value of $150 for a working phone, you land up with a new iPhone 5 for the cost of tax on the full value of the phone. You also have to be eligible for an upgrade with your carrier (T-Mobile isn’t included) and your contract renews for 2 years. The offer is valid through this Saturday, June 29th.
Having a 32 GB iPhone 4S I called ahead to see if I would be able to get a 32 GB iPhone 5 for no cost besides tax. Over the phone I was told I would get $200 for my iPhone. Then after waiting over an hour at the store, I was told that I would only receive a $170 credit for my iPhone. That didn’t seem fair given the phone was in near mint condition. Well, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. During my wait at the store, I quickly realized that I could get over $300 for my phone on eBay since it’s unlocked. So, while part of me was tempted to walk out, I decided to buy a 32GB iPhone 5 outright without the trade-in. Between the long wait and misquoting the trade-in value, it was a very un-Apple-like experience. Update: I traded my 4s in with Amazon’s Trade In program and received over $300 for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the 4S. It’s been a reliable phone. After the purchase, I did have some buyer’s regret. First, I realized that I could no longer use Apple’s native mail client to access Gmail via push. Google has ended support for Microsoft ActiveSync on any new devices. The alternative is to use the native Gmail app and use the CardDav app for contact and calandar sync. There’s some things that seem better in the Gmail app such as undeleting messages but the button layout isn’t as polished as Apple mail. Update: The Gmail app is buggy and I find I continually have to restart it.
My other concern was that the iPhone 5′s lightning port would not work with my Mini Cooper given mixed reports on the web. Luckily, Apple’s Lightning to 30-pin adapter did the trick (avoid the cheap knock-offs) but the iPhone 5 complains that it won’t charge. Update: Despite the iPhone 5′s complaints, it does appear to still charge. I was also concerned about the WiFi performance on the first day. However, by reseting my network settings (Settings->General->Reset->Reset Network Settings), the signal strength was then comparable to my 4S in a side-by-side test. My only real concern now is finding a case I like (without the rubber sides I feel like I’m going to drop it).
On the positive side, I’m enjoying the new larger screen, LTE networking and a little more battery life. The new headphones are also improvement over the traditional earbuds. As I am writing the post, I’m coming to the realization that I’m keeping the 5 (you only have 3 days to change your mind). It’s time to take the plastic off the back and really enjoy the phone. Best yet, switching to the iPhone 5 will prevent me from spending $300 or so on the 5S when it comes out. It feels like smartphone features have started to plateau anyway. Hopefully with the profits from my 4S sale, there will be some other gadget that I can spend my money on instead.