iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6: Is it worth buying old, discounted iPhones in 2017?
The iPhone has always held a special place in people’s hearts. In India especially, the iPhone has always been considered much more than just a smartphone, it is known as a status symbol. For many, owning an iPhone is an ego boost, a way to show to the world that you have arrived.
However, iPhones are generally very expensive and many people either cannot afford a smartphone that costs north of Rs 50,000 or simply do not want to spend that much money on a phone. For that very reason, Apple still sells two and three year old iPhones in India. This allows the company to offer phones at almost all price points while at the same time maintain its streamlined product line-up.
Even though many competing Android handsets are available at the same price which are newer and arguably faster than these previous generations iPhones, many people still prefer to buy these simply for prestige and brand value. Apple is and has always been a luxury brand and people are ready to accept certain compromises in order to get a phone with the Apple logo at an affordable price.
But the question is, are these smartphones truly worth it? If you look behind the sheen and gloss of the Apple logo, does it really make sense to buy a two or three year old smartphone in 2017 when newer counterparts are available? Let’s take a look at the three old iPhones on sale currently – iPhone 5s, iPhone SE and iPhone 6 one by one:
The iPhone 5s was launched way back in 2013 and was the first iPhone to feature a fingerprint sensor and was also the first smartphone in the world to come with a 64-bit processor. While the iPhone 5s was and still is a very capable smartphone, it has started showing its age in 2017. Although aspects like the 8MP camera and the crisp and sharp 4-inch Retina display have stood the test of time and aged well, many other components have now started to feel a bit dated.
Apple’s A7 was a processor that was way ahead of the time when it was launched and while it is still quite capable, it has started showing its age – apps sometime lag and stutter on the 5s and iOS 10’s animations do not flow fluidly. The 1GB of RAM in the 5s severely limits its potential – Safari keeps on reloading tabs and apps also suffer from occasional reloads.
But all that is not the main problem with the iPhone 5s. The biggest reason why you should not buy the iPhone 5s in 2017 is the iPhone SE. At just a few thousand rupees more, the SE offers a much better experience and is much more powerful and future-proof.
It does not bode well for Apple’s premium image in India to keep on selling the iPhone 5s in India. It has reached its expiry date and the phone, which was a pioneer at one point, is well past its prime. All over the world the 5s has been discontinued and Apple should make the SE the base model of the line-up which is a far more modern phone.
The iPhone SE’s launch saw extremely divisive reaction on both sides of the globe. In the US, where it was launched for 399 dollars, the smartphone was hailed by critics and consumers alike for offering top of the line specifications and the usual seamless iPhone experience at a very affordable price.
In India, however, the story was completely different. The smartphone was launched here at Rs 39,999, a whopping Rs 15,000 more than in the US. As a result, it received a lot of flak and criticism and was rejected by customers.
Now however, the phone has seen several price corrections and has finally reached a sensible price point. For less than Rs 21,000, the SE makes a lot of sense as it is practically the much more expensive iPhone 6s wrapped inside the body of an iPhone 5s. It has the same powerful Apple A9 processor and same stunning rear 12MP camera with a 5-element lens and a TrueTone flash of the iPhone 6s.
Even though many competing Android handsets are available at the same price which are newer and arguably faster than these previous generations iPhones, many people still prefer to buy these simply for prestige, brand value and ease of use
The great aspects of the 5s are also carried forward – the stunning, timeless design that many hail as the best iPhone design ever, the crisp and gorgeous Retina Display and the Touch ID sensor embedded into the home button.
The SE is the iPhone to buy if you are on a tight budget and do not want to spring for the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7. If you are okay with the 4-inch screen size, the SE will provide almost the same experience you will get in a much pricier iPhone 6s for half the cost.
The iPhone 6 – the first iPhone that deviated from Steve Job’s claim of never making a large screen phone and the first that sold more than 10 million units in the first weekend on sale – is now available online for Rs 25,999. The iPhone 6 has a much larger screen than the iPhone SE, at 4.7-inches and features a design which Apple has liked so much that they have stuck with it for three generations (the iPhone 7 looks almost the same).Thus on paper, the iPhone 6 at this price point seems like a very good deal. But dig a little deeper and it’s not such a straightforward decision. The A8 processor was not a marked improvement over the A7 and thus is not very adept at handling the app ecosystem in 2017. While it is more future proof than the 5s as it is will most likely receive the iOS 12 update in 2018, it also suffers from lack of RAM and the problems associated with the same.
As with the 5s, the biggest problem of the 6 is the SE, which, as mentioned before is a much more modern and powerful phone. But the SE has a 4-inch screen, which is a deal-breaker for a lot of people. For those who want a big screen iPhone and want to spend less than Rs 30,000 there is no other option except the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6 is not a bad buy by any means in 2017 but it should be bought cautiously, knowing that Android competitors like the Moto Z2 Play and OnePlus 3T offer more power and features for just a little more money. With the 6, you will be compromising on certain aspects in order to get the Apple logo on the back, but unlike the iPhone 5s, those compromises are not deal breakers.