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Downgrading from a broken iPhone 5, to 3GS, 4 or 4S ?

m4rski

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Hi. I made a new thread a few days ago regarding my sister's broken iPhone 5, in the iPhone 5 section. I don't know yet if it is repairable, as I am still testing and replacing parts.

Assuming we will sell the iPhone 5 broken, as it is, and the unknown amount of funds received from the sale, which iPhone would be best for my sister in 2014?

My sister was actually really happy with the iPhone 4 that we had for 3 years, from mid-2010 till mid-2013 when we all upgraded to the iPhone 5.
I had tried getting her interested in the decision on which iPhone we can get for the best price. But honestly, she isn't a technology hound like me and a lot of us on here. All the tech specs, such as CPU, camera Megapixels, 3G data speed, etc., goes right over her head. She just would like something that works.
She also doesn't even use the App Store. She texts at random times.
—It seems to me that the iPhone 3GS offers someone in her position the best of what the iPhone has to offer. She also doesn't care about the Retina display, or taking nice photos.

I am secondly going toward the iPhone 4, since that appears to be the most decent pricing on eBay. We will likely acquire enough from the iPhone 5 sale to get the iPhone 4. Even though I mentioned that she doesn't care about tech specs, I believe she would appreciate using an iPhone 4 again. At least it would be familiar to her.

—Should I really downgrade to a nearly 5-year old technology in the iPhone 3GS to easily save on funds, and to maybe spend more for a case or other accessories? Maybe the battery life won't be so great with a 5-year old product, even after buying a supposedly "new" battery for the iPhone 3GS. I have a feeling that they are a rarity nowadays!

Also, would the iPhone 3GS be rugged enough without a case for her? She is an adult, but not the type that takes care of her things in general, especially expensive gadgets.
I will try to read some reviews on the 3GS again (it has been a while) and maybe some videos as well.

—Regards
 

willerz2

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I would recommend an iPhone 4S, since the dual core processor makes web surfing and communication less frustrating because the iPhone 4 is undercapped compared to iOS 7 standards, so it'll appear slow on animations, sometimes it may lag while typing if you have things running the background. Plus you'll have 4G HSPA support if you're on a network that utilizes it since it's the first iPhone to receive 4G HSPA support, assuming she uses the internet as well. If it's strictly for SMS, it wouldn't really matter to be honest since it utilizes 2G.

Like you said, the 3GS's battery may be hard to find depending on where you're trying to get it from, but we recommend iFixit for parts and guides for servicing Apple products here on iPhone/iPad/Apple Forums. (Here's the page for a 3GS replacement battery.) They have some very fair pricing of parts (which includes the tools to do the job for free), and the guides are thorough and easy to follow. The 3GS's battery life only lacks in media playback by a few hours, otherwise, texting/surfing the web are about the same times with a small/slightly negligible difference if that matters at all.

Ultimately, I'd ask her for which she prefers. I personally do enjoy the more "flat feel" of the iPhone 4/4S, and it fits perfectly in any pockets, any sized hands, etc. If she likes the slightly thicker and more round edges, go for the 3GS. If she prefers the box-y feel, go for the 4 or 4S, just make note of GSM or CDMA if you're going for the iPhone 4. If you go for the 4, see if you can get an approximation of when it was purchased and how often it was charged, then gauge whether or not you'll need to immediately purchase a battery or whether it can wait. (Again, you can shop for the iPhone 4 battery at iFixit.com as well, and there are guides that shows you specifically what to do.)

Also, prior to purchasing a device online, take the time to read this sticky for precautions when purchasing pre-owned devices or any Apple devices online.
 
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m4rski

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I would recommend an iPhone 4S, since the dual core processor makes web surfing and communication less frustrating because the iPhone 4 is undercapped compared to iOS 7 standards, so it'll appear slow on animations, sometimes it may lag while typing if you have things running the background. Plus you'll have 4G HSPA support if you're on a network that utilizes it since it's the first iPhone to receive 4G HSPA support, assuming she uses the internet as well. If it's strictly for SMS, it wouldn't really matter to be honest since it utilizes 2G.

Like you said, the 3GS's battery may be hard to find depending on where you're trying to get it from, but we recommend iFixit for parts and guides for servicing Apple products here on iPhone/iPad/Apple Forums. (Here's the page for a 3GS replacement battery.) They have some very fair pricing of parts (which includes the tools to do the job for free), and the guides are thorough and easy to follow. The 3GS's battery life only lacks in media playback by a few hours, otherwise, texting/surfing the web are about the same times with a small/slightly negligible difference if that matters at all.

Ultimately, I'd ask her for which she prefers. I personally do enjoy the more "flat feel" of the iPhone 4/4S, and it fits perfectly in any pockets, any sized hands, etc. If she likes the slightly thicker and more round edges, go for the 3GS. If she prefers the box-y feel, go for the 4 or 4S, just make note of GSM or CDMA if you're going for the iPhone 4. If you go for the 4, see if you can get an approximation of when it was purchased and how often it was charged, then gauge whether or not you'll need to immediately purchase a battery or whether it can wait. (Again, you can shop for the iPhone 4 battery at iFixit.com as well, and there are guides that shows you specifically what to do.)

Also, prior to purchasing a device online, take the time to read this sticky for precautions when purchasing pre-owned devices or any Apple devices online.


Thanks for the response! :) :)

We may have to spend a hundred $$ more for the iPhone 4S. Still deciding what to do as of today.

The iPhone 4 seems to be a great medium, even for a nearly 4-year old phone. That is a great leap in today's tech. Going for the 3GS would obviously be even a greater downgrade, from the iPhone 5 to the 3GS would be a gap of 3 Generations for the iPhone models!!
The iPhone 4 seems to have much greater support and accessories available at all stores too. As I expected, places such as Target don't carry iPhone 3GS cases or any other accessories that I could see.

We are still trying to make up our minds what to do with the iPhone 5. My sister is very hard to obtain information from lately.
Either she sticks with the broken iPhone 5 that has 2-4x worse battery with draining issues, broken accelerometer, compass, etc, or we sell that iPhone 5 and get one of these downgrades.

Thanks again!
 
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thex

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The iPhone 4S is worth the extra $100, plus you get Siri which is a nice feature...
 
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m4rski

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OK. Small update after a couple weeks.

My sister was trying to use the iPhone 5 "as is", broken and all, unable to charge after battery is fully depleted, etc. That lasted her about a week. Then she said the iPhone died. :-\ , which is of course exactly what I told her it would do if the iPhone 5 wasn't constantly being charged. This is all tedious and it is not a reliable smartphone anymore after the accident.

Right now, I am trying to get her to sign on to iCloud once again. After that we will see what she wants to do.
 

zstairlessone

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The iPhone 4S is worth the extra $100

Yes it is, I have a 5S and still have my 4S active and carry both. The 4S is a great phone and still does everything I need, and though the 5S is so technologically advanced compared to it I see the 4S being a useful to me for a long time.
 

ardchoille

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Get the 4S. My 4S became my iPod when I got the 5. The 4S is still a great phone.
 

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