The iPhone 5 is the latest-generation of smartphone made by Apple. If you're in the market for buying a smart mobile phone for making calls, sending emails and messages, browsing the web, and running apps then you could do much worse than get an iPhone 5. Apple invented the modern incarnation of touch screen mobile phone, and the iPhone 5 is the best phone it's ever made.
But where is the best place to buy a iPhone 5? It's a question we're often asked, so this is our guide to buying a iPhone 5.
Best place to buy a iPhone 5: Apple Store
The iPhone 5 is built by Apple and so the online Apple Store is typically the best place to check before buying your iPhone 5. There are advantages to buying a iPhone 5 from the Apple Store: You can be sure that the phone is brand new and legitimate, and it'll be typically delivered the next day.
Because Apple makes and sells the iPhone it has a record of all iPhones bought, sold and you register it with Apple when it is activated. So buying an iPhone direct from Apple doesn't really confer any special guarantee privileges.
iPhone 5 Apple Store price
Apple sells iPhone 5 unlocked models on the Apple Store website, these can be used on any carrier network with a valid SIM card. The following models are available:
iPhone 5 (16GB): £529
iPhone 5 (32GB): £599
iPhone 5 (64GB): £699
Best place to buy an iPhone 5: Amazon and other stores
Amazon is selling iPhone 5s unlocked for £519, not exactly a great saving but £10 is £10.
Best place to buy an iPhone 5: America
It won't surprise you to learn that the iPhone 5 is cheaper to pick up in America than in the UK. You can pick up a iPhone 5 from the USA for $649 (approximately £412). However, this price doesn't include VAT, and if you get an iPhone 5 in America expect to pay around 10 per cent extra depending on which state you're in. Even so that takes it up to £450.
Be warned, however, that the unlocked iPhone 5 will not work with the 4G/LTE band in the UK. The US model is number A1428, whereas the UK is A1429 (GSM Model). It works fine on 3G networks, but the US unlocked phone will not work on the EE network (or other 4G networks as they become available). We' pay the extra and get the UK phone.
Best Place to buy an iPhone 5: Pay as you go SIMs
The only downside is that you can only buy an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple, and you'll still need to pay a monthly fee for mobile data, calls and data.
You'll need a nano SIM to connect to a network. Apple offers two "Pay as you go" starter packs along with the iPhone 5:
There's no prizes for guessing which deal we think is best. Most of the Macworld team are packing Three (3) SIM cards. It's worth noting that with the Unlimited Internet deal for £15 does not include tethering (sharing the Internet data with
It's worth remembering that if you have an unlocked iPhone 5 you can go with any mobile phone provider that provides a nano-SIM. Most major providers in the UK have iPhone specific deals that range in the amount of data, call time and text messages you can send.
One advantage of buying an unlocked phone is that you can use any network you want, and chop and change as much as you like. Three offers pretty good coverage, with unlimited internet from £19.90 per month, and 1GB of data for just £7.50. As far as we can see it has consistently had the best deal for the last few years. Tesco also does a pretty good deal for 1GB data from £10 per month and Virgin will do you 1GB data for £12 per month.
We don't recommend getting any iPhone deal that has less than 1GB per month. Since 3G networks have improved we've noticed average data usage going up, and whereas 500MB used to be enough for general web use, email, and apps we now find it a bit small.
One slightly leftfield, but popular option amongst those "in the know" is a service called GiffGaff. This is a community run mobile phone provider where some users receive payback in return for providing technical support to other users. It's based on the O2 network so has pretty good coverage, but offers unlimited data from £10 per month.
Best place to buy cheap iPhone 5: Contract deals
Although the Apple Store or Amazon are the first places you look at to pick up a iPhone 5, in this instance they're not necessarily the cheapest. This is because the iPhone, like all smartphones, is typically sold under contract where you pay a small amount up front for the phone and then more as you go. The monthly contract (typically for 12 or 24 months, pays towards both the handset and monthly contract).
Here are a number of good iPhone 5 deals to choose from when getting an iPhone 5 16 GB on a 24 month contract. They range from paying more upfront and less per month, to getting the handset for free and paying more per month. Typically the more you pay upfront the cheaper the overall amount you pay is.
O2: £26 per month (24 months). £229 iPhone. £853 total
Three: £34 per month (24 months). £99 = £915
Tesco Mobile: £45 per month (24 months), free handset. = £1080
It's worth noting that lots of suppliers do custom deals which to change fairly frequently. Take a look at a comparison site such as MoneySupermarket to see what offers are doing the rounds.
Which iPhone to buy?
First of all: is the iPhone 5 the right iPhone for you? If you're undecided, or unfamiliar with Apple's range of mobile phones, read our iPhone 5 review first.
You should also note that the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are both available at slightly lower prices (click to read reviews of both devices). You might also want to consider the iPod touch (fifth generation) which offers much of the functionality of the iPhone, although it is clearly missing the phone and mobile data connection.
If you've decided to buy a iPhone 5, the there are two different iPhone 5 models to choose from. You can pick up a iPhone 5 in Black & Slate or White & Silver, both are functionally identical and cost the same price.
Once you've made that choice you need to choose between in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB sizes. Which iPhone to buy is very much a personal choice, but some apps, especially games, can take up a lot of space. Movies and TV shows are also fairly size intensive, although if you like music you can use iTunes Match to stream all your music collection from an iTunes computer and leave space free on your iPhone.
Which iPhone 5 Accessories to get
It's well worth considering some iPhone 5 accessories at the same time as buying a iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's new Lightning connector, which means all your old 30-pin charging cables from previous generation Apple devices will no longer attach to the iPhone 5. With this in mind it's probably best to get a second Lightning to USB Cable (£15) with your purchase, although our review points out some cheaper options.
There's also a Lightning to 30-pin Adaptor (£25) that converts old 30-pin cables to the new Lightning connection.
This is useful if you have any devices that connect to the iPhone, such as the Elgato EyeTV Mobile which uses the older style connection.
Best place to get a iPhone 5: The Apple Refurb Store.
Apple sells products for less on the Apple Refurb Store. Sadly, the iPhone is the only exception. Apple does not sell iPhone products on the Apple refurb store.
A previous generation refurb is likely to be either an ex-demonstration model, or a iPhone 5 used during Apple's customer training programs, or it may be old stock that Apple has unsold. Apple never sells off old products in its stores, as soon as a new model comes out the models are sent to the Refurb Store. We have no idea what Apple is doing with iPhone 5 demonstration products, or returns, that would otherwise head to the Refurb Store.