As a tech reporter a lot of gadgets pass through my hands, but I’m a lousy early adopter in my personal life. I think the reason is readily understandable: it’s money. I don’t like to spend a lot on gadgets when I can make smart decisions and then just enjoy what I’ve bought. And by using this approach I get an added bonus. When I do buy a new gadget it’s because my old device was really on its last legs. So I get the excitement of having the latest, newest thing, plus a legitimate quality of life improvement. On Thursday I got an iPhone 5S. Four days later I’m still blown away by it, but not because it’s good.
I mean it is good. It’s a solid smartphone with the usual number of drawbacks. But I’m enjoying it so much because my old phone was a pitiful mess by the end. I got the CDMA iPhone 4 in February 2011 when it debuted on Verizon. The iPhone 4 was a great (if antennagate-burdened) smartphone and my unit was no lemon. It handled my heavy use, beta OSs, and app testing gracefully. I didn’t start having problems with it until its second birthday. At which point I had pretty awful problems with it. Apps crashed all the time and random restarts were typical. The camera took 20-30 seconds to turn on. The phone would freeze during syncing. Battery life dropped off a cliff from fairly solid to abysmal. And then two weeks ago I dropped it. Womp. I almost didn’t want to pick it up because I knew I had shattered the screen.