So the kid wants an iPhone...

My son is turning 14 soon, and he’s decided that he wants an iPhone as a replacement to his Samsung S20FE 5G when the time comes. I haven’t kept up with what’s going on with iPhones (because they are always to pricey for my needs). Any ideas for ways to source a modern iPhone without breaking the bank? Willing to switch carriers, because I don’t think Ting is going to be the answer any longer (and they don’t currently support eSIM). The rest of the family is on Google Fi, but there are certainly no iPhone discount purchase deals with Fi.

@cbwahlstrom said:
Any ideas for ways to source a modern iPhone without breaking the bank?

How modern? Is 5G important? If so, you’ll want, at least, an iPhone 12 series. Apple offers certified refurbs on its website but availability varies: Refurbished iPhone Deals - Apple. Is there a budget?

@cbwahlstrom said:
Willing to switch carriers, because I don’t think Ting is going to be the answer any longer (and they don’t currently support eSIM).

iPhone XS series or later supports eSIM but only iPhone 14 or newer requires eSIM. If, pay by the gig is viable, I like either Mobi (Verizon network) or Tello (T-Mobile network) as potential replacements for Ting but neither sells iPhones and because Tello lacks an iPhone carrier bundle 5G is not supported. Lack of iPhone 5G support on Tello may be resolved with iOS 16.4 (currently in public beta). Mobi has a unique arrangement with Verizon that allows use of Verizon’s carrier bundle.

@cbwahlstrom said:
The rest of the family is on Google Fi, but there are certainly no iPhone discount purchase deals with Fi.

iPhone WiFi calling support was recently added by Fi but, like Tello, Fi lacks its own Apple carrier bundle, so 5G may be an issue. And, like Tello, iOS 16.4 may resolve the lack of iPhone 5G support on Fi.

Yes

Only in terms of less is better.

The current Iphone SE is < $450 , but only has a 4.7" screen.

Why would you feel that 5G is necessary for a 14 yo 1st-time user? Just curious :slight_smile:

I think he’s had a cell phone since he was 5 (thanks Republic Wireless). As far as 5G, everything but standalone 5G is so saturated or deprioritized in my community that it’s practically unusable at anything but the earliest and latest waking hours (which may just lead me to T-Mobile or Verizon postpaid for deprioritization avoidance). I have a T-Mobile postpaid free trial for another couple months, and so far it’s a lot more usable than deprioritized Ting.

I’m not sold on this iPhone thing yet. It seems to me that it’s a lot like buying a really expensive pair of sneakers.

If you buy into the iVerse then iPhone is worthwhile. In my RW life I was happy with Moto phones but since moving to Mint we’ve made the transition to iVerse… it’s not cheap, agreed… but the phones talk to each other nicely, and largely been debug free so far. Most of my friends were already in iVerse so that made the transition easier. FaceTime works quite well 👍

My daughter is 13, is that what I have to look forward to? She’s currently more than happy with Android hand-downs. It makes it easier for me to justify getting a new phone every two years when I pass the old one down.

My son will be in middle school next school year, which means we’ll be activating another phone soon!

@Scottathew said:
My daughter is 13, is that what I have to look forward to?

Probably. Right now my son has been distracted by the skateboard he received for his birthday. He hasn’t mentioned the iPhone again, and I’m not going to bring it up. He’s away for a week at a field school. Living the dormitory life and exploring the outdoors sans any electronic devices. The next couple weeks are spring break and we’re off to Detroit to visit the Henry Ford and take in a Pistons game. I assume at some point the iPhone request will resurface. If he can make a compelling case US Cellular postpaid may work out for us, but I’m still not sold on it.

@cbwahlstrom said:
The next couple weeks are spring break and we’re off to Detroit to visit the Henry Ford and take in a Pistons >game.

Visiting Detroit, that’s awesome. I work in downtown Detroit, I’m there right now! Little Caesars Arena is an awesome venue.

@Scottathew said:
I work in downtown Detroit, I’m there right now!

Any dining recommendations? My wife has mentioned Cliff Bell’s and somewhere in Greektown. Open to other suggestions.

Depends on how fancy you are. I’m not fancy, so I’m not aware of many of the fancy options.

Non-Fancy downtown favorites:

  • Cadillac Square Diner
  • Basement Burger Bar
  • American Coney / Lafayette Coney (these are right next to each other and are part of a historic rivalry going back generations)
  • Buddy’s Pizza
  • Mootz Pizza
  • Detroit Beer Company
  • Red Smoke (BBQ)
  • Slows (BBQ)

Slightly Fancier:

  • Fishbones in Greektown
  • Texas de Brazil ($50 a person Brazilian steakhouse, it’s fantastic if you want ALL OF THE MEAT)

Opposite of fancy, but good:

  • There’s a liquor store in Greektown at Monroe and St. Antoine. In the back of the liquor store there’s a place the sells really greasy and REALLY good fried chicken
  • Woodward Coney (it’s one of my favorites, but my coworkers refuse to go there because it’s a little more “salt of the earth”/working class than other options)

Fancy places I’ve never tried:

  • London Chop House (I think it has a dress code)
  • Townhouse

Avoid:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings - Service is slow and food is cold, consistently

Well, that was a fun trip. Of course the first thing my son noticed in Detroit was the “Hello Yellow” iPhone ad taking up the entire side of a building near our hotel (and visible almost everywhere in the city). Had a great time otherwise. Buddy’s Pizza was truly outstanding. Cadillac Square Diner made killer breakfast. And the Coney at American Coney couldn’t have been more scrumptious, or the service have been more friendly. In fact, I have to say that Detroit has the friendliest citizens I’ve ever encountered. My entire family was blown away with how well Detroit citizens represent their city, and go out of their way to make us tourists feel right at home. We had a great (and expensive) dinner at Cliff Bell’s and caught a great jazz show. Picked up a bunch of Detroit Tigers merchandise at Comerica Park. And saw the Detroit Pistons clinch the worst record in the NBA this season ‚òπÔ∏è, but wow… Little Caesars Arena is a first class facility. Now to do some more iPhone research. Thanks to @Scottathew for all the great Detroit centric recommendations.

So…ended up with an iPhone 14 Pro and US Cellular postpaid. The iPhone is financed and bill credits make it a net zero dollar/month cost, so long as it stays active on a US Cellular plan. Caveat being that you don’t get their best promotional plan pricing while financing a phone (costs an extra $10/month). We’ll try it out for a while, and if it doesn’t work out I’ll just payoff the phone and go elsewhere.

I’ve now left the realm of budget carriers for all our household phones, but hey…it’s still cheaper than what I was paying Sprint in 2008 for 3G and WiMAX service that never really worked.

@cbwahlstrom I’m glad you enjoyed your trip and that the recommendations worked out!