Smartphone for my Daughter - am I missing anything? (or: HELP!! ;-)

So, my tweener daughter got almost straight A’s last school year (B+ in Math, and she put in the work and earned it - math isn’t her thing). So, per our agreement, she gets a smartphone for her birthday.

Without making this complicated, this is how I am approaching it - obviously, I will do some research online, but am hoping to tap a bit of Doper Techsmarts™.

  • She is inclined to want an iPhone. I am NOT inclined to push back - unless there is a Samsung Galaxy or the like that is SO MUCH BETTER for a tweener kid who is looking to phone, text, listen to songs and play games. Are there any features that jump out so much for this type of kid use that I should look at Androids hard?

  • The last-model iPhone 4S is, I think, about $99 with 16gb of memory, and $199 with 32gb (but these are harder to find as this model gets phased out). The iPhone 5 is $199 for 16gb, and $300 for 32gb.
    >> Does a kid using it for phone, text, apps and songs NEED 32gb? My son (who got great grades about 2 years ago - sigh) has a 16gb iPhone 3 and has said that he runs out of space - I haven’t tried to dig into his phone to see if he is doing something wrong and chewing up memory needlessly.
    >> If she WOULD benefit from 32gb, I guess I would shell out the $$ for the 5, if the 32gb 4S is that hard to find. If 16gb should be fine, I would go after the last-model 4S - and use the extra $$ to get a pair of nicer headphones (something we have discussed).

TL; DR → What say you, tech-savvy Dopers? For a tweener kid with standard needs: A 32gb iPhone 5 or a 16gb iPhone 4S and better headphones? Or is there an Android that is SO much better that we MUST consider it?

Thank you in advance for any coaching. If there is an obvious website that digs into any of this that you would recommend, then a point in that direction would be great, too!

PS: Can you tell I have been talking a LOT with my daughter because I am using ALL CAPS to hit the DRAMA POINTS that have come up in our discussions?? :wink: :smiley:

If you can afford it without stretching, then go for the 32-gig phone. Some games take up a ludicrous amount of space, and if she wants to put music on the phone, that’s going to eat up a ton of space, too. She could definitely get by with the 16-gig phone, but she might end up having to delete some things to make room for other things, which is annoying.

IMO the iPhone should be fine. For a teenager getting her first phone, I would probably get the 32GB 4S for the same money you’d spend on the 16GB 5. She won’t really need any of the extra features you get with the 5 vs. the 4s and the 4s is still a good phone. Put the money into extra storage space instead of extra features. Edit: Unless you can’t get your hands on a 32GB 4S, and then I’d just ask your daughter whether she’d rather have a nicer set of headphones or 16 more gigs of storage on her phone. Leave it up to her.

And congrats to your kid on her report card!

Thanks for that prompt and thoughtful reply! That all makes sense; I will have to see if the local Verizon shop can get their hands on a 32gb 4S…

I think the playing games thing tips it heavily in favour of an iPhone. That’s one area that Apple still has a marked advantage over Android. For her other uses there’s not much to choose between them. I guess a 32GB 4S is probably your best bang for your buck.

There are no guarantees, but Apple is expected to release new iPhones in the next month or so. So if you wait a bit you could either get the newer model or save $100 or so on the 5 (probably).

Very few people need 32G of space on their phone. I’m sure they’d all love to have it, but it’s a luxury, not a necessity.

All helpful - and yeah, I figured that about 32gb.

Keep 'em coming and thank you very much!

I generally ask people, which statement best describes your attitude to tech stuff:

  1. I don’t have to screw around with it - it just works! (Get an iPhone)

  2. I get to screw around with it to my heart’s content! (Get an Android)

I only have 6 gigs worth of games and apps on my phone - honestly I’m surprised! However, music easily eats up space like nobody’s business. I have a dedicated 8gb mp3 player and I am constantly having to delete favorite music to add new favorite music when I’d rather not have to. The 8 gb breaks down to about 900 songs for me.

While I don’t know much about iPhones, that should give you a better handle on what size of memory to aim for based on the size of her music library.

I’d change your second point to be:

  1. I don’t have to screw around with it - but if I want to I can! (Get an Android)

It certainly does, particularly if you copy across entire albums or worse, discographies. A few movies to watch on the go fair eats it up too.

Entire websites are devoted to people having tedious fights about whether or not this statement applies to Androids, iPhones, both, or neither, but if you’re just talking about people’s attitudes towards phone ownership, I think Tim R. Mortiss was right on target.

All good - and we could not be any more firmly in Group #1 - iPhone it most certainly is, then…

Inclined to go with a 32gb 4S - it would be great to figure out when the next-gen will arrive and whether the 5 will be discounted, but that is a game I am not inclined to want to play with Apple’s marketing geniuses :wink:

16 gigs is PLENTY for ANYONE.

It’s not the apps that eats space on a phone. It’s the pictures/videos. Facebook is one of the biggest apps on my phone clocking in at 104mb. Candy crush is 76.5mb. Gmail is 60 mb. Most everything else (skype, pandora, maps, youtube, instagram, twitter) is 40 or below.

With proper upkeep and faith in “the cloud”, there’s no reason why 16 gigs wouldn’t be enough. I know that my generation - the napster generation - still wants to horde all of our music in one place but really that’s an archaic mentality. Music can be accessed via the cloud so freely and easily. I only keep podcasts, music I work out to, music I commute to, and music I want to share with people on the phone. The rest of the music library is on the computer, and backed up to google play.

The same goes for photos and videos. You COULD horde all the pictures that you take on your phone, or you can just pick through the good ones and upload it to instagram/facebook/picasa/etc. and not have it physically on the phone anymore.

Of course a 32 gb one would almost certainly ensure that she wouldn’t have to worry about what songs to keep on her phone and what pictures she has to delete/sync but it’s not a necessity by any means.

Hmm - I suspected as much; gotta look into that.

I am about to run out for some errands - again, I can’t thank everybody enough and appreciate any and all additional input!

This may not work for your daughter, teens always needing he latest and greatest, but I’ve been using an iPhone 3GS for a couple of years now and have been very content. I use 10GB for music (about 2300 songs) and the remaining 4GB (you don’t actually get 16GBof storage space) is more than enough for apps and games, for me. The biggest thing I have is a Japanese-English dictionary at .6GB.

If space IS an issue, most non-iPhones support memory cards (mini-SD and the like) which are considerably cheaper than buying a phone with larger on-board memory.

Your usage may not be typical and is almost certainly not typical for someone who wants to install a lot of games. I recently had to delete several game apps to make space on my phone. Angry Birds is one of the only ones left, taking up 169 MB. Carcassonne took up 455 MB. My kid likes playing Kingdom Rush (200 MB), Block Fortress (148 MB), and Infinity Blade II (1.2 GB, yes, that’s GB). And he has a skrillion smaller games, all around 40-50 MB. It adds up quickly. Yes, you can just delete off games and music that you’re not currently using, and nobody needs 32 GB, but 32 GB will be awfully nice to have if you’re using the phone for games and music.


Personally I would only want to use the cloud for music if I lived in an area with very strong service everywhere. You lose the cloud connection and where are you at then? Most people want as much of their favorites as possible available at all times.

Plan to keep her favorite music on the phone, and evaluate the capability of cloud playback later. Wouldn’t want to plan on cloud usage and then find out the drive to a friend’s house is riddled with service holes. I can’t stand not having my own music in the car, personally.

I have seen people load up their phone’s image gallery and it says that there are 2,500+ pictures. It’s easy to hoard and use up space without realizing it.

It is true that most android phones are capable of having their memory expanded at a lower cost via SD/mini-SD cards.

Just got our preteen an 16 GB iPhone 4 and she’s over the moon with it. If she has to trade off games for music we are ok with it, she’ll just have to learn to make those tough choices.

The only problem is she has discovered emoji so I keep getting texts with all sorts of goofy smiley faces.

On September 10, Apple is widely expected to announce a newer, faster iPhone 5(S, probably) and a lower priced 5 (C, probably). The lower priced is strongly rumored to come in multiple colors with a plastic backing (the current 5 is metal; the 4 and 4S are glass). Here are a couple of things to consider:
[li] The glass backs on the 4 and 4S are prone to breakage. Not super expensive to replace the back, but still.[/li][li] The 5 has a different form factor (16:9) and, increasingly, new apps will be developed only for that form factor.[/li][li] iOS 7 will probably (certainly?) come out simultaneously with the new phones. It has new security features that will make it much more difficult for thieves to steal, erase, and sell iPhones. It will run on the 4S, but not fully featured.[/li][li] If your daughter likes photography, the 5 is widely considered to have one of the best cameras available on a phone. Much of that is in the software, but the hardware is also quite good. The 4S camera is also good, but the 4S will likely also lack some of the new photography features in iOS 7. Also, photos and videos take up a lot of space.[/li][/ul]

I have a 64GB 4S. Since a recent app and photo purge, I’m using about half the available space (Myst–hey, I’m old school–is a huge game).

I’d wait until Sept 10 and get one of the lower-priced iPhone 5s in a pretty color.

You can store stuff in the Cloud but only will be able to access it with a connection (obviously) and remaining connected just to listen to your music will needlessly waste battery time.

Also 16Gb is a fair amount, this month, but who knows what next month’s tech will bring that could fill up your memory?

Personally I prefer Android over Apple, because it’s more flexible and you have a wider choice of phones, accessories, storage…