Apple iPhone 5 – Months On Review

iPhone 5 next to the iPhone 4S
iPhone 5 next to the iPhone 4S

First Impressions

The iPhone 5 is Apple’s latest and greatest Smartphone and it’s literally the “biggest” thing to happen to iPhone, since iPhone as Apple states, and thats due to the larger 4 inch display (3.99 inch) running at the same 326PPI, however now at 1136 x 640, which is OK resolution but far from the best out there. When looking at the iPhone 5, its hard not to simply think of it as a stretched up iPhone 4S, and in most cases that’s all it really is with subtle differences port wise which we’ll get to in a minute.

Design

iPhone 5 SidesThe design is true iPhone, all about display at the front, the same classic Home button and call speaker up top, although the Front facing Camera has swapped places where the Proximity Sensor was before as you can see by simple comparison. The sides remain relatively unchanged, the same circular volume rocker and silent toggle, with the slightly smaller SIM Ejection Tool for the first of Apple Proprietaries, the NANO-SIM. The top houses just the Home button and a secondary mic for noise cancellation, and at the bottom is the new home for the 3.5mm headphone jack, the larger speaker grill, microphone and the second Apple Proprietary, the all new Lightning Connector.

The back of the iPhone 5 has head a relatively new re-design, nothing too drastic if we’re perfectly honest. Instead of the all glass backing we’ve seen from the iPhone 4(S), we have the new two-tone design, which has since being used (copied…cough) by the HTC One and even the Blackberry Z10. On the White iPhone 5, you have white glass pieces evenly cut top and bottom, on top housing the improved 8 megapixel Camera, mic and LED Flash, and an Aluminium finish with the Apple logo and other stuff. The black one has the same design affect (obviously black instead on the glass), but with a Slate finish rather than Aluminium.

Either way the design of the iPhone 5 is unmistakably Apple, and sticks to their classic look and feel which many out there still love today, although we would’ve liked to have seen something slightly more interesting to look at, we’re still at that point of getting a new iPhone and forgetting we’ve changed phones.

EarPods

Apple’s EarPods are Apple’s all new Earphones, and the iPhone 5 was the first device that came with them out of the box and the quick review of them goes … there better than the old Apple earphones, yeah they’re pretty average, but not terrible like the previous ones were. OK, we’re probably being hard on them, but for the price tag they are you can get some very impressive headphones for your money … no I’m not talking about the over-priced over-rated Beats headphones. Still, it’s nice to see better earphones in the box now, or earphones at all from most manufacturers, suppose it wouldn’t be much of an iPod if it didn’t come with them tho.

In the hand / Build Quality

I’ve added this in to the review because of how I feel about the iPhone 5 when it’s in the hand, despite taking a lot of getting used to the much taller display area, which quite frankly makes the keyboard awful to use, the phone is really sharp at the edges, especially with the White model, the White iPhone 4 I remember being sharper than the Black one, but both iPhone 5 models tend to have the same problem. The edges of both phones have been diamond cut, which is all great for making it look premium and sparkle, but it does make the iPhone 5 a very uncomfortable phone to hold, take us back to the days of the iPhone 3G when the late Steve Jobs says “it feels great in your hand, if you can believe it”, we did believe it, cos it was true, now it’s just … ughh.

Build quality is another major issue with the iPhone 5, it’s dreadfully bad! OK, whilst ours survived much better than many have, in the months we’ve had it, we have to completely agree where the complaints come from, the diamond cut edges will scratch like mad over time, just rolling your finger over it proves all to that, and to be honest it’s rather impossible not to. It scratches on jeans, light surfaces, everything, the edges between the Aluminium and glass at the back also end up with scuff marks, the only thing that remains undamaged over time is the front glass panel, which actually was very durable like the iPhone 4(S) one, but the back, and the edges, whilst it doesn’t crack when dropped, both scratch like hell.

The i-Phone itself … get it, and iOS 6

iPhone5and4S-Front

Yeah that was a terrible pun, but hey. The phone itself is actually very good, whilst it doesn’t top any Smartphone to the best phone we’ve ever had chart, its a very good phone, and if their wasn’t a major iOS6 bug meaning Call/Text/Alarm/Notification alerts most of the time fail to alert, we’d be happy to say reliable phone too. iOS 6 is fast, snappy, and very responsive and just does everything you throw at it straight away and smoothly, the only problem with that is … so did the 4S, and so it does now, so why buy the iPhone 5? Unlike, the iPhone 4S to the 4, the iPhone 5 really has zero buying reasons over the 4, other than the bigger display. The iPhone 4S could tout Siri, which the iPhone 4 didn’t feature, it could boast a better Camera, an actually available White version, a larger 64GB option, but with the iPhone 5 there’s just nothing major to get you to buy it. The 128GB version never came, although did for the iPad, the Camera is more or less the same, Siri is the same, build quality is worse, for existing iPhone 4S owners I’d recommend staying right away from the iPhone 5 to be honest.

IOS6Then there’s this, iOS 6, the world’s most …hang on, most advanced mobile operating system? Let’s start again.

Then there’s this, iOS 6, the world’s most disappointing mobile operating system, that’s better. OK, now before you all get in to a hissy fit and start needing the Doctors for your incredible shock, I love the iPhone, I love iOS, but come on, after seeing advances over the years with Google Android with Jellybean, Microsoft with their slick Windows Phone 8 operating system, and … at a stretch BB10, maybe not, but the other two definitely, it’s hard to see what Apple’s been doing the last 6 years to iOS. (Yes, the iPhone 5 is the 6th iPhone, grade A for Maths right there Apple)

The UI has remained more or less unchanged, the only thing thats changed since iPhone OS 1 is background images, Folders, Spotlight and Notification Centre, everything else is the same! Ok, Apple have updated the look of their apps, some cases I wish they didn’t, the Music player sucks on the iPad since the iOS 5 update, I hate the Whiter look of the iOS 6 one too, but updating apps is redundant, what about the thing you see more than anything, the OS itself, no wonder people are saying the iPhone is boring more than ever in the last year, we were yawning at WWDC. With Scott out, and Jony Ive in control of Software design, which could go either way, we are on our heels looking out for iOS 7, and we’re keeping our hopes up and fingers crossed for the future.

Specs Sheet

Apple A6 1.2GHz Dual Core Processor

1GB Ram

16/32/64GB Capacity

4 inch display (326PPI)

4G LTE, HSPA+, World phone Network

8 Megapixel (1080p Video) Rear Camera, 1.2 Megapixel (720p Vide0) Front Camera

Summary

The iPhone 5 is quite frankly the most expected phone ever released, every leak became true, every expectation was true, it’s the most natural update from the iPhone 4S, whilst the A6 processor only really increases from 800MHz to 1.2GHz Dual Core, it still handles the OS very well, games still lead over the Android platform on iOS, and with possibly the best graphics we’ve ever seen on a mobile device, still being in the App Store rather than Google Play, Apple still has a winner for the gamers out there, but give it next year, when Key Lime Pie is out by Google, and others have updated, Apple needs to deliver the goods, another yawn like this one and they’ll begin to seriously lose marketshare. The phone itself a very good, yet poorly built, phone that will have most users hard to disappoint, its the new iPhone for godsake.

 – The first iPhone to get 4 stars, a natural progression from the 4S, but 4S owners will be left scratching their head if upgrading, nothing surprisingly new or beneficial, and embarrassing build quality

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