Now let me make it clear from the get-go that I am an Apple user across many devices (Mac, iPhone and iPad) so this summary of what I think about the iPhone 5 is doubtless to be a touch biased.
When the time finally came to replace my aging 3GS, which I had owned for 3 1/4 years, I was torn between sailing on the good ship Android and getting whatever new phone Apple announced. Even though my phone had needed replacing the year earlier I decided to avoided the 4S due to rumours of a larger screen that the 4S didn’t satisfy. When the 5 was announced I preordered one straight away. I ultimately stayed with iOS due to the large number of apps that I own and how much I use iCloud. That and I’m a sucker who is too scared to move to another platform.
The iPhone 5 is, to put it mildly, a gorgeous phone. The design is sleek and minimalist with nothing distracting you from the display. I will say that being used to the curved sides of the 3GS I found the slab-sided design of the 5 difficult to get used to at first, and still am getting used to it to be honest, but it fits very nicely in the hand with its cold metallic touch. Also since the screen is bigger your hand needs to find a new position to hold it in so that your thumb can reach all corners of the screen and it can be a bit of a stretch reaching the home button. All that can be avoided by using the device two handed, but this is a phone not a tablet after all.
For the first time Apple has decided to change the screen and ratio of the iPhone from the 3.5 inch 3:2 screen to the new 4 inch 16:9 display. This change in size, whilst minor, makes the iPhone feel remarkably different to hold in the hand, as mentioned previously. The pixels per inch of the screen remains the same as the 4 and 4S (326 ppi) meaning it’s still ‘retina’. Whilst I don’t personally buy into all this “can’t see the pixels” nonsense I will say that the display looks gorgeous, especially compared to my iPad 2 (132 ppi). Text looks crisp, photos look sharp and videos playback beautifully on the widescreen display. Also some new-fangled technology means the gap between the glass and screen is decreased, this combined with the new faster processor makes it feel more than ever that you’re actually touching and swiping your content. The screen scores an easy 10.
8mp with a great backlight sensor for photos and 1080p, image-stabilisation and dual mics for video. When taking this to a concert (Muse, just in case you’re interested) the camera worked like a charm. I was able to capture images as quickly as I could press the shutter button and the video recording came out amazingly well. I was especially impressed with the sound capture as being so close to loud speakers (with high bass) usually creates a crackling sound but here all is well and I now have perfect images and videos of a fantastic night. Apart from optical zooming I couldn’t really ask for more from the camera. A word of note is that the flash on the camera is absolutely ferocious and you’ll definitely not want to use it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Bits and Pieces
Yes, the new ‘Lightning’ connector is a bit of a pain as you can’t use any of your previous cables. This means I have to have separate cables out for my devices. Not the end of the world but still annoying. What is nice though is that it’s reversible, so no more trying to jam it in the wrong way while you’re half asleep after realising you forgot to charge your device up overnight. The new ‘EarPods’ are surprisingly nice. They fit snuggly in the ear and never feel like they’re about to fall out. Sound quality is comparable to other headphones of a similar price, but don’t expect anything earth shattering out of them. If you’re an audiophile you’ll already know which headphones you like for listening to your favourite tunes. The remote on them is also handy as you can easily pause and change songs or accept phone calls without getting your phone out of your pocket (which in the winters of North England is a godsend as it means your toasty warm gloves can stay on).
This is by far and away the best iPhone available (shocker I know). If you’re looking to get an iPhone I strongly suggest putting down the extra cash to get this over the currently available 4 or 4S. The larger screen and improved specs easily make it worth the extra money. The app selection is great (though not all apps have been optimised for the new larger screen) and iOS runs impeccably well on it with barely a stutter to be found. What I will happily say though is that the phone is not for everyone. If you’re upgrading from a previous iPhone or already own a Mac or iPad the 5 is a no-brainer as everything will work seamlessly with your other devices. If you’re coming from Android perhaps look into getting the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the wait to see the new phone Sony will unveil next month that executives in the company are saying will be a rival to the S3 and 5 (though to be honest with the rubbish they’ve been flooding the phone market with lately I’ll believe it when I see it).
As with anything of this variety my needs will be different to yours. You’ll only enjoy a phone that feels right in your hands and fits your needs so before purchasing I highly recommend going into a store and trying a few out to get a feel for the devices. Best of luck with your purchase.
By Ian Dutton