Apple iPhone 5 – Review
From £529 (without contract)
For the first time since the original iPhone, Apple’s handset has an aluminium back. Nearly a year later the iPhone 5 is upon us. And what I detect this time is lust. The feelings are unlikely to diminish once buyers get their hands on the iPhone 5 Friday, or whenever their pre-ordered phones arrive.
Visually much has stayed the same, but the biggest change is impossible to see.
At the core of the new iPhone is iOS 6, the mobile operating system software upgrade that will also be made available free (as of today) on older iPhone models dating to the 3GS.Visually, much has stayed the same, but the biggest change is impossible to see. Pick up the iPhone 5 and you’re immediately struck by the reduction in weight. At 112 grams it’s 20 percent lighter than the 4S, a figure that doesn’t seem like it would make much of an impact.
iPhone 5 – Specs
Height: 123.8 mm (4.87 inches)
Width: 58.6 mm (2.31 inches)
Depth: 7.6 mm (0.30 inches)
Weight: 112 grams (3.95 ounces)
Pixel density: 326 per inch
Display: 1136×640 pixels
Services: 3G and superfast mobile 4G phone; music player; video player; internet browser; email.
Camera: Smaller, higher spec, faster shutter speed, panorama function. HD camera on front
Siri: Upgraded to allow spoken recommendations for films or restaurants. Possible to update Facebook status by voice command
Built in Apps: FaceTime video calls; video editing; Safari internet browser; email; Google maps replaced with Apple alternative including spoken directions; no YouTube as standard.
Processor: A6 chip said to be twice as quick as A5.
Internal Memory: 16GB; 32GB; or 64GB
Other Memory: Purchases stored in Apple’s iCloud servers
Battery: Standby up to 225 hours; Internet use up to 8 hours on 3G/4G; video playback up to 10 hours; audio playback up to 40 hours.
Operating System: Apple iOS 6
8 pin ‘lightning’ connector: to power sources and docking stations on speakers, radios and other devices. New adaptor will allow connections to existing 30 pin docking stations.
Prices: 16GB – $199; 32GB – $299; 64GB – $399
It still has eight megapixels but the iPhone 5 camera performs better in low light and captures photos more quickly. It’s also possible to take a still photo while shooting video and to take 240-degree panorama photos simply by following an onscreen guide that helps you keep the phone level and move it at the right speed.
Probably the biggest challenge to iPhone 5 battery life will come when the handset is used on 4G. A lot of people don’t realize what 4G will bring to the mobile market. A good example will be moving from dial-up to 20mb broadband. It will be like steroids for your mobile. Who knows what the result of this will do to the Irish phone market. With some companies id imagine taking full advantage of over charging for data usage.
First, the good: the Lightning connector is infinitely easier to connect. It slots in nicely and does so regardless of orientation, plugging in right-side-up or upside-down. We were able to drive it home without looking the first time, and every time thereafter. (If only the same could be said for the USB connector on the other side.) It’s also small, seems infinitely more durable than its flimsy-feeling elder and even stronger than micro-USB alternatives.
Samsung is countering with its own ad campaign: “The Next Big Thing Is Already Here.” But Samsung’s Big Thing is taller, wider and more than 0.7-ounces heavier than iPhone 5, though only a whisker thicker. The heart of the iPhone 5 is the new A6 processor, a chip that Apple wasn’t too keen to describe other than it being “twice as fast” as the last-gen A5 and “22 percent smaller.” Thankfully, we have ways — namely, Geekbench, which identifies this as a dual-core 1.05GHz processor paired with 1GB of RAM.
The “Panorama” camera functionality is truly remarkable. Start moving the camera, take a picture, and it will keep going until you have a 28MP scene. Yes, other cameras have had panorama systems – including, yes, Samsung. Those limit you to staying in one place and moving the camera around.
Maps and mapping
The news in May that Google was sidelined as the provider of maps for the iPhone (in any phone that runs iOS 6, to be released later on Wednesday 19 September) caused a fair amount of hand-wringing and worry.
The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve. Every area, that is, except for the OS. If anything, it’s the operating system here that’s beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age.
Those who were quick to dismiss the iPhone 5 based on its specifications – but no experience with its features or services – made the mistake of thinking that a phone is just components. But it’s the gestalt that makes it a pleasant experience – or otherwise. For those who insist on NFC, or direct access to the phone’s file system, or the option of opening web pages in multiple different browsers, the iPhone and iOS will never be satisfactory.
Apple’s competitors never been closer in terms of quality, function and aesthetics and from your feedback on our social networks we know how many of you are jumping ship to phones with a bigger screen and more features.
iPhone 5 release date: 21 September 2012
iPhone 5 price: From £529
If you have an Android phone and have been waiting for a big iPhone update to explore or re-explore the device, now is the time. And you Windows Phone 7 users who are getting screwed in the move to Windows Phone 8, you may want to look as well. And if you’re still a Blackberry user, well, good luck with that. I think you’re beyond my help.
The iPhone 5 probably won’t take any more marketshare from Android than the iPhone 4S did before it. Neither of the major platforms is going anywhere, and each has its loyal user-base. But, it’s the best iPhone so far, and breaking 2m sales in the first 24hrs of preorders suggests the public at large is confident of the same thing.