Since being released on the 21st of September this year, the iPhone 5 has been the subject of a lot of criticism both inside and outside of the Apple fans circle. The majority of this criticism fell on the new maps software and the use of the new 8 pin lightning device connector which replaced the 30-pin Apple Dock connector which was in use as the main connector since 2003. Apple have claimed that the iPhone 5 is the best thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone. In this review we will look at how that statement stands up against the heavily criticized device
The iPhone 5 is available from several retailers however our review unit was courtesy of Vodafone UK where you can pick up the handset for free on a 2 year £47 per month contract.
In The Box:
- iPhone Handset
- UK Wall Adapter
- 8 pin Lightning Connector
- Apple EarPods
- Network Compatibility: GSM, CDMA, 3G, EVDO, HSPA+, 4G LTE
- Weight 112 g (3.95 oz)
- Dimensions 123.8 mm (4.87 in) H | 58.6 mm (2.31 in) W | 7.6 mm (0.30 in) D
- Operating System: iOS 6.0
- CPU: 1.3 GHz dual core Apple A6
- GPU: PowerVRSGX543MP3
- Memory: 1GB LPDDR2-1066 RAM
- Battery: 1,440 mAh
- Display: 4 inch | 640 × 1,136 pixels at 326 ppi | Oleophobic
- Camera(s): 8MP 1080p capable rear facing | 1.2MP 720p capable front facing
- Front: 1.2MP Camera | Ear Grill | Light Sensor | Home Button
- Rear: 8MP Camera | Microphone | LED Flash
- Top: Hold Button
- Bottom: Speaker | 3.5mm Headphone Socket | Lightning Connector Port | Microphone
- Left: Antennas | Volume Control | Ringer / Mute Switch
- Right: Sim Card Slot
The iPhone 5 carries Apple’s new iOS 6 software which many power users and industry experts consider to be buggy however from a standard (non power) users perspective iOS 6 is simply a revamped version of iOS 5. A full overview of the iOS 6 software release is available on Wikipedia and is well worth the read the biggest change from iOS 5 to iOS 6 was the decision to drop YouTube and Google Maps from the default installation. Google Maps was replaced by Apple’s own maps application (more on this app further down) which in itself caused a lot of drama.
To our customers, At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better. We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up. There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you. While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app. Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard. Tim Cook Apple’s CEO
It’s worth mentioning at this point that the YouTube removal was not a move Apple took based on competition alone but rather that the licence agreement with Google had expired. I’ve decided that for the purposes of this review I will walk through each of the default apps on the iPhone 5 knowing that many of our new readers will have had no hands on experience with the iPhone brand.
Messages: The stock messaging application is very simplistic and allows for MMS to be composed on same area as the regular SMS.
Calendar: The Calendar app is relatively straight forward and not unlike any other app I have used on any other mobile Operating System. Allowing full sync with Facebook events, birthdays and other services like Google Calendar, this default app won’t cause you any problems
Photos: The Photo’s application is again pretty bog standard and has nothing special. Listing all the photo’s taken and allowing for a slide show to be played is as exciting as this one gets though it is worth saying that there is a basic edit option when opening an image that allows for cropping, red-eye fix and auto enhancement.
Camera: Sadly, this is the one area on the handset that is impossible to take a screenshot of so I will walk you through the app instead. The view window has options for flash mode (auto, on or off), options (grid, HDR and panorama) and flip which allows the front facing camera to come into use.
The options for the camera app are majorly lacking, no ability to set white balance, focus more or pretty much anything that would suit advanced photographers.
The new panoramic mode (despite my messy ironing pile filled living room) is something which I found to work very well and would go as far as to say it worked better than its Android counterpart, though after taking a panoramic photo, the only way to get it into your Photos app is by using the copy function which seemed rather strange that it wouldn’t transfer to the Camera Roll by default.
In terms of video quality, I have shot a front and rear facing video and to be honest, quality wise, you can’t tell a great deal of difference between the 720p front and 1080p rear video modes.The grumble here though is that when you hold the device in vertical orientation you will get the outputs as shown below – so please use it in landscape mode, it looks terrible otherwise.
Maps: Where do I start with this app? Is it really as bad as people make it out to be? Well rather than tell you about what others have had to say let me tell you about my experience using the app.
It was a Sunday afternoon and I was off out to pick up a present for my daughters Christmas in nearby Paisley. The first thing I noticed was that the maps for my street were out of date, it had somehow managed to place two dead-end streets that sit back to back together and joined by a non-existent avenue but regardless of that it was time to set off. I set the location and started my journey…
On the way up to motorway I found that the maps application had added in a few roads either beneath or above the motorway which simply didn’t exist and if they did then they would have driven into a cow or the river Clyde, neither of which seemed all that appealing to me so I continued on and ignored them.
As we neared the location I found the bar that sits at the top of the maps very intrusive and often struggled to tell where a turn or cut off was in advance due to it covering the drive path.
Upon hitting my destination the Maps application closed and the screen switched off. Now this would seem like an OK thing to do but here’s the thing, I hadn’t been to a bank yet so really didn’t want to close the maps application, I instead drove to an area I knew to have a bank and then drove back to where my destination was without the maps application to aid me.
Petty perhaps that this should annoy me however it did so I thought I’d mention it.
Weather: The weather apps on the device is really nice and provided a 5 day forecast though why Apple thought Yahoo would make a good weather service I will never know.
Passbook: This app is simply brilliant and by brilliant I really mean terrible and by terrible I mean useless.
Imagine having this app that takes all your passes, store cards, coupons and much more and puts them in one single app for ease of use, well in theory that’s what passbook does however it seems that this is nothing more than a waste of an app.
To use the app you need to download additional apps from the App Store however when you get there, there are just 4 compatible apps listed and none of they don’t even come close to covering what the app says they cover.
Clock: I would love to sit here and type an essay about how good this clock was however in fairness, just like any other phone, it’s a clock and though it has tabs for Alarms, Stopwatch and Timer there is nothing special about this.
Stocks: Being the high-flying business man I am this is one of the most important apps on any phone for me… wait, am I serious? I thought stocks were thought soups and the likes? Truth be told, this bores me and I have no idea when it comes to stocks and shares so I will just say that the stocks app has a pretty area in the notification bar pulldown that you can’t get rid off and this bugs me because I am simply not interested.
Newsstand: OK I won’t lie, this is one of the feature of Apple phones that I love. Yeah other OS’s have their own versions but I think what makes this one the best is the age-old phrase of “it just works”.
With Google still playing around in the UK on this field, there is simply nothing better as far as phones go. It looks nice and plays nice.
iTunes / App Store: iTunes is both my biggest hate and biggest love when it comes to Apple products in general. I hate the fact that you are tied down to using this software and I love the fact that it’s the easiest to use, has the nicest UI and again “it just works”
As you can see I grouped the iTunes and App Store together because let’s be honest, they are on in the same.
The only thing I noticed was that if you played a song (as shown above in the X Factor screenshots) and decided to back out, you were left with the player taking up real estate on the title bar which I’m pretty certain is a bug and not intentional. This on top of my clearly evident issues downloading items and the need for increased security for the app store are my only grumbles about the app itself.
Overall the software does have some bugs and they are clearly quite evident however I would be lying if I were to say that they cause any issues to the ordinary user and one who simply doesn’t care about icon bleeding etc…
The OS is sadly dated looking now though despite that fact, what works for Apple is repeat customers and w they could apply they thought process of why fix what isn’t broken when talking about the look and feel.
The iPhone 5 is fitted with a 4 inch 4 inch 640 × 1,136 pixels (326 ppi) Oleophobic Retina Display which if you read as a package sounds fantastic right? Well you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that at all. The iPhone 5 has a wonderful display which sadly isn’t evident straight away though if watching movies and looking in-depth at photos you have taken you can really see the benefit of having such a screen.
As for the Oleophobic part, well I can still see finger prints all over my display so either it wasn’t added to the phone I had or it simply doesn’t work as well as you are lead to believe it works.
Powered by the new 1.3 GHz Dual Core A6 processor the iPhone 5 is vast improvement on it’s younger sibling the 4S which carried an A5 processor running at 800MHz dual core.
You can instantly see the speed improvements compared to older versions of the device though in honesty, games wise and elsewhere, for the ordinary user this will be very un-apparent however for the power user or advanced users it could be said that there is still not enough power in this handset when you consider its biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy SII is carrying a 1.4GHz quad core in some regions.
Is there really a need for the additional power in my eyes? Absolutely not! The power that this device has is more than ample for what it allows and the games that the App Store has to offer.
Processing power is just that, power to process and when there is not as much being processed then you simply don’t need the additional cores.
- Overall Design
- Mute Switch
- App Store / iTunes
- App Store / iTunes
- iOS 6
Despite working with iPhones and iPads daily at work, I am an Android user and when writing this review I tried to be as objective as possible knowing how easy it is to bad mouth the iPhone.
Having never used an iPhone as a daily device I went into the review with the typical “it’s gonna be terrible” attitude that most Android users adopt however I would say that I was more than surprised at certain aspects of the phone and whilst I still believe that the phone isn’t yet good enough to compete with certain Android handsets I would say that Apple already miles ahead of their competitors in terms of their app store and media integration (video’s and music).
The new earpods that replaced the old style in ear earphones are considerably better than their predecessors however they severely lack in my honest opinion to the beats headphones I have used on HTC handsets in the past.
There is one thing you can’t take away from Apple and iPhones and that is that they know how to build great devices, sadly they are needing a lesson or two in operating systems and for me, it’s where I was let down the most. If Apple were to consider revamping their OS and making it more modern then they could well have the work winner but for now, for me, the iPhone is simply not good enough to take over as my main phone.
In answering my opening question, is the iPhone 5 is the best thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone? Yes it is but then so would any new device that followed the iPhone.
3.5 / 5