Apple iPhone 5 Review
We have reviewed or used every single iPhone that was ever designed/built and to be honest the iPhone 5 was less exciting than we had expected due to the hype surrounding the handset.
All of the rumours at the time turned out to be true, with Apple replacing the standard connector with a new lightning connecter and increasing the size of the screen - thus there was nothing left to be surprised about. However as with most iPhone’s the power comes from the OS and with the iOS 6 functioning exactly the same as on the iPhone 4s it makes it harder to recommend this to would be 4S up-graders.
Don’t get us wrong the iPhone 5 is still a good handset, but if you have an iPhone 4s there is no need to rush out to upgrade as there is not a lot of difference when you analyse the phone skin deep. On the other hand if you have an iPhone 3/3Gs then we would certainly recommend the upgrade.
In terms of the design the iPhone 5 looks great! It’s definitely lighter than the iPhone 4s and a little thinner. To the base of the phone you get a slightly wider speaker and microphone grill - due to the new smaller lighting propriety USB connecter at the base - which makes the audio output/mic pickup perform a bit better.
The volume and mute switch is where you expect them to be on the side of the phone and at the back you have your 8MP camera lens with an led flash.
As for the screen this offers a slightly elongated resolution to accommodate the larger 4” display. This is running at 640 x 1136 pixels but it does hamper a lot of the apps that we tried to install to the phone. By this we mean there is gap at the top and base of the screen.
From our own experience there are still a lot of game titles that have not been updated yet to take advantage of the new screen. Unlike the iPad there is no zoom function so you are stuck with the gaps for the moment.
As for the operating system this is the same one found on the iPhone 4S. However there is no denying that the latter partners well with the retina display as everything looks fantastic! Icons, fonts, in fact any on-screen content looks sharp and the retina technology offers great viewing angles.
Thanks to the beefier CPU, namely an A6 Dual-core 1.2 GHz variant with a PowerVR SGX 543MP3 (triple-core) GPU the apps loaded quickly, browsing was smooth, swiping effortless and playing games likewise.
Video playback was also enhanced thanks to the wide-screen display, which offered full-screen viewing without the black bars.
It’s 8 MP (3264x2448 pixels), autofocus camera was as good as ever. The HDR mode, which takes three exposures of an object to produce the best shot, allowed us to take some great images in low light conditions (and the LED flash) boosted this further.
Its new Panoramic shot mode was a little fiddly to use, as you still need a steady handy, but we still got some respectable results from this latest model.
Alongside the camera shots you have FULL HD video recording with touch focus. Like the HTC range you can also take photos at the same time. However what’s more useful is the 720P front facing camera, so for those who like to take Vlogs, you will find the HD quality a bonus.
Alongside the iTunes store the music side of the iPhone 5 remains as good as ever, with the 32GB of storage we had on our review handset being ample for downloading most of our tracks (either from the iCloud or Desktop). The output from the speaker was quite loud, but the adjustment of the equaliser profiles outside the app - via the settings option - remains a hassle.
However you do get a new style of headphones supplied with the iPhone 5 and these are a lot more comfortable to wear in the ear (additionally the 3.5mm headphone port is now to the base of the phone). As per the original they also offer volume, control and playback control. Audio quality was good and there was no hissing to be heard (something that the old headphones used to produce).
Siri is activated via a press/hold of the Home button and it does a good enough job of allowing you to open apps or call your contacts with the power of your voice. Mind you as with most voice recognition technology it can produce some inaccurate or hilarious results at times, but it’s certainly a useful feature to have and should hopefully improve with more updates.
The App store had a re-design when iOS 6 came out and this has made it even easier to download free to pay-for apps. Because you can get a lot of apps for less than 70p this makes the phone a worthwhile investment for mobile gamers. However as we mentioned earlier there were a lot of games that had yet to be upgraded to take advantage of the new screens size/resolution.
As you may have heard in the press the YouTube player has been removed from the iOS 6 build so you now have to download this from the App store. Sadly the YouTube app is still a little ropey, in that we had a lot of streaming problems. Instead we had to use the YouTube player via the browser.
Speaking of which we forgot to mention that the browser now has better integration with the iCloud which means you can bookmark sites or choose to read an article later on one handset and then pick up where you left off on another.
Google Maps though has also been replaced with Apples own version. Sadly this definitely needs work, as there are a few issues with place names and accuracy. Hopefully an update will sort this issue out soon.
Sadly while Apple has provided the notification bar at the top of the screen (similar to the Android platform) it still has little use in our opinion. Unlike the Android platform you can’t use it to activate your WiFi or Bluetooth quickly; however they have at least made the Bluetooth option easier to access from the settings menu.
Also there is still no way to close down all the running apps on your phone with one button press. Instead you have to do the old press/hold function to bring up the close option for each app.
Simple things like this still annoy us with iOS. It’s not so bad on the iPad because it’s got great battery life, but when combined with mobile data enabled apps this can cause an adverse effect on Battery Life.