It’s been about two weeks since I purchased my iPhone 5. And I absolutely love it.
My previous phone was the iPhone 4. As is the case with most updates to Apple’s products, changes from version A-B aren’t very great, but increase noticeably from version A-C, more so from A-D, and only bears a slight resemblance from version A-E. Given that I was only making a two-generational leap, the differences were notable.
The first thing that immediately struck me was the weight. It’s the lightest iPhone yet. It’s almost too light. The first time you pick it up coming from a 4 or 4S (the second-heaviest and heaviest, respectively), your hand will scream in protest. Since i recently got my iPhone 4 fixed, I’ve been handling it on and off and I’m always taken aback at how heavy and dense it feels. Equally surprising is the thinness. Looking horizontally at the iPhone 4 chassis, it’s split into three parts: top glass layer (face), metal antenna, lower glass layer (back). The iPhone 5 removes the bottom layer of glass, stretches the metal antenna around the sides over the back (leaving small glass panes at the top and bottom), then reduces the height of the top glass layer. It’s beautiful and sturdy. At worst. Only a small pane at the top and bottom can now shatter (the phone signals have to get out somewhere) and dents and scratches will appear on the back. Thankfully this isn’t the soft metal that was infamous on the iPods of old.
The front of the iPhone looks a lot better to me. At first glance, it’s hard to see the difference (other than the longer screen). The front facing camera has moved above the earpiece, which looks much better. Unfortunately for white iPhone 5’s, the proximity sensor is still colored black and located to the left of the piece. This detracts from the facial symmetry. Apple has also waxed poetic about the chamfered edges on the corners of the iPhone. It really does soften up the feel and intimidation factor of the phone. The edge reflects nicely on the white iPhone, and I think it enhances the look of the device.
One thing that has thrown me off is the movement of the headphone jack from the upper left to the lower left of the phone. Despite this, I believe that it makes the phone look a lot better. I would hAe preferred that Apple move the sleep-wake button to the other side as it was on earlier models of the iPod touch. This makes for a more comfortable grip for right handed users when pressing the button. (On a similar note, I also think that the volume should switch sides for easier thumb usage.) you lucky lefties.
The iPhone 5 bucks the trend of every iPhone, iPod, and iPad before it by introducing the Lightning port. And boy do I love it. While I lament the fact that I have a plethora of 30-pin cables all over the place that are now rendered moot, I love the reversibility and sturdiness of the connector. It saves enough space in the phone such that Apple could make a bigger battery, bigger speaker, and include 4G LTE. This new Lightning connector is truly Apple’s style in elegance and simplicity. They offer two converter cables that will work for virtually all of the accessories that you’ll throw at it.
The camera is a fantastic over the 4. Richer colors, more detail, better in low light, but most importantly—faster. The time it takes to go from lock screen to taking the first shot has probably been reduced by two-thirds. It’s near instantaneous. The upgrade from 720p HD to 1080p HD is equally nice. The front-facing camera has also become 720p HD, which is a welcome change.
The first time you use 4G LTE, your head will explode. It’s so much faster than what most people are used to, you’ll show your friends and start downloading a bunch of movies. Do so with the knowledge that you still have a data plan. I’ve switched to using Verizon, and their network coverage on LTE is phenomenal. However, the inability to do voice and data is obnoxious to me, as is their byzantine multi-call process. If your someone who makes a lot of calls and group calls, I would recommend AT&T for better call management alone.
While I’ve had Siri available on my iPad, the use-case for needing Siri on my iPad is slim. On the iPhone, however, it’s fantastic, especially while driving. She’s only dropped the ball for me 3 times (out of 100 by now, probably). Every once in a while, I will get a really odd answer for dictation, but most of the time it’s spot on. Once you get used to saying aloud punctuation, it’s very handy (e.g. Text mom hey comma do I need to pick Winston up from school question mark” to get “Hey, do I need to pick up Winston from school?).
A quick note about Apple Maps
The Internet has been all in a tizzy about the Apple’s maps. I ran some tests and had it navigate me to a number of locations, including from my house to my Uncle’s in Jacksonville. It was flawless. Additionally, it sits and continues to update visually on the lock screen, which is wonderful. Turn-by-Turn is exceptionally handy, and should have been here years ago. If it’s really a big deal to you, Google Maps is available on the iPhone, as well as other alternatives. Remember, Apple Maps will only get better the more you use it and report issues. The only awkward thing that happened to me was when it routed me to take a side road around. A roundabout. But remember, no mapping is perfect, and to also use common road sense.
• The vibrating motor is different from the AT&T iPhone 4. It’s definitely not as loud, which is a welcome change.
• The buttons feel great. Apple knows how to make lasting buttons.
• While light, the phone feels sturdy. There’s little to no flex.
• The white and silver looks better, in my eyes. Ideally, Apple could increase their options to nc,due a “White and Slate” and “Black and Silver” (my ideal iPhone 5)
Without a doubt, the iPhone is a luxury item. But it’s a luxury item made available to the masses and a competitive and value-laden package. Keeping in mind the strong third party market, availability on all major and some minor US carriers and the nearly one-million apps on the App Store, you really can’t go wrong with the iPhone 5. I heartily give it my full recommendation.