The iPhone 5 is altogether familiar and new. Familiar because it runs on iOS and has the same svelte form factor that started with iPhone 4. New because it has design changes, a larger screen, upgraded hardware, and fresh features. The new iPhone is what was expected of iPhone 4S but not without a few shortcomings. But not even its flaws can pull it away from its much deserved spotlight. It’s the best iPhone to date.
Display and interface
The larger screen is the first thing you’ll notice but the difference isn’t phenomenal. Still, it’s the first time Apple decided to have a 4-inch screen on an iPhone so we have to commend them for that. The screen is taller but not wider. Many have made jokes about it but it seems the point of it all is so that you can still hold the phone with one hand.
There’s little to worry about the display being stretched. Icons shown are virtually of the same size. This time however, there’s room for an extra row of icons and for viewing photos and videos. Now you can place 16 icons on each page including folders. Pop-up notifications are also less intrusive with the taller display – whether they appear on the top or bottom. When used in portrait mode, the virtual keyboard remains unchanged but the now-larger screen allows more text to be displayed while typing. If you switch to landscape mode, the virtual keyboard will take some getting used to for old iPhone users. Keys are more spread out to occupy the wide screen.
An app has to be optimized for iOS 6 to render perfectly on the larger display of iPhone 5. Non-optimized apps show black bars on opposite ends, occupying only the center of the screen. Despite this, apps still work perfectly. This isn’t going to last though. It’s only a matter of time until developers release apps ready for iOS 6. Video playback is definitely more pleasant on the iPhone 5. With an aspect ratio of 16:9, videos fill up the entire screen with minimal to no letterboxing. The higher color saturation on iPhone 5 greatly increases the depth and vibrancy of the display.
The Retina Display with 326 pixels per inch is still there and so is the user interface. There’s the dock which can hold a maximum of four apps and all others appear on the grid.
4G LTE connectivity
iPhone 5 is the first of its kind to offer 4G connectivity but there’s a catch; not all models are shipping with this feature. Depending on your carrier and location, the iPhone 5 will be available three different models – GSM, CDMA, and 3.5G HDPA+. If you happen to get your hands on a 4G-enabled version, you’ll find that it has impressive download and upload speeds.
Apple managed to implement a few tweaks on the rear camera even though it still has 8-megapixels on it. Now, it offers image stabilization when recording 1080p videos so they are less shaky. You also get to capture photos while recording videos. Dynamic low-lighting was also added to the camera. The new sapphire-crystal lens lets in more light. It takes even better photos now especially in bright places and under direct light. Finally, the front-facing camera got a 720p upgrade allowing you can take better photos and videos.
Low-light environments produce clearer pictures but they have grain and low resolutions. The iPhone 5 also takes pictures faster, enabling the phone to capture great shots during multishoot. The panorama mode works well in comparison to apps offering the same feature. Easy to use and smooth, it creates beautiful 360-degree images.
The A6 processor is something we had hoped to see on iPhone 4S and the new iPad but instead, made its debut on iPhone 5. It’s essentially a dual-core chip with quad-core graphics. A GeekBench test shows that it’s clocked at 1.07GHz and is accompanied by 1GB of RAM. Apps open and load faster on the new iPhone.
The latest mobile platform makes iPhone 5 feel brand new in many ways. Siri seems to be a better assistant and the new Maps application looks beautiful and life-like. Unfortunately, the app isn’t fully baked and has recently showed up in memes for getting you lost. Making up for this flaw is the functional turn-by-turn navigation integrated into iOS 6.
Author biography: Judene Macariola is a tech buff who enjoys writing articles about the latest gadgets. He works as a consultant at Broadband Expert, a company that helps home owners and businesses discover cheap internet options in their area.