Apple iPhone 5 Review
Above the surface, we’ve come to appreciate the new design that Apple bestowed upon its latest iPhone – and without doubt, it’s refreshing to say the least. However, beneath the water, there’s the matter of its software experience, which as we all know by now, is none other than Apple’s retooled iOS 6 experience. So what can we say about it on the iPhone 5? Well people, if you haven’t checked out our review of iOS 6, it’s worth checking out to get up to snuff with the new features. Here’s the thing, it’s visually identical to all previous versions of iOS – though, it’s been updated with some new tangible features (some being removed as well) that make the experience a pleasure to use.
When compared to its rivals, iOS 6 is visually boring looking with its typical grid-like icons taking hostage of its homescreen. Certainly, it was a revolutionary thing to see back in 2007 when it first came to light, but when it’s pitted against some of the graphically intensive UIs of other platforms, it doesn’t particularly come off as eye-catching. However, the rehashed style of the interface is exactly what makes it an iconic (no pun here folks) experience – something that people have come to accept at this point. Now this time around, the larger display provides for an additional row of icons in the homescreen, making the total stand at 5 rows versus the previous 4. Essentially, the look and feel of iOS 6 favors ease of use and simplicity more than visual flare. So yes, it’s a platform that’s uncomplicated, has a low learning curve, and is timely succinct.
Facebook integration throughout the platform – and even better, the notifications panel gives us access to posting messages to either Facebook or Twitter. However, there’s nothing else new found with the iPhone 5’s notification system. Secondly, Siri has been upgraded as well to provide additional enhancements that no doubt come off as entertaining at times. Specifically, Siri is now equipped in providing details surround restaurants, sports, news, and movies. In fact, Siri is smart enough to hone into our GPS location to pinpoint what movie theaters are playing around the area – with detailed info regarding playing times and the synopsis of the flicks. Indeed, it’s amusing and all, especially when it’s fairly accurate with its voice recognition.
With the rest of the new features of iOS 6, they’re mainly subtle visual changes that differentiate the platform’s style – such as the new layout of the dial pad and faint increase of the display’s brightness as it’s turned on. From the onset, there are still many apps that haven’t been updated or optimized to take advantage of the larger display, which results in black bars on the top and bottom of the apps. Nonetheless, it’s only a matter of time before they’re updated. Overall, the iOS 6 experience is appreciable enough to tide us over for another year, but it’s desperately in need of a major visual overhaul to keep it attractive amongst other things out there. It’s easy, so that’s partly the reason for its humble styling.
Looking over at the many core organizer apps of the iPhone 5, it’s pretty obvious that there’s nothing new whatsoever with them – both in presentation and in functionality. For example, as we peer at most of its core organizer apps, which consists of Contacts, Stocks, Weather, Notes, Clock, Calculator, and Reminders, they’re identical to Apple’s last effort. However, since there’s now a larger display in tow with the smartphone, we’re able to see more content at once – meaning, there’s less scrolling involved. Despite their unchanged looks and functions, they’re of course more than practical to use.
Far from having the deep productivity aspects of Android’s Gmail experience, the Email app of the iPhone 5 is still practical enough to use to keep us busy on the road organizing stuff. Even though the layout remains largely intact, the only recognizable standout is the new the refresh function that’s done by pulling down on the column and letting go. Otherwise, everything from before is still here – like its universal inbox and easy setup process. Though, it would’ve been nice to see a “select all” function to clear out our unwanted emails.
We’ve always been happy with the messaging experience with the iPhone, since its responsiveness and killer auto-correct feature makes for one satisfying experience. Well people, there isn’t much new here again aside from the more spacious layout of its landscape option, which is due to the larger display on board. Relying on the portrait option, there’s nothing out of character, as we’re able to type at a fanatical rate without worries – partly thanks to its superb auto-correct feature of course. Alternatively, we can rely on Siri to jot down our message by simply speaking them, and for the most part, she adheres properly to every spoken word.
Processor and Memory:
Realizing it more than ever, especially when its rivals tout their fancy schmancy processors, Apple has this other approach when it comes to raw processing power – its real-world performance over specs. To tell you the truth, we really don’t need to know what’s ticking on the inside of this baby, as its brisk performance in all areas is reason enough to win us over. Well, just for those curious out there, the iPhone 5 is packing along Apple’s new A6 chipset, which is of the dual-core variety coupled with 1GB of RAM. Can we say that it’s simply marvelous with all its operations? From opening up apps, playing games, to moving about its homescreen, everything, and we everything is accompanied with fluid executions with very few instances of any hiccups – then again, the platform isn’t graphically as demanding as its rivals. Nevertheless, we’re soundly satisfied with the flattering and smooth performance of the handset.
In a way, we’re not particularly shocked by the revelation, since it’s been what we’ve been exposed to for a while now, but we were still crossing our fingers in hopes of seeing larger storage capacities with the iPhone 5. Alas, that’s not the case, as we’re again presented with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. Needless to say, you can quickly fill the handset up if you’re not cautious on what you save, since there’s no expandable memory.
Internet and Connectivity:
Well, what do we have here? It’s an iPhone outfitted with the comforts of 4G LTE connectivity in tow! Yes people, the iPhone 5 has finally taken the plunge in offering the next-generation data connection, which soundly goes to show it’s finally meeting up with the rest of the world. Naturally, the speedy connection complements the already existing wonderful experience of mobile Safari, but there isn’t much of a change this time around except that the browser takes advantage of the extra real estate of the display by offering a full-screen mode. Meanwhile, we’re greeted with Safari’s oh-so sweet fluid navigational controls and instantaneous renders of complex pages. So yeah, the 4G LTE connection will no doubt appease many people!
Unlike last year’s model, which relied on a single unit being manufactured to accommodate all three major carriers, Apple has decided to make three variants of the iPhone 5 to make it compatible with the various 4G LTE networks around. Specifically, there’s one model to support AT&T’s LTE network, another one that’s compatible with the LTE networks of Sprint and Verizon, and a third one to handle the LTE networks in Europe and Asia. As for the other connectivity options on board with the iPhone 5, they consist of the usual suspects – these include aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot (you’ll need to subscribe to gain the feature). Noticeably absent is NFC, which some might find peculiar as many competing handset feature it, but rather, Apple is banking on its Passbook app as an alternative solution.