Apple iPhone 5 Review
Flaunting a still clean looking camera interface, iOS 6 brings forth a new panorama shooting mode that Apple states as potentially sizing up to as much as 28-megapixels. Aside from that, everything else has is still intact that we know and love by now – like touch focus/exposure, HDR mode, AE/AF lock, swipe to the right to get to the camera roll, and snapping photos by pressing the volume up button. Thankfully, you’ll never miss the beat with those unpredictable real-world moments, as the camera launches very quickly and gets us into snapping shots right away. In fact, its shutter speed is impeccable – meaning that fast moving objects are no match for this one.
Armed with an 8-megapixel iSight camera, it doesn’t improve upon the megapixel count of its processor, but nevertheless, the addition of an improved backside illuminated sensor combined with a retooled lens coughs up even better visuals with the iPhone 5. We’ve always been satisfied with the iPhone in terms of taking photos, and rightfully so, we can continue to love it even more – especially when it’s an easy point and shoot replacement. Oh yeah, there’s also a new Panorama mode that requires us to snap the shot in portrait, where it’s then stitched together in real-time for minimal wait. And surely enough, it boasts plenty of visual treats to make it a standout and beloved new feature.
Winning us over is the fair amount of detail with its shots, accurate color reproduction, neutral exposure, and dreamy depth of field. With the latter, it makes for some wonderful macro shots, as the background features enough defocus to place emphasis on the detailed subject up front. Meanwhile, in low lighting conditions, the iPhone 5 continues to shine with its sharp visuals – though, we needed to mess around with its touch focus/exposure to get the best results. Nevertheless, the LED flash is potent enough to properly illuminate the scenery without distorting colors that much. However, our sole qualm with the iPhone 5 is that shots taken in complete darkness can still come out of focus, since the flash doesn’t turn on prior to the shot for proper focusing. Regardless, the iPhone 5 proves in more ways than one that it’s more than capable of relieving some point and shoots out there.
1080p video recording is also favorable with its balanced quality. Of course, it excels most with outdoor sunny usage, as it has the perfect blend of sharp details, natural colors, gradual exposure, clear audio recording, and smooth capture rate of 29 frames per second to make it highly usable. Still, there’s no continuous focus with its recording, and instead, it relies on the tried and true touch focus option that has been a staple of the iPhone. Meanwhile, videos recorded in low lighting are still decent, but some evidence of noise and a lower capture speed of 24 frames per second soften the quality of its results.
Apple iPhone 5 Day time sample video:
Apple iPhone 5 Night time samples video:
Much like before, there’s no change with the style and layout of the photo gallery with iOS 6. Obviously, there are some basic editing functions that are available to tweak them on the go, but this time around, we now find some additional sharing options. Seeing that Facebook is now deeply intertwined with the platform, it’s now an available share option as well in the photo gallery – in addition to the already existing options of email, text messages, photo stream, and Twitter.
Five years and counting, it’s almost crazy to say that Apple’s iPod music player is still one of the best out there on any device. At this point, it’s absolutely ready for a new overhaul with its visuals and presentation, but nevertheless, cover flow mode is still one classy looking thing to revisit. For the most part, it follows the conventional approach, but it would’ve been nice to gain access to the music player’s settings within the player – as opposed to going to the general Settings menu. As for the audio quality of its internal speaker, it emits some pleasant tones that don’t have too much strain or distortion at the loudest volume, but it lacks enough substance for it to come off as demanding.
Packaged along with the iPhone 5, is Apple’s brand new Earpods headphones, which appear mightily strange with its chubby looks. In terms of comfort, we’re a bit concerned due to its loose feel in the ear – probably because they’re so large in size versus other in-ear headphones. With its audio quality, however, we can’t say we’re totally blown away by them, but at the same time, we were expected something with more punch with its output.
Now that the iPhone 5 is sporting a widescreen display, it’s more ideal for watching videos than ever before. Throw in the fact that its display is wickedly sharp for the occasion, it simply makes for a resounding experience – albeit, it doesn’t quite have that polarizing experience found with some of the smartphones out there with ridiculously large displays to reel us in. Moreover, its support out of the box is fairly limited, as we’re only able to load videos encoded in MPEG-4. Despite those minor issues, we’re still content with the iPhone 5’s offering.
With the introduction of iOS 6, Apple decided to chuck Google Maps in favor of its own home-brewed maps app. Aptly titled as “Maps,” it’s by in large somewhat not as comprehensive as to what Google Maps for iOS had to offer. Sure, it runs smoothly and has all the basic elements we require, but it’s missing some important features as well – in this case, it’s transit directions. Instead, the Maps apps directs us to the App Store to select one of the featured third party offerings that provide it. In addition, there’s no longer street view available with the new Maps apps, but rather, we’re sometimes given an image of the location. However, we find comfort in knowing that there is now free voice guided turn-by-turn directions with iOS 6 – though, it’s fairly primitive in comparison to other offerings out there. And lastly, we have to admit that we’re impressed with the Flyover mode available with the Maps app, which beautifully recreates some popular cities with the aid of its 3D models. Some stay, some go, but for what Apple has to offer with this first time go, we’re content with the offerings, but we’re hoping for a quick and aggressive approach to get it up to par with the competition.
Also gone with iOS 6, is the native YouTube app of previous versions of iOS. Luckily, Google is kind enough to make a dedicated app , which can be downloaded from the App Store. Employing the same distinctive interface found with Android’s version of the YouTube app, we’re able to quickly forget about the aging iOS YouTube app from before, as this one coughs up enough versatility in getting us to watch some of our favorite viral videos. Oh yeah, the sharing function has been extended to many things – even Google+ if you have it installed!
Knowing that Apple has decided to forgo incorporating NFC technology with the iPhone 5, some might be scratching their heads wondering what the alternative solution is for them. Well folks, there’s Passbook! Basically, it’s Apple’s way of providing a virtual wallet to its users, since it populates stored content like movie tickets, gift cards, coupons, passes, and much more. We didn’t get too much time checking it out, since there are only a handful of supported apps and services right now, so we’re curious to see how it’ll be adopted by users in the long run.