iPhone 5 Review

Apple’s latest iPhone model is another step forward for the smartphone. We rely on these devices so much now; checking email, updating schedules, locating the nearest bar and idling a few moments on the train, oh and making phone calls too. A world without them would seem dull and slow.

So do you need the iPhone 5?

Yes, you do. It’s lighter ( a noticeable 25g lighter than an iPhone 4), thinner, smarter and quicker. Pick one up and you’ll immediately feel the difference.

Most of the iPhone 4’s features have been improved;

A bigger screen (9mm taller) which adds an extra row of App icons and gives you widescreen without letterbox and at a higher screen resolution (1136 x 640 but still at 326 pixels per inch). It’s not the biggest screen on the smartphone market, but it is a better experience. If it was any bigger you wouldn’t be able to use just one hand to operate it, and it would have to be called an iPad mini (available soon).

If you are an iPhone 3 or 4 user, sign up to iCloud for free and backup your phone first. With your new phone, login to iCloud and as if by magic all of your old phone’s settings including email, alarms, calendars, contacts, everything in fact, appears on your new phone. No hassle, no fees, all thanks to iOS6 and iCloud.

The iPhone 5 has a new processor too, the Apple designed and Samsung manufactured A6 chip which is faster and uses less power than the previous iPhone processors. Apple and Samsung seem to be falling out at present so I expect the next iPhone will have yet another new processor inside. Just as long as it is as quick as this new A6 then all will be well.

iPhone 5 comes with a new iSight camera which works great with iOS6 and the new Camera.app, it is panorama fun but Apple say “don’t point it at the sun”, I’m not sure why since lens flare can be a good thing. Video is recorded in 1080p HD, just a few years ago such a camera would cost hundreds of pounds.

earPods come with the iPhone 5 and are a great idea and work well, they fit perfectly in my lugholes and the sound is really good too. Designed for right-handed users but not that much of an issue for the sinistrally challenged. The speakers on the phone are better than previous models, but send your music over AirPlay if you need a sound that isn’t just for you.

A new charging and synching connector works much better than the old 30 pin one. I like the way that the serial connector has shrunk and shrunk into the tiny Lightning connector, I just wish someone had thought of it ages ago and it was as ubiquitous as USB has been. I now have to buy spare USB to Lightning or 30 pin to Lightning connectors. All of my Apple iPods and iPhones came with a USB to 30 pin cable, apart from my first iPod which had a firewire connection and the first Shuffle which didn’t need a cable, so I had a few charging stations around the house and office for my iPhone. With just the one cable now I need to buy more, but so do thousands of others and there’s a world shortage. I’m slightly more disappointed with this than when the floppy disk was dropped by Apple, at least then you could buy blank CDs cheaply.

One of the best things about the iPhone 5 is the 4G chipset delivering mobile broadband at speeds up to 100Mbit/s, quicker than UK home broadband speeds. However, there’s a big catch for UK users; only EE (a merger of T-Mobile and Orange) can provide such 4G services at present and will (are) only be available in 16 cities in the UK to begin with. Worse news is that the 4G frequencies used inside the iPhone 5 will not compatible with other UK providers 4G services, so only EE users will be able to benefit from the freedom that such speeds will bring to the iPhone 5 user. Travel to India and soon 4G will be available across the whole sub-continent, even shanty towns will have better mobile broadband than the UK. This is going to be a big issue in the UK, if O2 and the others use spectrum frequencies from the old analog TV signals to provide 4G, we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 5S before being able to make use of the faster speeds. EE is using the 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G, which is one of the frequencies used by the iPhone 5. Governments sell licences to transmit and receive signals through the skies above us, the air has been privatised, we just haven’t noticed.

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