My iPhone 5 Review

iphone 5

After been using the iPhone 5 for a while, I must say that it’s a big update hardware wise. Not so much software wise though.

Thin and light design

It feels so light that the first reaction is that it’s a fake dummy clone. And so thin. That so few millimeters can make such a difference is kinda strange, but it does. It’s so thin that it’s harder to pick it up from a flat surface now though.

iphone 5 profile

I have not experienced the problems with scratches on the backside some users complaining about though. Not at all. In fact, this new design feels much more robust and scratch resistant.

The 4-inch screen

The new taller design with a 4-inch screen is just perfect. It makes it a lot easier to type and read on. I am typing this on my iPhone 5 with one hand with ease for example. The design is perfect for handling it with one hand. And you see more content above the keyboard when typing. That’s a huge plus.

iphone 5 screen

Reading in apps like Flipboard and Reeder is also a huge difference. I almost always read in portrait mode and by doing that I now have a lot more content visible at the same time.

iphone 5 screen

Apps needs to be updated for the new screen though. All apps that still isn’t updated yet is very annoying to use. At least if you need to type in them. The reason is that the keyboard is placed in another place on those apps. So for example hitting space is always a hit or miss because if you type as fast as I do, the placement of the keys is becoming a habit. It’s like typing on a different physical keyboard you are not use to. It takes a while before you come up to speed again. And you never come up to speed in these apps because you don’t use them all the time. The Google+ app for example. I hate it. It still (as of writing) hasn’t been updated yet for the iPhone 5, an every time I go into it to reply on comments for example, I have trouble typing! The keyboard, the keys isn’t placed where I am used to.

black bars in the Google+ app

So apps definitely needs to be updated that’s for sure. Some apps can probably still be used with the black bars at the top and bottom though. I think.

The new cameras and mics

One more positive thing for me personally is the new cameras and microphones.

As you may know, I am recording videos with my phone, and both the new main back camera and the new front camera is better on the iPhone 5. The back camera has a better wide angle lens when recording video now. So you will see more of me and my car when I do my CARVLOGS for example. I think that is great.

And the front facing camera can now record video in 720p[1] resolution and in great quality too. That is also really great for me when doing some spontaneous vlogs[2].

The iPhone 5 also has three microphones now and one of them is placed on the backside. Angled straight at you. That means that the sound get recorded with a lot better quality now. So good that I don’t need to have an external microphone in my car anymore when I do my CARVLOGS. Much better.

Speed

The iPhone 5 is fast. Really fast. The new A6 CPU[3] together with more RAM[4] makes the great user experience even greater. It screams.

Apps opens instantly, no lag when scrolling and swiping, more tabs can be opened at the same time in Safari without them reloading and much more things you now notice when using the iPhone 5.

More speed also comes with the 4G / LTE support. There is a huge difference even if we not have “real” LTE[5] where I live. The D-HDSPA+ makes it a lot faster for me anyways. I have measured speeds at 20 - 40 MBit/s where I live, an that is much better than I had with the iPhone 4S. It had 2 - 7 MBit/s at the most. With perfect conditions. Web pages loads very fast now. So I’m happy with that.

Also the new network connections and antennas makes a difference. The phone feels when to switch from Wifi to mobile network automatically now. So when you have a low wifi signal it switches to mobile network automatically. So you always have the fastest connection available. So you don’t get stuck with a low wifi signal. That’s great. Yes I know that the iPhone always has done that but not in this way. Now it measures if your wifi speed is lower than mobile network and switches to the faster one. Before it only switched when you lost the signal completely.

It works great but sometimes I have noticed that it feels like it stays too long on EDGE[6] before switching over to 3G/4G again when you had a really bad mobile network connection.

the new dock connector

The new small dock connector

The iPhone 5 has a new smaller dock connector, so we need new cables for our chargers and other accessories. That is of course a drawback but Apple had to do that sooner or later. The old one was simply to big. Another problem is that new cables, adapters and chargers is not available yet. I ordered two new USB cables yesterday and it is 1–2 weeks delivery time for them! Hmm..

Battery life

I can’t see any difference what so ever when it comes to battery life. I usually charge 1 or 2 times everyday with the iPhone 4S, and I still doing that on the iPhone 5.

My guess is that if Apple had kept the thickness of the iPhone 4S we would have a lot better battery life on the iPhone 5. Probably the best yet, but that didn’t happen.

iOS 6

With the iPhone 5 also comes the new iOS[7] 6.

And I must admit that it’s not a big OS update, but with all the small details that they have changed it is at least an important update.

Safari[8] has got a quite big update. It now have tab syncing just as Chrome[9] has, but Safaris version is even cooler. At least on the Mac. You just click on the cloud button and all the synced tabs is there with favicons and all, ready to be opened. Looks really cool.

The Reader feature in Safari has got a more central place and its very useful. It strips out all the annoying things from the web pages. Ads, sidebars and all that, an presents the content in a very beautiful and readable format instead. I use that feature a lot.

By the way, a great tip is to hit the share button when in Reader mode and send articles you want to save to Evernote by using your secret Evernote email address. If you do that the complete article get saved in this beautiful format.

iphone 5

The Reading List in Safari that also get synced between all your devices, now also has offline support. And the offline reading works much better than in Instapaper[10] or Pocket for example. The Reading List is a really great alternative to these other Read Later services.

And finally in iOS 6 we got rid of the terrible and ugly old YouTube app.

It had looked the same since the first iPhone. Now we can either use the new updated YouTube app in the AppStore or the mobile web version. I prefer the mobile web version because it has the “Inbox” feature where all the comments on my videos are stored. That makes it possible to reply to comments. The new native YouTube app strangely doesn’t have the Inbox. Also the video quality is better in the mobile web version.

And the new Apple maps then. Many users is complaining about the new maps. I don’t use them, I didn’t use the Google maps either (more than looking after how long time it takes to drive to a specific town sometimes), so I don’t have much to say about them. More than they at least have voice navigation. Google maps didn’t have that here. So that is a huge improvement. I use a real GPS[11] app for maps. I use the best available on the market and that is Navigon Mobile Navigator. I did that long before iOS 6 and the new maps, and I will keep doing that even when Apple releases version 2.0 of the maps.

The new maps is just a first version. Of course Apple will keep working on them and make it better and better, but Google maps or Apple maps will never be better than a real GPS app like Navigon.

Siri[12] has also got better outside of the US now. Still have to speak English though, but we can now use location based searches, ask for restaurants, nearest gas station, cinemas and how to drive to a specific address. All that was missing before. That’s a plus too. Still waiting for Swedish language support though.. Have waited for that for over a year now..

the backside

Conclusion

All in all I think the iPhone 5 was a big update. It’s the best iPhone yet. Before it, I often said that I wanted a bigger screen around 4.5 - 4.7-inch or so, but after using the iPhone 5 I must say that the 16:9 4-inch Retina[13] screen is the perfect size. Still very portable and also enough to be highly productive and creative on it. Look at this review for example, it is completely created and published on the iPhone 5, with images, links, formatting and the rest. And it was a complete joy doing it. That is just one example on how good the iPhone 5 is to create content and be productive with.

I recommend you to update to the iPhone 5 even if you have the iPhone 4S. That is how good it is.


  1. 720p is a progressive HDTV signal format with 720 horizontal lines and an aspect ratio (AR) of 16:9 (1.78:1). It’s an HD standard that defines a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Search for more info.  ↩

  2. A video blog, sometimes shortened to vlog (pronounced ‘vlog’, as opposed to ‘v- log’) is a form of blog for which the medium is video. Vlog posts are created by creating a video of yourself or an event and uploading it to the Internet. Search for more info.  ↩

  3. A central processing unit (CPU), also referred to as a central processor unit,[1] is the hardware within a computer system which carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. Search for more info.  ↩

  4. Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write data to be accessed by the CPU (central processing unit). It’s a form of computer data storage. A random-access device allows stored data to be accessed in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location, so data can be accessed quickly in any random order. Search for more info.  ↩

  5. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a wireless broadband technology designed to support roaming Internet access via cell phones and handheld devices. Because LTE offers significant improvements over older cellular communication standards, some refer to it as a 4G. Search for more info.  ↩

  6. EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment) is a faster version the Global System for Mobile (GSM) wireless service designed to deliver data at rates up to 384 Kbps. Search for more info.  ↩

  7. iOS (previously iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system developed and distributed by Apple Inc. Search for more info.  ↩

  8. Safari is a web browser developed by Apple Inc. and included with the Mac OS X and iOS operating systems. Search for more info.  ↩

  9. Google Chrome is a free web browser developed by Google that uses the WebKit layout engine. Search for more info.  ↩

  10. Instapaper is a web service that saves articles for later reading on web browsers, Apple iOS and Android devices, and Amazon Kindle. Search for more info.  ↩

  11. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information. Search for more info.  ↩

  12. Siri is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which works as an application for Apple’s iOS. Search for more info.  ↩

  13. Retina Display is a term developed by Apple to refer to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. Search for more info.  ↩