iPhone 5 – Review

5 minute read

Introduction

On the 12th of September 2012 Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 in San Francisco, California. It was released on the 21st of September 2012. It has an all-new design compared to the iPhone 4s. It now has a 4-inch screen, a Lightning connector (this replaces the classic 30-pin connector that Apple used for many years on most of their devices) and the phone is a lot lighter, thinner and faster.

The iPhone 5 comes in two colours, black and white and has a two-toned backing. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB are the capacities you can choose from. The 16GB has had a price increase, it now costs £529 (£30 more when comparing the prices with the iPhone 4 and 4s when they were first released), while the 32GB and 64GB models remain the same, £599 and £699 respectively. As always the sales were outstanding, beating the sales of the 4s, the iPhone 5 managed to sell five million units within the first three days of release! Need I say more about the sale figures? We will move on to performance.

Performance tests carried out show that the A6 chip is, as Apple said, twice as fast than its predecessor (which is the A5 chip). Using Geekbench, the overall score is around 1610 while the iPhone 4s scores around 850. The iPhone 5 has 1GB of RAM and a dual-core 1.3GHz CPU. The iPhone 5 is very very fast! Samsung’s Galaxy SIII clocks up a score of around 1770 but the SIII has four cores, the iPhone 5 only has two and it’s nearly as fast, how have Apple achieved this? I know how, with world-class, in-depth engineering. Apple have worked exceptionally. What Apple have basically done is made a phone that’s nearly as powerful as a phone with four cores, but the phone is actually only running on two cores.

Hardware

The iPhone 5 has a brand new chip called the A6. Apple say it’s twice as fast as the A5 chip. It’s very fast, everything loads quicker, from launching apps to opening Safari pages. The iPhone 5, does, of course feature the Retina display, a display so clear that the human eye cannot pick out the individual pixels. The iPhone 5’s display is, believe it or not, better than the display you get on the iPhone 4s. Colours stand out more, you get more saturation and the display is clearer overall. Also, if for some reason you like looking at your phone at an angle, that’s not a problem, the iPhone 5 has fantastic viewing angles. If you look at the screen at an angle the screen will still be viewable and bright.

Next, the camera. Apple have stuck with an 8-megapixel iSight camera but they have added a back-side illumination sensor to it. The result? Extremely clear pictures which give out wonderful detail and colour. It’s a big improvement compared to the camera you get on the 4s. You can now also take panoramic photos, these simply look wonderful. On the front, Apple have upgraded the FaceTime camera to a 1.2-megapixel which can now record in 720p HD. The CPU is Apple’s own custom chip, it has 1.3GHz and is dual-core and has 1GB of RAM. Finally, the iPhone 5 takes a different sized SIM compared to the iPhone 4s, the SIM used is a Nano-SIM which is, believe it or not, smaller than a Micro-SIM.

Design

Wow, Apple have made the best iPhone to date. This is going to sound strange but until you’ve held the iPhone 5 you haven’t seen it. It’s so light. It’s 1 ounce less than the iPhone 4s. It’s also thinner and taller. For the first time Apple have increased the screen size (it’s now a 4-inch screen) but they have been very clever about it. Instead of making the phone wider, it’s simply taller, therefore, allowing you to use the phone comfortably with one hand. Apple have yet again redesigned the antenna system and this time they have achieved it successfully first time round. The call quality is very good. The handset is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4s.

The layout of the buttons on the side haven’t changed at all, you still have two buttons which control the volume and a switch for loud/silent. The iPhone 5 is mainly made out of aluminum. This type of metal has its benefits and detriments, the benefit is that if you drop your iPhone 5 the chances are you’ll get a few marks, that’s it, do the same with the iPhone 4 or 4s and you’re looking at getting a few scratches and maybe one or two cracks at the very least. With aluminum you have to be really careful, it can chip ridiculously easy and sometimes you can get a few chips without even noticing. I had a chip on the top of mine and I have no idea how it got there. That’s aluminum for you, it’s tough but at the same time it’s vulnerable to little chips and marks. However, it looks magnificent and in my opinion, it’s a engineering masterpiece.

Connectivity/4G LTE

The iPhone 5 now supports 4G LTE, however, it’s very limited at the minute. From what I’ve heard, it’s extremely quick and in some cases (depending on where you live) it’s faster than Wi-Fi. Maybe that’s because not many people are using it yet! Unfortunately, if you live in the UK and your with either O2 or Vodafone and you do have an iPhone 5 you won’t be able to get LTE connection, this is because the iPhone 5 only supports certain frequencies. In layman’s terms, the iPhone 5 doesn’t support the frequencies that O2 and Vodafone are using.

There is one way around it though. If you are in the UK and you want LTE connection, it’s simple as to how you go about it: switch to EE (Everything Everywhere), the carrier that will allow you to surf the Internet using LTE. However, there is another problem you may come across, EE’s 4G network is only available in certain cities in the UK at this moment in time so depending on where you live you may or may not be able to get 4G. EE says that by the end of 2014, 98% of the UK will be LTE ready, let’s hope this is true and we don’t end up waiting much longer!

My Opinion

It’s by far one of the best-looking phone on the market. I don’t know how Apple have achieved this but it’s faster, lighter and thinner. Apps load up even quicker than they did on the 4s and surfing the Internet is extremely quick. The design of the iPhone 5 is world class and it’s just an unbelievable piece of kit. I bought an iPhone 5 on launch day and I can say it’s one of the best phone I have owned.

The A6 chip designed by Apple is brilliant. I had no issues at all. Call quality was very clear and it still felt light everytime I picked it up. I did get a tiny chip of the top of my iPhone 5, as I mentioned earlier, aluminum is remarkably easy to chip. It’s annoying, but what can do you do? Finally, the price. Yes, I agree, the starting price of £529 is a lot of money for a handset but you can know that you’ll be getting an extremely high-quality handset that will last for a very long time. iPhone’s also have brilliant resale value. Also, if you want a capacity bump, that will cost quite a bit too.

Conclusion

I really can’t think of anything else to write. I’ve said everything I’ve needed to say. The iPhone 5 is an absolute gem. It’s so light, fast and looks magnificent. The 4-inch screen, for me personally, is better than the 3.5-inch screen we were all used too. The only bad thing is that it’s easy to chip. If you can afford one, buy one, trust me, you will not regret it. I certainly didn’t.