iPhone 5 review

The new iPhone is here – but is Apple in danger of delivering too little with its latest upgrade?

The excitement of the rumour mill, the titillation of every leaked photo led to higher than ever levels of expectation over the iPhone 5 features, and while the announcement was greeted with some derision at the lack of perceived headline improvements, the record sales tell an entirely different story.
Given the underwhelming changes to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 launch really needs to re-energise customers to prove Apple can repeat the game-changing trick it managed with the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 5 price is predictably high, so consumers will need to bear that in mind too when looking for their next smartphone.
So is the Apple iPhone 5 the greatest smartphone ever?


We'll begin in the traditional manner: how the thing actually feels in the hand. With the iPhone 5 there will be many types of prospective buyer: the upgrader from the 4 (or more-money-than-sense iPhone 4S upgraders), those tired of their Android handset and those taking their first steps in the smartphone market and want to get one of them iThingies their friend/child has.

Well, all of those picking up the iPhone 5 will have the same reaction: this thing is amazingly light. You've probably heard the numbers by now (20 per cent lighter than the predecessor, as well as beating most of the opposition too at 112g.)
It's an odd sensation, but it actually detracts from the experience when you first pick it up. We've praised the weighty feel of the iPhone in the past, lending it a premium feel in the face of toy-like phones, and it's almost disappointing that Apple decided to join that clan.
However, through extended use this problem quickly disappears, as the overall effect of the phone is still a chassis designed for strength, it just sits more anonymously in the pocket.
You'll obviously see the change in height too – the iPhone 5 stands 123.8mm tall to allow for the larger 4-inch screen. In truth, those not familiar with the iPhone 4S probably wouldn't notice the difference, which is why it's a good move from Apple to include the larger screen if it's not going put people off that hate larger phones.

The decision to stick at 4-inches is Apple's admission that while it recognises people are all over the idea of having more screen real estate to play with it doesn't want to move away from the thumb-friendly nature of the device.
Through a mixture of moving the centre of gravity slightly as well as repositioning the screen within the bezel, it's still possible to scroll your thumb mostly around the whole display one-handed, which Apple is clearly keen to keep hold of.

However, we're not convinced of that argument any more, and the power button was still a little out of reach when using the phone normally, as was anything in the top left-hand corner of the screen. 
This was no issue in reality, as scooting the phone down a touch in the palm is a natural action. But if that's the case, then why not offer a 4.3-inch screen at least?
There's more to a phone than a screen these days (although increasingly less and less) and the general construction of the iPhone 5 is excellent to say the least.

1. It gets too hot to handle: That seems to be the numero uno gripe of users right now. A rather vocal section of iPhone 5 users are complaining that after just a few minutes of browsing or simply fooling around with the phone, its back (presumably where the battery is) gets too hot to be held in a human hand. A first-day customer, Todd Ogaswara, editor of MobileAppsToday, even measured the temperature of the phone, and claimed that it was a hot 111°F, or about 44°C. Here in the UAE, we all know how hot it feels when it’s 44°C outside – now imagine holding the same amount of heat in the palm of your hand… you get the idea. Here’s an ongoing discussion on Apple’s Discussion Boards about this issue.

2. Forget better – battery life isn’t even as good as iPhone 4S:Somehow, the heat and the battery life issues seem linked. For, users who have complained of the phone getting hot have, more often than not, also complained about shorter battery life. Perhaps there is a defect in some of the batteries, which is leading them to overheat and lose charge simultaneously? We don’t know for sure. But for the sake of millions of iPhone 5’s users, we hope the hot-shots at Apple Inc. and the engineers at its factories soon figure that one out. It’s been discussed right now on Apple’s Discussion Boards here and here and here.

3. Scratch and lose: The new anodized aluminium case, we were told, was more scratch resistant than the standard aluminium used in lesser phones. Why, then, are more than a bunch of users complaining that they discovered a graffiti of scratches on their iPhones the first time they took it out of the box? From the number of complaints aired by its users, it also seems that the problem is more prevalent in the black phones than the white ones. Is it a problem? Apple is actually aware of the issue but doesn’t see it as an issue at all. This is what its Phil Schiller, Senior VP of Marketing (the same guy who unveiled the iPhone 5 along with CEO Tim Cook a few days ago) had to say about the scratches to one of its customers who wrote an email to him highlighting the scuffs: “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.” Normal? It’s been just five days, Phil, and users have got the phones with scratches in the box… Are you saying your factory workers in China used the phones before packing them in boxes? Just listen to yourself. Read this, Phil, and don’t dig your head in sand.

4. Siri is officially a bimbo now: This may not be such a problem for us in the UAE – here, Siri was always dumb. Still, there were countries – most notably, the US – where Siri was indeed the ‘intelligent’ personal assistant that Apple touted her to be. In its latest avatar, that is up for debate, with Siri now making a mess out of simple things like weather reports. According to MacRumors, asking about the weather in New York City will return results for New York, Texas, even though Siri says the results are for New York, New York. Siri is also confusing Richmond, Virginia for New Richmond, Ohio; Carrollton, Texas for Carrollton, Indiana; and St. Louis, Missouri for St. Louis, Georgia. Good luck with that.

5. LTE signal/reception issue: Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Here’s what a user has to say: “I picked up my Verizon iPhone 5 today. When it’s on 3G I’ll have full signal (5 bars) and the Internet works great. When I go into settings & change to LTE, my signal will drop down to 2 bars. And this consistently happens in different cities. Why is this? Does anyone else notice this on their iPhone 5? I tried resetting and turning the phone off and on and still same problem. It even goes as bad as 1 bar of reception on LTE.” It’s on the Apple Discussion Boardhere with more than a handful of customers joining in to say they are experiencing the same issue.

6. Rat-tat-tat-tat: And pop goes the weasel… Sorry about that, but I’ve started enjoying reading the Apple Discussion Boards now that I resisted the temptation – unlike during the launch of the iPad 3 – and haven’t yet bought the iPhone 5. The next complaint iPhone 5 users have is that it has a lose screw somewhere in it, which makes rattling noise and annoys them no end. Here’s what they’re saying.

These are the top issues users have raised with their new iPhone 5s but these are by no means the only issues to have bugged users. There are other complaints, from touchscreen problems to slow WiFi, and from speakers not working properly to yellow screen tints and more.
It seems Tim Cook didn’t unveil the iPhone 5 last Friday – he opened the Pandora’s Box. Is Apple missing Steve Jobs’ obsession with quality? Are customer's expectations of the iPhone 5 unrealistic, or has the world's most hotly anticipated device failed to meet the hype created by Apple? Have you made up your mind on the iPhone 5 yet? What do you think? Let us know...


Anonymous said…
Great post there ...

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