I’ve had my iPhone 5 for a little over a week now, and while I don’t want to
write a full review of it, since there’s already a couple hundred of those
online, I’d like to share a few of my thoughts after some time with the device.
I bought a locked iPhone 4 from Telus a little over a year ago, and still have
a couple years left on my contract. The iPhone 4 is starting to fall apart and
show it’s age, so I preordered an iPhone 5 from Apple, a Nano-SIM from Telus,
and switched to the iPhone 5 as my main phone.
I chose the black version of the iPhone, and as I noted to a friend on Twitter,
it almost looks like a Batman gadget. The aluminum definitely feels very
different compared to the glass on the 4 and 4S, but I like the new look.
The phone feels almost impossibly light compared to the iPhone 4. This is partly
because it’s thinner and lighter, but making the phone larger also shifts the
center of gravity higher in your hand, which also enhances the perception of
lightness. It consequentially also feels much more fragile than the iPhone 4.
So far, I’ve only got one chip, in the beveled edge right next to the headphone
jack on the bottom of the phone. It didn’t come that way out of the box, and it
happened within the first day or two. I’m not sure where it came from, and I’m
not too torn up about it. It’s life.
Telus activated their LTE coverage in the Victoria area the day after the iPhone
It’s faster than my apartment’s WiFi, and upload speeds are amazing.
Unfortunately, I’m hamstrung by my Telus plan’s 1GB/month data limit.
In addition to making the screen bigger, Apple also moved it more than a few
millimeters lower, which makes it easier to hit all the corners. And I can still
operate the phone one-handed, despite it being a stretch at some points until
I got used to holding it slightly differently.
A marked improvement over my iPhone 4, which had been taking a battery life
nosedive over the past couple months.
The iPhone 5’s battery will last through an average day, assuming moderate use.
If you’re watching video, constantly on Twitter, or taking a bunch of pictures
and videos, this is not going to hold true.
I’m kind of surprised by this, but I’ve actually been using Siri more than
a little bit. Not for anything major, but it’s a huge convenience for some
tasks. Here’s what I’ve been using it for:
- Setting reminders for myself (e.g. “remind me to check on my laundry in 45
- Movie showtimes
- Quick conversions (e.g. “what’s 40 pounds in Canadian dollars”)
The name is kind of silly, but the cable is sturdy. Very, very sturdy. Even
though it’s USB 2.0, it still syncs faster than the old Dock connector.
Speaking of which, I’m disappointed that Apple isn’t making a dock for the
iPhone 5. Would have pre-ordered it with the phone.
Sound and Phone Calls
The built-in speaker is much louder and crisper than the iPhone 4’s. I can
actually hear my phone ringing while it’s in my pocket now.
Telus supports Wideband Audio for phone calls, but I don’t call anyone else with
an iPhone 5, so I haven’t been able to notice that. The earpiece, however, is
still much better than what went into the iPhone 4 and also sounds much better
than its predecessor.
I’m not enraged by the quality of Apple’s map coverage, but it does suck. When
I first moved to Victoria, I ended up relying on iOS 5 Maps’ BC Transit
integration for getting around town quickly. Now that that’s ripped out of iOS
6, I’ve been using The Transit App. It’s pretty
The resolution bump for the front camera to 720p is very noticable and very
welcome. I’m apparently the one person I know who makes FaceTime calls
regularly, so a quality bump in the camera is much appreciated.
The main camera on this phone is ridiculous for a secondary feature of the
device. The quality of this photos and videos I’m able to take with this phone
just continues to impress.
Besides quality, the huge difference with the camera coming from the iPhone 4 is
that the iPhone 5 shoots much faster. If you’re taking plain pictures, the
iPhone 5 will save them as fast as you can hit the shutter. It takes less than
a second to process a HDR image, compared to the 5+ seconds the older iPhone
4 would require.
Panorama stitching is amazing, provided you’re not jittering too much when
shooting and you’re not trying to capture a panorama of a busy street.
A bit over half the apps on my phone have been updated to take advantage of the
bigger display, but some apps are making more use of the extra room than others.
Instacast, Instapaper, and Tweetbot, for example, will just show you extra
content, without adding any new features or changing the layout too much. This
is fine, and all that’s needed.
Instagram, on the other hand, just fills in the extra area with grey pixels,
without adding any functionality or taking advantage of the extra space. I’m
hoping this will be fixed at some point, because right now it just looks weird
The letterboxing done for un-updated apps is nice, and conveniently leaves
enough room at the top of the screen for Notification Center notifications to
drop down without obscuring whatever you’re doing in the app. On the other hand,
though, the virtual keyboard for letterboxed apps isn’t glued to the bottom of
the screen, it’s constrained to the letterbox. This makes typing awkward, but
I guess there really isn’t any other solution at this point.
Nothing really “wow” here for me. Maps are mediocre at best, I’ll maybe use
Passbook twice, and I don’t take huge advantage of iCloud outside iTunes Match.
I do like the new look for the Music app, but the play/pause/forward/back
buttons in the new Music.app aren’t also applied to the lockscreen, which seems
On the other hand, I hate the new look for the App Store. It’s reduced the
usability of search to near-usefulness, partially due to the new layout for
showing search results, and partly because the Apple Store’s search algorithm is