Is it worth upgrading to an iPhone 5?
Few handset releases in recent memory have generated the buzz that surrounded the launch of Apple's iPhone 5. Die-hard devotees of the brand and the mildly curious alike were all speculating on a new design, brand new and mind-blowing features, and in general how the 5 would change the world as we know it.
Then...it didn't. It didn't even knock our orbit a bit, as many were expecting. Sadly, the newest iPhone is almost indistinguishable from its predecessors, and the new aspects are decidedly less amazing than expected. Here, we'll take a closer look at a few of these disappointments...er...new features.
4 Inch Retina Display
On the up side, this is the largest screen Apple has ever rolled out. We have to give it credit – the colours pop and everything looks fresh and crisp. We can't shush the little voice in the back of our minds, though, the one saying...four inches? Really? That's it? We're assuming that the new Apple iPhone is trying to cater to consumers who are fed up with ever-increasing screens that make the phones too large to comfortably handle. We can understand that; it's annoying, especially for those who don't have giant hands.
Perhaps we're biased on this one, due to our embarrassing spider-fingers which have found their true calling in life – operating giant phones without sending them crashing to the pavement. We can't be alone on this one, however, and we're guessing that many of our spider-fingered brethren are a little disappointed in the screen size as well. That said, if you take bias out of the equation, there is nothing wrong here, the screen is bright, durable and vivid.
4G LTE Connectivity
The new Apple iPhone is a 4G LTE capable device. Says it all, doesn't it? Many have been eagerly anticipating the actual rollout of 4G services in the UK, making this aspect a very welcome one indeed. Having launched the first 4G service at the end of last month, EE are offering the iPhone 5 as part of their tariff plans, although the handset will cost between £19.99 - £179.99 depending on which you subscribe to.
A6 Dual Core Processor
This one's for the techies. While a dual-core processor might not sound like much to those of you reading reviews of quad-core marvels, this processor is actually something special. It's a Cortex-A15-based powerhouse, courtesy of ARM Holdings plc. This is the best-performing processor they make, meaning that it out-performs many quad-cores. What does it mean for you? Smoother transitions, faster and better zips between apps, and an all-around better smartphone experience. Yes, we give points on this aspect. Big points.
8MP iSight Camera
This is one amazing camera. We know you've seen 8MP cameras before, and you're wondering just how different this one can be. We were too, and we're pretty picky about our pics. However, this one impressed us quite nicely. The simultaneous video and image recording is convenient and a lot of fun, the secondary camera is surprisingly crisp and, most important of all, pics and video are wonderfully bright, vivid and clear. The stabilizing feature is great for on-the-go action; we had to try really, really hard to make this camera take a fuzzy picture. In short, if you value a great camera, you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of the new Apple iPhone.
New iOS 6 Operating System
Another nice upgrade. Vast and earth-shattering revelations, not so much, but if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you'll notice the improvement. Overall the OS runs more smoothly, there are some nice upgrades to Siri, music library selections can be set as ringtones, Facebook is fully integrated and, our personal favorite, the keyboard was improved a great deal to cut down drastically on those hideously embarrassing auto-correct fails.
Your Bottom Line
You'll be happy with the new Apple iPhone. The real question is whether you'll be happy enough to justify the price tag. We like this phone, we have no real problems with it, but (there's that voice again) we can't help thinking...that's it? Some issues turned out to be nothing – the extreme lightweight feel of the device doesn't appear to make it a delicate little flower of a handset. Other issues took us totally by surprise – chipping and scratching after a few days?
If you're buying your first iPhone, you'll be pleasantly surprised, and you'll get to discover what all the fuss has been about these past few years. Long-time fans, however, are apt to be let down. My best advice? Wait for the next grand unveiling – and hope there's actually something grand about it.