We might not have been overly impressed when we first unboxed the iPhone 5, but our opinions of it have definitely been on the up and up since we got it running.
The iOS user interface (UI) has been incredibly slick for several generations now, so at the home menu level not much has changed there. We must say that the extra row of icons is very handy and the overall feel of the screen itself is less cramped. This gives a much more relaxing feel when using the iPhone, as many of us have become accustomed to the bigger displays of other handsets.
Launching apps is super-fast. It’s difficult to tell if the iPhone 5 is actually that much faster than the 4S in this respect, but it at least feels faster. The browser certainly seems like it’s received a couple of speed buffs.
The increased shutter speed on the camera is definitely noticeable for anyone familiar with the iPhone 4S and anyone who isn’t will subsequently be impressed. Photos take remarkably quickly and with the stunning quality that we’re used to.
That being said they definitely seem to be the stunning quality that we’re used to; meaning no real improvement in the regular, well-lit day time department. Once again, we’ve only snapped off a few shots so far and, while definitely high quality, we think we’ll have to do a full side-by-side comparison between the 4S and iPhone 5 to see how they compare. (Coming Soon.)
We haven’t had too much of a chance to try out the new and improved low-light image sensor, but we’ll get around to that eventually with some juicy night-shots.
The panoramic function is very easy to use. Simply hold the iPhone 5 in portrait mode, press the shutter button and start moving the phone. In the centre of the screen a track will appear showing where your phone is in comparison to the end width of the panorama. Keep the arrow that is in front of the phone as close to the centre line as possible for maximum quality. The end result is a pretty good panorama of impressive dimensions.
One thing we’ve been surprisingly impressed with is Maps. Specifically the fly-over view. We weren’t expecting the end product to be even half as polished as it is. Not only does it offer an impressively accurate and detailed 3D map of a city, but it loads it with stunning speed. Once an area is loaded zooming in/out, tilting up/down and turning 360 degrees causes almost no lag whatsoever. So far we’ve only tried this out over WiFi, so we’ll see how it handles under 3G and 4G in the coming weeks, although we don’t expect 4G to be too much of a problem here.
We also haven’t delved too deeply in to general maps use yet. So while flyover is definitely impressive we still can’t speak as to the viability of Apple Maps as a substitute for the time-proven Google Maps.
The new EarPods are actually fantastic for standard and free set of headphones. Sound quality is hands-down better than any stock-standard earbuds we’ve ever used, with the possible exception of the Beats by Dre earbuds included with the HTC Sensation XL.
Bass is powerful and treble is clear. There is a bit of white noise as you go in to the higher ranges, but it’s oddly uniform. As such the ears tend to filter it out quite quickly, leaving the listener with the impression of a white noise-free experience. As we said before they’re also quite comfortable once you get used to them, even if they feel more than a little peculiar at first. We advise anyone using them to give them a fair go before dismissing them. What feels alien at first can begin to show merit when given time to prove its worth.
Despite all of this awesomeness the iPhone 5 still feels very similar to the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. It’s definitely better, but we’re still undecided as to whether or not it’s better “enough” to deserve the iPhone 5 title. Obviously it’s still far too early to tell. More to come in the near future.