Product Type: Apple Smartphone
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Apple iPhone 5
Member Name: k444tmc
Apple iPhone 5
Date: 12/02/13, updated on 12/02/13 (57 review reads)
Advantages: back case no longer as smashable - taller but lighter (more apps appear per page)
Disadvantages: not a great deal of improvements to the previous two phones
I had put the order in with 02 late one evening by telephone - which I wouldn't recommend anyone to do as I was waiting close to an hour to speak to the sales team... there is apparently a way you can order your upgrade through their website and I would urge you to do it this way in future to save money. The iPhone 5 was delivered by private courier two mornings later - less than 48 hours after I made the initial request for an upgrade. Like previous iPhone's it comes protected in a tall rectangular white box which holds the phone, new smaller sim card, information booklet, apple earbuds, wall plug and USB charging cable.
At this point I still had my damaged iPhone 4 in my posession so I could compare the differences between the two handsets...
At first glance the new phone is slightly taller (4.87 inches compared to the iphone 4 which is 4.5 inches) - which may be offputting to some as the likes of people like me would expect the phone to get smaller in future to be more practicial... however the phone holds 5 lines of app icons as opposed to the previous 4 lines of the iPhone 4 range which means you can view more information per page - and the only other way Apple could achieve this was to make the original icons smaller which wouldnt be practical for people with larger fingers! Another delight for me was noticing the difference in weight between this and my old phone - 112 grams compared to 137 grams on iPhone 4 - a lot more comfortable to hold.
When you turn the phone over to the back cover - on the previous 4 and 4s models the back is made out of plastic in the choosen phone colour - black or white - with a metal/aluminium type body taking up most of the middle. Although I had caused damage to my previous phone on the front, most people I know smashed up the back covers due to the fragile glass so this is a welcome change to me in the sense it seems to be very scratch resistant and will certainly stop a lot of iPhones taking trips to the repair shop in future. I own a white iPhone 5 and this aluminium material is silver in colour but has a carbon effect on the black models.
Another noticable change to me was the Aux output which most people use to connect their headphones. Previously on my old iPhone this was located at the top which wasn't an ideal position for me as I normally use this feature to connect to my car CD player to play music directly from the phone to come out the car speakers. The phone is normally cradled on a phone holder in my car and due to the previous awkward position of the Aux outlet on the top it meant i needed a longer AUX cable to connect to the CD player. NOW the new iPhone has moved the AUX outlet to the base on the left hand side which suits me a lot better than my previous phone and now I can use a shorter, less knotting AUX cable.
You may also remember how unhappy a lot of customers were when Apple unvailed the new charging connector which is the first time they have changed it in the history of iPhones. Previously the charger has always been a 30 pin connector and since Apple has used this for so long many customers have gone out and bought various appliances to use to connect their iPhones / iPods such as speakers and car chargers - which myself have purchased to use with the 30 pin connection. My iPod speaker dock was around £50 and I was using a £30 car charger. Now, both appliances are useless due to the change and I am eagerly awaiting for some adaptors to come out in future to resolve this issue. However one thing I must say is that the iPhone seems to charge a hell of a lot better than the previous 30 pin so I'm not completely unhappy.
Setting the phone up is mainly straight forward - as per previous iPhones you need to connect it to your desktop/laptop to iTunes to enable the phone to start working. If you have previously had an iPhone and was synced previously to your computer you can transfer all your old iPhone information to the new phone without the need to reinstall everything. This to me is a great feature but nothing new as previous iPhones have always done this. I will also add that when transfering content over to a new phone iTunes is not very straight forward and understandable and many times I have ended up deleting content rather than adding it. When syncing my new iPhone I ended up being able to transfer over just my contacts but it didn't touch my apps or music. In the end it took around 2 hours and 5 attempts to get all the information I wanted moved over.
My previous sim card in my iPhone 4 was a micro sim and now iPhone have introduced an even smaller Nano sim. When you get the new phone you need to go through the process of transfering your existing number over to the new smaller sim. The process is straight forward enough and full instructions are given with the phone which involves sending a couple of text messages. I will not list the process here but information can be found on www.02.co.uk. My 55 year old mother who is a bit of a technothobic recently had to go through this process on her new phone and managed it so I would say most other people will be able to handle the process!
So, when the phone is set up you then start to notice other changes once the phone is up and running. As a previous owner of an iPhone 4 the first feature I wanted to try out was Siri - those who don't know this feature came out on the iPhone 4s model and is a speech device in the sense where you talk to your phone and it will either anwser questions or follow commands. For example you can ask questions on the weather, information on countries, stockmarkets ect... and makes reminders and even call contacts for you. Although to some it can seem a bit of a pointless random feature it could be quite useful as a handsfree option... and you can definetely have a lot of fun asking it random questions which it usually gives full responses to. I have just told my Siri "I love you" and it anwsers in its usual male american accent "I am only here to serve you"! Siri can also be used for typing out text messages in the sense that you tell it what you want to say and it writes it out for you... Siri works quite well in my opinion but can sometimes be a bit tempermental at understanding my northern accent which I don't think is that difficult!
Now on the the camera's - just like the 4 and 4s there is two camera's on this device - on on the front which is used for taking pictures and facetime/video calling then you have your much better quality camera located at the back on the left hand side. One thing I will say is you do notice a huge difference in the front camera in the sense that the photo quality is much better. I had issues on my old phone with this camera due to me liking to take photos which you can see on the screen before you take the shot but it was awful to use in low light conditions due to the lack of flash to accomadate - the only flash used for photo's is on the back of the phone. Although there still isnt a flash option on the front the camera now takes 1.2mp photos and 720p HD videos whereas before only had VGA resolution quality which meant the photos and videos came out with an orange tint to them. This is a welcome change to someone like me because its a huge jump in quality but for those who have changed to an iPhone 5 from a 4s will not notice a difference as the resolution qualities are exactly the same so its a bit dissapointing that Apple didnt improve these features even slightly. On to the back camera, again, I do notice a difference from my old phone in the sense that the photo's are much brighter and clearer due to the change from 5megapixel to 8 megapixel and I now enjoy the new feature of face detection... but again previous owners of the 4s model are dissapointed because there is no change in features on the back camera. However there has been improvements made to the video option on the iPhone 5 that both previous 4 and 4s users will both notice. When recording videos on my old phone the only features I took notice of were the fact the video shot in HD mode (720p HD for those interested) and there was a focus option which could be activated by tapping the screen - the videos came out great I thought but I do notice on my new handset that face detection also comes up when shooting videos and you also have the option of taking photos whilst making a video. The 4s only an added feature of video stabilisation which gives better video quality and users of the 4s like me, enjoy the new features of face detection and taking photos while shooting video on the new phone. Like the 4s the HD quality is 1080p HD so in my opinion it should of been improved to the previous handset.
Another thing you use the front camera for would be the facetime feature. Those who have no experiance with iPhones I will explain facetime is simply video calling which you can do either over your broadband (for free) or you can use your 3G allowence (always check this with your provider as sometimes they charge if you dont have this fixed). I personally use facetime a lot mainly when I'm away from my daughter I call her and vice versa on her iPod touch. We also use the facility to call my boyfriend and his daughter when they are away from us to say "night night" and the kids love it. Facetime can be done between two apple devices with the feature built in and this includes iPads, iPod touchs and iPhones (4+). All the later devices all have access to iMessage which is basically text messaging between Apple devices. This service is free of charge and goes off your internet allowence so again check what your allowences are with your provider.
On to battery life, compared to my old phone I think its much better although Apple's website doesnt seem to agree. I have noticed my battery lasts longer and when it runs down to 1% battery rather than cutting out after 2 minutes like iPhone 4's it tends to last up to 15 minutes even when you are being active on the phone. In general battery times however Apple doesn't agree with this and states the standby time is up to 225 minutes whereas my old iPhone is along the lines of 300 hours. On the iPhone 5 you then get between 8-10 hours browsing time which is quite accurate but for someone who uses the phone a lot more like me I would say between 5-7 hours on average. However this is a huge improvement to my iPhone 4 as previously mentioned where Apple give a browsing time of between 6-10 hours before the battery dies. On the subject of charging although I mentioned earlier in the review I am unhappy with the cable change in this phone I have noticed the new "Lightening" charging cable charges the phone up much quicker than previously which is great for active phone users like me who are always on the move.
In terms of apps in the phone there isn't really anything massively popular which iPhone 5 users can take advantage of compared to iPhone 4s and 4 users other than some apps do have slight features which make the experiance a little better for the newer phone users. However its still early days, its only been a few months since the release of the phone and I believe there will be better choice in apps aimed at iPhone 5 users only that the older versions of iPhone will not be able to use. All iPhone users start with a few standard apps when the phone is first used and iPhone 5 is no different. You get your usual phone facilities such as calender, maps (which runs like a cheap sat nav), weather, reminders, calculator, compass, alarm/clock and general settings. You then have the choice to download more apps according to your personality from the app store where there are thousands of free mainly useful apps and you also have the choice of paying money for slightly better apps. The App store offers apps in the following categories:
* Books - where you can download the likes of a kindle app to read your books on the go
* Business - which I have used in the past to search for jobs through different agencies which have their own apps on the devices
* Catalogues - which is great for searching for new photo's and backgrounds to use on your phone
* Education - which includes many apps to help pass your driving test to education games for children
* Entertainment - includes many funny apps to play around with the appearance of your photos and more
* Finance - which holds many online banking apps and my favourite, Paypal
* Food & Drink - many dieting apps and food chains have apps in here
* Games - which holds hundreds every type of game going and has something to suit everyone
* Health & Fitness - there is many exercise apps in here and I mainly use this section for my diet calorie counter which works great
* Lifestyle - lots of high street shops have apps here where you can order through your phone easily
* Medical - has everything from NHS direct to pregnancy countdown apps
* Music - holds many apps for radio stations and streaming music
* Navigation - holds many map apps which are great for travelling which are great improvements to the original map app on the phone
* News - lots of free and paid apps from news stations to newspapers
* Photo & Video - I use the apps in this section a lot to improve and play around with colours and different options on my photos.
* Productivity - this is mainly apps for checking your emails and scanning documents using your phone
* Reference - many apps including dictionarys, thesaurus, atlas ect
* Social networking - this is my favourite section which has social networking apps from twitter to facebook which many of us use. It also contains apps where you can make free telephone calls and text messages through your internet instead of using your network allowences.
* Sports - mainly betting apps and sports channel apps.
* Travel - many hotel, plane and train apps to book getaways through your phone.
* Utilities - many apps such as gas and electricity providers where you can pay bills and add readings through your phone.
* Weather - better apps than the standard one that comes on the phone such as the Met office.
Generally there is hundreds of thousands of different apps which do many things and essentially you are turning your phone into a mini computer by using them. All can be downloaded quickly and simply through the app store which is built into your phone and if you need to pay for your choosen app you can do this through a credit/debit card or it can come off iTunes gift card balances - the gift cards can be purchased online and in many different high street shops.
Like the App store, there is also an iTunes store where you can download music, music videos and ringtones for low prices (usually under £1). You can pay for these the same way as the App store and my only cripe with this is how you can sometimes be limited with the music you purchase if its not in their libuary... however if you have the track already on your computer you can transfer all your music on to the device anyway and it will accept it.
Apple are very good at providing updates for the phones and usually you send a notification to your phone on average every 6-8 weeks. Depending on the size of the update and your internet connection these can normally be done painlessly without taking your phone out of action too long. Usually you don't notice any difference after the updates other than the phone may be a little more responsive and I have only ever seen one huge change to the phone as a result of an update which happened on my old iPhone 4 but its always best to keep up to date with these so any major bugs are corrected and keep the phone running smoothly.
On to the Earphones which came with the phone free of charge. If you read my reviews normally you will know I absolutely detest Apple earphones as they are of very poor quality, poor sound quality and just generally uncomfortable to wear. Apple must of caught on to the fact that most of their users feel the same as me and have redesigned the earphones with noticable more attractive changes which come with the new name "Earpods". These come with the iPhone 5 packaged in a little storage/travel case and sit inside on a old shaped as the earpods and you can wrap the wire around the sides. Each pod is clearly marked with L or R to show which ear they should go into. At first glance you can see the obvious shape to the previous model - the new earpods are a kind of oval shape as opposed to the old circular uncomfortable shape. This redesign actually sits a lot better in your ears and the sound quality has definetely improved. As like old versions of the earphones they come with volume control and a mic to make hands free much easier. I am not a regular user of earphones when it comes to my phone but I believe I will get some use out of these in future and am very happy with the changes Apple made.
In general I am happy that I only upgraded my phone when I damaged my old one because in terms of improvements I do feel Apple could of done a lot more considering the other phone manufacturing giants such as Samsung will soon be overtaking them in features. When you think of all the excitement and changes between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 the phones were completely different with one having a curved back and the other a square back and then all the improvements in particular the HD feature.
I remember looking at the photos online when Apple unveiled this phone in America and me alongside many others were dissapointed after all the rumours which have circulated such as the apparent redesign of the phone and talk of them using a new material called "Liquid Metal" which has virtually undestructable abilities compared to the easily smashed iPhone 4 and 4s and then we found none of these features were actually used on the new phone.
I can't say the phone is awful and give it a poor review because it is a great phone but in my opinion is not that much different to the iPhone 4s apart from the weight, size and minimum features but for those who are restricted with how much money they are paying out on the handset or on a contract the 4s works just as well and it may be worth waiting until the next redesign of the iPhone comes out which is something I will be doing. In terms of general use you cannot fault it and I have found it works much speedier on responses to the older iPhones, the camera and sound qualities are also brilliant.
I will also add that I purchased the 16gb version which is the lowest memory you can currently buy in iPhones - in previous models 8gb was available but did not have the ability to hold many apps or music. To me 16gb is suffient as I dont keep many apps on for long and use the memory mainly for music which is forever changing. Other memory sizes include 32gb and 64gb which is more convienient for holding more information and is way too much for me.
One piece of advice I will give is get the phone protected in the sense of putting on a cover which is something I have done and will make the phone less likely to smash up even though I think its less likely for this to happen on this phone than my last phone. In my previous experiance the best covers are the hard silicone ones which are bendy and not smashable. The lowest best quality ones can be found online mainly on Amazon which is where I purchased mine from.
From the UK Apple website you can purchase the following types of iPhone:
16GB - £529.00
32GB - £599.00
64GB - £699.00
All come in either white or black.
You can also purchase from many phone shops such as Carphone Warehouse and Fones4U at various prices or opt for a monthly contract like I have.
Summary: great phone but Apple could of made better improvements
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