Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Upgrading to an iPhone 5 - Review


That's right folks, I finally left my cranky old 3GS behind in search of a new phone, and landed myself with a gorgeous black iPhone 5.

First, a bit of back story on the upgrade process. I went into Phones4U to get myself upgraded in a break between lectures. I'd never upgraded a contract before, so I wasn't aware of the procedure, but it was just as easy as you'd like to think - sitting down with a rep who talks you through the plan you'll be getting, sign contracts, done. Only problem is, Phones4U were trying to fob me off with a deal I wasn't happy with. £100 upfront phone cost and £37 a month was not what I'd seen advertised on the web, so alarm bells rang and I quickly mentioned I'd seen better offers, to which I got the response 'well that offer's with 600 minutes, I can't sell you anything other than unlimited'. Well that's nice for you and your commission lovely, but it ain't for my student pocket. After a millisecond's consideration, I made my excuses ("I'll go away and think about it"), left and made a beeline for O2, who made me an offer I couldn't refuse - £19.99 upfront and £32 a month.
Ta very much O2.
The sales guy in O2 was the friendliest person I've met in a phone shop, he didn't try to sell me something I didn't want, didn't give me the corporate gobshite, he just gave me the phone I wanted, and in record time of 25 minutes. Nice lad, I just feel bad I can't remember his name.

Now onto the phone...
After having a 3GS for two years, I was determined to not be left behind again. iOS7 wasn't compatible with 3GS, nor were most of the new apps emerging on the scene. I couldn't stretch to a 5S as it had only just been released, plus I wasn't all that keen on Touch ID, it's passcodes all the way for me.

One thing I never liked about the 3GS was the casing, the rounded back always slipped off my hand. The 5's squared-off casing is a lot easier to grip in one hand, but at the same time it's so light it's equally as hard to handle. Now I've had the 5 in my hands for a few weeks, my 3GS feels like a toy phone.

I still haven't quite got used to the headphone jack at the bottom of the phone, but it definitely makes the phone easier to hold when you have your headphones in, as I always seem to - the cabling doesn't fall in front of the screen as before.
I first assumed I'd hate the lightning connector in place of the classic 30 pin USB charger, but in fact this is a lot easier to use - there's no right or wrong way to put it in, which is probably what damaged my 3GS to the point which it refused to accept any USB chargers for longer than five seconds. Docking isn't a problem for me, but if you have a lot of docking devices for the 30 pins, there should be adaptors out there to suit your needs.

When the iPhone 5 emerged last year, everyone cried 'but no! It has one more row of app icons! I can't handle this humongous phone!', but in reality, it's a lot easier having an extra row on one screen so you can have all your most-used apps on one screen, and it's just as easy to reach the bottom apps with one hand as it is to reach the top row. We have far more flexible thumbs than we think.

Apps are so much more fluid and usable on the iPhone 5's processor, plus iOS7's ability to switch between apps seamlessly, utility has been significantly improved from previous generations. Safari pages load almost three times as fast, no matter what broadband speed you're using.

The battery life is incredible, I can use my phone quite actively all through the day and still find 50% battery when I get home, and even then it takes a fraction of the time to recharge than it used to with my 3GS. Considering all the rumours that the 5 drained its battery too fast, I'm pleasantly surprised.

I bought the iPhone 5 mainly because of the fantastic quality camera, at least in comparison to my 3GS - 8MP is something I've only dreamt about since camera phones first came into being. It really is like having a digital camera in your pocket, and that's something I've always wanted when I love to document my life in pictures. Autofocus and LED flash are just perfect for making your camera work look professional - it's starting to get hard to determine between iPhone photos and digital cameras.
Here's an example of just how good the 8MP iSight camera is.

The FaceTime camera's not too shabby either!

Of course, iOS7 was the one feature I was most looking forward to about the iPhone 5. It's so beautifully simple - much less 3D and much less fancy. Everything that wasn't needed in iOS6 is gone with iOS7 - no more bevelled app icons and unnecessary textures.  iOS7's backgrounds move along with the motion of the gyro inside, which is a lovely little touch to make your backgrounds stand out no matter what angle you're looking at your phone. On iOS6 I wouldn't have touched the Reminders app, it was so inaccessible and ugly, but now it's pretty and easy to understand.

The Music app is one thing I'm not keen on with iOS7, the band photos might make a nice change to some, but it seems to take up far too much space for me.

iOS7's best feature for me? The bottom-up menu that allows you to change the most used settings such as brightness and wifi even from the lock screen. I've found the flashlight more useful than anything!

So all in all, I'm ecstatic with my new phone and I can't wait to get my hands on some gadgets to go with it, quirky phone cases and external camera accessories - the world is my iOyster!

But of course, this post would be nothing without a relevant Barry Manilow song. It looks like we made it.

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1 comment:

  1. I think this is the phone ill be upgrading too as well. Right now i have the 4 and I don't think i'll go to another phone. Love some of the new features that i wish I got on mine :(

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