Monday, September 24, 2012

iPhone 5 - Newbie Review

At long last, the iPhone 5 has arrived!  We have been planning to switch over to the iPhone 5 for about a year now and I have to say, we're very impressed!

Here are some of the main pros:

Everything is just so smooth and amazingly fast as far as switching from one running app to another, text messaging and taking pictures.  Granted our prior phones were a full 2 years old, ancient in Smartphone terms, but it really is no comparison.

For example, just sending a simple text message would have taken 5 seconds to bring up the app and about 5 seconds to send or receive, now it takes maybe 2 seconds not counting the time to type the message.  And it's more like an instant message conversation in terms of speed, where previously it was definitely a send, wait, wait some more and then respond situation. The Facebook app for iOS 6 is also so much quicker and has a lot of great features like scrolling left/right and posting is instantaneous. 

The speed/quality of the camera is great.  Typically just opening the camera application would have taken me a good 10 seconds.  By the time the camera was ready, many candid moments have already come and gone.  With the iPhone 5, you can literally hit the camera app button and snap a picture in less than 2 seconds.  As a test, I just took 10 pictures and it only took 5 seconds.  I'm not sure if that will slow down the more pictures you take and store, but right now it is refreshingly fast.

The screen size is very good and also very crisp, clear and bright.  It's smaller than the screen on our prior phone by .3 inches, but it's not that much smaller.

The phone looks very slick.  We both got the white version and love it.  I think it looks so much better than the black one.  Big plus here.  Based on how nice it looks I'm hoping to find a clear case so it doesn't detract from the aesthetics.  The phone is also very thin and very light as well.  

Facetime is super cool.  It was very neat to try it out with my sisters over the weekend over WiFi.  I'm guessing it's probably not something we'll use super often, but I can see where it would come in very handy to see our nephew Max and things like that.  It easily switches between front and rear cameras.

iMessage.  I wasn't aware of this until someone told me on Sunday.  Once you setup your iCloud/iTunes account and get that setup, when you send text messages from one iPhone to another they will not count against your carrier's text message limits (if you have limits, and we do).  The way you know if that is working is if the texts show up as blue (iMessage) or green (regular SMS messages).  Pretty neat. 

Siri.  She doesn't quite understand everything, but we enjoyed several things like asking for directions, asking her to text someone with a particular message and asking for sports scores.  For instance, when we were coming home from watching our Buffalo Bills beat the Cleveland Browns, we wanted to know what the score was for other games.  So we asked Siri what the score was for the Jaguars game and she would pull up the box score, showing the overall score and the score for each quarter as well.  And asking her to do something like "tell my wife I will be home in 20 minutes" worked like a charm.  Very cool. 

But to be fair, it is not perfect... 

Here are a few cons:

Speaker location.  The speaker is located directly on the bottom on the right hand side.  When I was playing a drag racing game, I was wondering why I could barely hear anything even though the volume was all the way up.  That is because when you play a game with the phone on it's side, your normal tendency is to wrap your index fingers around either side and play with your thumbs.  Doing so completely blocks the speaker.  Not a huge deal, I will have to adjust how I grip the phone when playing games.  And it looks like that was the same way on the 4S as well, it's just different from the Droid X, which was on the back of the phone.

Battery life.  This is a bit of a disappointment.  Granted I used the phone a bunch on Saturday, but it was mostly surfing the web and downloading/trying some apps/games and all of it was over WiFi.  It was fully charged in the morning and a very rough guess is that it had about 30% left by around 6pm when I charged it up again.

On Sunday though, I used it far less, mostly in the morning to surf and in the afternoon I checked my fantasy football apps and as of 10:30pm it had about 50% battery left.   So, under normal use, it will probably only need charging over night, so really that's not too bad.  And a friend of mine told me to turn off location services (GPS) by going to Settings, Privacy and disabling that to save on battery life, which I just did.  The downside is if you do that you'll lose the ability to track where your phone is if you lose it.

Letterbox apps.  Currently, some apps not specifically built for the iPhone 5 will not take up the full screen, they will have black bars on the sides.  That is only a slight negative short term, because I'm sure app publishers will be updating their apps very soon to take advantage of the bigger screen.  

The letter "s".  This is a weird one, probably only applicable to me.  Whenever I type a word with the letter s in it, it will usually type an "a" instead.   Since I type the letter "s" a bunch, it is a bit annoying.  I will just have to get used to the keyboard being slightly different than what I'm used to. 

We have not yet tried the new 3D maps, but we've read it's not so great.  Someone said to install MapQuest instead, but I can't vouch for that just yet. So that is neither a pro nor a con.  

Summary:  All in all, it is a great phone!  Love the look and feel and the quickness of everything.  There is really nothing that I miss from the old phone at this point, just a few things mentioned above that I need to adjust to so far.  We're still learning how to do things, so I'm sure once we get some more apps installed we'll have more to say at a later time.

A few tips:  I figured out how to access running apps with the double click of the home, then you can hold one of the apps until they wiggle and you can close out apps you won't need for a while by clicking the - sign next to each.  I also figured out how to create a folder on the home screen by dragging one app onto another to help organize things.   That's about it for tips/tricks so far. 

Do you have any tips/trips to share to save battery life, or just neat things to know about?   Any must have apps?  What is your impression thus far?  Considering an iPhone 5 and have any questions?  Definitely let us know in the comments below!


Mock family said...

I sort of liked the map app.... It's definitely different than what there was before, but loving the voice feature and I think I'll grow to like all the other features once I get the hang of it..... the battery thing has gotten a little better, but still not overly impressed

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