Sep 20, 2012 08:59 PM
Hands-on with the iPhone 5: beautiful, lighter and better
<em>Electronista</em> has spent some time with the iPhone 5 and can confirm that it is the best iPhone yet. While that might seem inevitable, as Apple <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/268607==http://www.ipodnn.com/articles/12/09/20/apple.mislabels.dublins.airfield.park/" rel='nofollow'>has discovered</a> with its new Maps app, change is not always a positive thing. Despite this embarrasing launch hiccup, the iPhone 5 remains at the pinnacle of hardware and software engineering -- we even like the new Lightning connector. The iPhone 5 simply looks and feels beautiful, yet retains a sense of solidity in its construction: there is no cheap plastic creaking or chassis flex to be found.<br><br>As some commentators have noted, seeing the iPhone 5 in photos does not really it do it justice. Picking it up and feeling how light it is immediately rekinnkdled the sense of excitement that was missing when we picked up the iPhone 4S for the first time. Both the white and black models are equally attractive, and will perhaps be the hardest decision for those already committed to buying one.
The longer display is also a highlight. The colors are indeed richer and more saturated which is most noticeable when looking at photos and watching movies. Ergonomically, it is slightly less comfortable to use when entering URL's in Safari, but it should be fine for most people - we find it hard to see Apple stretching this display out any further from a purely ergonomic perspective, especially if it wants to retain the one-handed ease of operation.
Although the new Lightning connector has caused some consternation, not least of which is because Apple is charging users who need the Lightning to 30-pin adapter for legacy peripherals. However, we found it to be a revelation. It is ability to fit in either way, without having to reverse it is a boon - we can see why Apple opted for this over microUSB, if that was ever a consideration for it. It is also faster than the 30-pin adapter, but it we haven't benchmarked the difference yet to confirm this.
The other notable change is the repositioning of the headphone port to the underside of the device. This also works extremely well when walking with the iPhone 5 in your hand as the cord hangs out of the way without needing to be draped across your arm. The new EarPods are also outstanding. When you think that it can be purchased separately for the same $30 price as the 30-pin adapter, it makes for excellent buying. They are light years ahead of the old earbuds for sound quality. On that note, the audio quality of the new iPhone 5 is also top-notch. We are keen to find out what audio processing Apple is using for the new iPhone 5, because its audio reproduction is superb.
While we agree that Apple could do more to refresh the look and feel of iOS, iOS 6 brings many significant improvements (the dubious accuracy of Maps app aside). Facebook integration, like Twitter before it, is now system-wide. The new Passbook app looks like it has great potential even without NFC, while the improvements to Photostream and the introduction of Panorama in the Camera app are also worthwhile improvements. It also retains its overall slickness and ease-of use that is still yet to be matched by its biggest competitor in Google's Android OS -- although Google has made huge strides in the past twelve months, iOS is still clearly ahead in this area. Stay tuned for our full review of the iPhone 5, which is on its way!
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