I picked up a black 32GB model on the day of release and have been putting it through the paces for over a week now.
Here’s my review.
In NYC I’m getting nearly 10x the download speeds as my iPhone 4.
Apple isn’t the first to market with an LTE smartphone, but this is still a game-changer.
To put these speeds in perspective, they are faster than my cable internet in my apartment, and even faster than my internet at work.
Of course there are monthly caps, but still.
This kind of speed is astonishing when experienced for the first time, and it’s like an on-ramp to a mobile future that we’ve been dreaming of.
Again, yes, I know, Apple didn’t invent LTE, and the iPhone 5 isn’t the first smartphone with this kind of remarkable speed. But it’s still breathtaking.
As expected, the iPhone 5 is faster, and features a more powerful CPU.
Apple is claiming double. I don’t know about that, but it certainly feels much faster. Apps load faster, images render faster, etc.
It’s a very noticeable improvement.
Thinner and lighter
The iPhone is remarkable lightweight and super thin.
It’s only a bit thinner than the iPhone 4, but when combined with being light as a feather, the change is very noticeable.
While this is impressive, functionally, it’s not necessarily an improvement. Lighter means it’s more likely to fly out of my hands.
The back is no longer all glass, so there is less anxiety setting down firmly on hard, flat surfaces.
Though I have yet to ditch my anxiety over that.
They simply elongated it.
It’s a clever way for them to keep up with what other smartphone manufacturers are doing with their larger screens, without going all-in and putting something out with a comically large display.
Apple managed to make the iPhone’s display larger, while remaining elegant. Also, with the width being the same, it feels the same in your hand… well, mostly. It is a bit of stretch to get from the top to the bottom.
To me, the trade-off is worth it. I wanted a bigger display. But it does feel a bit odd, even after a week, to have to stretch my thumb those extra centimeters to get to the top of the screen.
The camera is incredible. Photos look amazing, and the camera app is faster than ever at snapping photos.
Calls sound crystal clear compared to my iPhone 4.
And the external speakers, while still tinny, are louder and clearer than before. A nice improvement. The new “earpods” are an improvement of Apple’s previous earbuds, but not revolutionary.
The headphone jack is now placed at the bottom of the phone, which I find to be more elegant, though others disagree.
The battery is noticeable better, and lasted hours longer than my iPhone 4.
Adding all these major improvements together and you are left with a stunning smartphone. I was cynical. I loved my iPhone 4 and was satisfied with it. The main thing I wanted was LTE and the bigger display. I underestimated how stunned I would be by the complete experience of the new phone with all of it’s new features and improvements.
The iPhone 5 is a beautiful technological achievement.