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Monday, October 15, 2012

iPhone 5 Review

I know, I know, I usually don’t do too much of my own writing for the newsletter anymore, but I just acquired an iPhone 5 and I’m sure there are more than a few folks out there wondering if they should upgrade.

So, just for you, I hiked 10 miles through a blowing snowstorm to the nearest Verizon store, braved the belligerent masses battling for one of the few available phones, and finally wrestled a sales person to the ground and pried the last one from his fingers. A nice 32Gb unit in fact.

OK, maybe I just drove to the store, stood in line a bit, and purchased one, but that’s no way to start good story is it?

First Impressions -

I’m writing this having only owned the phone for a day or two, so these impressions may change over time, however, my initial thoughts are…

Now Form Factor

The big news here is the new larger screen – the first time the screen size has ever changed in the iPhone.

Personally, I have mixed feelings on this one. While I do enjoy having more on-screen real estate, I honestly don’t know if I like the phone getting bigger. Sure, it still slips nicely into the my pocket, but not quite as nicely as the old unit.

Additionally, I don’t think the phone looks as nice – the proportions just don’t look / feel quite right to me. (Yeah, it’s a minor nitpick and sounds whiny, but hey, it’s my article right?) Could it be that I’m just too used to the old phone and this one will grow on me? Hmm… Time will tell.
Proportion and size considerations aside, the new retina display does look good. While the quality isn’t a day and night difference between this phone and the 4s, it’s still a nice step up.
The other two improvements in this category come in the form of thickness and weight. It’s both a bit thinner and lighter than its predecessor and it’s a noticeable – and welcome – difference in my book.


The next big thing I notice with the phone is how freakin’ awesome 4G LTE really is. When you’ve been sloggin’ along in an overcrowded 3G world, this is like going from a bike to a Ferrari. I find myself opening web pages just to enjoy how quick they load. Crazy fast…

Faster Processor

Apple claims the new A6 processor is up to twice as fast as the previous one – and my phone seems to confirm that. Everything zips along at an almost instantaneous rate now. From getting to your home screen to opening apps, this phone is crazy quick.

New Camera

Many of you know that I also do professional nature photography through my other site,, so it may surprise you to learn a LOT of the photos I take for my personal use are not snapped with my big pro gear but with my lowly iPhone camera. To me, it’s the ultimate point & shoot – it’s always with me and has always done a good job.

Well, the new camera looks even better. I’ve already taken a few test shots and so far, it looks like a nice lens with a good little sensor. Can’t wait to try the HD video!

One feature I’m really excited about is the new Panorama Feature. With just a sweep you can capture a fairly high-res pano shot. Seemed cool in the backyard, can’t wait to try it out on my next trip.

Dock Connector

I know, Apple fans are not thrilled about the new dock connector – hey we all have dozens of the old style sitting around, and now we have to start over.


I have to say, I really like this one a lot. It’s way smaller, seems a LOT less prone to damage, and plugs in with a satisfying “clip” feel. I think it’s a keeper. Now I just have to go buy a few more – maybe I’d better get back to you on this one after the hit to the wallet eh? 

New Earbuds

While it’s not part of the phone per se, I still wanted to mention the new earbuds, err, I’m sorry, earpods, that come with this phone.

Easily the best I’ve ever used from Apple.

They not only sound great, they also sport a volume control right on the cable! How handy is that – especially if your phone is in your pocket?

Additionally, they also feature a mic, so you can use them to answer your phone! Smart.


Overall, it’s a worthwhile upgrade. Although I have a few misgivings about that loooonnnggg screen, the rest is a huge step up. My advice? If you can get one for the upgrade price, do it. If you have to pay full boat retail because you’re under contract, I’d hold off till I could get it for the upgrade price ($199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB — $650, $750, $850 for full retail – ouch).

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