iPhone 5 review

iPhone 5The tech war boils on as Apple release their latest smartphone, the iPhone 5. With the need to refresh the innovations bolted onto devices every year or so, we’ve sort of gotten into a situation where new releases are more upgrade than next generation.

While the iPhone 5 isn’t so much a game changer (that will come when Siri works like the computers on Star Trek or when 3D screens come to smart phones) it does include a few nice improvements to a device that is already a work of genius.

The first thing to say is that the iPhone 5 is sleeker and lighter than its predesessors, shaving 18% off the width of the iPhone 4S and 20% off the weight. The loss of width has been slightly balanced out by a slightly longer design to accomodate the new 4-inch Retina display screen, although the width of the screen itself hasn’t been reduced at all.

The slightly bigger screen and super sharp display means that videos look genuinely amazing on the iPhone 5, especially HD movies, giving them a widescreen feel.

The iSight 8MP camera is back again, but with a few new additions. A lot is being made by Apple about the panorama stitch function and while it works well, it’s not necessarily new functionality as there have been apps for this for a while. However, the really cool addition is the low lighting enhancement, meaning your iPhone pics look better even if the clouds are thick and all encompassing, which isn’t always the case with the 4S camera. There’s also HD face time, so your special moments are even crisper (wink).

The new A6 chip sups up the speed by up to double and it feels it as soon as you open an app or go online. While it’s not a million miles away from the speed of the 4S, it is noticeable. The speed is backed up by the battery life, which delivers 8 hours LTE browsing time, 8 hours talk time and 10 hours video playback in isolation.

The iPhone 5 also comes with a whole new design for earphones with the Apple EarPods, which have been designed to fit as many ear shapes and sizes as possible. Although, they’re never going to please everyone.

The new connector is the development that has gotten most hairs raising, but the fact that there’s an adapter for the old to new connection (sold separately to the iPhone 5) takes the edge off a little.

Though it’s not just an iPhone 5 feature update, the switch from Google maps to their own mapping technology has been bundled into the criticism of the new phone. It definitely is a step backwards in the first instance, but if Apple can continue to develop the technology over the coming year then they will have systematically reduced their dependency on Google without compromising too much on quality. This means a reduced service in the short term, but there’s bound to be further enhancements to come.

Despite the odd bobble here and there, the iPhone 5 is one of the best devices on the market. With the new screen and amazing looking new games like Asphalt 7 Heat and N.O.V.A. 3 it’s not just a great phone, it’s a stunning all in one mobile entertainment system. It may not be enough to force you into an early uprgrade if you’ve already got the iPhone 4S, but if you’re contract is up for renewal or if you’re due an upgrade from anything else on the market then the iPhone 5 is definitely a contender.

iPhone 5 review: 4/5