Tuesday, November 27, 2012

iPhone 5 - Everything you need to know

Key Features: 4in, 640 x 1136 pixel screen; New A6 processor; 8MP camera with 1080p video and panorama mode; New iOS6 Maps app
Manufacturer: Apple

Phone 5 review - Introduction & Design

iPhone 5 Review - Introduction
So the latest iPhone has landed and like all before it’s an evolution rather than a revolution but it’s at least on the surface the biggest evolution we’ve seen for years with a new design, a larger screen size and superfast 4G connectivity. But is it enough of a leap to outpace the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, LG Optimus 4X HDor the upcoming Nokia Lumia 920? We’ve spent some quality time with one to find out.
iPhone 5 Review - Design
This is the most beautiful and best built phone on the market. Yes, it really is that simple. No other device comes close to matching the fit and finish Apple has achieved on the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S was good but Apple has taken things to another level here.

It all kicks off with the etched aluminium back. Gone are the glass back and steel sides of old to be replaced with a single piece of aluminium that’s hewn to form the back and sides. This is etched on the back to create a matt look, which should hide scratches much better than its shatter prone predecessor. It also makes the phone easier to grip and keeps it from slipping quite so easily – the iPhone 4/4S had a remarkable ability to slide off even the flattest looking surface.
Contrasting nicely with the matt back and sides are the shiny diamond cut bevelled edges, glass front and glass inserts on the back. These angled edges make the iPhone 5 a bit more comfortable to hold compared to the very square ones on the iPhone 4S, which is definitely a welcome tweak.

There is a fairly significant cause for concern here, though. The black version has been given an anodised black finish, which looks amazing but we’ve already heard reports of this having chipped away to show the shiny silver metal beneath. This is exactly the same problem we found with the HTC One S, and its plasma etched finish is supposed to be even tougher than anodised finishes. What’s more the aluminium sides are clearly not as tough as the stainless steel of the previous model. Clearly mileage will vary here but we’d suggest even more strongly than usual that you get yourself some sort of protective case.

As for the glass inserts, they’re either pigmented glass on the black version or ceramic glass on the white – both look amazing. Apple goes to extreme measures finding the right insert for each phone measuring the hole in the chassis to within microns and matching the best fitting insert from a batch of 70. It's this level of detail that really contrasts with the equivalent panel on the back of the recently previewed Motorola RAZR i or indeed the infamously cheap feeling plastic back of the Galaxy S3, practical though that simple back is.

Pick the iPhone 5 up, and the difference between it and the iPhone 4S becomes even more apparent. Despite packing in a larger 4-inch screen the iPhone 5 is 20 percent lighter (112g compared to 140g) and 18 percent thinner too (123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm compared to 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm. This makes a surprising difference when you actually handle and compare the two devices, with the iPhone 5 almost feeling a bit too light at first, compared to the reassuring solidity of the 4S. Not that there’s cause for concern here though, as this is still one beautifully crafted handset.

With the iPhone 5 screen size having increased the big concern would be that it becomes cumbersome to use but Apple has avoided this by only increasing the height of the screen, upping it by about 12mm. This small increase makes minimal difference to the usability of the phone, with you still able to reach the full expanse of the screen easily enough.

Contrary to many a rumour, below the screen there is a home button that along with near identical volume, mute and power buttons will make existing iPhone users feel right at home. A few other features have been tweaked though.

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