Friday, 21 September 2012

iPHONE 5: THE DEFINITIVE SYNAPSE CIRCUIT REVIEW


iPHONE 5: THE DEFINITIVE SYNAPSE CIRCUIT REVIEW

16GB FREE from £46 per month. SIM free - £529.

32GB from £21 per month plus upfront cost: varies with network. SIM free - £599.
64GB from £25 per month plus upfront cost: varies with network. SIM free - £699.

As I got my head down to sleep at around 2AM this morning I received a text message from a friend of mine who works at Carphone Warehouse telling me to be at his North London shop for 8AM if I wanted to test the iPhone 5! Whoa! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity – after all it is iPhone Day! 21 September!

I had to be up at 5AM and what is keeping me up right now is CAFFEINE! Incidentally, I always had problems spelling the word ‘caffeine’ and now I don’t even have to think about it!

7:45: I arrive at Carphone Warehouse blurry-eyed and sipping from a large bottle of energy drink that I picked up at my local 24hr supermarket! My friend let me in and explained to me that he has until 9:30 to learn about the new iPhone! Because of Apple’s nondisclosure agreement he was not allowed to unbox the iPhone 5 until 8AM!

MORE OR LESS
When we took the iPhone out of the box my immediate thought was, ‘Is that it?’ Cover it with chocolate ice cream and you’d believe that the iPhone 5 was a techno lolly stick that keeps the ice cream frozen (I had the idea first – I ought to patent it before Apple does)!

Packaging removed and charger plugged in, the moment of truth arrived…

Aftershock first impressions… Have you seen those documentaries on Roswell where a UFO was supposed to have crashed and eye-witnesses talk of this otherworldly metal alloy? That’s how the iPhone 5 feels; it’s unbelievably light and it’s only because I can see it that I know it’s actually in my hand!

RETINA
As I have said before, there is no doubt that the iPhone 5 is a well designed handset – strictly speaking in terms of the way in which it is put together! Then there’s the screen… Yes, the celebrated first for Apple after all these years of Android large screens! Wow! Let’s have a look…

Yep, I was right: the screen is horrible! It doesn’t matter that the screen is the much hyped “retina” display because the screen is really too small – at least for me! I whipped out my Galaxy SII to compare and to my mind the SII is the better design! Why? The SII is mainly glass out front with a slight metal frame and a plastic battery cover. It’s thin! The point I’m making is that the iPhone 5 design is ok, it’s nothing special – despite the lush materials. Really and truly, the screen needed to be wider – it is harder for me to operate with one hand because it’s so small it’ll give me cramp! Speaking of cramped the screen made everything looked cramped! Sure, there’s the new expand a website screen to full screen but it just doesn’t work. I guess I am too spoiled with the larger screen of my SII and certainly after reviewing the SIII and Note the iPhone 5 would be a huge step backward for me!

The screen is crisp though! I will give the odd screen resolution that much! However, that said, the 4” retina screen didn’t make me wish that the SIII or even my SII screen was better than it is!

I still maintain that the SIII and the One X designs are superior to the iPhone! You can criticize the materials used in the case of the SIII but as a design concept it is superb!

iOS 6
Admittedly, I didn’t have too long with the iPhone 5 – I certainly didn’t want to get caught up in the crowd of iPhone fans! But looking at iOS 6 I can’t see that is has anything that Android can’t do either within the operating system itself or with applications such as Tasker! I could see that there is a ‘Do not disturb’ mode that keeps the iPhone quiet and will go to voice mail, but it is still possible to make calls and text. Then there’s the ‘privacy’ mode that stops anyone from having access to your apps! These are items that Android users can have through modified Android through Cyanogenmod and others or through apps!

The notifications aren’t as good as it is on Android. I think Apple wanted to have the notifications exactly like it is on Android but cannot due to the current the Patent Litigation Wars that is currently ongoing!

Siri, is said to be an improvement but I couldn’t really see that clearly! Siri is good for basic commands like the weather, but beyond that I think it is hit and miss as it ever was! It reacts faster! Google Now is much better than Siri!

Apple Maps are not quite up to the task. It would have been better for Apple to have left Google Maps as part of iOS 6 until they had the situation under control. I feel that with their spat with Google they are leaving their adoring fans short; it’s supposed to be a premium phone and it should have premium features. It must feel good to have that relationship with the fans to tell them to be “patient”. Personally, I think it’s wrong! iPhone users want to use their phones straighaway and not wait eons – well, for the sake of their fans I hope it’s not eons! They deserve the very best! Already iPhone 5 users and other reviewers have expressed their dislike of the Apple Maps!

Passbook, I was quite dismissive about it. It’s not that bad and there’s more to it than what I thought i.e. it can bring up a ticket when the phone is unlocked to save you looking for it! But I still maintain that it’s overblown and email will do the job effectively! The amount of times I have redeemed coupons, boarded a coach, etc using my Android email! I know when I am going and where; I just launch my email application in due time! That said, the Passbook is ok – it’s colourful and could well be useful for those who love to go out and travel frequently!

MULTIMEDIA
The 8MP camera has been improved and includes an easy way to take panoramic pictures. Panoramic pictures have been a part of Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The pictures seem good – the SIII pictures are more vibrant to my mind! The full HD video recording was just a tad choppy in playback!

Playing YouTube video was ok, again, the small screen did not do it for me! The sound is quite good – a bit tinny! It’s not the best sound I have heard on a handset!

Oh, who had the idea to put the headphone socket at the bottom of the phone? That must be awkward in your shirt or jacket pocket! The day Samsung puts the headphone socket at the bottom is the day I stop getting their phones! To me that is just stupid!

As I have been saying, the lightning socket and cable are unacceptable for upgrader’s! I don’t particularly care if you can plug it in both ways! That’s not really a feature as far as I am concerned! Here’s a multibillion dollar corporation – with more money than the US Treasury – charging people an extra £25 for an adapter if they want to use the accessories that they paid good money for! If this is your first iPhone it’s not too bad, but I still don’t understand the “design” reasoning behind the decision other than to make the phone thinner! This “thinnest phone in the world” thing has got to stop if people have to end up forking out for new accessories! The day Samsung does that is the day I quit upgrading to their handsets!

CONCLUSION
I just don’t see anything in the iPhone 5 that I can’t get in Android handsets – I can get better! The A6 processor is dual-core (I think - is that what “twice the speed” means?) and the top Android handsets are quad-core! There are many handsets to come too that will feature a quad-core chip!

Even if Apple’s agenda was to create the best ever iPhone then it’s a fail. The screen is too small; it should have been at least 4.3”! It didn’t need to be thinner. You can’t release a premium handset with faulty maps, there’s no reason why the headphone socket should be at the bottom and - for my taste - it is too dainty! As a man, the iPhone 5 come across as a woman’s phone! That said, I came out of Carphone Warehouse and saw one woman with the HTC One X and another with the Samsung Galaxy SIII! Go figure!

I think most Apple / iPhone fans will lap it up!

There’s no way I would pay an upfront cost for a handset with no microSD card slot!

It is said that the battery is better, but I couldn't really test that with the time allotted; it is said to be better but once you start listening to music, watch video, take photos, record video, surf the Net, etc it will deplete like any other handset battery!

Don’t believe the hype!  

Thank you so much for reading!

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Best wishes!