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iPhone 5 Review: Once The Magic Fades

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It’s hard to believe that the iPhone 5 has only been out for two weeks. Now that the novelty effect of getting your hands on a brand new iPhone should have subsided, let’s take a look at how it feels to use it now.

iPhone 5 review: 12 days later

I’m still amazed at how light the device really is when you pick it up. When compared against the iPhone 4 & 4S, they have a slippery and cold, yet solid feel to it. The iPhone 5 does feel like a quality device, but you naturally think that a device has to feel heavier for it to be solid and well built. Many believe that if the handset is light then it has to be cheap and perhaps even flimsy. However in actual fact the iPhone 5 is made far better than the iPhone 4S.

The back of the 4S has a glass coating, imagine what would happen if you dropped the handset onto concrete a few times. Chances are that the glass would break and the weight would not work in its favour for surviving intact. However if you were to drop the lighter iPhone 5 on its back, the chances are that all that would happen would be the paint got scratched. Despite its thinness and lightness it is more solid. I have dropped it once so far and thankfully it has survived (from desk height to a tiled floor).

Siri was a novelty on the iPhone 4S, which people got bored with after a few weeks. In iOS 6 Siri has been updated and now comes in useful for many more things. You can set reminders, add events to the calendar and open apps and send tweets, plus much more. If it is in beta now, imagine what it will eventually be able to do?

The camera on the iPhone 5 has been improved and now there is better contrast, depth and colour saturation. It is also better when it comes to taking photos in low light than the camera is on the 4S. I was at the Jay-Z concert yesterday which only started going after midnight. I haven’t transfered the pictures out of my iPhone 5 yet but was amazed at how well it took pictures in the dark. However the downside is that images can get grainy and this can do away with any improvements from the OS.

There are also a lot of issues with the iOS, however they may be resolved with either a software or firmware update. Often on the lock screen the device becomes unresponsive and the slide to unlock will not work. Folders are another let down and while you can get four additional apps on the home screen, you often get white pixels on the screen.

Then there is the purple haze problem with the camera. This happens if you take a photo with a light source too close in the frame. This is said to be down to the coating used on the lens of the camera. I have run into this twice now. First time when I just got the iPhone 5 and was testing its camera out in our office’s parking lot with the sun right above. The second was surprisingly when the sun was on my back in my patio.

On the whole the iPhone 5 is an impressive handset and when you buy any device it is never the perfect handset you’d envision it to be. While the magic associated with the release of a new iPhone 5 seems to have done a disappearing act, I have no regrets upgrading from my iPhone 4.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.