5 Reasons the iPhone 5 is the Smartphone to Beat

Like it or not, the iPhone 5 will be the benchmark all other smartphones are compared to for the next year or so. Apple’s latest smartphone may not match all of the competitions’ features, but the overall ownership experience will be second to none.

The iPhone 5 isn’t going to please everyone, but that’s ok. Smartphone enthusiasts that want to install custom ROMs and side-load apps will be much happier with their high-end Android phones. Those looking for the best camera experience will be best served by Nokia phones with Pureview. If you simply must have an enormous display the Galaxy Note II should be your first stop.

iPhone 5 Built as a Flagship

iPhone 5The iPhone 5 might not have every single feature found in competitors’ smartphones, but one thing that’s often missing from comparison charts is overall build quality. Apple’s glass and aluminum construction is a formula that works. Many competitive flagship phones simply feel cheap and flimsy.

Like its predecessors, the iPhone 5 looks like it’s built to look like new for a long time. Too many Android phones look old and ragged after just a few months. For example, Samsung tried to save a buck by going with unbranded fortified glass rather than Gorilla Glass on the Galaxy Nexus. The result is my unlocked Galaxy Nexus’ display is scratched and scuffed after spending less than three months in my pocket, while my iPhone 4S display looks brand new after almost a year of heavy use.

Dogfooding

Rather than offering a smattering of options like Samsung and Motorola, Apple focuses its efforts on building a single high-quality phone. The iPhone 5 is built as a flagship device that’s suited for everyone from the casual user all the way up to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The guy’s worth several hundred million dollars, but for a measly $199 you can carry the same phone as him. His buddy Jony Ive ensures that Apple’s hardware is fit for everyone from students to executives because he knows that there’s simply no other option.

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Ive, Cook and the rest of Apple’s employees know they’ll have to eat their own dog food. On the other hand, Google employees are free to use just about any Android handset they choose. Former Google executive Marissa Mayer used an iPhone at the GooglePlex until recently leaving to head up Yahoo!, where she wants to give every employee an iPhone. Do you really think a single Motorola manager or executive will think twice about rocking a RAZR M?

Buying a phone that’s guaranteed to be supported for the next couple of years (and perhaps beyond) by guys that will actually be using the device is a smart move.

Service and Support

One of the primary reasons I recommend family and friends buy iPhones is because of Apple’s unparalleled support.

Here in San Francisco there are three Apple Stores, each of which comes with a Genius Bar that dishes out complimentary support. The downtown San Francisco store offers numerous classes for honing iOS skills. It’s truly refreshing to deal with support staff that know a device inside and out, can fix it on the fly and replace it on the spot if they can’t solve the problems in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, my iPhone 4S’ speaker started pumping out distorted sound early this summer. I brought it to the nearest Apple Store and explained that I’d left it blasting music for a few hours to entertain my one-year old son. I wasn’t sure if the speaker had quit on my or if my son did some damage to it somehow. I played a few seconds of music to demonstrate the issue and the Genius quickly offered to replace my iPhone 4S on the spot.

Apple’s Genius Bars aren’t perfect, but they’re much better than the alternative of walking busted phones into carriers’ stores.

Best App and Experience

iphone-app-storeGoogle’s Play store has come a long way, but developers often treat Android users like second-class citizens. How many times have you seen an iPhone app announcement or demo without an Android mate, or the dreaded ‘Android App Coming Soon’ disclaimer? Popular apps like Instagram take forever to make it into the Google Play store, by which time iPhone users have moved  on to the next hot app.

Developers tell us that Android device fragmentation, piracy and many Android users’ refusal to pay for apps as reasons they develop first for the iPhone. Yes, there may be more Android devices out there than iPhones these days, but money matters to both independent developers and large companies.

Best Accessory Ecosystem 

The iPhone 5 was announced exactly one day ago and we’ve already heard from dozens of companies that they have literally hundreds of iPhone 5 cases and accessories ready to go. Auto manufacturers will continue to put the iPhone ahead of all others, ensuring there are plenty of optional iPhone connectivity kits in new models.

We’re still pleasantly surprised when someone brings a Galaxy SIII case to our attention.

A walk through your local mall or big-box electronics retailer illustrates just how big the iPhone accessory ecosystem is and will continue to be.

Comments

  1. mark4 says

    Reading this article, it is clear that you do not have an open mind and Apple in your opinion is the only phone manufacturer people should use. The fact you only recommend Apple to friends and family puts your integrity as a journalist in question. Whilst I personally dislike Apple products for myself, I realise they are good for some people- particularly people who don’t like technology. You however seem very biased towards Apple.

    I disagree with nearly all your points and worryingly the article does not provide a balanced view. Taking your first point as an example, I could not disagree more. Take my Samsung Galaxy S2 for example, whilst this has been dropped on numerous occasions and treated roughly, it looks as good as new after 17 months. Many work colleagues, friends and family who have iPhones have cracked them and scratched them. Generally iPhones look ok on day one but they don’t last. Even big Apple fans and independent repairers say the iPhone has built in obsolescence.

    This is just the first point and I cannot be bothered to argue the other points despite the fact your views are just as biased. However unlike punters in the street who are entitled to have their own biased opinions, I really feel that as a journalist and indeed as an independent technology website, you have a duty to your readers to write fair unbiased articles. If you disagree, you should have a disclaimer at the start of the article saying it is totally biased.

    • Tom says

      Thank you, for saving me some time in pointing this out to the blatantly apparent Apple fanboy. It irritates me that totally biased people like this have their articles published on high traffic websites. It is beyond obvious that die-hard Apple supporters have been intimidated by new releases like the GS3 and the Note 2, and even the Lumia 920.

      This is the first article I’ve read supporting the iPhone 5, and not only that, but it’s trying to convince us that the iPhone isn’t the one playing catch ups. All of the points he made were the exact same ones we saw when the 4s was released. I don’t see anything specifically related to the iPhone 5 or it’s new “magical” features, because nothing has changed since iPhone 4. Just bells and whistles.

  2. jevvv says

    “…for a measly $199 you can carry the same phone as him…”

    … not likely! More like $500 here, and if you get it on a contract then you’ll have paid for the phone about 5 times over by the end of the contract – since most users here aren’t actually getting that value out of the contract cost.

    • steb0ne says

      Biggest bullshit story of the day! Funny thing is I just had the worse experience I’ve ever encountered dealing with Apple and its so called great support! Had to return my 4S for a stick power button after less than 6 months…only to be replaced with an apparent refurb that wouldn’t even stay powered on long enough to make it to the car…tried returning it 3 times within that week as it shut off over 30 times randomly…then they wanna say it’s water damaged after other random excuses failed!

      And btw…the screen on the replacement scratched in 1 week…while my Galaxy Nexus screen doesn’t have a scratch and I’ve had it almost a year!

  3. JonW says

    +1 on the bias comments above. Used to really like GottaBeMobile for objective, informed articles but recently it’s been going downhill. Sad.

    • Ranjit K says

      Agree with you Jonw and other comments.I used to use GottaBeMobile as a valuable research tool full of informed articles. Indeed when I purchased my first Tablet PC several years ago, it was my main source of information. Now, with a few exceptions, nearly everything is positive about Apple and negative about everything else. PLEASE BRING BACK THE INDEPENDENT HONEST GottaBeMobile.

  4. Mister Tech-E says

    Wow, what a partial column and not even trying to hide it! There is nothing wrong with liking a particular product with passion but it’s another to be in love with a product that blinds ones vision nothing else exist—just spewed rubbish. Unfortunately this is what the author is experiencing.

    I love technology but not a slave to any manufacturer. Both Apple and Android devices are great—I have/use both regularly (including Blackberry for work). Why no mention of the upcoming Windows Mobile 8? Perhaps Apple has blinded you? I expected to see some mention of innovation from various smartphone devices with comparisons. Nothing in the column offers any valid arguments the iPhone is the smartphone to beat! Wake up open your eyes man! I agree with jevv and mark4.

    BTY don’t mention in your ‘about’ blurb you’re a ‘technology geek.’ Instead it should clearly state you’re an ‘apple fan boy’ nothing else!

    What a shame gottabemobile.com allows bias columns like this one on their site!

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