iPhone 5 Review: Two Months With the New iPhone

In September, Apple finally released the iPhone that I was waiting for since I picked up the iPhone 3GS over three years ago. For years, I toiled with the iPhone 3GS, waiting for Apple to not only increase the screen size of the iPhone but also to add 4G LTE data speeds. Both of those features arrived with the iPhone 5 and I quickly replaced my iPhone 3GS. Here are my thoughts after spending two months with the iPhone 5.

After spending my first month with the iPhone 5, I started to feel like I had made the right choice in upgrading from my iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 3GS, even after the iOS 6 update, ran extremely well but there were enough issues where making the upgrade made sense.

Read: iPhone 5 Review: A Month with the New iPhone.

iPhone 5 Review

After spending two months with the iPhone 5, it’s clear I made a good call.

With new smartphone releases like the Google Nexus 4 and the Verizon Galaxy Note 2, I’ve started to reflect on the past two or so months that I’ve spent with the iPhone 5 to decide whether I made the right call in picking it up.

Here is my review of the iPhone 5 after spending two months with the new smartphone.

Advertisement

Overall Performance

iPhone 5 Review SideAs I stated in my first review of the iPhone 5, coming from the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 5 is almost a surreal upgrade. Apps actually open when I tap on them. Scrolling around the home screens isn’t sluggish. In other words, the iPhone 5 and its A6 processor fly.

Over the past two months, there have only been a couple of times when I’ve experienced any kind of sluggishness with the operating system, which is of course, iOS 6. Things are snappy, responsive, and the animations smooth.

I always smile when I am able to open up my camera application without any sort of lag, snap a photo or take a video, and have it come out smooth and beautiful. The iPhone 3GS did not afford me these features.

As for the performance of the hardware, it simply has been a fantastic experience. The phone is lightweight, it’s thin and easy to hold, and the screen is still small enough to surf with my thumbs. I’ve also dropped my phone several times, on the aluminum, and I’ve yet to experience any dings or scuffs.

In fact, I have used my iPhone 5 case-free and I’ll likely be doing that for the next two years. There are some beautifully designed phones out there, but I have yet to encounter any that top the design of the iPhone 5.

Connectivity has been solid with the iPhone 5 and while I run on AT&T’s 4G LTE network which isn’t available anywhere, the phone has had no issues switching to AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network.

Battery Life

Apple promised stellar battery life with the iPhone 5 and thus far, I haven’t been disappointed. I’m not the type of person who is constantly connected to 4G LTE. I am generally running on Wi-Fi but when I am on 4G LTE, the iPhone 5′s battery has performed admirably. When using it strictly on 4G LTE as I normally do, I generally can get about eight to nine hours of battery.

Average use for me includes browsing the web, checking email, sending a boat load of iMessages, making lengthy calls to co-workers and loved ones, and checking in with apps like Twitter, ESPN and Facebook.

I think there are still improvements to be made, but for Apple’s first go-round with 4G LTE, it did a great job.

Performance Issues

Not everything has been stellar from a performance standpoint though. There have been some serious bugs that I’ve dealt with for the past two months. One of the biggest ones, issues with my Wi-Fi connection, was fixed with the previous update. I know people are still having problems but mine, at the least have subsided.

I’ve also been faced with two other bugs that have frustrating me over the last two months. The first has to do with iMessages. Often when I get a series of iMessages from friends, my phone will not prompt me on my home screen. So more than a few times, I’ve didn’t find out about messages until way later. I thought the issue died with iOS 6.0.1 but it has returned several times in the past week or so though with less frequency.

iphone-5-review-9-575x344

Another issue I’ve had is with random reboots. I’d say it has happened around 15 times since I bought the phone. The issue is sporadic and doesn’t seem to be related to anything specific, at least not that I can see. My iPhone 5, for whatever reason, just locks up and then shuts off only to display the Apple symbol a few seconds later and reboot to my lock screen. It’s faster than a typical shut down and power up, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an annoyance.

There have also been a few times where people say they have called me where I didn’t receive a call though I suspect that has more to do with service and not the iPhone 5 itself.

So what about the individual features of the iPhone 5? Instead of going over each one, I want to take a look at six in particular, three that I’ve absolutely loved over the past two months and three that I could live without. Let’s start with the good.

iPhone 5 Features I Love

Camera

I’ve used a lot of smartphone cameras and the iPhone 5′s rear camera is easily one of the best that I’ve ever used. It takes fantastic photos, even in low-light areas, and videos actually live up to my lofty expectations in that they both look and sound great. Coming from the iPhone 3GS, you come to appreciate these things.

photo

iPhone 5 photo sample.

The software tweaks that Apple added are nice additions to an amazing camera that has permanently replaced my Canon point and shoot as my go to camera on the go. Here’s to hoping that Apple includes some more software upgrades for the camera in iOS 7. Panorama mode was a great start, but it has nothing on Photo Sphere in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Connectivity

It was tough to pass on Verizon’s massive 4G LTE network but I feel l made the right choice for several reasons. One, the iPhone 5 is able to switch, with ease, between HSPA+ 4G and 4G LTE. HSPA+ blows 3G out of the water, and I can’t even imagine being stuck on it with areas where LTE isn’t available. Needless to say, with an unlimited data plan, I am spoiled.

It’s also nice being able to use the web while on the phone at the same time. I can’t imagine not having this feature. Sorry, Verizon iPhone 5 owners.

Design

For those that don’t know, I absolutely hated the glass back on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. In fact, it was one of the reasons why I avoided them. I saw too many friends crack the back and then have to deal with it until their upgrade. And while the iPhone 5 does feature glass, it’s minimal.

iphone-5-review- 7

The iPhone 5′s industrial design is impressive to say the least. The combination of metal, glass and aluminum looks great and is easy to hold. It’s also proved durable time and time again. The design is also lightweight and thin, two things that I greatly appreciate coming from the iPhone 3GS.

It’s not often that you get a total package from a design but you get that from the iPhone 5.

iPhone 5 Features I Loathe

Siri

I’ve used Siri maybe twenty times in the time that I’ve had my iPhone 5. 10 of those times, Siri completely failed to figure out what I was asking it, another five times it brought up something unrelated and the other five it was useful. The new features especially the sports scores were neat on day one. Then, I figured out I couldn’t see anything beyond a box score.

There just isn’t a compelling reason to use Siri on a daily basis at this point and I doubt that changes in the next two years or so that I have this phone.

Microphone

I don’t know if it’s because I have big hands or what, but there many times when people on the other end of the phone can’t understand a thing I’m saying. Specifically, any time I lay down flat on my back, the iPhone 5′s microphones seem to go especially bad. A few times, it’s gotten so bad that the people on the other end of the line hung up because they couldn’t deal with it.

People also complain that my voice is extremely low on the other end so I often have to yell into it for them to hear exactly what I’m saying.

Lightning Port

While refreshing at first, the new Lightning Port on the iPhone 5 has been driving me nuts. Sure, it’s not an issue when I’m at home surrounded by cords, but when I go out, and I need to charge, it’s an absolute nightmare. There have been plenty of times where my iPhone 5 dies while I’m out and I’m at friends house where there is no compatible charger.

iphone-5-review-14-300x83

The new Lightning Port has tested my patience.

I refuse to pay the exorbitant price for the adapter or carry it around with me at all times. So until this becomes more commonplace, I’m sure it’s going to help me sprout some more gray hairs.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, after two months with the iPhone 5, I’m extremely pleased with my purchase. Just about any current-generation phone would have been a major upgrade over the iPhone 3GS but the iPhone 5 truly is a phone that I feel comfortable using on a daily basis given its amenities.

The 4-inch display is big enough where videos are easy to watch but small enough where it still feels like a phone. The processor can easily handle iOS, gaming and applications. 4G LTE is fantastic, especially on AT&T. And in my opinion, the design is unparalleled.

It’s definitely a phone that should be high up there on any smartphone shopping list with the likes of the Nexus 4, Galaxy Note 2 and Windows Phone 8.

  

Comments

  1. K.B. says

    Thanks for the review. After using Android for years, I’m thinking about making the switch to iOS as well.

  2. Jon says

    I’ve had the iPhone 5 for two months now and I also upgraded from a 3GS. Huge improvement! Lightning port is also my pet peave, I’ve gotten better with it though. Kind of second nature to grab my cord and toss it in the car when I go anywhere now. My 3GS used to lock up also but my 5 has yet to reboot itself and I do some fairly heavy multi-tasking ( Not sure if its true but with my 3GS I linked the rebooting to running out of free ram). Closing unused apps in the multi-tasking bar I find helped and still helps a lot. So far it’s been 2 trouble free months for me! Haven’t upgraded from IOS 6 yet. Great review!

  3. zerilos says

    I wonder if you recieved a defetive iPhone. I bought mine day one and haven’t experienced a single of the problems you described (however I’m not that impressed with the battery…it’s just average IMO). The microphones to my experience are the single best improvement as I am never asked to repeat myself (happened constantly with my iPhone 4 and 3g). Do you have AT&T, because your microphone issues may be related to your service provider. I had nothing but bad experiences with my iphone as an AT&T customer and since moving to Verizon I’ve seen significant improvement (not a single dropped call!!!!). I also love the Lightening connector as I can now recharge my phone in little more than an hour (my 4 took 4 hours).

  4. coach says

    If you had to choose between the two, iphone 5 or note 2? Im having tough decision ahead of me. I like the size of the note 2 but the sleekness and portabilty of the iphone is just as nice and convenient

  5. George says

    feel very sorry for anyone who genuinely believes ios is better than android. and from a hardware point of view the iphone 5 is lagging also. with full HD 1920×1080 android phones coming early next year, the iphone 5 will its silly little screen and dual core processor. well…nuff said.

    • MacRaven says

      Don’t “feel sorry” for us George. Two people in my household bought top of the line ‘Droids. Against my advice both chose it over the iPhone, telling me it was better. Well, now both can’t wait to get rid of them. Husband contract ran out first and he pre-ordered the Verison iPhone 5 and LOVES it! My son is very unhappy his Android isn’t in rotation to ditch until next Fall.

      I reminded them of their brags to me at purchase time on how much better the Droid was going to be—Ha! I never suffered through a Droid. I’ve used Apple products for years, desktop, laptop, work and home so I know the quality of the products, I knew Droid likely was not better—just good bait advertising. But live and learn as they say, and they did. By Fall 2013, all Droids will be purged from our home forever. And the new iPad is awesome too, first one I’ve owned, couldn’t resist the Black Friday discounts.

    • pg says

      Really George just because you don’t like apple ah there there. I got my iPhone 5 a few weeks ago and went from a 3gs. My impressions well its a blinding phone the build quality is second to none, performance superb and well the price OK steep but you pay for what you get and you get the best. Samsung s3 is a great phone but for the high price it feels and looks like a cheep toy personally i prefer the Nokia lumia range very good phones have the cheaper 610 as a back up to iPhone and at £100 its a steal.

    • RMSTanley says

      Android sucks – never again. I listened to you anti-Apple geeks before and HATED my Galaxy II. HATED it.

  6. DJ says

    can’t you guys at Gotta Be Mobile do anything about the crap where people are pitching jobs, sales and other kinds of non-technical comments? It really ruins the experience for folks. Anything you can do to figure this out would be appreciated.

  7. Dave says

    the lighting port also delivers data and juice to your phone t twice as fast, Stop living the past

  8. John says

    You can unlock your iphone permanently at really cheap price from unlockiphones.info ! such a great service they offer as well as refund!

  9. PG Mark says

    I bought a SG3 a week ago and returned it to get the iPhone 5. Can’t go wrong with Apple products. When I connectedted the SG3 to my Mac, it stated this device was not compatible with my computer. With an iPhone you just connect the USB cable to the computer and to the phone and it instantly goes into your iPhotos. Guess I am just a die heart fan of Appleproducts. The SG3 is Windows related. Does not go with OS application. To each their own. Everyone has their own preference, so everyone enjoy their own device.

  10. Robert says

    I bought my iPhone 5 the day it came out I was the first in the shop in London to buy one! I am very pleased with my purchase and love the bigger screen. I had a SG3 before my iPhone and the iPhone is miles better! The SG3 felt plasticky and fake. It was terrible! I was looking forward to getting my iPhone 5!! Never going back to android! Apple all the way!!

  11. Andy says

    What a strange review.

    It seems your overly delighted with the IPhone 5, yet from what I’ve read this is not even a phone. The fact you mentioned the microphone gives you bother and has resulted in hang ups is very un-nerving. My iPhone 3G has never been guilty of this.

    Also the transition in charger port will prove a huge nuisance In the future I believe. I love Iphones and Apple, but to me it seems like the iPhone 5 was very poorly thought out and will probably loose a share of customers to better ‘phones’.

  12. Shawn walker says

    I had the 4s before the iPhone 5 and even though they said there wasn’t much difference from the 4s to the 5. I have to disagree, I’ve had no problems what so ever. I love the 5 and its speed. I also was interested in the galaxy notes, I find them interesting. I carry my phone in my back pocket and would be afraid that the first time I sit down with a galaxy in my pocket it would break. I love my otter boxes and life boxes and for me the screen size is perfect. I have heard rumors of a iPhone 6 coming out in the spring. If that’s true I’ll get that to. I have owned the 3GS, 4s and now 5 and wouldn’t stray from apple products if you paid me.

  13. Jan says

    Does anyone know whether it is true that if you unlock the phone you will be able to use the Straight Talk phone plan which is $45 a month for unlimited everything?

    • Don Levin says

      Walmart started selling straighttalk iphone5 yesterday. My local store had 4, 2 black, 2 white. $45/month. My wife’s used ST for over a year. ST answers phone support immediately, not 50 layers of menus and me screaming “Agent” to get Verizon to answer. Only drawback is ST data plan is NOT unlimited, but they will cut off service if you stream! Read fine print.

  14. jan says

    DON, Thanks for answering re my straight talk questions, but what is streaming. I am new to the high tech field. I have straight talk with a samsung now and it is unlimited for 45.

    • lb says

      I’m on the same boat as you Cop. It all comes down to preference really. I’ve seen both the SIII and the iPhone 5 and I’m leaning towards the 5. I’ve had an iPhone 3GS for about two and a half years now and although it’s been my reliable buddy since then, I can’t help but want a new phone with better quality. The reason why I like the 5 is because it’s very thin and light. I’m really tired of the 3GS’ bulkiness and plastic-feel to it and the SIII is kinda just that. Very large screen that I’m not too keen on and it also has the plastic-feel to it. At the same time, I’m very used to the iPhone’s simplicity, whereas with the SIII, it’s going to be a bit annoying trying to learn a new phone. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen the SIII in stores and it’s a really awesome device. But it’s not the device FOR ME. If you’re the type of person that uses the phone a lot for videos or something, and you wanna have more freedom in customizing the phone the way you want it, then the SIII is probably best for you. But if you want something a bit more simple and easy to use, I’d say the iPhone 5. Like I said, it’s all preference. Anyways, good luck on your decision. I’m sure whichever you choose, you’ll be happy with it :)

  15. Ing says

    At what point does the size of a phone screen become too big? My iPhone 4 screen is just fine thank you & fits comfy in my hand and pocket. Bigger? Unnecessary-get an iPad then! As for the new charger thing, Apple people have been spoiled for a long time, it used to be you had to get new everything very time you got a new phone, so I don’t see why everyone is complaining when there is an adaptor for this obviously improved connector!

  16. nisha713 says

    hey does anyone knows if the iphone5 works well with the verizon i want to be able to talk and be on the internet and was wondering if anyone has verizon and be able to do this successfully. please need info on this before i buy the iphone5 thats one of the reason i want it beside quality.

  17. Ricky says

    I know what your saying George let these isheep buy into crApple 1 day they will realize how pathetic iOS is the SAMETHING since its release (Had original ipod touch) and they sued samsung 4 God knows (scared) but oh they can copy Droids notifications and Panoramic? itards

    • Gary says

      Panoramic….are you talking about a Panorama picture? If you are well your a dumbass! A panorama picture is just several pictures stitched together into one larger picture, cameras have been able to do this for ages with a bit of editing software its not a phone feature its a feature of cameras. Please please please think of your arguments before going oh apple copied androids panoramic photos ffs cameras have been doing this for years and no photographer goes oh that phone copied my camera death to phones.

  18. Torak says

    I have both the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3..and I have to say that the iPhone works better than the S3 in terms of ease of use, reliability and responsiveness of its interface. However with the S3 it is easier to download media files from any other sources. In short..I always use the iPhone as my go to device at work while the S3 is just when I wanna to download songs & files etc during my free time at home due to its drag factor and inconsistent lock screen security and obvious dimness while I’m outdoors.

  19. Marc Johnson says

    I’ve been with Android since the beginning and I’m done with it! I’ve given Android every chance to make to stable OS but they haven’t as of yet. I’ve had the privilege of testing both the iPhone and the GS3 in the real world and the iPhone wins hands down. From the tightly integrated apps to the speed of Safari the iPhone is faster.

    Android over a period of time becomes more and more unstable and it takes constant maintenance to keep it running adequately. The battery life has been horrible after the update to ICS (4.0.4) and it took over a year to get that update. My phone is no longer eligible for any more OS updates which is absolutely ridiculous.

    My contract is due up in about a month and I’m grabbing the iPhone and not looking back. Can anyone recommend a very thin case for the iPhone. I don’t care if it protects the front or not.

  20. ellis wright says

    Hey guys need some help on deciding on a phone need some pros and cons about the iPhone 5 and the Samsung galaxy s3 ? Both phones are jumping out at me but need to make a decision asap!

Leave a Reply