Six day review. The iPhone 5 is really just okay.


I wanted this post to be an effusive endorsement of the latest iteration of the iPhone.

I would love to be able to deflate Samsung Galaxy SIII users with a glowing review of my most recent gadget acquisition.

To prattle on about this amazing feature or that.

But six days into stepping up to the iPhone 5, my opinion of it is decidedly….nyah.

“Nyah” is the sound you make when asked about something that is neither good, nor bad.

It is typically accompanied by a non-committal shrugging of the shoulders, and perhaps a slight cocking of the head.

It is by no means an endorsement.

But let’s examine the five reasons the iPhone 5 gets a ‘nyah’ from me to date.

1. Maps to nowhere.

There was much ado over the replacement of Google Maps (good) with Apple’s map offering (bad).

In the days immediately after the iOS 6 and iPhone 5 releases, the blog and Twittersphere were ablaze with sharp criticism of the map, which many complained led you effing nowhere.

Not one to take criticism at face value, without testing myself, I didn’t jump into the fray. I hadn’t upgraded nor did I have the 5.

But yesterday, using Apple’s native map to find a Radio Shack on a major roadway, was an absolute fail. Even though the pin drop showed the proper address, where the pin was located AND the directions to the location it subsequently provided, Apple’s map still had me literally driving in circles like an a**hole.

2. That damn microphone button!

I text a lot.  In the past five years since the iPhone’s debut, I’ve used the keyboard thousands of times. I’m familiar with the layout and have long since compensated for the fact that I suffer from ‘fat finger syndrome’.

Imagine my dismay, if you will, the first time I tried to get to the number keys and saw a purple voice recording screen pop up where my keyboard has once been.

Flummoxed, I quickly hit “Done” and watched as three purple dots appeared next to the text I had been typing.

WTF?!

Who designed that? Helen Keller?

I’m not really happy that I’ll need more fat finger typing classes to acclimate myself to the new layout.

3. Longer battery my behind.

I hate longer battery life claims because they’re just not true.

They never are.

Sure, in the lab, with a bunch of geeks staring endlessly at a pristine phone, untouched and unused, you can eke out 250 hours stand-by.

Perhaps, with a passive user making few a calls, sending a few texts and checking emails sporadically, you might get 80 hours talk time.

But in the real world, that’s baloney.

If you’re a power smart phone user, than that 250 hours of stand-by is meaningless because you never put your phone down.

I go hard and when you smoke test the iPhone 5 in real world conditions, that 80 hours of talk time is pure fantasy.

I can’t even make it through the morning without having to re-up and charge this bad boy.

I dare say that I’m recharging the 5 three times more frequently than I did the 4.

You see, boys and girls, significantly reduced battery life is the price we pay for our shiny new phone and all these wonderful features.

4. It’s buggy when charging.

If you’re like me, sometimes you can’t wait for your phone to recharge to use it.

So you work tethered to an outlet.

You just do you thing, while your phone sucks in precious watts with no problems.

Right?

WRONG!!

With the iPhone 5, I’ve experienced dropped calls, inoperable functions, frozen screens, ghost button presses.

You name it, I’ve experienced it.

It’s virtually impossible to use your iPhone 5 while charging at the same time.

It probably has something to do with the new-tangled 8 pin connector.

But whatever the cause, it sucks that I’m losing productivity while (repeatedly) charging my phone.

Massive boo considering how much more often I find myself having to charge the damn thing.

5. Passbook fail.

I think that apps should be purely intuitive.

I think every user application should be – but I digress.

You shouldn’t need to watch a tutorial or ‘read this first’ to use a thing.

It should be designed thoroughly ‘plug n play’.

Apple has always been the embodiment of this principle for me.

So it’s with great chagrin that I talk about Passbook, which is really a huge disappointment.

Intended as a one-stop-shop for one’s loyalty accounts, all Passbook did for me was add a buttload of new apps to my iPhone.

It didn’t consolidate them in one place…in say…oh, maybe the PASSBOOK APP?!

No, it scattered them about.

I was so shook by the sudden appearance of loyalty account apps on my phone after using Passbook, that I Googled “how does Passbook work” to figure out what, if anything, I was doing wrong.

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who was bewildered by Passbook’s supposed utility.

It should be called FAILbook.

Summing it all up.

I know I’ve only criticized the 5, but I do expect more from the brand leader in the smart phone space.

Sure, there are some good things about it:

  • It looks beautiful.
  • It’s faster.
  • It’s lighter.
  • Larger screen.

But the rest of the things Apple touted about it: better camera, improved Siri, more microphones, etc, don’t really add value to the average user at the end of the day.

In conclusion children, the iPhone 5 is a bigger, but not necessarily better phone.

If you must have one (Angelou) then buy it because you want it.

Don’t buy it with the expectation that it will change your world, because it won’t.

At the end of the day, it’s just a phone.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

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