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Sunday, December 16, 2012

iPhone 5 Now Available


MANILA, Philippines --- After several months of only being available in the grey market, the iPhone 5 has finally arrived in the Philippines.
The two major telcos, Smart and Globe, are battling it out trying to get as many subscribers, both new and existing, to get the new iOS device. So, if you are an existing subscriber, now is the time to check out how to extend your contract and get yourself this new iOS device.

Is the iPhone 5 worth it? Let’s put it this way, it has a faster processor, more memory, a slightly bigger screen, a slightly improved camera, an aluminum case, a faster mobile data network, and a brand-new dock connector as compared to the iPhone 4S.

If you have an iPhone 4S, I suggest that you think twice before getting the iPhone 5. However, in my case, I just jumped the gun and got mine – from HK, courtesy of my editor. The added punch of the faster processor and more memory definitely becomes evident when you run the apps.

Graphics get rendered quicker and apps load faster. Playing games on the iPhone 5 is way better. The bigger screen gives you an added row of icons. I am fond of smaller phones and I think Apple increased the iPhone 5’s screen to the maximum size that it can without sacrificing ergonomics.

Frankly, I don’t understand why phones need to have 5+” screens. Before the iPhone, the trend was smaller and lighter phones are better. Today, is having the biggest screen on the phone better? I just don’t buy it. Going back to the iPhone 5, the slightly bigger screen is still a joy to operate with one hand – but to me, reaching for that far corner requires some thumb stretching at times.

The aluminum case made the iPhone 5 lighter. Paired with the new Lightning dock connector, the overall physical dimensions shrunk, too. Thinner and lighter, that is the new iPhone compared to the previous one. Holding one in your hand feels like you are holding a mock, demo phone without its innards. We all know that the iPhone takes and shares the most number of photos compared to any smartphone in the world today.

This new iPhone takes better images compared to the iPhone 4S, but this does not mean that the iPhone 4S takes crappy pictures. The only new feature on the iPhone 5 camera is the capability to take a photo while you are shooting a video. I have used this several times and proved to be useful, in some situations. The change in dock design solicited negative feedback from existing iPhone users – especially those who have invested in third-party devices that use the dock connector, e.g., speakers.

I thought that I’d have problems, too, but I figured that buying an extra Lightning-to-USB charge cable and a Lightning-to-30-pin dock adapter so I can reuse the old cables should do the trick. Not a deal-breaker to me, but added an extra P3,000 on top of the phone price.

The iPhone 5 supports the fastest mobile data speeds today, LTE. However, getting the phone to connect to the LTE network isn’t as simple as putting in the nanoSIM. You need to get your SIM provisioned with LTE. I have been using the iPhone 5 locally with no luck connecting to LTE network, be it Smart or Globe.

Although I was able to get up to 7Mbps download speeds in UP Diliman, experiencing full LTE connectivity would be ideal. In some countries, LTE speeds are available but capped at several GBs, once you reach the cap, it throttles down to HSPA+ with unlimited data. I hope that the local telcos will do the same. As of this writing, I have yet to see a telco’s LTE plans for the iPhone 5. So – are you getting an iPhone 5?


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