EDITOR OF REDSTATE
My iPhone 5 Review
Between bourbons and technology, I should put more of these up. On Friday morning, I decided to jump ship to Verizon from AT&T, where I have been forever. Put it to you this way, I was a Powertel user in college. They got bought by T-Mobile. Sometime around 1997, due to coverage issues, I switched to Cingular. You know the rest.
Many of you know Clayton, without whom this site would not exist. He and I were in line for the original iPhone together. I’ve had each new model since. This is the first time I’ve gotten the new iPhone and been kind of “meh.” That’s not to say it isn’t a great phone, it is. I just don’t have the giddy excitement I did of the original or of the 4S because, at the end of the day, the first major impression is that it only one more row of icons and is lighter.
Here’s the thing though — spending now several days with it, it may be an incremental upgrade from the 4S, but it is a huge step up from just the 4. And after several days, the phone, plus the new operating system, really are powerful and impressive.
It is the lightest iPhone ever. It disappears, though not in the Joe Biden “literally” sense, in my pocket. Yesterday, in church, a friend wanted to see it and I couldn’t remember which pocket I’d left it in. I just simply could not feel the weight of it in my suit. Once using it, the speed difference between it and the 4S is apparent.
While it may have initially been “meh” for me, my wife got one too. She spent no time with it for several days. She hates technology and really despises phones. Last night she sat down with it and her first reaction was, “This screen is incredible.” The Samsung she switched to because she hated the iPhone 3GS really had a cheap feel and low resolution screen. This blew her away. Then the speed impressed her. We both then really were struck by the absolute refinement of iOS 6. In particular, it has the only feature I’ve long requested and the one about which I once I got a reply from Steve Jobs.
After the iPhone 3GS came out, I emailed him and said I really wished they could add a feature that turns off the ringer and email overnight. My wife was making me turn my phone off at night and I kept forgetting to turn it back on the next day. My old Blackberry had that feature. I’d love it if the iPhone would get it. I think he only replied “We’ll see” or something like that. It was awesome in and of itself to get an email from him. Finally, with the iPhone 5, I’ve got what I wanted. The “Do Not Disturb” feature is perfect.
Siri is a bit more flexible. Yes, I did make reservations at a restaurant for the sole purpose of telling Siri to “make me a reservation for 2 at Bones at 8pm tonight.” Flawless. The program still gets hung up, though, often having to repeat the request or just do it myself.
Maps sucks. I get why they did it, but I think they probably should have invested more time in it before releasing it to the public. That’s not a phone issue, but an iOS issue. On my 4S, I was running iOS 6 since the GM build was released. I tested the navigation feature to go to a spa in my wife’s hometown. I needed a gift certificate for my mother-in-law. It got me there okay. It’s just that it took me a mile out of the way.
Again though, that’s not an iPhone 5 issue. The phone itself is stellar in weight, thickness, design, build quality, speed, and screen resolution. I don’t think I needed to upgrade. I don’t think I need the extra half-inch. But I’ll take it. There probably is no need to upgrade from an iPhone 4S to the 5. But it really is a major upgrade from the 4 to the 5. If you have the 4, you will have no “meh” reaction to the 5.
Now, one last thing — the carriers.
I switched from AT&T to Verizon. I broke my contract. My contract was up at the end of next year. My wife’s contract is up at the same time. We broke them both.
I wanted a 64GB iPhone 5 and my wife wanted the 32. AT&T was going to charge us the full price for each, which would amount to about $1500. It only cost $650 to break our contracts with AT&T. Verizon gave me $300 for my iPhone 4S and $70 for my wife’s phone. Our total bill at the Verizon Store, which also gave me a 20% discount via my employer, was $325.00. I’m also saving $100.00 a month on my wireless plan now with twice as much data. I saved big by jumping to Verizon. Verizon also has LTE in my neighborhood and AT&T won’t bring it here until at least 2014.
I stood in line Friday morning, but had to leave the line to go fill in for Neal Boortz. The line wasn’t moving fast enough though I was near the front. While I was on the show for Boortz, the Verizon sales rep texted me and said to come by when I got off at 1pm. One of the other stores hadn’t sold their whole stock and they’d go get me a 64GB one. I was in and out of the store in under and hour with the new phones. The customer service was excellent. LTE is really, really awesome. That, by the way, is an iPhone 5 thing. That’s something to consider when thinking of the new phone. The battery life remains impressive, if not better than the 4S. And I’m optimistic about Verizon.