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Our Impressions Of The iPhone 5

This is the big boy of smartphones right now. It’s hard to think of a more desirable or lusted after device on the market (beyond the next iPhone itself). If you were looking for reviews, the web has them everywhere. The daunting task for any reviewer is to look at a device that is under such a huge microscope and try to add something new. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel in this case; just share the experiences we’ve had while using the iPhone 5 on Fido for the last couple of weeks. We have to say, strong opinions or not, we can’t deny how amazing this phone is.

We have a number of thoughts about the phone after testing it and iOS 6.

The phone is really long. So long that even with big hands it’s difficult to reach the top notification bar. Some folks we’ve spoken to tell us that using the pinky finger to stabilize the phone (as they might with the 4S) is impossible – leading them to squeeze it with four fingers. The phone feels might thinner and lighter. We imagine many will think this is a drop in quality, but all signs are this is an improvement. The screen is crisper, things feel noticeably faster.

Mapping is bad on iOS 6, more so with 3D on the iPhone 5. Locations were wrong fairly often and while using it in front of others, it wasn’t hard to elicit a chuckle when showing off the rolling hills of our (often) flat city of Toronto. Mapping will likely improve over time, but it isn’t great right now.

The extra real estate is nice, it wasn’t too difficult work with apps that don’t use all the screen either (Blogger, we’re looking at you). Reading a tweet stream or websites are a better experience with more space vertically. We’re using the black iPhone 5 and imagine the letter-boxing of older apps might be more noticeable on a white model. The Retina screen is clear, bright and crisp.

The new lightning connector is nice in a couple ways (reversible, snaps in) but beyond that, it works as well as the previous type of cable (which are all now paperweights on your desk). The three cables and dock we had previously accumulated now need adapters or replacements. Of course, all those new cables are gravy for Apple.

The speaker does sound better. Waking up to a Songza alarm was quite nice as the music played crystal clear. A word about the new earbuds, They don’t stay in everyone’s ears, but when they do, the sound is as good as you might expect from an in-ear headphone.If you have the iPhone 5, LTE is essential. The increased network speeds are likely the reason you’ll buy the iPhone 5. But, be careful with your usage! A general rule is to avoid downloading or updating apps on mobile data and avoid larger attachments or streaming video. Hop on WiFi whenever you can. Make sure you install your providers ‘my account’ app if it exists and track your data usage. We found a 1 GB per month bandwidth cap works acceptably with general social media access, web browsing and the occasional video.

Battery life was as good or better than previous iPhones we’ve tested. We were able to use the phone moderately for the entire day keeping WiFi and GPS on.

With the $57 Fido plan available until January 7th, if you’re interested in an iPhone 5, this may be a great time to jump on it. If you do, let us know what you think!