The good: The iPhone 5 adds everything we wanted in the iPhone 4S: 4G LTE, a longer, larger screen, free turn-by-turn navigation, and a faster A6 processor. Plus, its top-to-bottom redesign is sharp, slim, and feather-light.
The bad: Apple Maps feels unfinished and buggy; Sprint and Verizon models can't use voice and data simultaneously. The smaller connector renders current accessories unusable without an adapter. There's no NFC, and the screen size pales in comparison to jumbo Android models.
The bottom line: The iPhone 5 completely rebuilds the iPhone on a framework of new features and design, addressing its major previous shortcomings. It's absolutely the best iPhone to date, and it easily secures its place in the top tier of the smartphone universe.
The iPhone 5 is the iPhone we've wanted since 2010, adding long-overdue upgrades like a larger screen and faster 4G LTE in a razor-sharp new design. This is the iPhone, rebooted.
The new design is flat-out lovely, both to look at and to hold, and it's hard to find a single part that hasn't been tweaked from the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is at once completely rebuilt and completely familiar.
I've had the chance to use the iPhone 5 for nearly a week, and have been using it for nearly anything I can think of. Is it as futuristic or as exciting as the iPhone 4 or the original iPhone? No. Does this change the smartphone game? No. Other smartphones beat it on features here and there: if you want a larger screen, go with a Samsung Galaxy S3. If you want better battery life, go with a Droid Razr Maxx.
But, if you want a great, all-around, beautifully engineered smartphone .
Look at our review of last year's iPhone 4S, where we said, "Even without 4G and a giant screen, this phone's smart(ass) voice assistant, Siri, the benefits of iOS 5, and its spectacular camera make it a top choice for anyone ready to upgrade."
The question is: a full year later, is that enough? For me, it is. I don't want much more in my smartphone. Sure, I'd love a new magical technology to sink my teeth into, but not at the expense of being useful. Right now, I'm not sure what that technology would even be.
Like every year in the iPhone's life cycle, a handful of important new features take the spotlight. This time, 4G, screen size, and redesign step to the top.
You've gotten the full rundown already, most likely, on the various ins and outs of this phone, or if you haven't, I'll tell you about them below in greater detail. Here's what I noticed right away, and what made the biggest impression on me.
Jokes aside, it is really time to pay attention to Google and its newest offering in the Nexus line of devices for a couple of reasons: first off, the newest device brings with it the latest software, as this and the Nexus 10 tablet come with the most recent iteration of Android, Jelly Bean 4.2. And being a Nexus device means that this phone will be getting all the future updates first, before the rest of the Android bunch.
Secondly, this phone carries on its shoulders the weight of a phone manufacturer, with hopes of bringing it back from its unmemorable mid-tier game and back into the big leagues. Yes, Google has put its faith in LG, the Korean electronics giant whose recent phones have unfortunately drifted off into obscurity all too soon.
Perhaps luckily and definitely thankfully, LG might as well have included even the kitchen sink in their newest high-end phones, the Optimus G and the Nexus 4. If the Optimus G is any indication, Google bet on the right player.
Build and Feel
Let’s get the obvious out of the way before we even begin – if you think this phone looks familiar, you’d be right. The Google Nexus 4 looks so much like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that one might accuse it of blatantly copying its predecessor. But the onset of the Nexus 4 and its familiar design likely hearken to a design template that Google is hoping to instill in its official line. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we saw shades of the Galaxy Nexus throughout the next generation of the Nexus line, as well.
But it really isn’t a bad thing that the Galaxy Nexus seems to be echoed here – after all, its design was received well, and it translates well to LG’s own vision of the Nexus. Perhaps you will feel as
I did in my comparison of the Nexus 4 to its fraternal twin, the LG Optimus G, when I found the familiarity of this phone actually added to itsappeal.
The button layout is pretty standard, with the power button found on the right and the volume rockers found on the opposite side. Due to past experiences, I am quite paranoid that the power swtiches on any of my phones will eventually sink in and become unusable. While the one on the Nexus 4 doesn’t feel as meaty as the one found on my Galaxy Nexus, I think it is sturdy enough to stand constant presses.
Below the volume rockers is the microSIM slot, where SIM cards from your carrier of choice (GSM) will be inserted. An extra tool is provided with the phone to assist in reaching the release found in the tiny hold right beside it. At first usage, you will have to perform this minor surgery and correctly place the SIM card into the tray, after which it becomes a semi-permanent fixture of the phone. While having a small, slightly weird looking tool (or ‘poker’, as I called it once) might seem weird, it also makes sense – you don’t want people popping out your SIM card easily and crippling your phone.
The headphone jack is found on the top of the phone, along with one microphone. The other microphone is found on the bottom, where the microUSB charging port is flanked by a seemingly new trope with LG phones – the Torx screws. As with the LG Optimus G, these Torx screws are actually an aesthetically pleasing addition, but they also mean that this phone is not supposed to be opened easily. This also means that the battery is not removable.
The back of the phone sports the eponymous ‘Nexus’ word across the upper half, while the 8 megapixel camera and coupled flash are directly above the ‘N.’ The entire back panel is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, which is supposed to give it some good protection – unfortunately, a number of users have reported that even small drops can make either the back or the front render cracks pretty easily. So, be careful with this one.
LG’s Crystal Reflection design brings back a nice aesthetic originally seen on the back of the Optimus G – at certain angles, a pattern of blocks can be seen. It serves as no more than eye candy but thus does its job quite well.
In the hand, the Google Nexus 4 further echoes its predecessor. At 139 grams, the phone is actually a tad heavier than most other devices, but you have to consciously think about it to feel the difference. Skin
slides across the entire glass covered body, while the plastic and somewhat matted bezel connecting the two panels give the feel a little variety. Without a curved glass screen like the Galaxy Nexus,
This is a normal paragraph.the Nexus 4 is a little thicker and thus has a bit of a blocker feel – which adds to its sturdiness in the hand.
There are certainly bigger phones out on the market, but the Nexus 4 manages to be big and balanced at the same time. I easily kept grip of the phone and was able to reach all parts of the screen without really having to fumble around to get there. All in all, this is a well designed phone by LG, and while it might look very much like the device that came before it, this is more a sign of things to come rather than a case of blatant design plagiarism.
Since we recently reviewed T-Mobile's Lumia 810, a very similar smartphone, we will be using this short-form review to highlight the few differences that set Verizon's Lumia 822 apart from its sister handsets. And though the differences are few and far between, they're certainly enough to suggest that this $50 option just might be the best option of the three.
Build and Design
The Lumia 822 takes a more traditional approach to its build, what with its rounded corners and gentle curves, unlike the sharper edges of the Lumia 810. It also features a glossy white casing instead of a matte finish, which I was personally a little disappointed to see, but I recognize that that's just a matter of taste.
The dimensions of the Lumia 822 are similar to its kinfolk, however, sharing the same exact width (2.69 inches) and height (5.03 inches) as the Lumia 810. The Lumia is ever-so-slightly thicker though, measuring 0.44 inches thick. It also features the same bottom-firing "speakers" as the Lumia 810, but this is once again a farce, as pulling off the removable casing reveals that there is, in fact, only one speaker beneath the grill.
Everything else is the same as far as the buttons and ports, as well, with the volume rocker, power button, and dedicated camera button all located on the right side. The 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top edge, while the micro USB port for charging is on the bottom, and the front-facing camera is right next to the earpiece. The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with Carl Zeiss optics is located on the upper center of the back, along with its flash.
I talked in depth about the display in the Lumia 810 review, but let me repeat that Nokia's ClearBlack display technology makes a relativly low-resolution, 800 x 480 pixel display, look good.
Where the Nokia 822 beats the HTC 8X so far is on software. Call it bloatware if you like, but Nokia's list of exclusives contains a lot of useful stuff. Windows Phone needs Nokia Drive for turn-by-turn directions and Nokia Transit for transit directions. Nokia's camera apps let you make instant animated GIF-like images and combine photos of groups of people to eliminate shots where people's eyes are closed.
Microsoft's new Data Sense is exclusive to Verizon phones, and that's also a big deal. Like our Editors' Choice Onavo Extend, Data Sense monitors the data you're using app by app, and compresses data on its way to and from your phone. According to Microsoft, you can surf 45 percent more on the same data plan with Data Sense than without. That can help Verizon users shift down to lower data plans, and it'll help.
Otherwise, the Lumia 822's specs are similar to T-Mobile's Lumia 810 and AT&T's Lumia 820: a 4.3-inch, 800-by-480 ClearBlack OLED screen, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and a 1.5-Ghz Qualcomm S4 processor.
“We’re providing our customers with a unique Windows Phone 8 experience by offering an exclusive device paired with our Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan and a comprehensive set of enhanced features,” said Andrew Morrison, vice president of product management, T-Mobile USA. “The Nokia Lumia 810 gives customers speedy, 4G access to T-Mobile’s nationwide network and the content and features they want, whenever they need it. From navigation tools to an enhanced camera, the Lumia 810 provides a great value and a high-quality experience.
“The Nokia Lumia 810 features a sleek design and high-quality hardware, combined with the efficient and intuitive Windows Phone 8 operating system,” said Olivier Puech, President, Nokia Americas. “When combined with applications such as Nokia Drive and Nokia City Lens, the Lumia 810 ensures that T-Mobile customers are getting the best experience possible out of their smartphone.