Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gizmo Fixation: iPhone 5s Unboxing and Casual Review

When Apple came out with the iPhone 5s in October, guess who was up for a phone recontract? Me. This is my geek-out post over this thing of beauty, so if you have one, or you're curious about the phone, or you're just into gadgets overall, read on.

I knew it was going to be my next phone because of the lucky timing, of course, and also because it is a far cry from its previous versions. It has an A7 chip with 64-bit architecture -- a first for the iPhone. That means it's pretty fast, and has terrific graphics. It also has an M7 coprocessor to assist the A7, which makes it faster, and LTE connectivity means it's capable of fast Internet as well. Plus, the new iOS7 was made for it too, so it's just hardware and software beauty in one neat package.

Another first is the awesome fingerprint sensor built into the home button, which unlocks the phone for you and let's you authorize app store purchases in a flash. Then of course there's the camera, with a larger sensor, larger aperture, and more light sensitivity. It has true flash now, which makes those awful pictures taken in dim lighting so much more bearable. And it all boils down to how gorgeous this phone is. At this point in time, I like my phones sleek and slim. I don't really like the large phones because they're not handy for me. The iPhone 5s is thin and light, and that's that.

The phone arrived in Philippine shores last November, but I was too lazy to call my service provider and set things up. I had to acquire it through my provider's rewards program, that's why, because I've been a postpaid subscriber for so many years now and the phone was a lot cheaper because of it. I ended up getting the phone in December and I've been using it for about a month now.
I did take unboxing pictures though, because I love unboxings. (I even unboxed our Keurig!) The phone was actually unboxed at the store because they needed to put the sim card in and have me inspect it to make sure it had nothing wrong with it. I also went straight to another store shortly after to have a screen protector and bumper case put on it because I'm obsessive-compulsive like that. However, I still unboxed it at home. Here go the pics, as well as a quick, casual review.

Hello, iPhone 5s!

This is how it looked when I got home from the store, with the screen protector and bumper case on, and the sim card already inside. 

 Ear buds, charger, my LTE sim card, and the welcome packet thing.

This is how it looks bare, without any accouterments.

I got the silver model. (It's available in gold and space gray too.) I'm not into gold much, and my last iPhone was black, so the color choice was a no-brainer.

Pic that I posted on Instagram the day I got it

Inside the packet is the all-important pin to open the sim card compartment with, a mini-manual, and a couple of cool Apple stickers.

This is Gin, which means silver in Japanese. It also means a kind of liquor, which is nice thing, heh. Yes, I really have 269 emails waiting in my inboxes right now. 

I still can't bring myself to replace the system wallpaper with my pic of choice. It's so pretty. 

The screen looks really good.

How it looks from the back with the case on.

Size comparison with my other Apple gadgets, from left to right: iPod 3rd Gen, iPhone 4, iPhone 5s. 

It's longer, but slimmer. 

It's so obvious how I feel about this mobile phone. It's the best cellphone I've ever had to date. The last phone I was using was an iPhone 4 using iOS6, and the 5s just leaves it in the dust graphics-wise and performance-wise. It's ridiculously faster and has better battery life. iOS7 is beautiful on it, and it looks so much tidier than iOS 6 in my opinion. 

The camera turns out really clear and sharp pictures. I can even tolerate flash pictures now -- I used to hate them so much. It won't replace my handy Sony TX5 digicam, but I'm quite satisfied with the photo quality. Video isn't as sharp, but it churns out great images and clear audio nonetheless. 

The only thing I have a major issue with is Touch ID. It works great when unlocking my phone, but it has a bug when it comes to authorizing app store purchases. It used to work fine, until I restored a backup from my old phone to transfer my data, and then it stopped working altogether. It asks me for my password all the time whenever I download a new app or get an app update. I hope Apple fixes it in iOS 7.0.5. 

This isn't a full-on review, but you get an idea on how awesome this phone is. I must say though, that I have no opinions on Android phones and can't compare them to the iPhone 5s because I have never used one. I am only drawing from my personal experience.

Anyway, I enjoyed writing this up! I haven't written comprehensive gadget reviews since I was working for a tech magazine quite a few years ago. I hope this year brings more gadgets so I can keep writing!

p.s. Just a bit of iPhone humor that's going around the Internet today. Did you know that Siri is down with "What does the fox say?" ;) [Thanks for this, Leslie!]

 I'm curious - what is the best mobile phone for you? Let me know in the comments! It'll be fun to talk tech!

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