iPhone 5: one month in

News 13:44, Oct 26 2012

What's it like to live with the iPhone 5 for a month? The answer may surprise you

I've had the iPhone 5 for a month now, so it seems appropriate to share my experiences with the device as a real user, instead of a tech journalist who's desperately cranking out a comprehensive review after less than 72 hours of use. I'm not going to give you a history lesson on the iPhone or poetically regale you with stories of the smartphone's evolution. Instead, you'll get a brief recap of what my day-to-day life is like with the iPhone 5.

It's tough to know where to begin. It's an iPhone -- a beautiful, fast and elegant version of the iPhone. Just point your browser to my review to get an idea of what I really think of the device. If you've learned to live with iOS 6 by now, the iPhone 5 is practically flawless. That's why it's so hard to talk about my experience with it.

As someone who tests and reviews dozens and dozens of smartphones every year, the combined experiences become a seamless blur. The only memorable moments are when a phone acts up or gives me serious problems, or if a design is just so bad that it takes away from everything else the phone has. A year from now, I can look back at my first month with the iPhone 5 and think of it as a month when nothing really happened -- well, as far as my smartphone goes, anyway.

The iPhone 5 is a phone that just gets out of my way. If I need to shoot a photo, check my e-mail, send a message or kill time on any one of my favorite social networking services, the iPhone 5 just works. And then I'm done. There is no lag and I've yet to have an application crash on me. Two years ago, Microsoft released a series of Windows Phone 7 ads telling us that it was time for a phone that saved us from our phones. Well, so far the only phone that has done that for me is the iPhone 5.

I wake up in the morning and pull my phone off of the charger. Then maybe I'll stare into space for a little while and wonder whether I'm really awake or still dreaming, and once I've convinced myself I'm really awake, I'll start checking e-mails and other messages that have hit my phone overnight. When that's done, if I don't want to become upright just yet, I'll take a look at photos on Facebook and Instagram for a while. Then I get up.

When I leave my apartment, I leave without my charger because I know that the iPhone 5 battery will stay juiced until I come home, even if it means I'll be away from my charger for 12 hours or more. Before I hop into the subway, I'll check the weather forecast to see if I'll regret having already left my apartment without a coat and umbrella.

On my commute, I'll listen to the offline tracks I have synced on Spotify, or maybe read saved articles on Instapaper. When the train crawls above ground and onto the bridge, I do what everyone else on the train does and whip out my phone to check stuff. I'll send any messages that need to be sent and quickly refresh my e-mail, Twitter feed, Facebook feed and Instagram so that I've got stuff to look at before the train plows underground again--just in case I've missed anything. It's sad, really.

When I'm finally off the train, I go through that same routine all over again. If I see anything interesting along the way, I'll open up one of my favorite camera apps and snap a few photos. If the subject or the moment is happening quickly, I'll pull up the camera from the lock screen and start shooting. It's a fast and seamless experience. Sometimes I'll edit photos on the fly and post them to Twitter or Instagram, but sometimes I'll wait until I'm seated somewhere later to do it.

Throughout the day, I'm looking at my phone several times an hour. With all the social networking, photos, shooting and watching videos, music and the occasional game here and there, the battery holds up like a champ -- even with LTE connectivity.

Eventually, I'll make my way home, have dinner and get ready for bed. Like everyone else with sleep issues -- issues caused by the very act that helps us pass the time while trying to fall asleep -- I stare at my phone. Whenever I decide to pass out, I plug my phone back into the charger without ever really realizing that the iPhone 5 never had a single issue or hiccup throughout the day. Everything worked as it should. I never became frustrated with an app and I never worried about battery life. Because of this, the iPhone 5 is undoubtedly the best and probably most boring phone I've ever owned.

And that's really it. That's what it's like to live with the iPhone 5 every single day. It just works, and it mostly complements my life rather than having some weird, stand-out features or issues making it a point of interest.

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