I stood in line with the rest of the Apple fanboys yesterday, and at 9 a.m., I got my hands on the new iPhone 5s. I wanted the silver version, but like the gold one, they were all gone before the doors even opened at the Bayshore Apple Store. Instead, I bought the 32 GB Verizon Space Gray model, which is mostly just a black iPhone. I picked up the new $39 brown leather case with it, and it looks and feels really nice.
After one day playing it with, Iâ€™m yet to be blown away.
Granted, I wanted this new iPhone for only a few reasons: a better camera, the fingerprint unlock scanner and a fresh, larger battery that wonâ€™t die by early afternoon.
Yes, itâ€™s apparently faster, but no, I canâ€™t tell the difference yet. In use of my daily apps, itâ€™s unnoticeable so far.
The most obvious improvement after just one day of experimenting is the fingerprint scanner. I spent an awful lot of time spend manually unlocking my iPhone, and I wasnâ€™t fond of it. With minimal set up, the phone has now identified four of my fingers, and it just works. Every single time. The only oddity is that when you receive a notification on the lock screen, like a text is waiting, for example, unlocking the screen with your fingerprint doesnâ€™t take you right to the task at hand like swiping to unlock does. Kinda clumsy.
The camera is certainly improved, too, although I havenâ€™t had much time to test it in low light. The slow-motion feature is certainly cool, and I like the burst mode for action shots. The flash is an upgrade from its prior, totally useless version.
Battery life seems better, too, although itâ€™s tough to tell when I spent all day and all night playing with my new toy. Call quality sounds clearer, too.
I found one huge problem with the new phone, but itâ€™s only partially Appleâ€™s fault. Its default Mail app has never supported Gmailâ€™s labels feature, which means you canâ€™t see how many unread messages are sitting inside folders. A workaround existed by using Microsoft Exchange, but Google ended support for that earlier this year, and when you set up a new phone, thatâ€™s not an option. Because of this, I had to ditch Appleâ€™s default Mail app and instead use the Gmail app. This is only a problem because you canâ€™t select a default mail client on the iPhone, so some of the time, I am using the Gmail app, and other times, the Apple version. Itâ€™s very clumsy for such a mature product.
The rest of the kudos go to the new iOS7, which certainly takes some getting used to, especially in the handling of photos and photo streams. But any iPhone gets most of this upgrade.
Should you buy this new phone? It depends. If you have the iPhone 5, you wonâ€™t see a big difference, unless those three features I mentioned matter to you. Also, your existing iPhone 5 will never be worth as much as it is now to sell, so it might be worth cashing in on Gazelle or eBay for more than $300.
If you have an older iPhone, definitely upgrade. Even with its incremental improvements, itâ€™s the best iPhone ever, and thereâ€™s no reason not to. How does it compare to Android? I donâ€™t know; Iâ€™m firmly in the Apple ecosystem and thatâ€™s not going to change. Many others can weigh on that topic.
Am I completely wowed by the new iPhone 5s? No, not really, but Iâ€™m happy I bought it. For something thatâ€™s become my mobile office and my go-to camera, it makes sense to have the best of the best at a mere $300. The amortized cost of a brand new phone is just pennies a day. Donâ€™t overthink it. Just buy it.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Feb. 3, 2016
I didn't even see the first "Making a Murderer" piece our columnist Jessica McBride submitted to us over the holidays last month. I only took notice when our site traffic jumped through the roof the Monday after New Year' Eve. It was time to publish our first OnMilwaukee book. "Rush To Judgment" came together in what I assume is a record time.
Published Jan. 26, 2016
Just kidding. Do read this. But we're not kidding about Unplugged Week. Sometimes you need to turn off that the phone, computer, tablet or TV for a little while. It's OK, and it's healthy.
Published Jan. 18, 2016
Back in October, in the middle of the night, I bought a Jawbone UP2 activity tracker for about $80. That fitness tracker purchase turned out to be a really wise Ambient buy: among other things I learned, it led me down the path to learning I suffer from moderate sleep apnea.
Published Jan. 11, 2016
OnMilwaukee columnist/reporter Jessica McBride will appear on Headline News' "Nancy Grace" show Wednesday night at 7 p.m., and ABC's "Nightline" as early as Tuesday at 11:35 p.m., to discuss recent developments in the "Making a Murderer" case.
Published Jan. 5, 2016
Peter Linton-Smith was a general assignment reporter for FOX-6 Milwaukee from 1999-2007, and with a heavy emphasis on state courts, he covered the Steven Avery murder trial extensively.
Published Dec. 31, 2015
I had to wait until the final day of 2015 to write this recap, because I had a feeling that the movie I saw yesterday ("Star Wars") would be on this list. Sure enough, it was. So here goes another highly subjective look back into the year that was.
Published Dec. 22, 2015
I went to Vegas with a plan, and that plan was to have no plan. I came here to get away from work, not to do more of it, like I usually do on "vacation." But that wasn't in the cards, for three reasons.
Published Dec. 17, 2015
Not everything sucked when we were kids. I know this because my daughter plays with a bunch of the toys my parents saved from my childhood. As the new "Star Wars" opens this weekend, I'm reminded that we grew up in the golden age of action figures. Before video games and technology turned them into something else.
Published Dec. 8, 2015
If the RNC finds itself in a position supporting the certifiably insane Donald Trump, it may spell the end of the Grand Old Party as we know it. The decisions it makes over the next six months will have ramifications to the conservative cause for years to come.
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Any time we see "Ryan Braun" trending on Twitter, we need to take a second look. Today, it's because he's in Milwaukee to take donations for the Hunger Task Force, but there are some new unsubstantiated trade rumors swirling around social media, too.