A Week With iPhone 5 After Using the Galaxy Note 2 for a Month

I guess we should start with a little context. I have been an iPhone user since the iPhone 4 came out. The original iPhone without 3G was not an option and the 3G/3Gs never did it for me. In those days, I was still using a BlackBerry.

Then came the iPhone 4 with its sleek design and I gave into the global peer pressure. I loved my iPhone 4 and 4S even more.

Over the years, as a blogger, I tried many other phones, mostly Android devices, but nothing ever came close to the level of polish of the iPhone. And if you had asked me a year ago whether I think Android will ever offer a level of experience iPhone users have, I would probably have laughed at the very thought. I would have been wrong.

I have been using the Galaxy Note 2 with Jellybean for a month now and all in all, I am loving the phone and the latest iteration of Android.

Then the shiny new iPhone 5 showed up last week and I figured, I have to see if Apple still maintained its wow factor that many consumers experience when unboxing and using an Apple product.

Well, I can now report that for the first time ever, opening and using the iPhone 5 lacked any sort of excitement I was used to from past Apple products. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

Let’s start with the basics. Objectively speaking, the iPhone 5 is an engineering piece of art. It is, and if you cannot acknowledge that, there is something lacking in your objectivity.

The phone is almost unbelievably light. No, I do not mean “Unbelievable” the way everyone uses the word. When you pick up the iPhone 5, you literally find it hard to believe that this is a real phone, let alone a device with an 8 megapixel camera, a dual core processor, and tens of gigabytes of onboard storage. “How did they make it so light” is the reaction you, and everyone you show the phone to, will have.

Then you turn the phone on and the bewilderment ceases. If you are a geek, then I am not going to tell you anything new here, but to most of the people that asked to see my iPhone 5 and then proceeded to oooh and ahhh, it was shocking to them, that there was nothing new here besides a longer and lighter phone.

iOS is just plain yawn-worthy. Nothing new here except for a new row of icons. Yipee. Oh yes, and Panorama functionality in the camera. Yawn.

Yes, the camera is still fantastic, probably the best out there, but not by much. The OS just works and will rarely, if ever, crash on you. But this is stuff we have had from Apple since way back when.

In fact, lets put all that aside. Apple made the iPhone longer, which means there was more room for a bigger battery. Yet in my tests, the battery life of the iPhone 5 is no better than that of the 4S. Why, Apple. Why?!

All it would have taken for Apple to bring me back into its world would have been a battery that lasts me two days. Is that too much to ask?

Well, in a Note 2 world, I don’t have to compromise on that. And while I intend on using the iPhone 5 for a few more weeks to thoroughly test it, I only see myself using this device in the long run for iMessage.

Android Jellybean has worked out all the kinks that are and have been associated with Google’s mobile offering for years. The Note 2 is a fantabulous device with a screen that will blow you away and a battery that just keeps going.

The “app gap” between iOS and Android has officially been closed both in terms of quantity, and more importantly, quality, with very few exceptions.

So, at least for me, it has gotten to the point where I have to choose between full customization, crazy long-lasting battery life, an unparalleled media consumption experience, text input using multi-finger swipe gestures, and a top-notch Gmail experience on the one hand, and an additional row of icons, on the other.

Am I missing something?

Author: Hillel Fuld

"Hillel is a tech blogger who manages multiple sites such as Technmarketing, Appboy, and inneractive. In addition, Hillel has written on many leading online publications such as Mashable, Gigaom, and others. In addition to his blogger hat, Hillel is an active Twitter personality who defines himself as a "Social media addict". When Hillel is not blogging or tweeting, he is the Head of Marketing for inneractive, a mobile startup that deals with app monetization across all mobile platforms."

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  • Shoshana Y

    Size is important for a lot of women. The iPhone 5 is just the right size for my hand. The Note 2 is way too large for a lot of women to hold. I love my iPhone 5 and wouldn’t trade it for a Note 2. If I want a large screen I would prefer to use a 7″ or 10″ tablet.

  • TGMzero

    That’s strange. I’ve only seen women using the Note. Honestly, and I’ve yet to see a man using the Note.

    This size thing that people talk about isn’t an issue for most people. It’s not gender based at all. People buy what they like. Whether it’s a massive phone or a tiny one.

  • MarkSoFla

    a dual core processor,

    Is there confirmation anywhere that the A6 is a dual-core processor?

  • Sol

    If the Note 2 is too big for someone, they should just get the GS3; it’s very much like the Note, but smaller (but still bigger/better than the iPhone 5).

  • Eric Hope
  • MarkSoFla

    Thanks :) So, 5 processing cores altogether, WOW!

    I pretty much like iOS, or at the very least I’m used to it and like the ecosystem, but I wouldn’t mind a larger display since I don’t use my iPhone for voice calls hardly at all. But I do want to try Android for an extended period one of these days just to see how good it has become in the latest iteration (Jelly Bean).

  • http://twitter.com/justinjwilliams Justin Williams

    I essentially agree. I think the design is a letdown from the 4S, which is a true example of fine industrial design. Plus I have the black version, and after a few weeks if gentle use I am already seeing nicks in the sift aluminum case wich show up as silver specks. What is this going to look like in six months? My experience with battery life is entirely negative. I need to fully charge it twice a day every day, period. (That is with Bluetooth off, screen dimmed, etc…but should I have to?) for now I’m sticking with the iPhone because of my investment in the apple ecosystem…could I turn back the clock…that and the camera. I use the camera for video and stills and it truly is amazing. And anybody chooses a platform for the software. At 1400 apps, most of them photography related, no other device could begin to fill that functionality. Dammit.

  • drumond19

    @twitter-28958853:disqus Don’t let the fallacy of sunk cost hold you back. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy I had an iPhone 3GS, but ditched it to Galaxy X (that’s how Galaxy Nexus is called in Brazil). In my case it was easier due to price of iPhone in Brazil. iPhone 5 is coming for approximately US$1000 (16GB) to US$ 2000 (64 GB) and I bought the Nexus for approx US$450. So, I don’t mind buying some apps again. But sometimes I miss better integration, such as Clear on iOS and Mac, Things, 1Password (their Android app is terrible).

  • vJ

    With Apple it’s same old same old, yada yada!!
    Similar is the case with Win 8.
    It’s just Android that gives significant UI changes, version to version!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lionel-Menchaca-Jr/643891356 Lionel Menchaca Jr.

    Appreciate the honest write up Hilel. Thin and light is one thing, but most people I see with an iPhone 5 also use a case that makes it a lot more bulky. And I totally agree that most people would opt for better battery life vs. having a thinner phone.

    In making those design decisions, I think Apple is doing the industry a favor. Personally, I’m really happy with the Nexus 4. As you know, Jelly Bean offers a polished experience and like you said, the app quality gap is closing quickly. But just as important, the Nexus 4 has awesome battery life. I get 15 – 16 hours on pretty heavy use.

    Yes, I’m lucky enough to live in an HSPA+ area, so speeds (while no LTE) are definitely solid. I definitely take the better battery life as a tradeoff.