iPhone 5 review

iPhone 5 review

T3 4
  • The Apple iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessors. But not necessarily its competitors. Here's our iPhone 5 review

    iPhone 5 review


    • Bigger screen
    • 4G capability
    • Better front-facing camera


    • No iP5-specific iOS 6 features
    • Battery life still not great
    • Prefer the old Maps design

    Update: If you're considering a new iPhone 5, you might want to check out our latest iPhone 5s rumours before taking the plunge. If you already have splashed the cash, then you'll be wanting some of the best iPhone 5 apps to download, and quite possible an iPhone 5 case to keep that new smartphone safe. We've also updated our review to include how the the phone performs on EE's 4G LTE network. Scroll down to page 3 for our thoughts on 4G...

    The iPhone 5 was the most anticipated Apple handset launch since the iPhone 4. The 4S offered only an incremental, albeit antenna-fixing, upgrade, and the fifth-gen iPhone arrives just as many 4 users’ 24-month contract comes up for renewal.

    However, in that time we’ve seen a seismic shift, with competing smartphones offering quality and desirability to match and even surpass the iPhone.

    With the big boys tempting users away from iOS with the lure of a slick Android experience as found on the HTC One X and the Sony Xperia T or much-improved Windows Phone interface – step forward the Nokia Lumia 920 -  it’s crunch time (sorry) for Cook and co.

    But wait a goddamn minute. Statistics don’t lie (usually) and, just as we were putting pen to paper, Apple announced that pre-orders for the iPhone 5 hit two million in 24 hours, spanking its previous record of one million in a day for the iPhone 4 and ensuring that many won’t see their new precious until October.

    So, with it clearly hooking the gagging mouths of many, how does it perform as ‘the latest iPhone’ and, crucially, how does it match up against the superphone stars of today?

    iPhone 5: Build

    Let’s start with the chassis because, let’s face it, that’s the only distinct visible change to differentiate it from its two previous family members. Grasp the frame in your hand and the first thing you’ll notice is the weight; it’s the lightest iPhone ever.

    By a long way. At 112g, it’s 20% daintier than the iPhone 4S, 16% less butch than the Samsung Galaxy S3 and 14% lighter than the HTC One X. Reducing the SIM to weency, or ‘nano’, size has helped, minutely, as has making the shell out of anodised aluminium.

    The brace of glass strips adorning the top and bottom of the rear give both the black/slate and white/silver models a premium feel but are actually employed to allow an uninterrupted phone signal. No-one wants another antennagate.

    Watch:iPhone 5 unboxing


    Despite Keynote claims, the 7.6mm-deep iPhone 5 isn’t the thinnest smartphone in the world – the Huawei Ascend P1 S, Oppo Finder and ZTE Athena are all sub 7mm – but when the depth is combined with the weight, it feels sufficiently waif-like in the hand.

    And we’re not convinced that’s for the good. Of course we want our mobile tech to be light and lithe, but what we’ve loved about previous iGenerations is the weighty, industrial feel, the security of feeling something solid in your pocket (no jokes) and knowing that, if it takes a knock, it’s not going to shatter into a billion plastic pieces.

    Don’t get us wrong, it’s a miracle how Apple has shed so much excess podge and millions of people will love the lightweight design, but we preferred the more robust, weapon-like nature of the 4S. A case of Marmite-y opinion, perhaps.

    iPhone 5: Features

    The four-inch screen, which we’ll come onto in detail shortly, is Apple’s belated nod to the industry trend for bigger displays, and means the iPhone 5 now stands a proud 123.8mm tall – width remains the same at 58.6mm.

    The extra screen real-estate is welcome, though smaller-handed iPhone users might struggle to reach the standby button with a forefinger while holding it in a natural position. They might even have to stretch for the extra top row of apps. Just hold it a different way, perhaps.

    Because various components have been reduced in size, the headphone socket has been moved to the bottom of the device, which comes with its pros and cons. On the plus side, your phone usually goes in your pocket nose first, which means the headphone cable has a clear run out to your ears.

    On the downside, the jutting jack interferes with your hand when holding it ‘upright’. Not all apps will use the gyroscope to flip the screen 180-degrees, either, so you’ll have to get used to that.

    The bottom-hugging stereo speakers have also been given a boost, the better to annoy old people on the bus as you rattle out Skream’s latest. Do your own iPhone 4S to iPhone 5 sound comparison and you’ll realise the sound is unquestionably fuller and deeper.

    Then there’s the Lightening connector. In our testing, we didn’t find it any quicker for transferring content over a cable but we do prefer the new connector in terms of it being a) smaller and b) reversible.

    At the time of writing, the Lightening-to-30-pin adapter wasn’t available – it sure ain’t in the box, and it’ll cost £25 on release – so we haven’t experienced how it will cope with existing docks and accessories but it’s safe to say, things could look ugly.

    There are add-ons that simply won’t work with it, either – TomTom’s iPhone car kit, for example. It’s made us realise how many USB-to-30-pin cables we’ve amassed over the years and how, now, they’re all redundant, apart from servicing the new iPad and nostalgic clear outs.

  • The new iPhone 5 is Apple's slimmest smartphone yet and also packs 4G LTE connectivity, a 4-inch cinematic screen and a new iSight camera

    iPhone 5 review


    • Bigger screen
    • 4G capability
    • Better front-facing camera


    • No iP5-specific iOS 6 features
    • Battery life still not great
    • Prefer the old Maps design

    The Apple iPhone 5 has finally been confirmed and T3 was there to get a first look at the Cupertino brand's new slimline smartphone.

    As well as being Apple's skinniest phone yet, the new iPhone 5 also sports 4G LTE connectivity, and a slightly longer screen with a 1136 x 640-pixel resolution, while the new A6 chip is twice as fast as previous versions.

    The new phone also features a new, smaller connector, improved battery life and a new iSight camera.

    Does Apple's new handset bring enough to the table to take on rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X and Nokia Lumia 920? We went hands-on to find out...

    iPhone 5: Size and build

    In the hand, the 112g iPhone 5 unquestionably feels lighter and thinner. The 7.6mm depth is impressive, considering that this smartphone is much more powerful than the iPhone 4S.

    However, while the aluminium/glass construction is gorgeous to look at, the reduction in weight also makes it feel less industrial and less sturdy.

    We'd take a lighter phone adorning our pocket any day, though. A nano-SIM on the side replaces the old-style mini-SIM, which forms part of the reduction in size, while the new Lightening connector replaces the 30-pin model, again, helping to shave off precious millimetres. A final note on size - it's 9mm taller than the iPhone 4S but the same width.

    The headphone socket is now on the bottom – we'll have to see how this works in the wild.

    The two-tone back on both black and white models give it a premium feeland Apple tells us the back is crafted from the same anodised 6000 series aluminium material used in Apple MacBooks.

    Video:Has Apple trumped Samsung in the smartphone war? Check out our video below to find out


    iPhone 5: Features

    Standout features that we've had a play with lie within the make-up of iOS 6. Maps has been rebuilt from the ground up and now looks sharper, quicker and has some flashy features such as the cool 3D Flyover that allows you to zoom right into satellite imagery and rotate around landmarks as if you're playing God.

    It also includes turn-by-turn navigation that will have the likes of TomTom and Garmin reaching for the booze cabinet.

    Video: Check out our Maps demo clip, below


    has also had an upgrade, now boasting the ability to launch apps and post Facebook entries by voice. Both were 50/50 successful in our limited hands-on time, so watch this space for an extended review.

    One of the biggest feature upgrades is with the camera. It's now branded iSight and, while offering the same 8mp lens, now has improved HDR and PhotoStream sharing.

    Video recording remains at 1080p, while the front-cam is markedly better – 720p FaceTime being the standout feature. The headline newbie, however, is the panoramic mode that will stitch together a landscape shot in real-time and create an image up to 28mp in size.

    We tried this out in a packed press conference and while the results were unsurprisingly dull, due to the dim lighting, the technology itself was impressive – telling us to slow down if we panned too fast and then outputting the jumbo image in a few seconds.

    Apple has thankfully upgraded its old earphones to the new EarPods, which are a huge step up in design and do sound better. But then most things did...

    iPhone 5: Screen

    The most significant hardware change in our book is the screen. The Retina display is now upped to four inches and brags a 1136x640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi.

    Real-estate is noticeably bigger, with a extra line of apps added to each screen and movies now playing in 16:9 without letter-boxing. It also means that there's simply more to look at when browsing websites, playing games and using apps.

    Apple says apps built for the old screen will work just fine but it will allow developers to create new apps specifically for this screen. It didn't seem brighter in our short hands-on, but we were smitten with how much more information is now available to look at.

    iPhone 5: Performance


    The new A6 chip has affected how fast the iPhone operates. We were pinging around apps more fluidly than our iPhone 4S and video also looked smoother.

    Throughout our demo we were connected to wi-fi - which now supports all standards under the sun – but we're really looking forward to seeing how it flies on EE's new LTE 4G network when it (hopefully) launches this year. HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA are also supported and it will come in 16, 32 and 64GB models.

    iPhone 5: Battery

    Apple has quoted 8 hours 3G browsing time, 8 hours talk time, 10 hours video playback, which all sounds pretty reasonable but We'll have to put that to the test when we get a proper review sample in at T3 Towers.

    iPhone 5: Verdict

    While there will be cries that the iPhone 5 is 'just a longer iPhone', it remains a significant hardware change for the phone that hasn't really had a good going over for a couple of years. Apple has worked wonders to reduce the overall size and weight while upping the power.

    It comes with a raft of cool new features (mostly via iOS6), but fans of Samsung and HTC smartphones will cry that many of the features are already available on their devices. Regardless, it's a significant update for an already super smartphone. We can't wait to dig deeper into its prowess. Watch this space.

    iPhone 5 release date: 8am, 21 September 2012 (pre-order from 14 September)

    iPhone 5 price: £529  (network pricing TBC)















































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