Apple iPhone 5 first reviews recap
The new iPhone 5 is coming with a brand new design with an aluminum instead of glass back, but the biggest shocker for everyone who got to spend time with it is just how light the device feels. Yet Apple’s premium choice of materials makes it feel exceptionally sturdy. Kudos to Jony Ive and his team once again.
The new 4-inch screen is taller but not wider. For most reviewers that was a great new addition, but - fair enough - some mention that reading, browsing and watching movies on larger displays is a much more enjoyable experience. The downside of those bigger screens? They are not that easy to operate with one hand and might look just a bit too big when held in public.
letterboxed apps. What are those? With the increased screen size, Apple is still supporting older third-party applications but it’s not automatically stretching them to fit the screen, but instead puts two black bars on top and bottom, a letterbox, much like iPhone apps appear on the iPad. After time, some of the nearly 700,000 apps on the App Store will be updated to fit the 4-inch screen, but right now this is definitely an inconvenience.
Another big annoyance for most in the tech press was the change of connectors. Apple’s new 8-pin Lightning connector is smaller and more comfortable to use (it’s reversible, plugs on both sides), but it requires a $30 adaptor to work with your existing accessories. Have a couple of them? Get ready to spend almost as much on adaptors as you did on the phone. Still, it’s a painful but necessary progress.
Software-wise, you get iOS 6 which is a small, gradual improvement of iOS that will be remembered for growing more distanced from Google apps like YouTube and Maps, both of which are absent now. Apple is instead bringing its own Maps solution, but it’s not as good and might be one of the few disappointments users have with their new iPhone.
But those could easily be shelved as the iPhone 5 easily gets most reviewers whole-hearted recommendation as one of the best phones available on the market right now.
So here’s what the reviews say, every one with an own unique perspective.
iPhone 5 review recap Fullscreen
More popular slideshows
iOS 7 release date and time are today (Sep 18), get ready to update!
18 Sep 2013, 04:00
HTC One 2 aka HTC M8 rumor round-up: camera, specs, release date and design
05 Dec 2013, 10:44
Android 4.4 KitKat update: release date, features and rumors
31 Oct 2013, 02:31
Cyber Monday 2013 deals on phones, tablets and other electronics
01 Dec 2013, 10:55
Living with the LG G2: a long-term review
03 Dec 2013, 07:53
iPhone 5 review recap
The iPhone 5 may not be terribly innovative, but it does deliver that package better than any previous Apple product, and better than just about any other smartphone.”
The letterbox mode for not-yet-updated-for-the-new-display apps kind of sucks. It’s not so much that it looks bad (my review unit is white; I’d wager money that the letterboxing is almost hard to notice visually on the black ones), but that it really throws me off while typing."
Superficially, it's hitting all the right marks, but Lightning comes up short in a number of important areas. It is, of course, incompatible with the roughly 350 million billion iPhone and iPod accessories currently on the market -- a problem mostly rectified by a $30 adapter."
These days, that decade-old iPhone/iPad/iPod charging connector is everywhere: cars, clocks, speakers, docks, even medical devices. … If you have a few accessories, you could easily pay $150 in adapters for a $200 phone. That’s not just a slap in the face to loyal customers — it’s a jab in the eye."
On the software front the story isn't as cut and dry. Change isn't always necessary, nor needed, but if there were things you didn't like in iOS 5, chances are they will still be here in iOS 6. Microsoft's Windows phone trounces iOS 6 on the social connected stakes even though Apple has added Facebook this time around. BlackBerry's BB10 OS, due out in February 2013, beats it on the email and messaging integration (we've played with the OS already), and Android is perfect for those that want customisation and control beyond choosing wallpapers."
Unfortunately, [Apple’s Maps app] it’s not perfect. The excellent mass transit mode in Google Maps has no counterpart in Apple Maps, so there’s no way to plan journeys that include bus, train, or other public transportation. Apple currently expects third-party apps to fill that gap."
But a lot has changed in a year, and the current crop of Android superphones – and the incoming Windows Phone 8 handsets – have closed the gap. For nearly every “new” feature announced at the Keynote, there was a Samsung, Android, Windows, Nokia, Sony or HTC fan saying “my phone already does that.”
Apple Maps will divide opinion. Even with some nice features the search functionality seems hit and miss in terms of finding London locations. It displays more road names than place names and colour-coded roads have gone, so navigating to a specific point via pinch and zoom is trickier."
It's also probably the most beautiful smartphone anyone has ever made."
Apple’s take on the feature is the best I’ve seen in a camera phone. Maybe in a camera, period: It’s easy, smooth and fast, and remarkably resistant to unsightly stitching glitches."
1. hateftotti (Posts: 114; Member since: 03 May 2011)
So you can see everyone just said that it is the best iphone yet.It is far from the best phone on the market;))
23. Peter98 (Posts: 119; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)
Oops. I liked it wrongly. I should dislike...
29. bbblader (Posts: 520; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
''and better than just about any other smartphone.''
that my friend is the review from cbc news
34. JC557 (Posts: 641; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
Someone stated that it's the nearly perfected smartphone... my only question is for whom.
First the iPhone 4/S weight was praised as being solid, now it's made lighter and, again, is praised. Then there was all that commotion about 3.5" being the perfect screen size for one handed operation. Now it's 4" with unchanged bezel thickness but still lauded.
The sad thing is The Verge's Motorola Droid Razr M review. They panned the "boring" design and you got the fanboys saying that at $100 the old 4S is a better buy.
Ahh, choice is such a bad thing.
38. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Exactly. Exception #3, 10 and 11, who seem drunk on apple juice.
46. E.N. (Posts: 2216; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Most if not all of them were fairly positive.
2. kartik4u98 (Posts: 511; Member since: 19 May 2012)
AnywaYs I'm neVeR gOnNa buy It!
mY nexus is way better then this(leaving camera)
3. xenonn1 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Where is the brand new design?did i miss something?i smell some iphone fan here
5. Veigald (Posts: 222; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
Indeed. "Brand new design" in bold should not be a PhoneArena statement. Anyone with a pair of eyes can see this is on the opposite end of brand new.
11. caseball2051 (Posts: 31; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)
anyone with eyes can see that the phone has been redesigned.
did they say it was drastic?......no.
13. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
so redesigned means stretched ?
come off it the nokia 808 was a redesign from the n8
the samsung s3 was a redesign from the s2
this isnt a redesign , its a bigger version of the same phone
39. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)
I would have to disagree with Victor H. and caseball2051. This is not a redesign of a product. The phone looks exactly like the 4s. Just cause they made it longer does not mean it's a "redesign". When Apple went from the 3gs to 4, that was a redesign. Sorry Apple fans, this is not a redesign. Shame on you media type to try and fool the Apple fan base.
44. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
I do not think the writer was trying to fool the iFans, just placate them.
4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4739; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
From the 4S onward, you will see only incremental upgrades each year from Apple. Until they re-design the UI.
7. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4739; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
PA should put up an article asking what readers think will be in the next edition of the iPhone.
My contribution for the iP5S:
-Incremental improvement in the Maps app.
-Improved camera function (better low light processing, multiple modes like with Android), maybe larger image sensor/more Mpixel count.
-Faster GPU, possibly dedicated video RAM for better gaming experience.
-Use of biometrics (finger print scan to unlock?)
12. caseball2051 (Posts: 31; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)
thats all weve seen since the iphone was introduced to the market.
small incremental upgrades. Its almost like they release their models in beta stage (iphone 3 & 4) then release an upgraded better version (3GS, 4S).
6. Wiki_jaan (Posts: 625; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)
yupe '' the biggest thing happen to iphone since iphone''
4 inch big display and forth icon row ......................lol
8. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
I'm waiting for the 10/10 score or at least a 9.5..... LOL
10. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4739; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Why would the iP5 merit a 10/10? The UI is stale at best. Maps is a work-in-process. The screen is dinky. My prediction is no higher than 9/10.
15. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
man give this thing an 8.5 at best..... lets be real.......without the beauty of the iphone ...........it wouldnt even be worth mentioning...
19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4739; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
The difference between 8.5 and 9.0 is really subjective on the part of the reviewer. iP4S got an 8.5, iP4 got a 9.0 from PA if memory serves. From what I have read to date, the iP5 is an improvement over the 4S, therefore my prediction of a 9.0/10 score. Dinky screen keeps it at 9.0/10, however.
30. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
i can agree with that bro.....but lets hope PA agrees with what is "right" and not go with what everyone else feels it should be because its the....... "iphone 5"....... you know what im saying?
22. Peter27 (Posts: 233; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
Xperia - my apology
Thumbed you down by mistake.
45. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Agreed. The screen resoultion no longer leads, even with a relatively smaller 4 in. screen. The lack of NFC, or wireless charging, or ground breaking camera make it rather bland. All in all, it's only thin and light. Not bad traits...but not groundbreaking. The new iPhone makes the iPhone 4S a very good deal for those captured within the iPhone ecosystem.
9. sasch (Posts: 3; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)
I loved the iPhone always did. But I loved every other good phone out there as well, Galaxy sII, , IPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus, Moto Razr, Samsung galaxy s3.
I will get the IPhone 5 Friday. I hear all this moaning and complaining about the IPhone yet there are 2-5 million phones sold before the phone is actually o the Marked yes it in not the most innovative Phone in the World, if you go buy the screen size, yet they made a phone what has been sold 30 million times in the USA alone even lighter thinner and quicker, so you do the math.
I think it is a cool phone for now, but I am sure I get bored of it rather sooner than later, just hope that they make the next generation Samsung Galaxy, better build and better in the Texting Department, as this is really frustrating.
16. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
man GROW UP! those sales numbers only mean that YOU and everybody else out there are indeed, either hooked into the ecosystem and spent to much money to go else where.....or you are just BLIND and the media is pretty influencing you choices! because no matter what flaws this damn phone has, you and every other ifan was going to buy this phone BEFORE it was ever assembled...........thats why the predictions are always true about it being "record" breaking.......why? because YOU HAVE NOOOO CHOICE but to buy the newest iphone available.........it really is a shame that you dont see it that way... the author of the this even says how much of an inconvience this phoen is (money wise) with the adapters and all........but you STILL DONT CARE because as long as its apple........it must be right
21. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
Call of duty has record breaking sales each year for FPS games.......but does that mean its better than Battlefield 3? not unless you're a "blind" fanboy it isnt or just someone who can be "honest" with them selves and not afraid to tell everyone else IT IS INDEED BETTER!
35. kshell1 (Posts: 1112; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
I still battlefield bad company 2 and battlefield 3, guess where my modern warfare 3 is? collecting dust.
41. rigz1381 (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Choice is an excellent thing. There isn't anything WRONG with the other phones, reviewers just agree the iPhone is the best to use...for the masses. The masses are BLIND, they just want something that is fairly reliable.
People who say the iPhone "isn't complex enough", doesn't have "originality" are making Apple's point. They produce a phone that can be used easily enough with some of the best specs for a 10 year old and a 70 year old. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid!
14. amiaq (Posts: 311; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)
Seriously, what can you say about the new iPhone? May be bit about the hardware, then for the software just read the review from 2009. That's it done!!
17. infinitemethod (Posts: 119; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)
I want someone on one of these tech sites to acknowledge apples pricing plan. I want apples fans to realize how silly it is to charge an extra $100 for 16GB or $200 for 48GB. Why do you think Apple doesn't allow its customers to change their battery? It would open the door to the possibility of expandable storage! Hell would freeze over before Apple did that. All about the profit margin.
Majority of all Apple fans think Android phones are cheap with their plastic design. At least Android phones are designed for function and usability, not greed. There is no question that I phones look nice, but I would never sacrifice functionality, usability, an incredible user experience (Jelly Bean) for that stale, outdated, extra row of icon start menu/app launcher OS.
27. Peter27 (Posts: 233; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
I agree with you, unfortunately we live in the world where people buy expensive things which they don't even need.
For them it does not matter if the phone can't do half of the things, most important it looks good. At the end they have it to show off and to make their friends jealous.they don't have friends, iPad is their new friend. People lost the real sense of the real values.
18. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 253; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
The best iphone yet. Magic. 10/10. Buy it.
26. Savage (Posts: 431; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)
You are right. Best iPhone? Yes. Best smartphone? Nope!
42. rigz1381 (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Opinion...same as this article believes the iPhone is the best phone. Its all based on what you want in a phone. Most people want simplicity. Nothing wrong with other phones that may be more complex with maybe better options/specs.
20. sasch (Posts: 3; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)
haha,, ohhh you haters make me laugh.
I don’t care what you say and i am not buying I because of the apple logo, if this device would have been made by bloody Nokia I would still buy it.
Like every other company if I see a phone I like and it make sense I want to have it. If you want o can lawn you some money so you can get one too!
24. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
was thinking maybe this guys talking sense right up till ''If you want o can lawn you some money so you can get one too!''
then you just became another deluded ifan thinking your product cost more then everyone else's and the only reason they hate it is because they cant afford. so i bet you really just buy it to be like everyone else with the 'look at me i have an iphone'
31. Peter27 (Posts: 233; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
Look at me... I have....well not yet....but soon. Win8. Man,i can't wait.
25. Savage (Posts: 431; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)
Reviewers praising features like panorama? I guess Apple ran out of companies to buy, apps to dumb-down, features to make em exclusive to the newest iPhone. Atleast Siri was the reason to buy 4S.
32. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
It's simply awesome! Accept it. The experts have said it and have also said it feels more premium than any of those android smartphones.
36. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
experts? these so called experts have also said things like the iphone 4s camera is just as good as the 808's when in reality its not even close. so you have to take the words of these ''experts'' with a pinch of salt........besides most get blinded by there own preference and that effects there reviews etc.
why dont you iphone fanatics ever give proper reasons other then 'its awesome' and 'premium'' you use that word too much its lost meaning
33. slaggyb (Posts: 160; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Iphonearena should get theirs to and review...lmao I careless about what others reviewed... unlike other phones you guys get them and review them atleast one week before it official launches but when it comes to the iphone it be on the day of launch..
37. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Hopefully I've of the unbiased writers will cover it and be fairly critical in their review. By critical I mean in the "critiquing" sense, not necessarily negative.
40. Altair (Posts: 258; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Ahh Anti MS/Nokia Victor writing positive review... Supprise supprise about this anti-innovative tall thing.
Apple just announced enchanced iPhone 4s and now semi upgrade 5. Now iFans are drooling like no tomorrow. Geez guys, just wait for the REAL upgrade Noki Lumia 920.
43. networkdood (Posts: 4749; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Careful....iphone arena mods may warn you....lol