iPhone 5 Review: Apple's Best iPhone Yet - HotHardware

iPhone 5 Review: Apple's Best iPhone Yet

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The iPhone 5 is available, but only for those who pre-ordered right away on September 14th and were willing to stand in line at an Apple Store or pay big bucks on an auction site. For the second year in a row, Apple decided to unveil a new iPhone in the run-up to the fourth quarter, instead of in June at WWDC. Last Q4, Apple saw record revenues as the iPhone 4S hit store shelves. It seems as if the company is hoping to strike gold two years in a row as we head into the all-important holiday buying season.

Apple iPhone 5

Strangely, Apple's calling this latest model the iPhone 5, while the most recently released iPad dropped the number designation and was branded only with "new." However, on the rear of the handset, there's only "iPhone" printed. It's clear that Apple's intentions are to make just one flagship product per year (for now, anyway), and the company is going so far as to call this iPhone the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone line-up since the original. That statement is true in two ways.

For one, the iPhone 5 is the first major overhaul since the iPhone 4 was released. Yes, the 4S added Siri, a new camera and a faster CPU, but it was essentially the same design. And when it comes to Apple products, design matters big time. Second, this is the first iPhone ever, since the original was introduced in 2007, where a display is employed that isn't 3.5-inches diagonally. There's a 4" (1136x640 resolution) display in the iPhone 5, along with LTE support, a new A6 processor, an all new dock connector called Lightning, and an all new operating system (iOS 6).

First Let's take look at the device in action, then cover the specs and we'll move on to the deep dive with benchmarks.

Apple iPhone 5 Specifications
Specifications & Features
CPU Speed Apple A6 silicon (dual-core 1.02GHz ARMv7 as told by Geekbench)
Platform iOS 6
Memory Flash 16GB/32GB/64GB + 1GB RAM
4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches  (LxWxT)
Weight 3.95 ounces with battery
Display 4" Retina Display with 1136x640 resolution; 326pp; Multi-Touch; 800:1 Contrast Ratio; 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical); Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front, in-layer touch panel
Network GSM model A1428: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17); CDMA model A1429: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25); GSM model A1429: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5)
Navigation All touchscreen
GPS Internal GPS and GLONASS antennas
Sensors Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
3.5mm stereo audio jack
Apple Lightning Connector
Camera 8-megapixel iSight rear camera with auto focus and 1080p video capture (up to 30 frames per second with audio); LED Flash; FaceTime HD front camera with 1.2MP photos and HD video (720p) up to 30 frames per second
Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Battery Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G/14 hours on 2G
Standby time: Up to 225 hours
Internet Use: Up to 8 hours on 3G or LTE; 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Audio Playback: Up to 40 hours
Video Playback: Up to 10 hours
Expansion Slot None
In-Box Content Main unit, Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic, Lightning Connector to USB Cable, USB Power Adapter, Documentation

Many pundits will say that the new iPhone is perhaps a little bland. The device is just now hitting specs that Android phone makers hit a year ago. There's no NFC and no wireless charging.  There are no cutting-edge bells and whistles that aren't widely available elsewhere. However, the iPhone has never truly been about matching specs with other smartphones; it has always been about an elegant UI and experience that "just works". Is the iPhone 5 a continuation of that legacy?  We'll discuss all of this and more in the pages ahead.

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Can't wait for my contract to run out so I can get one for a discount! I was hoping to switch to Verizon, but they still can't do voice and data at the same time, which is a deal breaker for me. This time around it seems like it was a hardware decision by Apple, since they didn't want to include an extra antenna for Verizon and Sprint's network type. Oh well, I'll put up with AT&T for a little longer. It's not too bad where I'm living right now.

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Hey SackyHack. The Verizon version of the phone is actually unlocked and works on AT&T's network. And when connected to AT&T, it will do voice and data.  Not sure if that's going to be the case with all iPhone 5s (there's conflicting info at the moment), but I know of multiple people that have confirmed it.

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It would be great if they had an expansion slot. Sure with 64GB of memory you don't really need it; but having the option is good especially with the music, games, and apps I enjoy on my touch.

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Ray, the SunSpider graph has 'iPhone 4' misspelt. I think calling it an iPhoen 4 actually looks/sounds kinda cool though. Scandinavian perhaps :)

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MCaddick, arggh... good catch. Corrected! :)

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Great review by Ray but honestly benchmarks aside, I'm not too excited by this phone. The lack of NFC may be a smart choice from Apples pov but it puts the iphone 5 behind other handsets that are ready for the technology now. Google wallet may not be mainstream at this point but the ability to transfer files and other media with a simple touch is VERY convenient when you find someone with the same capability. The iphone is used as an mp3 player by almost anyone who has one and having the ability to transfer playlists to someone else would be a godsend. The only problem I see is that they may have issues with copyrighted music from itunes. As noted in the review the phone takes good pictures as well, imagine just being able to send the pics around effortlessly without having to share them on some social media website for everybody to see.

The battery life is excellent on the iphone 5 and I have to disagree with Ray on the decision to make the phone lighter and perhaps reduce battery life. I've had a dozen or so iphone users comment on the thinness and weight of my HTC phone, Apple made a great design choice by making the phone slimmer and lighter.

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Not being an iPhone user, I'll refrain from commenting on the review as a whole, but one thing certainly did strike me - the comment to the effect that «... the iPhone 5 has been precisely crafted, down to nanometer tolerances». Nanometre tolerances - one nanometre is about 10 hydrogen atoms lined up in a row - does anyone really believe that Apple - or rather, Foxconn workers - can machine this device «down to nanomet[re] tolerances» ?!! Hyperbole is an accepted literary trope, but beware of crossing the line to fanboiism !...


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Best iPhone 5 review I have read. What I wanted was a phone that let me do things I do with a phone easier and faster and the author has focussed on those.

I got the phone since my contract ended few weeks ago and had the phone for a week now. Once you get used to this there is no going back. 4S feels fat and heavy now and it is like going from a MacBook Pro to a Macbook Air. Extra screen space is also great and 4S screen now feels small. I will not go into everything here but for most of things I use the phone for, this has been a very worthy upgrade. Some areas that matter to me are wifi hotspot speed, web browsing speed, call quality, resiliency against drops and the camera. Video and Games are a plus too although not used everyday.

Maps certainly can be better but for my usage, it still works and will hopefully improve. For music, getting a good pair of headphones is a must. I have not had any wifi issue but I use an Apple router. Changed dock connector is a bit of a hassle since I need a couple of cables for car etc., but I can understand the reasons why it was changed.

Overall, I got this upgrade since I have now invested a lot in apps/accessories and wanted to stick to the iPhone and also that my contract had expired. It has exceeded my expectations.

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Currently iPhone 5 on the second hand market is very hot because of high demand. According to Movaluate analysis, AT&T iPhone 5 16G Black is the most popular among other variants which is about $800.Read iPhone 5 Sales Behavior on the Second-Hand Market here http://blog.movaluate.com/2012/11/05/iphone-5-sales-behavior-on-the-second-hand-market/

I hope the factory unlocked iPhone will be available soon to stabilize the second hand market.

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3 Months with my new iPhone 5 and i always enjoy the sound quality when I capture videos or sound.

The only problem is that everyone walking around with the same iPhone after 3GS.. I purchased a carbon sticker from http://www.coolcasing.com

and i don't get bored from the same exactly design over and over.

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