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iPhone 5: the first hands-on reviews

The new iPhone won't see NZ release until September 28. But a handful of US and UK tech writers have already had a brief hands on look.

A review of reviews:


"The new phone is the same width as the old one, but taller and thinner, as though someone ran over the old iPhone with a steamroller. When held horizontally, the four-inch screen has 16:9 proportions, a perfect fit for HDTV shows and a better fit for movies. The added screen length gives the Home screen room for a fifth row of icons," - David Pogue, The New York Times.


"The iPhone 5 replaces the 4S' micro-SIM slot with a nano-SIM slot, for no apparent reason. It means you'll need a new SIM card, which is a pain, but not the end of the world." - CNET UK


"I’ll grudgingly admit that the Lightning connector is a great design: it clicks nicely into place, but it can be yanked out quickly. It goes in either way — there’s no “right side up,” as there was with the old connector. And it’s tiny, which is Apple’s point." - David Pogue, The New York Times.

The old connector (left) and the lightening.


"The new "Lightning" connector, which makes about a billion existing ones obsolete in a flash, isn't going to ruin your life – you'll be able to get adaptors." - Charles Arthur, The Guardian [see NZ adapter pricing here].


"Blogs and leaks couldn’t show what the iPhone 5 feels like in the hand. It’s surprisingly light and thin, and edges subtly milled," - Charles Arthur, The Guardian, on Twitter (watch Arthur's 3-minute video review here).


"I took only two panorama shots in my limited time with the iPhone 5, but they came out crazy good," David Pogue, The New York Times.


"The edges of the phone feel very different too -- less metallic, almost plasticky. It has a different feel to it, less cold." - CNET UK


The iPhone 5 doesn't have several features that are becoming standard across other smartphones. Those features, such as ways to pay with your phone or even bigger screens, face unlook (many new Android phones use facial recognition to allow people to gain access to their phone just by looking at it) and wireless charging (Nokia's new phone running the Windows Phone 8 operating system can be charged without a cord) . - Jessica Vascellaro - The Wall Street Journal


Click to zoom

Apple has shared a gallery of images from the new iPhone 5, one of which particularly caught our eye.

Comparing the EXIF data of these two images supports the idea that the iPhone 5 does have a different sensor to the 4S. The 4S selected ISO 64, while the iPhone 5 has been able to drop to ISO 50. For images taken in such bright light, this strongly suggests the newer model has a lower minimum sensitivity. -


"The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. It has top-notch hardware with a zippy new A6 processor and amazing four-inch display. Its new operating system, iOS 6, is slicker than slugs on ice. And its ultra-slim body, an all-glass and aluminum enclosure, is a triumph of industrial design. There is nothing not to like about the phone. It’s aces. Just aces.

"And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring." - Mat Honan, Wired


"The new EarPods earbuds, which come with the new iPhone/iPods, STAY IN! (My ears lack the antitragus, the flap that holds earbuds in!)" - NYT's David Pogue on Twitter.


"The new A6 chip, in typical Apple style, hasn't revealed itself in terms of raw tech specs. But at a glance, it's definitely quicker than the chip in the 4S. Much like the speed increases between the iPhone 4 and 4S (and before that, the iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS), they won't take you by storm right away. But, use it for half an hour and you'll have a hard time going back to a slower chip. The transitions are smoother, switching between apps is a bit quicker and everything just generally feels incrementally faster." - Engadget


Lastly, internet wags were quick to make sport of the taller iPhone. 

Here's NBR's favourite take on what could be coming next:

And by 2020:

Comments and questions

Good to see Apple starting to catch up with Samsung S3.

Apple should not be catching, it should be leading as always been.
But they are certainly missing someone.

This was posted below very true

"I love People that try and compare the Samsung S3 to the iPhone
Sure S3 may be a superior phone spec wise but it only last 10mins before it'll freeze. I speak from previous Samsung experience the build quality is average, give it a year before you are throwing it against the wall in frustration cos you can't play Angry birds! I have an old in today's terms 3Gs iPhone and its only now after 3 years of owning it starting to slow up! Apple is Quality that is the difference!"

What a load of BS!! I have many friends who use the Samsung GS3 & so do I.

They have never had "ANY" issues with the Samsung GS3 phone freezing "EVER" - neither have I.

The build quality is fine too by the way - & if you want to go down that road, I've seen plenty of iPhone screen's SMASHED & the phone rendered useless as tits on a bull, as a result - oh yes, they have great build quality - NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is clearly a jab at a superior Android device.....from nothing less than a slapstick, iLoser / iSheep / iFagboy / iWanker - LIKE YOU!

Get a life dude, obviously you need to get out more.

A-MAZE!!!! I'm sold on it.

Most of these reviews are comparison to its predecessor "The Iphone 4/4s". Try comparing it to the already-out-in market smartphones, such as the Galaxy 3.

After two years of wait, they only changed the charging port. Wow.
I feel bad for talented Steve Job's.
Rest in peace

Finally, somebody worthy to leave a like a comment to regarding the horrible, over hyped IPhone.... seriously, as an owner of the IPhone 4, this phone is complete garbage, boring, and shouldn't even be competing against the other android phones because its the same product while it's main selling points are the materials that don't even matter (The exterior, glass, aluminum...). For the materialistic people and uneducated people that feel they will be left out of society if they don't own one.

All the inhancements that needed to be made. The iPhone 5 took a long time to design and manufacture but this thing of beaty was worth it. Now, the Samsung Galaxy 3 is "ols news" and the iPhone 5 becomes the Rolls of smartphones as usual

Like I previously stated earlier... you are just one of those typical people in the crowd trying to fit in with the materialistic product.. for someone that cant even spell enhancement.. you should be ashamed. Please tell me WHY you want to buy the IPhone v.s. Galaxy S3? Or in what aspect is the IPhone better than the S3? and please... give me specs and not the exterior design.

its a shame...despite such a long wait and keeping in mind the competition in the smart phones, I phone 5 has not brought anything significantly different

Who cares about tech specs like processor speeds, Android runs on a virtual machine making the OS so slow that it needs the latest CPU to match the experience of older IOS (or even WP) devices. Android people are just as much sheep in the crowd(more Android devices are sold than iphones) and they are only sold because they are cheaper. But when the Android owners start to regret their purchases they come online to bash everything Apple ever does.

"Please tell me WHY you want to buy the IPhone v.s. Galaxy S3?"

iOS. Simple as that.

"Like I previously stated earlier" and look who is identifying spelling mistakes.
Previously and "Earlier" seldom go in the same statement.

Hey! You can't spell "can't" either!

Ahem - Just like Samsung GS3 was the BEST phone for the last four months & iPhone 4s was a dated piece of iCrap.....

Apple need new people to innovate on new ideas. Not much done for a 2 year wait, i feel for the iphone fans:((

Seriously... they have enough funds for R&D and go beyond to exemplify of what Apple has been known to this earth, which is INNOVATION. It's like they're scared to take risks, but in all it's just the same phone, similar IOS systems, with small changes that are unworthy and unnecessary, but enough to fool and keep the retarded clienteles coming back for more garbage.

Maybe you should learn to spell before you start calling other people retarded. Iphones is the most profit making phone ever why should they they take "risks" everything instead of gradually improving the product like now? There is a reason people are willing to pay a premium for Apple products, it's is the overall user experience and ecosystem that beats everything else (even Android).

I always find it funny when someone starts off their argument with someone by correcting their spelling, as if it means that their point is more valid..

I want to buy a phone. I don't want to buy a contract. How do I buy an I phone 5 and just pay for the phone and not have a 24 month contract charging $120 a month? So I spend $2.800 over two years then add $100 per month in incidentals and that's another 2.400. So for my iphone by contract has now cost me $5.300. How dumb has society become? I really want an iPhone. I don't want the crap it creates. How much is this phone going to cost me?

Dude your retarded. Go buy a to-go phone at Wal-mart, they offer both a cheap and shit phone which is exactly what you are looking if I am interpreting your comment correctly.

I don't want to buy an "to-go-phone' I want an iphone without a contract attached to it. Like when you go to a Wal-mart and purchase a "to-go-phone. But you won't be able to because the sucking phone companies want to ride the gravy train with contracts . So no, you weren't interpreting it correctly

Then why dont you just buy one off ebay and quit your whining. if you can't afford it then your just on another level. Maybe get a job bro.

It will be on sale on I remember reading that you can start ordering it online some time next week,. Only thing is that you have to wait for it to be delivered to your address. That's what I will be doing.

One of the guys at Yoobee said that they will be selling it. No 24-month contract, no wait for delivery. You may have to queue though. For it to work, you will need to get a nano-SIM card for the iPhone 5 (iPhone 4S uses the micro-SIM).

Apple clearly lost their touch. It is so different from the Jobs era(in negative ways), and the saddest thing is that it is still the best in the market.

Not the best.. but could agree on it's popularity level.

Luckily Apple won the court battle between Samsung. This will compensate for the huge variance Apple probably has forecasted with selling it's newest, boring, same phone!!

I own the iPhone 4S and it's garbage. It freezes all the time, shuts off, Won't let me answer calls. Don't get me wrong I love iPhones I've had every one. But come on apple start changing more than a few things and give people who spend runs of money something to brag about instead of just being able to say I have the newest iPhone. First nothing really changed besides the charging, taller screen and speakers and the small tweaks, Once I update my. 4s with ios6 it will be almost the same thing. They need to make these phones wider not just taller. Also they scr*wed people who bought the 4s when it came out by not giving them a discount to upgrade . I got my 4s the day it came out and I'm not available for a upgrade until may 2013. So now I have to wait until the next one comes out after the 5 and once again I Am stuck in a new contract where I can't get a new one when it's out . If I want the 5 I pay $456 and get stuck in a new 2 year contract

Sell the the fricken thing then and buy a samsung. You might even have change to buy a beer to celebrate

Got a lemon, don't gripe, get it fixed! If you think iPhone is bad, wait till you see how horrible the android clones are.

I'm an iphone fan and an ios developer as well. honestly the new ip5 is so boring! just a hardware upgrade + ios6? that's all?

What amazes me is that the Nokia Lumia 920 is better in every single aspect (Speed, build quality, camera, glass, pixel density) and they've only been making Windows Phones for two years. Apple's getting sloppy.

I love People that try and compare the Samsung S3 to the iPhone
Sure S3 may be a superior phone spec wise but it only last 10mins before it'll freeze. I speak from previous Samsung experience the build quality is average, give it a year before you are throwing it against the wall in frustration cos you can't play Angry birds! I have an old in today's terms 3Gs iPhone and its only now after 3 years of owning it starting to slow up! Apple is Quality that is the difference!

Yup I know exactly what you mean I had a S3 for two hours and it froze!!
Samsung is Cr*p at Quality!! My wife's IPhone been going for years!!

I come from Finland so naturally love Nokia and try to like Lumia's, but actually lumia 920 not better in any respect to Iphone 5 (maybe camera, but not sure yet). Nokia 808 pureview's camera is better than anything else and Nokia's offline maps is a winning feature(which is coming or allready in next google maps), but as a complete package nothing beats the iphone/ios ecosystem. Not wp8 or Android. All the people who buy phones are not idiots, there is a reason they are willing to pay a premium for the iphone, and the reason is not because they are sheep in the heard.

Thinner and lighter are not necessarily good things. One of the first things I did with my Galaxy S2 was fit an Otter box to stop the thing slipping out of my pockets unnoticed.

All I want is the 5 to connect to Vodafone in patchy areas. The 3gs drops calls. I haven't seen a hint that receptions is better? Has anyone, please?

I'd buy APPLE to support the US economy.

Say no to foreign imitators from Korea's Samsung, LG, China HTC, Japan Sony.

HTC is Taiwanese. And their phones are made in Taiwan too.

But sure, don't let that get in the way of your xenophobia. Which is ironic given the components of the iPhone are made by Samsung, LG, Sony and Sharp et al and assembled by Foxconn in China (reportedly by students).

LOL apple is an american company that supports the backward integration of it's suppliers. Clearly my friend you need to take simple economic class to understand the concept of how any market operates.

this all sounds so much like "but my nissan/subaru/mazda[insert japper here] is so much faster and has more bang for buck than your audi/vw/bmw[insert euro car of choice here]."

News for you - style, quality and aesthetics matter to some people more than just raw horsepower/bang for buck alone. Is that so hard to comprehend?

except the market is way smaller and monopolization is gradually taking place which is the reason people are heated

Had a play with an iphone 5 at the launch and I was mnore than a little underwhelmed. Its an iphone with a bigger screen.

Big fat hairy deal

I am stoked at the iPhone 5. It is exactly what I wanted in my next phone and more. Are we able to Pre-Order for NZ tomorrow? Can anyone confirm this?

if you do a feature by feature comparison against all the other currently available smartphones on the market, it quickly becomes appararent that an iphone is selling largely on hype and fandom. Good on Apple for achieving this but the actual hardware itself is pretty average, and hardly innovative.

What do you people do with your phones that I dont? I read,write emails, listen to music, browse the web/reddit/twitter, use news/business apps, listen to radio, watch movies/tv shows, get things out of dropbox, use the mapping software, make phone calls...

Its a phone for gods sake, how many specs does it need. It does all the things above very well and very easily. You android fanboys need to take your hand off it.

Not much objectivity shown here. Mainly, it's just a war of words between two warring camps of iphone-and-Android fanboys

what happened to the simple days when friends go out for dinner and have legit conversations and not constantly checkin their stupid phones..

**yawn *** usual iOS vs Android fan boy crap on this site. Has anyone got any intelligent objective input?