iPhone 5 reviews have hit the web!
On September 12, Apple promised that its new handset and the iOS 6 software powering it would be "the biggest things to happen to iPhone since iPhone," per the Wall Street Journal. But after carefully analyzing the product, do tech savvy reviewers and bloggers agree?
In short, many critics fell madly in love with the iPhone 5's taller display (4 inches), lighter weight (3.95 ounces), and upped processing power. The addition of 4G LTE capabilities and additional camera features also earned accolades for the device.
Several reviewers were united in griping about a few features, however. A low point for some was the new Apple Maps app, which Apple is now baking into iOS releases instead of Google Maps. Others found the new Lighting port to be more of a hassle than a perk.
The iPhone 5 will be available to the general public September 21. According to Apple, the phone will cost $199 for the 16GB phone, $299 for the 32GB and $399 for the 64GB. The highly anticipated smartphone could become Apple's fastest-selling iPhone to date; indeed, eager customers reportedly laid claim to the entire pre-order stock within one hour of it becoming available on September 14.
<a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/18/apple-iphone-5-review/" target="_hplink">Reviewer Tim Stevens</a> found the overall look of the iPhone 5 to live up to expectation, and he commended the "clear evolution" from the industrial design seen in the iPhone 4. But one of the biggest differences, he claims, is not something you see: <blockquote>At 112 grams [the iPhone 5 is] 20 percent lighter than the 4S, a figure that doesn't seem like it would make much of an impact. It does -- so much so that it's the lightness, not the bigger display or the thinness, that nearly everybody praises when first getting a chance to hold the iPhone 5 in their own hands.</blockquote> Stevens found the need for more accessories (because of the Lighting port) disappointing, but his main qualm with the port update is the apparent lack of increased speed when transferring data manually to a computer. "For now, at least, the new connector remains confusingly at odds with Apple's own next-generation and similarly named data interconnect," he said.
The New York Times
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/technology/personaltech/apples-iphone-5-scores-well-with-a-quibble-review.html?_r=1" target="_hplink">David Pogue of the New York Times</a> wrote that the larger design of the latest iPhone is "nice but not life-changing." Still, he did find the upgraded camera impressive. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/technology/personaltech/apples-iphone-5-scores-well-with-a-quibble-review.html?_r=1" target="_hplink">From Pogue's review</a>: <blockquote>The camera is among the best ever put into a phone. Its lowlight shots blow away the same efforts from an iPhone 4S. Its shot-to-shot times have been improved by 40 percent. And you can take stills even while recording video (1080p hi-def, of course).</blockquote> Nevertheless, Pogue wasn't exactly keen on the device's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/iphone-connector-iphone-5-dock-charger-lightning_n_1878282.html" target="_hplink">Lighting connector</a>. He liked that the new jack "clicks satisfyingly into place," but worried that because it doesn't fit into any old Apple accessories, customers could wind up spending several hundred dollars on adapters.
For the most part, <a href="http://www.cnet.com/iphone-5/" target="_hplink">the editors at CNET</a> found the new iPhone 5 to live up to all the Apple fanboy hype: <blockquote>The iPhone 5 completely rebuilds the iPhone on a framework of new features and design, addressing its major previous shortcomings. It's absolutely the best iPhone to date, and it easily secures its place in the top tier of the smartphone universe.</blockquote> But while they enjoyed the faster iPhone, complete with LTE connectivity, <a href="http://www.cnet.com/iphone-5/" target="_hplink">the reviewers suggest</a> a possible downside to using the new, speedy capabilities. "[W]ith fast LTE comes expensive rates and data caps," they wrote. "AT&T also requires a specific plan to even enable FaceTime over cellular."
<a href="http://allthingsd.com/20120918/the-iphone-takes-to-the-big-screen/" target="_hplink">Walt Mossberg</a> found the iPhone 5 to be a speedy step up from its predecessor. "Perhaps the single biggest functional improvement in this iPhone--something you can't get by upgrading the software on an older model--is speed," wrote Mossberg in his review, published on Wall Street Journal-owned blog AllThingsD. "Apple has finally connected the iPhone to the fastest cellular data network, called LTE, and data downloads and uploads just fly, even when you aren't on Wi-Fi." But Mossberg was unimpressed with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-magid/apple-and-google-3d-mappi_b_1590502.html" target="_hplink">Apple Maps</a>, which have replaced the built-in Google Maps feature from previous iPhones. Prospective buyers using public transportation, take note: <blockquote>[W]hile Apple's maps feature a 3-D "Flyover" view of some central cities, they lack Google's very useful ground-level photographic street views. And they also lack public-transit routing. Apple will instead link you to third-party transit apps.</blockquote>
<a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/18/iphone-5-review/" target="_hplink">MG Siegler</a> practically drooled over the iPhone 5 in his review, but he promises all the gushing is for a good reason. The device, he claims, is faster, lighter, thinner -- simply, better. "I really do believe this is the best iPhone upgrade that Apple has done yet (besting the iPhone-to-iPhone 3G jump and the iPhone 3GS-to-iPhone 4 jump)," he gushed. "As such, it's the best version of the iPhone yet. By far." <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/18/iphone-5-review/" target="_hplink">Siegler did admit</a> the larger screen means your fingers and thumbs will need to do some adjusting when typing horizontally, or tapping specific buttons.
<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/edwardbaig/story/2012-09-18/iphone-5-review/57803932/1" target="_hplink">USA Today's Edward Baig</a> thinks the iPhone 5 is a "winner" and certainly one of the top smartphones on the market. But he suggests that not every user will be satisfied, particularly when it comes to the device's 4-inch display. He cautions readers thus: <blockquote>[C]hoosing iPhone 5 vs. a top-of-the line Android alternative isn't a cut-and-dried decision, especially if you're partial to a jumbo display, such as the one on the big, bold and beautiful Samsung Galaxy S III, an Android rival for which I've had high praise.</blockquote> The half-inch upgrade in screen size (vs. previous iPhones) does hit some high notes with Baig, though. "The new screen, 4-inches diagonally, exploits the stunning Retina display technology that first showed up on the iPhone 4," he said.
The iPhone 5 had <a href="http://www.t3.com/reviews/iphone-5-review" target="_hplink">reviewers at T3</a> raving about 4G capability, an enlarged screen and camera updates. But the new operating system, iOS 6, still has them questioning some of the differences between the latest iDevice and its predecessors. "The iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6 as standard. But, at this point it's difficult to see where the unique differences are between it running on an iPhone 4S and iPhone 5," <a href="http://www.t3.com/reviews/iphone-5-review" target="_hplink">T3's review reads</a>. Still, the <a href="http://www.t3.com/reviews/iphone-5-review" target="_hplink">T3 team</a> did enjoy a few (much needed) new features, including the iPhone 5's updated headphones. "One very welcome improvement are the new EarPods, which come as standard... [I]t's great to have a better audio experience straight out of the box." Overall, these reviewers found this product to be the best iPhone available today, but maybe not the best phone around. "[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," they wrote. "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.'"