Search
Filters

iPhone 5 review

The iPhone 5C is a curious little phone… only because it's released by Apple. Were Samsung hawking this new device as its budget option then we wouldn't even bat an eyelid, but because it's Apple we're a little bit more circumspect. Can the company that prides itself on premium devices compete in this lower-cost segment?

The excitement of the rumour mill, the titillation of every leaked photo led to higher than ever levels of expectation over the iPhone 5 features, and while the announcement was greeted with some derision at the lack of perceived headline improvements, the record sales tell an entirely different story.

Given the underwhelming changes to the iPhone 4S , the iPhone 5 launch really needed to re-energise customers to prove Apple can repeat the game-changing trick it managed with the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 5 price was predictably high and continues to be so, so consumers will need to bear that in mind too when looking for their next smartphone - and remember that we're only a couple of months at best away from seeing the new iPhone 5S.

So is the Apple iPhone 5 the greatest smartphone ever, and did it finally see Apple ascend to the top spot in our 20 best mobile phones chart? Or was it a case of too little, too late... and what about those darned Maps, eh?

Design

We'll begin in the traditional manner: how the thing actually feels in the hand. With the iPhone 5 there will be many types of prospective buyer: the upgrader from the 4 (or more-money-than-sense iPhone 4S upgraders), those tired of their Android handset and those taking their first steps in the smartphone market and want to get one of them iThingies their friend/child has.

iPhone 5 review

Well, all of those picking up the iPhone 5 will have the same reaction: this thing is amazingly light. You've probably heard the numbers by now (20 per cent lighter than the predecessor, as well as beating most of the opposition too at 112g.)

It's an odd sensation, but it actually detracts from the experience when you first pick it up. We've praised the weighty feel of the iPhone in the past, lending it a premium feel in the face of toy-like phones, and it's almost disappointing that Apple decided to join that clan.

However, through extended use this problem quickly disappears. The overall effect of the phone is still a chassis designed for strength, and so it feels solid, if somehow a little hollow; pleasantly, though, it sits more anonymously in the pocket.

You'll obviously see the change in height too – the iPhone 5 stands 123.8mm tall to allow for the larger 4-inch screen. In truth, those not familiar with the iPhone 4S probably wouldn't notice the difference, which is why it's a good move from Apple to include the larger screen if it's not going put people off that hate larger phones.

iPhone 5 review

The decision to stick at 4-inches is Apple's admission that while it recognises people are all over the idea of having more screen real estate to play with it doesn't want to move away from the thumb-friendly nature of the device.

Through a mixture of moving the centre of gravity slightly as well as repositioning the screen within the bezel, it's still possible to scroll your thumb mostly around the whole display one-handed, which Apple is clearly keen to keep hold of.

iPhone 5 review

However, we're not convinced of that argument any more, and it's the first iPhone where comfort to some extent really does depend on the size of your hands. For many people, it is possible to move a thumb around the entire display, albeit with a little more stretching than on previous models; anyone with smaller hands might find the top of the screen out of reach. For everyone, the Home button is harder to access when holding your phone comfortably.