Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 yesterday, and already the reviews are pouring in.
Here’s our roundup of the first Apple iPhone 5 reviews. [Updated: September 13; 3pm]
PC Advisor review of iPhone 5
Several PC Advisor contributors spent time with the new iPhone at the launch events in San Francisco and London. They liked the extra screen space that allows for an extra row of four apps “without making the screen feel cramped”.
Also appreciated was the iPhone 5’s new 3:2 ration that PC Advisor editors found was “great for watching widescreen movies”.
They did warn, however, that until apps are updated to fit the new screen size older third-party apps don’t look so great on the new iPhone.
Not so good is photo viewing on the iPhone 5. PCA writers found that viewing the still-standard 4:3 snaps on the iPhone 5 means more black borders. “Indeed, the iPhone 5's Camera app takes photographs in 4:3 mode, although there is also now a panorama mode with which you can pan left or right to take a huge panoramic shot.”
The iPhone 5 is a premium quality smartphone, and it “has the build quality to match”.
“At first blush both new materials feel more solid and less prone to damage than did the iPhone 4S. The white iPhone 5's back feels similar to the anodised aluminium of Apple’s MacBooks and iMac range. It feels solid, but premium.”
Macworld UK new iPhone review
“Not only does the new iPhone 5 feel considerably lighter than the iPhone 4S, it is surprising just how light and comfortable to hold it is,” writes Macworld Editor Karen Haslam who went hands-on with the new iPhone at Apple’s London launch.
“The design feels less edgy too – the sides of the iPhone 4/4S always struck us as sharp and very angular,” she gratefully notes.
Apple’s use of a new nano SIM card means owners of older iPhones, even the 4S, will need a new SIM.
Haslam tried out the iPhone 5’s new Panorama camera mode: “The process wasn't intuiitive enough for me. I began by holding the iPhone in landscape, before being told to take the panorama in portrait".
The finished snap “was good, although there was obvious warping, but we get the impression that it's supposed to be fun, rather than accurate.”
The Telegraph iPhone 5 review
The extent of the redesign of the new iPhone only really becomes clear once you hold it in your hand, says The Telegraph’s Shane Richmond: “the difference is something that you have to feel for yourself.”
“On first impressions, Apple has delivered a handset that looks - and feels - very good indeed,” he conscludes, noting that the iPhone 5 seems “almost delicate”.
The newspaper found the iPhone 5 “delightful as an object of design”.
Richmond liked the larger portrait screen: “I'm thankful that Apple opted not to go wider. Samsung's Galaxy S3 is too big for my taste and I think Apple is right to say that the width of the iPhone is right for the average hand. The taller screen means more apps in view, more web page to look at and full widescreen movies but doesn't sacrifice comfort.”
However, he had some good news for Apple’s smartphone rivals: “There is nothing here that leaves the Galaxy S3, the HTC One X or the Nokia Lumia 920 looking dated or out of touch.”
New York Times new iPhone review
The New York Times’ David Pogue is one of Apple’s favoured tech journalists and has been covering Apple and its products since its very early days.
He liked the iPhone 5 but had reservatiuons: “Overall, Apple seems to have put its focus on the important things you want in an app phone: size, shape, materials, sound quality, camera quality and speed, and that’s good.”
He wasn’t impressed with Apple changing the dock connector, though.
“I’ll grudgingly admit that the Lightning connector is a great design: it clicks nicely into place, but it can be yanked out quickly, and it goes in either way,” he writes.
Apple is selling an adaptor so that the new phone fits the “hundreds of millions of gadgets that will no longer fit the iPhone”, but Pogue says the $30 and $40 Apple adaptors are “way too expensive”.
“These adapters should not be a profit center for Apple; they should be a gesture of kindness to those of us who’ve bought accessories based on the old connector. There’s going to be a lot of grumpiness in iPhoneland, starting with me.”
Australia's iPhone 5 verdict
Australian reporter Ben Grubb writes that he found the iPhone 5 “feels great in the hand” and “sturdier than Samsung’s Galaxy S3. He liked the new Maps and Passbook apps.
“Flyover mode with 3D turned on is simply amazing. You can visit sights such as Big Ben in London and the Opera House in Sydney and see them in 3D and use finger gestures to move around major city landmarks. It's as if you were there but even better.”
He was surprised Apple was able to make it so light: “maybe Apple took in criticism from the iPhone 4S launch about the 4S being three grams heavier than the iPhone 4 too seriously?”
Grubb agreed with Pogue on the need for an Apple adaptor for the new connector: “The move to the smaller connector is likely to anger users who use iPhone alarm clock docks that have the 30-pin connector. They will most likely need to upgrade their docks unless they want an adaptor holding up their iPhone (which might not work well).”
“Existing Android users will probably prefer the Samsung Galaxy S III but the iPhone is the smartphone I would continue to recommend to friends and family simply for its ease of use,” concludes Grubb.
The Wall Street Journal iPhone questions
Jessica Vascellaro of the WSJ asked whether the new iPhone 5 is “boring”.
“Few heralded the new device as a great leap forward. What's more, the iPhone 5 doesn't have several features that are becoming standard across other smartphones, such as ways to pay with your phone or even bigger screens,” she notes.
Associated Press iPhone 5 review
Boston.com’s Michael Liedtke thinks Steve Jobs “would have been delighted with the iPhone 5’s blend of beauty, utility and versatility”.
“Apple has come up with another product that will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores,” he predicts.
He liked the fact that it is “incredibly light” and reported a woman raving about “how ideal the new design was for people with smaller hands”. ‘
‘All the other iPhones were made with men in mind because they could easily slip from your grasp if you didn’t have big hands,’’ the woman said. ‘‘Now we finally have an iPhone for women.’’
BBC iPhone 5 views
“With so many leaks there were few surprises about this bigger, thinner iPhone,” writes the BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.
“But Android users, and in particular fans of Samsung's best-selling Galaxy S3 will say Apple is just playing catch-up. Features like the ability to shoot a panorama have been on their phones for years,” he points out.
The Guardian’s iPhone 5 views
Charles Arthur of the UK Guardian says that “two groups of people will be delighted to snap this up: anyone with an iPhone from before September 2010 (so the iPhone 3G, 3GS, or 4); and anyone who wants to get 4G superfast mobile broadband speeds.”
“If the time and the price is right, the iPhone 5 is definitely the most integrated phone out there,” he concludes.
TechRadar iPhone review
A little underwhelming, says TechRadar
“This year’s launch was perhaps the most important for Apple since the very first iPhone arrived back in 2007,” said techRadar’s Patrick Goss.
But changes weren’t great, he noted, and had been heavily rumoured beforehand, making the new phone seem “a little underwhelming”.
“In the hand the iPhone 5 certainly feels comfortable. You can see why Apple decided to keep the width the same as it fits the hand nicely – just as its predecessors have.”
“Will it send shockwaves shuddering through the tech world and turn competitors back to their drawing boards? No,” he concludes.
See also: Apple A-Z