Apple has done a great job on the hardware overhaul to bring the thinnest, lightest iPhone yet, but there's a lack of any new 'wow' features, and the firm needs to do a quick fix-it job on Apple Maps.
Thin and light design; larger 16:9 high-quality display; 4G support
Google Maps removal; no wow factor
£ 529 - £699
Processor: A6 dual-core
Display: 4in 1136x640 Retina display
Storage: 16/32/64GB internal
Camera: 8MP rear-facing iSight, 1.2MP front-facing
Connectivity: GSM/EDGE/HSPA+/HSDPA/LTE 4G; 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 802.11n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz; Bluetooth 4; GPS
Ports: 8-pin connector, headphone jack
Operating system: Apple iOS 6
Dimensions: 124x59x7.6 mm
The iPhone 5 features an 8MP iSight camera, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera for Facetime camera. HD video can be recorded at 1080p at up to 30 frames. The camera also features an LED flash, tap to focus and face detection, carried over from the iPhone 4S model. Photos taken on the iPhone 5 were of high quality, with vibrant colours and no fuzziness.
Looking at photos of our reviews gecko taken using the iPhone 5 and 4S, we noticed the added vibrancy and brighter colours on the newer model.
Photo taken on the iPhone 5
Photo taken on the iPhone 4S
There are two new additions to the camera that we found handy. One was being able to take a still photo while filming, just by clicking the camera button in the right-hand bottom corner of the screen. The other was the addition of a Panorama image tool, which lets users take wide angle shots by slowly panning the camera around. Panorama shots can be taken across 270 degrees, and we liked the fact that you could switch the direction of the shot, depending on whether you’re right- or left-handed. This feature has been available on Android devices for a while, so it’s nice to see Apple finally adding it to the iPhone.
Photo taken using Panorama feature on iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 comes with a new version of the operating system, which doesn’t add any major new features but has a few notable updates, aside from the Panorama feature noted above. The Safari web browser has been updated with an iCloud Tabs feature, which lets you sync open tabs between iOS and Mac OS X devices, while users can now share photos with others via PhotoStream.
Apple has also added Passbook, a folder where you can store tickets, boarding passes and vouchers from any participating companies. This is location-aware, so when you walk into a concert venue or airport, for example, unlocking your screen will immediately take you to your ticket to be scanned. There are only a limited number of supporting firms at present, including g United Airlines and iHotel, but this should grow as more iOS 6 devices are in circulation.
More notable are the subtractions that Apple has made, which we found to be a big negative as an iPhone 4S user. Gone is the native Google maps app, and in comes Apple Maps. While it has an impressive, but gimmicky, 3D flyover feature, which lets you zoom in a small-scale model of about 40 major cities and landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, it is missing key landmarks such as Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road station during our tests, and also anyone living in more remote regions such as Cornwall will definitely need to find an alternative mapping tool, as we found out when attempting to use Apple Maps on the north coast of Cornwall last week.
Apple is encouraging users to use the maps reporting tool to feedback about any missing locations, and said the maps database is being added to continually.
Apple has also ditched another Google mainstay, the YouTube app, although iOS 6 users can still download a YouTube app from the App Store.
For a detailed review of the latest Apple mobile OS, please read our full iOS 6 review.
Next: Accessories, connectivity and battery.