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 comes with the new 8-pin connector and plug in the box, along with redesigned headphones. The new Apple EarPods are a complete overhaul from the previous circular earbuds, which were uncomfortable in the ear and also leaked audio, as anyone who has travelled on the tube surrounded by iPhone/iPod users listening to music will be able to attest.
The new design has been developed according to the shape of the ear. We found them much more comfortable to use over long – or even short – periods, and they achieved something much closer to the noise cancellation headphones we’ve tried out in the past than the previous Apple version, meaning we heard more of the audio and less of the background noise going on around us.
The iPhone 5 supports HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, but more importantly it will support 4G LTE networks when they’re finally available in the UK – hopefully by early October on Everything Everywhere. The new iPhone also features dual-band 802.11n wireless, which means it can run at 5GHz on supporting routers. We didn’t have any problems with dropped calls using the iPhone 5.
Apple quotes up to eight hours of browsing over a mobile network, up to eight hours of talk time and up to 10 hours of video playback time for the iPhone 5. We managed to watch a couple of hours of video, take photos, make a few calls and still have 50 percent battery left over the course of a day. By the following morning, after watching another hour of video and listening to an hour of music, plus some general browsing, texts and emails over the course of about an hour, we still had 10 percent of battery left. So the iPhone 5 will need a good recharge each night for medium to heavy use.
The iPhone 5 is available in 16/32/64GB versions, plus there's plenty of storage space via iCloud, with 5GB for free and extra capacity starting from £14 per year for 10GB.
At £529, the iPhone is still one of the priciest handsets out there. We think overall Apple has done a great job with the design overhaul to make the new version a good option for those still using older iPhone models, or current mobile users interested in a switch to Apple. However, for those currently using an iPhone 4S, niggles such as the removal of Google Maps and the need to carry around two connectors for the iPad and iPhone 5 mean it’s not worth rushing to upgrade, especially as some of the emerging mobile technologies such as NFC and facial recognition are still missing from the Apple phone.