- Editor's Rating
- Faster Processor
- Thinner and lighter
- Beautiful Retina Display
- Well Designed
- 725,000 Apps Available
- New Lightning Adapter
- Larger screen makes minimal impact
- Lots of room for improvement for iOS 6
Prior to its release, there was no doubt the Apple iPhone 5 would be a hit. Preorders sold out in hours, and lines formed outside Apple Stores days before it shipped. Everyone knew it would be good, given the Apple iPhone reputation. The question is simply, how good is it?
In many ways, Apple had to bring the traditional iPhone up to current industry standards. Samsung and others had pushed forward with larger displays and 4G LTE support, among many new smartphone features. In response, Apple upped the iPhone 5 display size to 4-inches corner to corner from 3.5-inches, making a taller, but not wider screen, and the iPhone 5 is the first iPhone to support 4G LTE. Also new are the Apple Lightning connector (a smaller and sleeker input, replacing the old and bulky 30-pin) and the A6 chipset, which promises faster and zippier performance, and maybe more powerful apps down the line.
Most of these changes are welcome and necessary, especially 4G support, as 4G Android phones have been on the market for more than a year. For users, that means data connections nearly as fast (and sometimes faster) than Wi-Fi (just watch your monthly data caps!). The larger display is also a big positive. It’s still smaller than its rivals (the Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch display), but combined with its Retina resolution, the iPhone 5 has “one of the best smart phone screens on the market,” according to Brighthand.
While the display is the dominating design feature, the new iPhone is also significantly lighter than its predecessor, thinner too. It’s “a beautiful phone.” The A6 processor also earned high praise, and it powers a “notably faster” iPhone 5, while “graphic intensive games such as Infinity Blade II perform marvelously without any lag.” Its power savings also result in a battery superior to the iPhone 4S unit, which itself was quite good.
The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6, which Brighthand reviewed separately. While the move from Google Maps to Apple Maps dampens the overall experience, iOS 6 still is still a stable and relatively simple mobile operating system with an amazing catalog of applications.
Brighthand was not so kind in regards to the new Lightning adapter. “I hate it,” read the review, citing both the expense and hassle of getting an adapter for all the old iPhone accessories, and the fact that it is an adapter to a USB 2.0 connection. That means that it is not any faster than the old 30-pin, just smaller and reversible. An upgrade to USB 3.0 would have been preferable.
The smartphone market had matured greatly since the iPhone first debuted in 2007. There are many smartphones that rival Apple’s offering in terms of quality and overall experience. The Apple iPhone 5 is certainly one of the best smartphones available, but given the competition, it’s impossible to definitively declare it the best smartphone. It doesn’t have enough to make dedicated Windows Phone or Android fans switch. However, those new to smartphones, or iPhone owners due for an upgrade will undoubtedly love the iPhone 5. Even iPhone 4S owners with cash to burn can do worse than paying full retail for the Apple iPhone 5.