iPhone 5 Review Roundup

With just 2 days to go before launch and lineups already starting in various cities around the globe, iPhone 5 reviews have started to  appear on the web. Not surprisingly, most are glowingly positive, with plenty of emphasis given to it’s slimmer and lighter build, improved camera and blazing LTE speeds. Whether you’ve already pre-ordered, plan on waiting in line, or will be holding out until the iPhone 6 (or will that be the iPhone 5S?), it’s worth checking out what some of the more prominent tech journalists are saying about the latest and greatest iPhone. The roundup after the break.

Tim Stevens [Engadget]

Visually, much has stayed the same, but the biggest change is impossible to see. Pick up the iPhone 5 and you’re immediately struck by the reduction in weight. At 112 grams it’s 20 percent lighter than the 4S, a figure that doesn’t seem like it would make much of an impact. It does — so much so that it’s the lightness, not the bigger display or the thinness, that nearly everybody praises when first getting a chance to hold the iPhone 5 in their own hands.

The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve. Every area, that is, except for the OS. If anything, it’s the operating system here that’s beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age. Still, the iPhone 5 absolutely shines.

MG Siegler [TechCrunch]

With the camera in the iPhone 5, Apple opted to take a step outside of the megapixel arms-race (it remains 8 megapixels) and instead focus on other things, such as low-light photography. The results are noticeably better, though still not quite as good as a good point-and-shoot…By far, the best new camera functionality is the Panorama mode, which is amazing. It’s so simple to use and works so well that I suspect a lot of people will start using it fairly regularly, and we may see some new panorama-focused apps pop-up as a result.

Overall, the iPhone 5 is an absolute homerun. Apple has taken what I still considered to be the best smartphone (the iPhone 4S) and perfected it in nearly every way. And yes, that includes in the battery life department.

Walt Mossberg [The Wall Street Journal]

I’ve been testing the new iPhone for nearly a week and I like it a lot and can recommend it, despite a few negatives, such as a new maps app that has one big plus, but other big minuses. On balance, I still consider the iPhone the best smartphone on the market, especially with its staggering 700,000 third-party apps and a wealth of available content.

Although Apple claims it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone—18% thinner than the prior model—the iPhone 5 retains Apple’s trademark, solid-feeling, metal construction, with an aluminum back this time, instead of a glass back. Like many Apple products, it’s gorgeous.

John Gruber [Daring Fireball]

It feels great, looks great, has the best display I’ve seen at any size, runs noticeably faster, networks noticeably faster, is way thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors, takes better photos, and, in my six days of testing, gets totally decent iPhone-4S-level battery life.

Jim Dalrymple [The Loop]

Like the faster processor and graphics, LTE gives you the feeling of never waiting for anything. Apps open fast and you are ready to work or browse the Web right away.

My experience with the iPhone 5, iOS and the EarPods has been great. The iPhone is everything Apple said it would be and with iOS 6 built-in, it’s clear to me that Apple has another winner on its hands.

I can’t think of any good reason why anyone wouldn’t upgrade or purchase the iPhone 5.

Rich Jaroslovsky [Bloomberg]

The iPhone 5’s speediness isn’t confined to the Internet. Its new Apple-designed A6 chip and revised iOS 6 operating system (which I’ll write more about in a future column) make functions like opening apps and scrolling through screens faster and more fluid.

The iPhone 5 is by no means perfect, and we’re lucky there are a lot of really good smartphones on the market

But only one great one.

Edward Baig [USA Today]

The iPhone 5 is a winner that should keep Apple at the front of the smartphone pack. But choosing iPhone 5 vs. a top-of-the line Android alternative isn’t a cut-and-dried decision, especially if you’re partial to a jumbo display, such as the one on the big, bold and beautiful Samsung Galaxy S III, an Android rival for which I’ve had high praise.

People have always had lofty expectations for the iPhone 5, especially as the competition stiffens. In delivering a fast, attractive, LTE-capable and larger-screen handset, Apple has met those expectations with a gem.

David Pogue [New York Times]

The camera is among the best ever put into a phone. Its lowlight shots blow away the same efforts from an iPhone 4S. Its shot-to-shot times have been improved by 40 percent. And you can take stills even while recording video (1080p hi-def, of course).

If you have an iPhone 4S, getting an iPhone 5 would mean breaking your two-year carrier contract and paying a painful penalty; maybe not worth it for the 5’s collection of nips and tucks. But if you’ve had the discipline to sit out a couple of iPhone generations — wow, are you in for a treat.

Scott Stein [CNET]

Hold an iPhone 4S up to the new iPhone, and I could see the difference in thickness. It’s not huge, but it feels even slimmer considering its expanded width and length. What I really noticed is how light it is. I still feel weirded out by it. The iPhone 5′s 3.95-ounce weight is the lightest an iPhone’s ever been.

Luke Peters [T3]

So, what to make of this latest upgrade. There’s no denying that the iPhone 5 is a lovely thing, and the best iPhone to date. It could well be Apple’s best-selling unit ever.

But a lot has changed in a year, and the current crop of Android superphones – and the incoming Windows Phone 8 handsets – have closed the gap.

Stuart Miles [Pocket Lint]

The display is not only bigger, but it is also a lot richer. The iPhone 5 has a display that delivers 44 per cent increased colour saturation over the iPhone 4S and uses the sRGB colour gamut, the standard used by the web, photos, movies, computer monitors and HDTVs. As a result, colours really do look a lot, lot, better and noticeably richer even in direct sunlight. Apps zing out of the screen, movies are more vibrant, and even websites look crisper.

Peter Nowak [CBC]

The weight difference is very pronounced. At 112 grams, it’s 20 per cent lighter than the 4S, but when holding both at the same time, it’s easy to think the difference is even greater. The iPhone 5 is amazingly light and slightly thinner, too, mainly because its main shell is now aluminum, rather than a big chunk of glass.

The iPhone 5 may not be terribly innovative, but it does deliver that package better than any previous Apple product, and better than just about any other smartphone.

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