The first iPhone 5 reviews hit the web

By , Sep 18, 2012

While most folks, including us, will have to wait until Friday to get their hands on the iPhone 5, a select group of journalists have been using the handset in secret for several days.

These writers were given early access to the new iPhone so they could post full-length reviews of the smartphone before it launches this week. And a lot of these posts just went live…

Apple’s embargo lifted this evening at 6pm PST, essentially giving everyone with an early review of the iPhone 5, the green light to post them. And here’s what they are saying:

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg says that the new iPhone is “significantly” faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessors:

“Perhaps the single biggest functional improvement in this iPhone—something you can’t get by upgrading the software on an older model—is speed. Apple has finally connected the iPhone to the fastest cellular data network, called LTE, and data downloads and uploads just fly, even when you aren’t on Wi-Fi. Also, the processor now has twice the previous speed.”

And Tim Stevens, of Engadget, said that their test found that the battery life of the new iPhone was on par with Motorola’s long-lasting RAZR Maxx:

“On our standard battery rundown test, in which we loop a video with LTE and WiFi enabled and social accounts pinging at regular intervals, the iPhone 5 managed a hugely impressive 11 hours and 15 minutes. That’s just 10 minutes shy of the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx.”

David Pogue of The New York Times describes the handset as “beautiful,” and says that the camera takes far better low-light shots than the 4S was capable of:

“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).”

And USA Today’s Edward Baig believes the handset easily lives up to the high expectations:

“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.”

When it comes to the screen, The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple claims that you have to see the iPhone 5’s larger display to understand what it means for user experience:

“If you told me that I would be able to see another few rows of emails or more of a Web page, I don’t know that I would see the importance, but when you look at the iPhone 5, it’s more than that. You have to see it to get an idea of what can be done.”

And CNet’s Scott Stein agrees:

“Secondly, the screen size lengthening is subtle, but, like the Retina Display, you’re going to have a hard time going back once you’ve used it. The extra space adds a lot to document viewing areas above the keyboard, landscape-oriented video playback (larger size and less letterboxing), and home-page organizing (an extra row of icons/folders).”

Here’s TechCrunch’s MG Siegler on how the iPhone 5 update compares to previous ones:

“In fact, I’ll go a step farther: I really do believe this is the best iPhone upgrade that Apple has done yet (besting the iPhone-to-iPhone 3G jump and the iPhone 3GS-to-iPhone 4 jump). As such, it’s the best version of the iPhone yet. By far…

…If you have an Android phone and have been waiting for a big iPhone update to explore or re-explore the device, now is the time.”

And Time’s Harry McCracken on the same topic:

“The bottom line, in case it isn’t clear already: The iPhone 5 is one terrific smartphone. Ignore the naysayers — even without any awesome technological breakthroughs, it’s a sizable improvement on the iPhone 4S. For many upgrades, LTE alone will be worth the price of admission.”

Rich Jaroslovsky, writing for Bloomberg says:

“One of Apple’s underappreciated abilities is its sense of timing. It often isn’t first with new technologies, waiting until it can bring something special and Apple-like to the table.With the iPhone 5, the most obvious something-special is how fast it is and how long it runs at those speeds.”

And Pocket Lint’s Stuart Miles finds its equally impressive:

“What Apple has created with the iPhone 5 is an extremely polished smartphone that oozes appeal. It’s incredibly well built, easy to use, features a beautiful screen, and comes packed with enough speed and power to service all your requirements. The hardware is just stunning. It really is impressive how much is crammed into such a tiny box.”

Vincent Nguyen, of SlashGear, says that Apple’s new smartphone hits all the right notes:

“Does the iPhone 5 feel better in the hand than the iPhone 4S? Is it faster, and smoother running; does it have a more capable camera; can it access data more rapidly while on the move? Does the combination of iPhone hardware and iOS software feel the most holistic and balanced of any Apple smartphone to-date? The answer to all those questions is yes. Apple has addressed the bigger-screen debate with a solution that doesn’t undermine key usability promises, delivered LTE without destroying battery life, and wrapped it up in a design that’s both comfortably familiar and crisply revitalized.”

Patrick Gross of TechRadar:

“What is perhaps more suprising is just how much snappier this feels than the iPhone 4S. The A6 chip clearly has significantly more grunt under its smaller hood – but what is surprising is that you can immediately tell when you use the device alongside its predecessor.”

The Telegraph’s Shane Richmond:

“the iPhone 5 is a great smartphone made even better. It’s fast, lightweight and backed by the largest application store for any device. It’s also probably the most beautiful smartphone anyone has ever made.”

And finally, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber:

“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.

But you don’t even have to turn it on to see how nice it is. Just hold it.”

There are several things we can take away from these early iPhone 5 reviews. The screen is much better, thanks to its new size and display technology. The phone itself runs noticeably faster — even compared to last year’s 4S. And the new aluminum-backed casing was a great choice by Apple, as it now looks and feels the part of a world-class handset.

Also, several of the reviews pointed to better iSight photos, specifically in low-light conditions, as well as improved battery life. And they all mentioned how fast LTE was, on both Verizon and AT&T, with some of the writers pointing out it was hard to tell when they were and weren’t on Wi-Fi networks.

Of course, it’s no surprise that these early reviews are glowing. Apple essentially hand-picked these people to be the first to tell the world about its new handset. The real test will come when other writers get their hands on the device and offer up their no holds barred opinions. But still, as it stands now, it certainly looks like Apple has another hit on its hands.

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  • Matthew Tanner

    I got a 4s a month ago…. really regret making that purchase now….

    • http://www.facebook.com/madmankadz Kadeem Kadz Dulice

      lol what ??

      • Matthew Tanner

        Well reviews are coming out for the 5 and im thinking i shouldve waited…

    • Stormy08

      Same here. Stuck with this 4S for another 22 months.

      • canucks23

        stuck with? LOL
        the 4s is still a very capable phone and if you think your stuck with it, i will gladly take it off your hands, no charge :)

      • Stormy08

        Hehehe, all these good reviews make me want to get it. Nothing wrong with my 4s, like you said.

    • VATekMan

      How can you be a reader of this site and have bought a 4s a couple of months ago. By June, the date was pretty certain…. Poor Poor soul…

      • Matthew Tanner

        I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe all those rumors till the big day….

      • shinx2ran

        those rumors are quite good, you should know that apple updates iphone once a year

      • Matthew Tanner

        But theres all these speculations that steve jobs made the first iphone with a 3.5 inch screen and it should stay that way (this was 6 months ago)

      • Tom

        So you didn’t think a new iPhone was coming out around this time?

      • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

        Ouch

      • shinx2ran

        well 5 may have better improvement, but still it’s not a huge leap from 4s. better to wait for 5s.

      • @dongiuj

        I agree. Iphone 5 is really an upgrade for iphone 4 and under. imo

      • Gorgonphone

        ummmm 5S will be same exact phone only faster with better camera and 128 gm storage..lol

      • shinx2ran

        yes, better Camera. I hope, Apple will make a huge camera improvement in 5s. I choose iPhone because the camera itself

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        So why didn’t you wait just a month more to find out? Did you really think Apple wasn’t going to release a new iPhone this year?!

    • Thorasgard

      If less than 30 days, take it back

      • http://twitter.com/jalexcarter Jordan Carter

        isn’t it usually no more than like 14 days after buying you can return it? not 30…

    • http://www.facebook.com/CMak70 Chris McOmber

      Why??? The 5 isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a slight upgrade only. Your 4s will be just fine until you can upgrade you’ll see.

      • Gorgonphone

        i will keep my 4s until the iphone 5 is jailbroken then i will buy a used on and keep my upgrade..

  • http://twitter.com/Woscoe_ Keith

    Oh Yeah the KING is back!

    • Michael J.

      the lebron james of smartphones

      • Gorgonphone

        Cobe bryant of smart phones,..

  • Blake

    I wish they had video unboxings!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520320075 Aaron B. Utter

    two more weeks an i can get rid of my iPhone 4 an get the 5…….. CANT WAIT……… happy bday to myself

    • http://twitter.com/e420kush e420Kush

      Bunch of Haters that can’t afford the new iPhone or are stuck in contract disliking your post. WTF is wrong with somebody buying themselves an iPhone for their birthday?? Hating much? Ya go ahead and dislike my post too!.

      • AMB_07

        Hit a nerve? Welcome to the internet pal…

  • http://www.facebook.com/LethoeshatedadedicatedfatherGreen Keith Green

    Awesome! Can’t wait to inbox mine Friday. Lol

    • http://twitter.com/e420kush e420Kush

      you going to email it to yourself? :p

      • http://twitter.com/khalids19 Khalid Salim

        Lol funny dude

  • shinx2ran

    I just got 4s 6 months ago, but I am happy with the Camera, it’s really great improvement from my old 3GS . I’ll wait for next iphone 5s. maybe they will improve the camera ability in taking photo at lowlight condition with flash. I will wait for next iphone with 12 MP or dual led flash :)

    • Gorgonphone

      thats gonna be a looooooooooong wait ..lol i will get a used 5..

      • shinx2ran

        hehe, not that long. it’s just next year, plus my olloclip will not compatible with 5.

  • Mcsquared

    None of them have ANY complaints?? Are they paid by apple to post only positive reviews or has apple finallly achieved building the perfect phone?

    • Kurt

      when journalists talk about something negative about an apple product
      they get banned from future invites and early releases. This was a
      constant complaint about from the TECH GUY, he is an apple lover but is
      honest with his reviews. only people who will say only good things get
      invites. The Tech Guy, Leo Laporte is quite famous with millions of
      listeners and viewers and has been on tv/radio for over 30 years. apple
      tries to skew things in their favor (which is fine to a point), apple
      just does it to an extreme where i lose respect for them greatly

      • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon Weidema

        almost every company is like that though :/

      • Kurt

        not like apple

      • Liu Zhenyu

        Quit with your bias

      • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon Weidema

        Samsung is equally as bad, maybe worse.

    • @dongiuj

      I read a review on another apple devoted blog and those reviews show something different from this. There were negative responses given by some of the same people metioned in this blog. So i wonder who lied or who edited the reviews before posting them.

      • Juhweetwelwie

        BOE!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      There are some negative comments from those same reviewers, those parts just aren’t being quoted here. You should read all the full reviews to get the whole picture. Overall the reviewers are loving the phone though.

    • Liu Zhenyu

      At least better than immature Scumsung ads which bullshit all around

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

      The only one I found was the connecter :P

  • James Latten

    can i trade in my iPhone 4 for a iPhone 5

    • Thorasgard

      Sure. Just like you can trade in your 2010 Camry for a brand new 2012 Camry. Even swap, no charge. :)

      But you can check if you are eligible for a upgrade with your carrier and sell your iPhone 4. You should be able to get at least $200 for it.

  • Johnathan Jennings

    Galaxy S III can kiss my ass. I can’t wait to Get my hands on my iPhone 5 this friday(:

    • @dongiuj

      A GS3 can do that??? They should patent that quick!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    Yes cant wait to hold it in my hand,my new galaxy s4…

    • http://twitter.com/jalexcarter Jordan Carter

      ya you have fun with that one pal!

    • Lolhaha

      Yes cos its big wider larger, and it definitely satisfy u cos it fits in ur ass. Btw, try to ON ur vibrate so it will be pleasurable for u. LOL

      • http://www.facebook.com/CMak70 Chris McOmber

        Awkward silence……..

  • Kamal

    Lol let me tell you all those who have commented Negatively about the iPhone 5 which is D Best Smart Phone on the Universe are Samsung Customer :P :P

  • FrankensteinBlack

    Apple Fangirls and Groupies reviews don’t count! Its Anandtech or bust! Besides, I won’t leap in until a jailbreak is available. Yes, iOS is that “long in the tooth” now and only JB apps have the ability to liven it up in many ways! The hardware though looks good, or should I hold out for the 128GB iPhone 5S?

    • Gorgonphone

      a 128 gb will be soooo sweet… all my music all the time..wowo

  • MattXD162

    Sooo, who’s gonna be the first to release a jailbreak tweak for 6 rows

  • http://kcain.com/ KC

    I’m waiting for the no-holds barred reviews. This is the same situation as every other iPhone release – praising comments and absolutely no mention of any negatives. I’d rather hear of both sides of the coin to get the complete picture. (Although it really doesn’t matter ultimately, since I’ll be sticking with the 4S without question. Still, I’m curious about it.)

  • prghon

    Well, they can praise the iPhone 5 all they want, I’m not gonna be swayed until I see the one test that really tells you if it lives up to the hype: Will it blend?

  • Dan

    The critics can’t all be positive. Should of posted the complaints as well, too biased.

  • Jimmy Mackey

    It seems the catch phrase now is “better, lighter, faster”
    and those are the best reasons for me to buy the new 5. Of course, better battery life is the bee’s
    knees of benefits, but no one seems to be agreeing on how much it really is
    better. I’m also looking forward to a
    bigger screen for watching my shows and movies with the DISH Remote Access
    app. I like watching on the go better because
    I get more TV watching done in my day, and all I need is internet and my Sling
    Adapter at home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000169589178 Joe Smith

    I had an iPhone4 and 3gs that were upgraded to the new iPhone 5. I love the speed of the A6. The bigger screen is hardly noticeable but I am not complaining about that. I have to laugh at all those people who want bigger screens. I want a small compact phone, they make tablets for larger screens. I am disappointed in the color of the screen. I am really surprised that no one else seems to be bothered by this. The clarity and crispness of colors is actually better on the iPhone4/4s than on the iPhone5. On the iPhone5 there is a yellow hue overshadowing all if the colors and it is especially noticeable on the whites. Whether it is the white background of photos, emails etc. The clarity of the photos seems to have suffered as well. The same exact photos uploaded onto the iPhone 5 just aren’t as crisp as the iPhone4. I am starting to think I should have waited for the next generation. As far as switching to an Android based phone..,uhm no. I had 1 for the 30 day trial period and had too many problems with it. Apple may not be perfect and yes I agree it is falling behind but my iphone has never crashed. Quality control seems to be higher with apple.

    • http://twitter.com/e420kush e420Kush

      i have no yellow hue on my iPhone 5. This was the same case with the iPhone 4/4S it has affected some people but what it was from before (correct me if I am wrong) it was from the adhesive from the glue. It should or might go away. I love my iPhone 5.