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iPhone 5 review

With the new iPhone coming, we take another look at Apple's flagship

Our Verdict

The best iPhone yet - but given the power of the competition and the high price, not the best smartphone.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 64 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 8 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1136 x 640

View full specification

For

  • Great design
  • Larger screen
  • Quality camera

Against

  • High price
  • Poor maps
  • Ageing OS

Apple took the curious step of not really increasing the battery life on the iPhone 5 despite the faster chipset with LTE connectivity... but it seems that the decision to wait a little while before bringing the 4G technology to the phone has allowed it to optimise the power pack.

iPhone 5 review

Apple's own battery specs indicate the device should have 225 hours of standby time, up to eight hours of internet use on 3G (and 10 on Wi-Fi), up to 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of audio playback.

In running audio in a loop with the device on airplane mode, such an audio playback figure can be reached, and Apple's internet figures are close to what we found during testing.

In more general mixed usage, though, you'd be very optimistic to think your iPhone 5 will last longer than a single day on one charge, and that range will be dramatically reduced if you use battery-sucking processor-intensive apps or games, or power-sapping turn-by-turn navigation and 3G/LTE. Apple's device doesn't compare poorly with most other smartphones on this scale, but it's certainly no leading light, either.

We also found that issues remain within iOS that can lead to an overnight power drain if the device isn't plugged in. Historically, this has often been down to location services being overly active, and during testing we had a couple of 'dead iPhone in the morning' instances. Turning off unused location services seemed to help, but this isn't particularly discoverable for the typical user, and nor are background tasks sapping battery life something you'd usually associate with Apple.

4G

4G is the new trick on offer from the iPhone 5 - and is now available in the UK thanks to a deal with EE.

iPhone 5 review

If you've bought one on Orange or T-Mobile, you're able to migrate to the new 4G service on the new EE network.

This will offer speeds of around 20Mbps on the go, which will outstrip even the more powerful Wi-Fi in many homes - but it's very, very pricey and the data levels on offer are poor, to say the least.You'll be paying £180 for a £36 a month deal, with only 500MB of data for company. Don't buy this deal if you want to actually get value for money.

And if that doesn't float your boat, you've got some really fast network speeds on offer: DC-HSPA means you'll be able to access 4G-lite speeds on the go providing your network is capable of this... however, most are rolling out the functionality over the coming months in the build up to greater 4G coverage, so you won't be too heavily handicapped by the lack of LTE if you're on one of the unlucky networks.

iPhone 5 4G

We spent some time checking out the new iPhone 5 on the EE 4G network - and yes, it's a lot faster. Apps downloaded minutes faster (when it came to the larger files), streams began over three seconds quicker and generally it was a much, much snappier experience on the internet.

Sure, it fully requires your data plans to be acceptable, but if you've got a decent connection you'll have broadband style speeds on the go with no question, as long as you're in a major city. This means you'll nab up to 50Mbps when out and about, with some impressively low latency of 50-55ms.

Of course, Apple could release network specific phones for the 2.6GHz spectrum that O2 and Vodafone will use for 4G, but we won't hold our breath, so if you want 4G on an iPhone 5, you're stuck with EE.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBNo
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory64 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyiPhone 5
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 700, LTE 850, LTE 1700, LTE 1800, LTE 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourSlate, Black
Operating SystemiOS
Brand NameApple
Battery Talk Time8 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution1136 x 640
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)112 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerApple
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating System VersioniOS 6
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), iMessage
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density326 ppi
Height123.7 mm
Width58.7 mm
Depth7.6 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameiPhone 5
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineiPhone 5
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberMD662B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

Thin, sleek, and very capable.

It's hard to believe a phone so thin could offer so many features: a larger display, a faster chip, the latest wireless technology, an 8MP iSight camera, and more. All in a beautiful aluminum body designed and made with an unprecedented level of precision. iPhone 5 measures a mere 7.6 millimeters thin and weighs just 112 grams. That's 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S. The only way to achieve a design like this is by relentlessly considering (and reconsidering) every single detail - including the details you don't see.

Package Contents
  • iPhone 5
  • Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation