Apple's iPhone 5: The reviews are in

What do the experts think of Apple's new iPhone 5?

Apple's iPhone 5: The reviews are in

Apple's iPhone 5: The reviews are in

You won't be able to get your hands on Apple's iPhone 5 until Friday, but US and European based reviews of the newest iPhone have begun to trickle through today. Let's take a look.

Read all the details about the Aussie launch of the Apple iPhone 5 in our comprehensive buying guide

Detailed reviews have begun to appear online just two days before the iPhone 5 officially goes on sale. So, how does the iPhone 5 stack up according to the experts? Should you buy one? Is the iPhone 5 the best smartphone on the market? We've rounded up a selection of the best iPhone 5 reviews so far.

The general consensus seems to be that the iPhone 5 is definitely an improvement over the iPhone 4S. It's obviously thinner, lighter and has a taller screen and the faster 4G speeds have been widely praised.

However, Apple's decision to ditch the 30-pin dock connector for a new Lighting port and the lack of wireless charging capabilities and NFC connectivity are seen as downsides.

Here's a selection of iPhone 5 reviews published so far.

Tim Stevens, Engadget:

"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. Pick your benchmark and you'll find Apple's thin new weapon sitting at or near the top. Will it convince you to give up your Android or Windows Phone ways and join the iOS side? Maybe, maybe not. Will it wow you? Hold it in your hand -- you might be surprised. For the iOS faithful this is a no-brainer upgrade. This is without a doubt the best iPhone yet. This is a hallmark of design. This is the one you've been waiting for."

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD:

"The world’s most popular smartphone becomes significantly faster, thinner and lighter this week, while gaining a larger, 4-inch screen—all without giving up battery life, comfort in the hand and high-quality construction."

"That’s my quick take on Apple’s new iPhone 5, the sixth generation of the iconic device, which goes on sale on Friday. 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."

"Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall. Consumers who prefer huge screens or certain marginal features have plenty of other choices, but the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice."

David Pogue, New York Times:

"Should you get the new iPhone, when the best Windows Phone and Android phones offer similarly impressive speed, beauty and features? The iPhone 5 does nothing to change the pros and cons in that discussion. Windows Phones offer brilliant design, but lag badly in apps and accessories."

"Android phones shine in choice: you can get a huge screen, for example, a memory-card slot or N.F.C. chips (near-field communication — you can exchange files with other N.F.C. phones, or buy things in certain stores, with a tap). But Android is, on the whole, buggier, more chaotic and more fragmented — you can’t always upgrade your phone’s software when there’s a new version."

"iPhones don’t offer as much choice or customization. But they’re more polished and consistently designed, with a heavily regulated but better stocked app catalog. They offer Siri voice control and the best music/movie/TV store, and the phone’s size and weight have boiled away to almost nothing."

"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:

"It's hard to find a single part of the iPhone that hasn't been rewritten, redesigned, retooled. It's an impressive attention to detail, but it amounts to a rewriting or a heavy revision. The funny thing is, most technology fans want to see great first drafts, not polishes. Most everyday consumers want to see exactly the opposite."

"The bottom line is, we said last year that the two big missing parts of the iPhone were 4G LTE and a larger screen. The iPhone 5 has them, plus a new processor, plus a new design, plus iOS 6, plus a lot more. It's the best iPhone that's been made. Yes, it's playing catch-up on a few features, but that's always been the case with the iPhone. If you couldn't see that before, then you weren't paying attention."

MG Siegler, TechCrunch:

"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. While it’s hard to judge against a year-old iPhone 4S, the battery seems to be a bit better than it was a year ago (though there were some iOS issues as well). Apple claims 8 hours of 3G and LTE usage, and that seems about right."

"Those worried about the talk of "disappointment" surrounding the iPhone 5, I suggest you simply go to an Apple Store starting on Friday and try it for yourself. My guess is you’ll immediately recognize just how ridiculous all that bluster actually is. The iPhone 5 is the culmination of Apple doing what Apple does best. This is the smartphone nearly perfected."

Edward C. 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."

Shane Richmond, The Telegraph:

"Specificationists will say that with the iPhone 5 Apple is now behind its rivals in terms of features but in truth it's hard to think of a feature offered elsewhere that the average person - as opposed to the tech obsessive - really needs. NFC is not sufficiently widely used, wireless charging is nice but still requires a charger plugged into the wall and most people get along fine without removable storage."

"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."

Harry McCracken, TIME:

"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 upgraders, LTE alone will be worth the price of admission."

"How does it stack up against the Galaxy S III, the current champ among Android phones? It’s really not that complicated a question. The Galaxy does more stuff; the iPhone 5 does somewhat fewer things, but tends to do them better. (And when the iPhone doesn’t do something right out of the box, there’s often an App Store app that will.) In other words, it boils down to a basic decision: features or polish? Only you can decide what’s important to you. It’s obvious which one Apple cares most about — and the iPhone 5 is the most artful, pleasing expression of its priorities yet."

What do you think of the first round of iPhone 5 reviews? Are you planning to purchase an iPhone 5 on Friday? Let us know in the comments below!

Related content:

Apple opens Aussie iPhone 5 pre-orders, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile announce pricing
Apple iPhone 5 preview
Apple's iPhone 5 is 4G for Australia, too
Apple iPhone 5 vs. Apple iPhone 4S: What's the difference?
Apple iPhone 5 Australian buying guide

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

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