Five things we love about the iPhone 5

Here's five things we love about the iPhone 5 so far

Five things we love about Apple's new iPhone 5

Five things we love about Apple's new iPhone 5

We've just spent our first weekend with Apple's new iPhone 5. Love it or hate it, there is no doubt that Apple knows how to build a well designed smartphone. Here's five things we love about the iPhone 5 so far.

Read our Apple iPhone 5 Australian buying guide

1. Superb design

The iPhone 5 looks somewhat similar to the previous iPhone 4S model in photos and pictures, but it's not until you've actually held it in your hand that you realise this is a very different beast. We almost dropped it the first time we picked it up simply because we expected it to be much heavier than it actually is. At just 112g, the iPhone 5's light weight defies its aluminium and glass construction and makes it one of the lightest smartphones on the market.

The detail in craftsmanship is very impressive, too. Although this is what most have come to expect from Apple, the iPhone 5 feels every bit a premium and expensive device. The bevelled edges on the sides, the machine drilled speaker and microphone holes at the bottom and the glass panels at the top and the bottom of the back are typical Apple touches. There's an extraordinary attention to detail in the construction of the iPhone 5 and it's something that most other smartphones lack.

There's an extraordinary attention to detail in the construction of the iPhone 5, something that most other smartphones lack.
There's an extraordinary attention to detail in the construction of the iPhone 5, something that most other smartphones lack.

2. 4G speeds

If you're using the Telstra, Optus or Virgin Mobile networks in Australia, you'll be happy to know that the iPhone 5 is compatible with the 1800MHz LTE network band. That means you'll get 4G mobile coverage where it's available. 4G coverage is still fairly limited at the moment but when you are in a coverage area serviced by LTE, you're in for a treat. We managed to achieve download speeds of up 32 megabits per second (Mbps) on Telstra and up to 29Mbps on Optus when 4G was available. Unfortunately, Vodafone users are out of luck right now as the company isn't launching its 4G network until sometime in 2013.

Telstra launched its 4G network late last year, while Optus only lifted the lid on 4G earlier this month so it's still a relatively new phenomenon in Australia. With the iPhone 5's expected huge sales numbers, however, it is likely to be the smartphone that really kickstarts the 4G revolution in Australia. That can only a good thing for all consumers.

3. A larger screen

Apple has fitted the iPhone 5 with a larger 4in screen, up from the 3.5in screen size of all previous iPhone models. The screen is exactly the same width but just taller. The advantage of this longer display means an extra row of icons now fits on the iOS 6 home screen.

Next to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5's screen displays much deeper blacks and is slightly brighter.
Next to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5's screen displays much deeper blacks and is slightly brighter.

The larger screen is actually rather deceptive. In your hands, the iPhone 5 doesn't feel like a much larger phone at all. The width means its easy to stretch your thumb to reach most areas of the screen. It's a bit of a stretch to tap the very top of the screen if you have small hands, but for most part, the iPhone 5 offers far better ergonomics than larger phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X.

The iPhone 5's screen isn't all about size either. It offers superb colour reproduction, has excellent viewing angles and displays super crisp text. Next to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 displays much deeper blacks and is slightly brighter.

4. Speed

The iPhone 5 is a fast smartphone, it's as simple as that. General performance is excellent, opening and closing apps is almost instant and switching between apps is speedy. If you're coming from an iPhone 4S you won't notice the increase in speed too much, but the iPhone feels buttery smooth and fast during everyday use.

I've been using a Samsung Galaxy S III for the past few months and in my opinion, the iPhone 5 feels faster, even though the S III is certainly no slouch. The speed is particularly noticeable when you open the camera app from the lock screen in iOS 6. Do the same on the 4S and it's a second or two slower. Not a huge deal breaker but it's faster nonetheless.

5. Outstanding camera

I've only spent a few days with the iPhone 5, but I can already tell you that its camera is exceptional. It's a slight improvement on the 4S, which was no slouch itself. Macro performance is particularly impressive — the iPhone 5 can capture an excellent amount of detail in close up shots.

A photo we captured with the iPhone 5's camera.
A photo we captured with the iPhone 5's camera.

Apple has significantly improved the front facing camera, too. It remains below average for any serious still photos, but outgoing video performance in apps like Facetime, Skype and Tango is excellent. If you use these apps regularly, the iPhone 5 will offer better video quality.

We'll be publishing a full review of the iPhone 5 in the coming week, in the meantime if you have any questions, comments or queries, let us know in the comments below.

Related content

All the Australian iPhone 5 pricing: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile
Apple iPhone 5 preview
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

11 Comments

Phil

1

Now I'm really confused. In your other article "Five things we hate about iPhone 5" you talk about poor materials - like how in three days careful use you have already scratched and chipped the device, yet here you say it has "superb design and construction"? 4G speeds are a network issue, not a device issue, provided your device supports 4G. In what way are the ergonomics far better on the iPhone 5 than the GIII or the One X? Give us specifics, you can't just say they are "far better" without some objective quantifiables. Again on speed, give us some specifics please, I want to make an informed purchasing decision based on facts, not your heresay opinions. What speed tests did you do? The leading smartphones have pretty much all had 8Mp cameras now for some time. My HTC Desire HD has had 8Mp since July 2010. So this device catches up to where some other devices were over 2 years ago? Sad. For how long should I queue and how much should I pay for that?

sam

2

phil quit bitching

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

3

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your comments. Because you are confused, let me address your concerns individually:

a) The anodised aluminium finish that appears to be easily scratched is an issue, but the design of the phone is not. The coating is an issue, the build/design is not. Pretty simple.
b) The ergonomics are better because your thumb can reach across the entire width of the screen when using the phone with one hand. Unlike larger devices.
c) Speed specifics were discussed.
d) There is far more to a camera than just its megapixel rating.
e) You are free to purchase whatever phone you like.

Hope that helps.

andy

4

I think Phil had a good point and the 2 trolls plus the unprofessional response from the reviewer is a little disappointing.

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

5

Hi Andy,

I have removed the relevant inappropriate comment. Apologies, that shouldn't have been allowed to slip through our filter.

As for my response, I fail to see how it is at all unprofessional.

Enigmatic

6

Ross,

Since when does a person's opinion constitute in THEM being confused?

Your response was unprofessional and it had an attitude of arrogance about it.... even to the point of "You are free to purchase whatever phone you like"... really? Are we in high school? The point here was for you to be INFORMATIVE, not "justify" yourself in the way you have.

Like for instance... "There is far more to a camera than just its megapixel rating"... wonderful statement, but of course not backed up with anything, which means the statement was made purely for the point of retaliating to phil, not to actually provide accurate information. You use very vague words like "improved", but you don't say exactly what is improved or how it is improved, which on top of the tardy "buy whatever you want" resopnse seems to just be more "take that" than it does actually trying to inform the reader.

And lastly... part of "good design" is the right choice of materials, or would you think a car made of butter is a good design? Design constitutes structure, composition and everything else put together, so your "pretty simple" comment (yet another tardy comment) is basically an attempt at mockery of the poster...

Wow... thats what, 3-4 inappropriate responses in a single response? And you FAIL to see how it is unprofessional? Clearly you are not able to see it, or you wouldn't have written the response you did... question is whether even after mutliple people making the same comment will you still stick to your guns or open your eyes?

Peter

7

Strewth! Get over it! The author tried to give a balanced review of a product so you could make a more informed decision.

If you are going to get upset by reviews, don't read them - you still can choose to buy whatever you like.

Me I don't like Apples current litigious nature, overly intrusive licencing and pricing - and I don't like overly large phones. I just had a look at the article to see what they would balance the other with. Not a particularly well written article, but it didn't cost me anything to read it and at least the author tried to be objective.

It wasn't a complete failure, anyway, as I bought their magazine.

Ross Catanzariti

8

Hi Enigmatic,

Thanks for you comment.

I am sorry if you feel that my response was unprofessional or arrogant. That was not my intention.

Firstly, I have had to delete numerous comments due to trolling. It unfortunately seems that every article about the iPhone brings out these types of responses.

Asking "For how long should I queue and how much should I pay for that?" is not really a question that seems to be demanding an informed response. To me this reads as a rhetorical question. Others may see it differently.

As for your other points. The above article is a first look at the phone, i.e I haven't used it long enough to form a more detailed opinion. I completely understand where you are coming from but I am still in the process of testing and reviewing and this was just meant to be a first look with some initial observations. A full review will provide the more detailed analysis you're looking for.

Thanks.

Douglas Hugh Butler

9

What a bunch of whinging creeps. Ross, you're an ass. The rest of you, go buy the damn thing. You know you wanna

Ron

10

WOW......you ALL need to get a girlfriend and a life. The man ( Ross ) was just reviewing a frikin phone for god sake ! It's not like he made a comment about getting an abortion,or US outsourcing, or immigration laws,
Some things are just FYI not worthy of big controversy . It's his job to review tech products he gets paid for it . The rest of you nerds are just geeking out .
Shut down the damn computer and go outside quick !
LOL !!!!!

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