First iPhone 5 reviews

Those major media outlets, technology sites, and journalists who had early review units of the iPhone 5 have now posted their reviews. Here are the links and a snippet of their takes.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop says Apple has another winner on their hands:

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

M.G. Siegler of TechCrunch says Apple has chiseled the smartphone to near perfection:

I’ve had the opportunity to play around with the latest iPhone for the past several days. I won’t beat around the bush: it’s fantastic.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball says the iPhone 5 is really nice:

The question everyone who hasn’t yet pre-ordered wants answered: Should you upgrade? My answer is simple. If you can afford it, yes.

There’s a reason why, just as with all five of its predecessors, it just says “iPhone” on the back. The iPhone 5 is all new technically, but it’s the exact same thing as an idea. Apple is simply improving upon that idea year after year in infinitely finer detail, like a fractal. It’s nice.

Tim Stevens of Engadget says the iPhone 5 is the device people were asking for:

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.

Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear says it's love at first swipe.

Right now, the iPhone 5 has the best balance of everyday usability and performance, without the distraction of functionality that is clever but unintuitive. It’s an area in which Apple excels, and it’s the reason the iPhone 5 is one of the best smartphones on the market today.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall.

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.

David Pogue of The New York Times says it's not a compelling update for existing iPhone 4S users...

But if you’ve had the discipline to sit out a couple of iPhone generations — wow, are you in for a treat.

Ed Baig of USAToday says the iPhone 5 is in front of the smartphone pack:

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.

Scott Stein at CNET says the iPhone 5 is an excellent, well conceived phone.

The iPhone 5 completely rebuilds the iPhone on a framework of new features and design, addressing its major previous shortcomings. It's absolutely the best iPhone to date, and it easily secures its place in the top tier of the smartphone universe.

Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint says the iPhone 5 is the must-have phone of the year:

The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a huge number of people.

Peter Nowak of the CBC says the iPhone 5 isn't innovative but is a smart package:

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.

Luke Peters at T3 says the iPhone 5 isn't as compelling given the alternatives.

Given that iPhone 4S users can upgrade to iOS 6 and do just about everything the iPhone 5 can do, and that Android users can get similarly impressive handsets for less dosh, we reckon the smart money won’t all be going on a new iPhone this year, even if the mass market can’t get enough of it. It’s good, very good. But it’s no longer the best around.

Shane Richmond of The Telegraph says the iPhone 5 is a marvelous piece of design:

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

Patrick Gross of TechRadar says the iPhone 5 is the most important launch since the original iPhone:

But, in truth, Apple will be well aware that it doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to succeed and, in this case, it has yet again provided a fine phone that will keep it battling at the top of the charts for another year.

Mark Prigg of The Daily Mail says the iPhone 5 is simply the best smartphone ever made:

The level of care and engineering that has gone into the handset is unprecedented, and while iPhone owners are no doubt already reaching for their wallets, for anyone who was on the fence, Apple most definitely has the upper hand in the smartphone wars.

So there you have them! Go forth and read whichever interest you, then hurry back and give us your early assessment -- your review of the reviews.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 46 comments. Add yours.

dloveprod says:

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. :-)

lazzam81 says:

iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! iPhone! I want you!

Enzo83 says:

I wish I were able to get the new iPhone 5. I would usually pre-order it as I did with my 4...but that darn Verizon company and their stupid lose your unlimited data crap and expensive 32 gig full price has me holding off. Will not lose my unlimited. My iPhone 4 with iOS 6 will keep me afloat....here's to hoping they change their minds when they don't have as many people with unlimited data upgrade to the 5 because of their dumb doings. Grrr. Love you iMore. Best iPhone etc site...user friendly just like iOS.

johnolesen says:

switch to Sprint. We offer unlimited data, and 20 bucks cheaper-at a minimum than Verizon. $80 gets you Unlimited ANY Mobile, Unlimited Messaging, and Unlimited Data-with 450 LANDLINE only minutes.

tmeyn says:

Why didn't iMore get an iPhone 5 to review?

Rene Ritchie says:

Apple didn't elect to give us one. It's entirely their call.

So far it looks like no Verge, no Macworld, no Ars Technica either. (And Daring Fireball hasn't posted yet.)

cjvitek says:

Have you ever gotten pre-release model Rene?

ricbon says:

Wow I thought the verge would at least

Boots says:

Probably since you posted rumors almost daily... lol

kayno says:

I saw daringfireball review last night though..

GoBigBlueSusieQ says:

Am I the only one to notice that top picture is not the Real iPhone 5? The black phone has a silver band.

iRy757 says:

Hurrrrrryyyyyy upppppo friiiidaaaaayy. I'll be waiting by the door like a puppy. I can't wait. Two more work shifts to get through, let me get to bed so it'll be a day closer already.

antonio_jimenez says:

i wish i can buy one, if one person will give me one, i will love him/her forever *-*

DaniloZL says:

The idea of "boring" is pretty much gone now, isn't it?

DaVince says:

Nah. The hardware is freaking amazing.. Enough to make me drool. But the software is still boring.

zeagus says:

It's boring because there rent any low hanging fruit items left. It's all refinements aside from Maps and Passbook. I suspect we'll get a little more of a UI change next year if the new 1st party apps are any hint.

Camfella says:

They should've done it this year!

FlopTech says:

Think of it this way: how often does Ford release a car model that's a quantum leap ahead of the previous year's model? Every 6, 7 years maybe? They don't need to radically advance any one model's design because the industry is mature. All the pedals are there already, there are only so many places you can add cupholders, etc. It's a process of refinement at this point, sheet metal styling aside.

On the other hand, the smartphone industry is still in its infancy. It's only been what, 10 years since the Treo 180? The smartphone industry is like the auto industry was in 1910. Back then there were dozens of auto makers, each with different control layouts, steam engines, electric motors, diesel engines, and yes, gasoline engines. There were huge advances every year as new technologies were invented and implemented.

Steady, relentless evolution has resulted in the modern automobile. Now each model year is boring. But that constant progress has evolved cars almost beyond recognition. None of us could climb into a Model T and drive it without special training. The pedals and steering column stalks have completely different functions than we expect. (Hint: the middle pedal is for engaging reverse gear.)

So steady incremental progress will eventually evolve smartphones in ways we can't predict now. All things in time.

9thWonder says:

No. The hardware is largely the same design, the software was what was shown, leaked or expected, the upgrades like lte and a 4 inch screen were expected. The press conference had no iphone surprises or anything new. Much of what was added, maps for example is not groundbreaking and is playing catchup to google. And in many cases not as well by some peoples opinion do to the lack of public transit stuff.

If i had a dumb phone this would all be new and exciting. My 4s was my first iphone so it was a great buy. but honestly it wasn't overly exciting. And neither was this. It's what was expected. But that doesn't mean if i had money to burn and an upgrade i wouldn't still buy the phone. i would. but i don't. i'm sticking with my 4S as there's no LTE in my area and i don't have the upgrade. But as for something new there isn't much. it is boring to me. that doesn't mean it's not good.

kandala_tarak says:

Pocket-Lint said the best thing possible about iPhone 5 and it is more than enough. Let me iterate it again:
The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a huge number of people.

monhall says:

imore should have gotten one to review. Best iPhone site around...thx for linking to the other reviews!

Markdavie says:

It's a real shame that Apple has been so focused on the legal battles of 2008's phones, because they forgot to innovate in any area of this new model. Just my opinion, I'm sure millions of people will still buy this. But, it is very hypocritical of Apple to be suing Samsung then copying so many features from Android... http://advertising-brisbane.com.au

FlopTech says:

Re: "A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a huge number of people."

Yup. As you have said before, Rene, "familiarity is a feature."
A killer feature.

GreenDize12 says:

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

No offense, and I could be wrong, but here is one reason why upgrading isn't a good idea. That reason: there is probably going to be an S model next year that's going to one-up this model.

I apologize if I sound like a douche, but if history repeats itself, apple wise, I wouldn't be surprised at an S model next year that may solve a few of the unforeseen issues from the iPhone 5. Just a thought.

naagodinho says:

I have to agree you with you. I have an 4S and would love to get hands on the 5, but something tells me that with iOS6 I don't need to do that. And probably de 5S next year will be a little bit better and then yes, the upgrade is more "acceptable". But then again, if you want to wait, this could turn into a snowball rolling down a mountain because then you have the 6 and the 6S and the 7 and 7s and so on... So the question still remain unanwsered, do iPhone 4S users notice a big difference if they purchase the iPhone 5?

mnxmfan says:

Other than 4G, I'd say no, and I'd also say this is by design. Fast innovation is great, but I think evolution is better than revolution. The cell phone game is a funny game, especially in the US. The game that Apple DOESN'T want to play is to have their customer base buy a brand new phone, and then in a year feel like it is COMPLETELY obsolete. As an AVERAGE consumer, I appreciate that. Why? Because I don't want to spend $700 on a phone, I'd rather wait for my contract to come up so I can get it at $200.

As someone coming from a 4, I am completely excited for the 5 as it gives me many new features. But, next year, when the 5S comes out, I'm going to be hanging on to my 5 feeling good that I got 90% of the features that the 5S is getting. In the Android world, I'd buy a phone and 3 months later it was completely obsolete, making me have major buyers remorse. As others state, by a year into my 2 year contract, my phone is completely abandoned with no new updates, even when the hardware is capable of 90% of the features. It's those things that keep me with iOS. It's reasonable to expect that my iPhone 5 will run iOS 7, and even 8, but you have no idea when buying android if it will ever run Jellybean (unless you root the phone, which I have zero interest in doing). And even if it will run Jellybean, it most likely won't run Klondike or whatever they call the next update, which means that the app store starts slowly "breaking" for me, assuming developers even want to make their apps work on every phone out there.

Windows Phone looks awesome, more innovative than both iOS and Android combined, but every phone on the market today won't get Windows Phone 8, and the fact that MS is willing to abandon phones that quickly makes me again not want to go to that ecosystem, even though every computer I own is a Windows PC. Think about how upset we'd all be if 9 months after we bought a computer it didn't even attempt to run the latest OS. Phones are just as expensive as computers, yet we accept the obsolescence? I have a computer at home that has gone from Vista, to 7, to 8 with no problems whatsoever (it's almost 4 years old).

lenra3_7 says:

i watch every leaked detail about iphone 5, i'm really impressed!.. every time i take my lunch break i am hurry to open my old phone just to watch the latest rumors about this iphone 5. now it's truly amazing... how i wish i can have one... thanks a lot apple! good luck & congratulations to a new masterpiece in it's kind.

DarkMx2000 says:

I agree that the iPhone 5 is going to be a hit don't get me wrong I LOVE my 4s but to listen to some of these guys say that the IPhone 5 is ahead of the pack and everything is to kinda false. Yes Apple addressed some of the wants that everyone wanted to see in the new iPhone but the one major disappointment to me is the OS IOS6 should have been so much more then what it has become all we seem to get is features, features and more features, but the huge problem with this is that none of these features are anything new it's something that has always been done by other phones like Android, Blackberry, and Windows. I was expecting a whole lot more. We all know that the iPhone is going to sell like hot cakes but to me personally I'm going to hold out and wait to see what other options come out towards the holiday season and then make my decision till then I'm going to keep using and enjoying my jailbroken iPhone 4s :-)

flip22 says:

What's with the Tweetbot icon? Looks funny.

Josh123456 says:

Hats off to Apple, they sure know how to market. Sad to say im very disappointed with the iphone. I want to upgrade, but looking at these new features ,4" screen it just dont cut it. Five rows of apps ive been using for a long time with jail break, among other features & im personally tired of jailbreaking to get quick reply sms & other features other phones already have. Two married friends if mine upgraded not too long ago to the galaxy 3 & galaxy note. Omg, i actually slipped my iphone back in my pocket. I never would go near anything but apple but what they showed me and how simple it was to use and the widget stuff was amazing . This is what i want the iphone to do AND i knlw the iphone is capable, just when will apple let it loose!!! Now with iphone 5 days away , for the first time im confused about which route to go.

iphonedump says:

same crack no more ideas in apple factory

iphonedump says:

same crack no more ideas in apple factory

levi10288 says:

I'm upgrading from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 and I'm excited to get my hands on it. I love the design and all the enhancements. I definitely understand some of the complaints, but I think people are whining about the iPhone 5 because Rene and the iMore team did such a superb job of providing us with the leaked info which turned out accurate for the most part. I think if Apple did a better job of secrecy this time around, more people would've had that "wow" factor they were looking for. Don't get me wrong there are features I would've loved to see in iOS 6: 1. Quick reply which is the most convenient feature in jailbreak 2. Toggles in the notification center and 3. Font & icon customization. Apple may not be the first to "innovate" or implement new features, but they usually execute it better than the competition in my opinion. Guess I'm a loyalist or a "fanboy", but I'll stick to my Apple products (iPhone 4, MBP, & Apple TV 2nd gen...Fiance: iPhone 4S, MBP, & iPad 3rd gen). After all, customer service is extremely important to me and as long as Apple doesn't waiver in that department, I'm good.

trmoney24 says:

so we know the major features. does anyone have any idea what the other 100 enhancements that apple made? im sure some are small bug fixes. but i would be interested to see a list of small enhancements.

nashlib says:

Anyone know if the Unlocked version will be on the US store (brick and mortar) on Launch day.?

Topinbuzz says:

iPhone 5 has astonished this mobile world with number of buyers and orders in few days. Great work and market of iPhone's and why not such a fantastic and smashing features are there in iPhone 5. I too interested to own this wonderful phone please help how soon they will deliver as mine is in long wait. http://www.topinbuzz.com/iphone-5-price-review-release-date/

elcorobert says:

Besides the iPhone 5 itself, I was also impressed by its new "EarPods" with lateral acoustic outputs. I've never seen a similar design before:
http://www.nublobits.com/?v=8Rme3uZ_abc&n=Apple_The-all~new-Apple-EarPods

prlundberg says:

Really, so you have tried them then?

prlundberg says:

It's a good phone, I just don't get why people are so excited about it. There's nothing about it that's a "must have" compared to the 4S or Android phones. Heck, even the 4S arguably had that with Siri. It's this mob mentality and what people go through just to have it on the release date that I'll never understand. I'd never spend so much money on an unseen product based solely on what the manufacturer has promised.

It reminds me of when Krispy Kreme was so big and every store opening was a huge regional event. Then eventually people realized their doughnuts weren't any better than anybody elses and a few years later those stores were closed.

Sk8linkin says:

Mine just shipped! :-D Overnight and I'll have it by 5:00pm on Friday. Woot Woot. Thank you Verizon for making a mistake on my order and bumping me up to the top! :-D

JohnnyMackey says:

Faster, thinker, lighter, is the catch phrase going around about the iPhone 5, but what I can’t understand is why people would put so many protective devices on it that the size and weight triples! I’m getting the new iPhone though, and one case is enough. I am ecstatic about it being lighter and 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.

prlundberg says:

Yeah, I hate how so many phones these days are so fragile. Apple is probably the worst as far as that goes with all the glass on the 4 and up but hardly any are what I would consider durable.

Phones are like watches, they are always with us and may be subjected to extreme temperatures, water, and impact. I would hope at some point our $600 phones will be able offer the same type of durability we have come to expect in $20 watches. There are signs of this: one of the new Sonys is water proof, some Motorolas are "splash" proof, and Casio makes a very durable (but sadly outdated) smartphone. I'm tired of babying my phones, they have been getting more and more fragile over the past several years.