Apple iPhone 5 review
It's smaller, thinner and faster with a higher-resolution screen, but the new Maps app is a disappointment
Review Date: 5 Dec 2013
Price when reviewed: £529
Reviewed By: David Ludlow
Battery life is quoted by Apple as the same as on the 4S, which is impressive considering the iPhone 5 has the larger screen. In our video playback test, the iPhone 5 lasted 12h 4m, which is pretty much the same as the iPhone 4S in the same test.
If anything's missing from the iPhone 5, it's NFC. This technology has been in several Android handsets, but Apple so far hasn't bothered with it. We don't see this as a massive problem at the moment, as there isn't the infrastructure to use it, but it's still a slightly surprising omission.
Overall, the iPhone 5 is a great bit of work. It's brilliantly made, and very fast with the an incredibly responsive mobile operating system. While previous iterations have been way ahead of the competition, the iPhone 5 just doesn't maintain the gap. In particular, Maps is a big step backwards, while iOS 6 feels more like a tweak than a genuine step forwards.
Don't get us wrong, the iPhone 5 is still a brilliant handset and iOS is still incredibly easy and smooth to use, it's just that the poor Maps app and comparatively high price mean that this model just misses out on an award.
UPDATE: SHOULD YOU BUY AN IPHONE 5 OR iPHONE 5C?
Although Apple has now withdrawn the iPhone 5 from sale, replacing it with the iPhone 5C, there are still plenty of second-hand models out there, so is the phone still worth buying?
Our problem with the iPhone 5C was that it was basically an iPhone 5 in a plastic case. The 5C is also on sale at around the same price the iPhone 5 would have been reduced to, if Apple had continued with it, when the iPhone 5S was released. Both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 have the same screen, the same choice of storage options and the same processor.
The differences come down to build quality. While Apple has done a brilliant job with the iPhone 5C, making the plastic feel premium, the metal construction of the iPhone 5 is still a lot better. The iPhone 5 is also lighter and thinner than its replacement.
One big difference is in 4G support: the iPhone 5 will work on EE's network only for the faster wireless data speeds, but the iPhone 5C will work on every UK 4G network. If 4G is a priority for you and you're no on EE, then the iPhone 5C is your only choice, assuming you don't want to pay more for the iPhone 5S.
For everyone else, it's not so clear cut. If you want the full manufacturer's warranty and a brand-new phone, you should buy the iPhone 5C; if that doesn't bother you so much, you should be able to pick up a bargain second-hand iPhone 5 instead.
Find a review
- Best Buy
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Best Budget Buy
- Nokia Lumia 610
- Best Business Buy
- RIM BlackBerry Torch
- Apple iPhone 5S
- iOS 8 release date, features, news and rumours for new iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 operating system
- Shocking! Nokia stops European sales of Lumia 2520 tablet
- BBC iPlayer and Sky Go not working on iPhone and iPad
- iOS 8 could get Shazam integration for Siri song recognition
- Leaked iPhone 6 battery images potentially confirm bigger screen rumours