Everyone published their iPhone 5 reviews moments ago, and unsurprisingly, the initial batch of reviews are mostly glowing. The iPhone 5 is lighter, faster and slimmer than the iPhone 4S, and there seems to be very few qualms with Apple’s latest handset.
We’ve collected most of the early iPhone 5 reviews from around the internet to give you a general sense of what reviewers are saying.
Engadget has a particularly thorough review with plenty of photos and video. The final paragraph sums it up nicely:
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.
Jim Dalrymple of The Loop has a concise review, and he loves the device:
The iPhone is everything Apple said it would be and with iOS 6 built-in, it’s clear to me that Apple has another winner on its hands.
I can’t think of any good reason why anyone wouldn’t upgrade or purchase the iPhone 5.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball weighs in with some thoughtfully-crafted analysis:
The iPhone remains the flagship of Apple’s entire product line. It exhibits not merely the highest degree of fit and finish of any smartphone, but the highest degree of fit and finish for anything Apple has ever made. When first you hold it — where by you I am presuming you are well-accustomed to the feel and heft of an iPhone 4 or 4S — you will be struck by how lightweight it feels, yet in a premium, not chintzy way. Within a week, it will feel normal, and your old iPhone 4/4S will feel like a brick. Trust me.
Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD sees the iPhone 5 as more of an evolutionary upgrade:
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.
CNET is calling the iPhone 5 the “iPhone we’ve always wanted:”
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.
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.
MG Siegler of TechCrunch gives his typically candid take:
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 that bluster actually is. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.
David Pogue of The New York Times likes the iPhone 5, but he has one qualm:
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.
It’s just too bad about that connector change. Doesn’t Apple worry about losing customer loyalty and sales?
SlashGear has a thorough review of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, complete with a ton of pictures:
What the iPhone 5 really convinces me, though, is that throwing bells and whistles into a device doesn’t necessarily make it a better phone in the end. I’d drifted from the iPhone 4S because I had core needs it was no longer satisfying: a larger screen, for instance. Where the iPhone 5 edges back into the picture is in how well it integrates into my daily life. So many things I can make work on Android – video calling, for instance, but iPhone simply makes them more straightforward. If they’re straightforward, that means I use them more.
CBC News thinks that the iPhone 5 is the best smartphone there is right now:
Other manufacturers’ phones have newer, more innovative technologies in them – wireless charging or near-field communications that allow for data sharing by tapping phones together – but few if any inspire the obsessive devotion that Apple does.
Few have also been able to bundle everything together – music and video content, hardware, software and apps – into a simple and elegant total 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.
Bloomberg also thinks the iPhone 5 stands above all of the competition, including the latest Android handsets:
In the end, the debates over the iPhone 5 will be as endless as the lines waiting to buy it starting Friday. Apple- bashers will say the screen is too small, compared to giants like Samsung’s Galaxy S III. And they’ll bemoan the absence of a Near-Field Communications chip, which among other things can be used for mobile payments. (Apple says there isn’t yet enough consumer demand to warrant including it.)
And they’ll have some valid points. The iPhone 5 is by no means perfect, and we’re lucky there are a lot of really good smartphones on the market.
But only one great one.
TIME compares the iPhone 5 to Android by contrasting “features” and “polish:”
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.
T3 doesn’t think Apple has done enough to match the competition:
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.
Pocket-lint calls the iPhone 5 “safe,’ noting that iOS hasn’t “taken the same leap forward as the hardware:”
While the hardware and design here is cutting edge, the software plays it safer than we would like. For those of you that have already left the Apple eco-system for Samsung or HTC, for example, the iPhone 5 isn’t likely to draw you back. You might marvel at the build and design, but Apple with the iPhone 5 has created a smartphone that is too safe for you: you’ll feel too mollycoddled.
The Guardian admits to Apple’s “walled garden” effect:
If you don’t have a smartphone, the cost will look daunting. (Though the prices of the older iPhones has come down substantially.) Samsung’s Galaxy S3 is becoming cheaper, and Nokia may be able to compete — once we know the prices. But the key difference there is that neither company designs the software that runs the phone. Samsung uses Google’s Android; Nokia, Microsoft’s Windows Phone. That limits both in subtle ways.Apple offers a walled garden, it’s true – and it’s hard to break out once you’re inside.
The Telegraph gives the iPhone 5 a perfect 5 star review:
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.
The iPhone 5 goes on sale officially this Friday. Stay tuned for Cult of Mac’s review in the next several days.