Apple iPhone 5 Hands-on: Crazy Light, Dazzling Screen, Super Powerful

The iPhone 5 is reportedly the thinnest smartphone in the world, measuring just 0.3 inches thin, but the first thing you notice about the iPhone when you pick it up is just how light it is. At 3.95 ounces, Apple’s sequel is a full ounce lighter than the iPhone 4S (4.9 ounces), despite packing in a larger 4-inch display. It really is remarkable when you consider that this handset uses glass and aluminum instead of plastic like some competitors.

And what a sight this screen is.┬áThe 1136 x 640-pixel screen is fantastic. Not only do you get an additional row of icons, but developers will be taking full advantage of this additional real estate with apps that fit more info on the screen. We quickly fired up CNN and were impressed with the slick layout. Here’s the rest of our first impressions.


The A6 chip under the hood provided fluid performance during our hands-on time. The camera fired even faster than on the iPhone 4S. Speaking of the 8-MP camera, low-light performance does seem to be improved, and we really like the new panorama feature. Just touch options in the camera view, select this option, and your iPhone 5 will guide you through the process, keeping you lined up and even warning you to slow down if you go too fast. The resulting pics impressed, which equal 28 megapixels.

The design is sturdy and super-slim. And we like that it’s just as narrow as before, which makes it easier for one-finger typing when you’re on the go. Our only gripe is that the headphone connector is on the bottom. The new Lightning connector is tiny but the cable end is reversible so you can’t insert it the wrong way. Although we were in a loud room, the speakers do seem to have more oomph than before, which we noticed when playing back videos.

We didn’t get a chance to play around with the LTE chip inside the Verizon version we had, but we expect much better performance than the iPhone 4s. Having 4G LTE on Android makes everything faster, including loading websites and maps. The new maps app also looks gorgeous, especially when you initiate the flyover feature with a two-finger swipe down.

So what’s missing? NFC is not on board, so it doesn’t seem as though Apple will be joining the mobile payment party anytime soon. NFC would also let you share photos with a tap, although Shared Photo Streams accomplishes this over the cloud. The Galaxy S III and HTC One X also have an edge when it comes to burst mode shooting. We didn’t see such an option on the iPhone 5. Nor is there anything like a Best Shot mode.

Overall, though, the iPhone 5 looks like a winner. It crams a lot of powerful new features into a first-class design that people will be clamoring for.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer on
Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Brandon Eliason Says:

    The screen’s resolution is not 1366 by 768, it is 1136 by 640

  2. Shopnohin Says:

    This is the biggest joke of the decade..
    After all the hype n waiting , this is what apple calls innovation.. Just little improvements over previous specs..
    Just dissapointed to see how die hard Apple fan laptopmag is.. You have to be honest in ur reviews.,

  3. Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    The error was corrected. thanks. As for being die hard Apple fans, please note the section on what’s missing, our comparison vs. other phones http://blog.laptopmag.com/iphone-5-vs-the-world-how-apples-device-stacks-up and stories like Top 10 iPhone alternatives. And the Editors Choice Award for the Motorola Droid RAZR M and Samsung Galaxy S III (for Verizon).

  4. Phil T Says:

    The back looks terrible. The rest is nice. (Though I still prefer the looks of the HTC ONE X(white) over this any day)

  5. Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    I agree the HTC One X is still one of the better looking phones. In fact, we named a bunch of HTC phones to our most stylish list. http://blog.laptopmag.com/top-10-stylish-smartphones

  6. Dr. Dornon Says:

    You call this a great screen? It’s 1136×640 resolution at 326 PPI. The Lumia is running at 1280×768 at 332 PPI. It’s also worse than the S3, it’s one of the worse. Apple really disappointed a lot of people with this and I think people will be hopping to the Android or WP ship this fall.

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE