Apple iPhone 5 Review And 4G Speed Test: The Best And Worst iPhone Ever

People waited in line for days all over the world to get their hands on the iPhone 5. Is it truly the next worthy chapter in the successful book of iPhone, or is it just marketing hype dressed up in a two-tone case?

What Is It?

The iPhone 5 is the thinnest, longest iPhone yet, weighing in at 112 grams and measuring 4-inches diagonally. It boasts a dual-core 1.2Ghz A6 processor, 1GB of RAM and an improved 8-megapixel camera.

It comes loaded with a new 4-inch, 1136x640 screen pumping out 326ppi, an Australia-compatible 4G antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 and a new dock connector named Lightning.

It'll set you back, as near as makes no difference, $50 per month on contract, or you can pick it up for $799 outright.

Not an entirely unfamiliar specs list, then. What's it like as a smartphone?

What's Good?

It's what most people keep going on and on about, and truth be told, it's one of the best things about the new iPhone: the weight. I mentioned in my first hands-on that the iPhone 5 feels like your regular smartphone would with the battery removed. It's only 28 grams lighter than the last iPhone, but you immediately notice and enjoy the smaller footprint.

The 4-inch display still has the Retina-grade beauty we've all come to expect from Apple, and it's great to see the same carried over into the new device despite the longer screen. The longer device means that apps need to compensate for the additional screen real estate. We'll get to it in detail but Apple's redesigned Music app, Phone app and Safari look excellent with a little more around the edges.

As far as hardware performance goes, the iPhone is staggeringly good. It's the best performing iOS device ever, and manages a Geekbench 2 score of 1448, despite only having a dual core, 1.2Ghz A6 processor and 1GB of RAM. Compare that to the 1.4Ghz, quad-core-powered Exynos processor in the Samsung Galaxy S III, and you'll find there's only a moderate difference. The S III tips the benchmarking scale at 1754.

The camera is still the same 8-megapixel shooter that it was before, but Apple have radically improved its low light performance to the point that it now can compete with the Samsung Galaxy S III's scene modes. The camera isn't customisable like the Galaxy S III -- it pumps out a good image without having to fiddle with settings. Depending on the type of photographer you are, that might be a good thing. As far as full-light shooting goes, the top three photos in this review were all shot with the iPhone 5. You be the judge.

Here's the low light performance:

Click to zoom in...

iPhone 4S (no flash)

iPhone 5 (no flash)

Samsung Galaxy S III (no flash, no scene)

Galaxy S III (no flash, night scene)

The iPhone 5 is also sporting a 4G antenna which actually works in Australia this time around. Apple's not looking for a repeat performance of the new iPad, I guess. 4G carriers currently available include Telstra, Optus, Virgin and soon, iiNet, too. The last three all run on the same network supplied by Optus, however.

More: Australian 4G Frequencies Explained

The only major carrier without 4G at launch is Vodafone, and boy, do I feel sorry for Vodafone all over again. Speed tests we did around the Sydney area reveal the extent of the third place carrier's problem.

The problem Vodafone faces is one of comparison: why would anyone buy an iPhone 5 on Vodafone, when for less money, they could get a 4G-enabled device and faster speeds? If Vodafone truly wants to be competitive on the iPhone 5-front it needs to take an axe to its prices until 4G comes online next year. On the other side of that coin, it's unlikely you'll ever walk into a Vodafone store and not be able to pick up an iPhone 5.

Finally, the new EarPod headphones produce fantastic sound for bundled headphones. They fit in your head really well and they're comfortable to wear for a long period of time. You may find yourself readjusting them every now and then, and they aren't fitness headphones, but compared to the old bundled headphones, these are a cut above.

What's Bad?

For all the good on the iPhone 5, there's a lot of bad.

First of all, the black bars. The black bars refers to the problem that apps have when they aren't configured for the iPhone 5's screen. The app centres on the screen in the old 3.5-inch size and the iPhone puts two black bars on the top and bottom of the app to compensate for the empty space. Make no mistake, this looks atrocious. To get app developers in gear, Apple hasn't included a resize option for apps like it does on the iPad, so if your dev no longer supports the app you love, you're stuck with black bars on that app forever.

On launch day not a single app that wasn't made by Apple was able to compensate for the size difference. Not Facebook, not Twitter, not Shazam, not Yelp, not Instagram. Nobody. I've had app updates all weekend, but there are still major apps that have no support for the longer iPhone. I'm looking at you, Instagram. Not even Apple's album art in the Music app is compatible with the longer screen when the device is locked. The black bars are just about the ugliest thing I've ever seen on an iPhone.

That was, however, before I started using Apple Maps.

As we know, Apple is looking to ditch its Google dependence, and in a foolhardy move, Cupertino ditched Google Maps in favour of its own solution.

I would rather live without one of my ten fingers than Apple Maps, and it's the reason I'm switching platforms at the end of my contract to something that recognises that train stations are legitimate points of interest that need highlighting. Something doesn't encourage me to turn illegally or drive through houses. Something that works. I don't care that it's a 1.0 product, it shouldn't have even got out the door. For shame.

I mentioned earlier that 4G capabilities are fantastic. That's because they are, but if you plan on doing it more than a few times a day, you'd better have a charger ready. The 4G absolutely tears through battery like a six-year old through Christmas wrapping paper. The handset dipped below 10 per cent twice in one day with moderate use (finding somewhere to eat, uploading a few photos to Instagram, using iTunes Match once).

It's also worth mentioning that Siri is just as useless, and the addition of two more microphones doesn't mean she understands you any better. This was the best thing I got out of Siri, and I'll never use it again after this.

Should You Buy It?

In a word? No. Not because it's a rubbish phone or because it deserves to be a doorstop on your back gate or anything awful like that, but because right now, getting an iPhone 5 is just a bad deal.

Apple clearly hasn't done the work to make the device perfect before it left Cupertino, and it really shows in the final product. The back case is prone to nicks and blemishes out of the box, Apple Maps is horrendous to even consider living with and the battery is atrocious. It's like all the perfectionists at Apple were locked out of the test lab for a week. Where's the polish we're used to?

It really is, then, the best and the worst iPhone yet. It's the best speed, the best performance and the best screen we've seen on Apple's flagship smartphone, but simultaneously, it's the least polished, most annoying device with the worst software I've seen since OS X Lion.

Just because the iPhone 5 is an early-adopter's worst nightmare doesn't mean you shouldn't buy an iPhone. Certainly not. Right now, you can get a killer deal on the last great iPhone: the 4S.

The only downside to the 4S these days is that it will likely be unsupported hardware by the time your contract runs out, plus the fact that it runs iOS 6 out of the box, but get thee to a search engine and that problem can be solved in no-time flat. It's still thin, it's still fast and you won't need to run for a charger twice a day. On top of that, you'll have a world of accessories open to you thanks to the 30-pin connector.

So the iPhone 5 isn't the phone we were all promised. Does it surprise you? It was the most leaked device in Apple's history -- something I'd bet was by design -- simply because the company had to prepare the masses for the disappointment to come.


    How will older iPhones work with apps updated for the iPhone 5's aspect ratio? Is it possible important information will be cut off? If so, it could make buying an iPhone 4S a bad idea.

      Its called Fragmentation. People have said the same thing about Android and screen sizes. App developers will have a hard task if they want 4/4S and 5 compatibility all in one..

      Or, maybe Apple can include a "fill to screen" function like what Android has.....

      Either way, the black bars are a bit daft.

        I can't understand how it is a problem. Most apps in WinPhone scroll, so screen size seems completely irrelevant but I'm thinking that is easy because you just have a simple black or white background to draw things over, where iOS goes in for fancy krap. Even so, I figure those things are just tiled images or vector stuff, so I am surprised there is an issue at all and was hoping someone might have some insight.

          Don't forget iPads also use the same aspect ratio as the 4S and older. They have plenty of incentive to allow for all devices. Not like Android where pretty much every device runs a different screen res.

        If devs were smart about how they built their apps it shouldn't be much work at all (mostly updating bitmap assets). iOS fragmentation is nothing close tithe snowball horrors of android

      Far out gizmodo what is this, this is a terrible review. I have an iPhone 5 and yes the the battery is dodgy when using LTE but if your really that annoyed then turn it off in settings. How can you recommend be 4S over the 5 becuase of battery life!?!?! As for maps, well yes they aren't as good as google maps but google very well might launch their own app, even if they don't you can still use safari. And I don't know about the black one but my white one is very scratch resistant. Oh and letter boxing, big whoop, I don't really notice and some of my favourite apps like Facebook and temple run have updated and it won't take long for other developers to catch up. You talk about how this iPhone isn't polished but it is the most polished phone their is, sure it's not perfect but it's more polished than android. I'm not biast, I've had windows, android and iOS, I like them all but if your concerned about what is polished then there is really only one choice. I dunno if your being biast gizmodo but you certainly screwed up on this review just like apple did with their maps.

        +1 Definitely a crappy review. You and Jesus need to mix your reviews together and just maybe we'll get a review on an Apple product without bias.

          Nope, they were spot on. It was a very objective review. Apple is no longer the perfectionist they are. They are renowned for being a cut above the rest, now they aren't. The map is pissing me off. They should have never released it before it was ready. Early adopters always get screwed, but not this badly, especially not from what people have come to expect from Apple.

          Now that Jobs is gone, within the decade, Apple is going the way of Nokia.

            You got an apple view without bias. You just didnt like it.

            Face it, apple are falling yet further behind everywhere else, spending more time concentrating on frivolous lawsuits instead of actually developing anything.

            This is exactly what I was thinking, but was hoping it was not true. Steve Jobs had a definite vision of what he wanted the iPhone to be and he pushed happen please to make is visions come true. I guess the question now is whether can cook can do the same. Obviously the design elements were made before the passing of Steve Jobs. I'm hoping that Tim Cook can bring this set same strong leadership to the making of the iPhone as did Steve Jobs.

          That Bruce guy is a genuine idiot. I detect a "disguised" Mac fanboi having a go at any negative opinions. What's the point of having LTE if the phone cannot handle it? And then the other points made.... where to start!?

        Thats great that you're so easily satisfied Bruce, Apple love having you as a consumer.
        -Turn off LTE? are you kidding? why buy an new 4g phone and disable LTE? thats like turning off the screen to save battery while playing games.
        -Battery life is extremely important, the no1 job of a smart phone is to be portable. i wouldn't consider a phone that can't last a whole day with moderate usage.
        -Letter boxing SUCKS, you upgraded to the new iPhone which has a major selling point of the new larger screen and you can't even utilize it. (I also enjoy watching 16:9 movies on a 4:3 TV, reminds me of a simpler time)

        This is by far the most straight up review of an Apple device ever posted on gizmodo. It's refreshing to see.

        I agree with you! Maps has its moments, but this device is amazing to hold.
        And as for the battery life, haven't had ANY issues with it.
        I bet those complaining about battery are the kind that are willing to get apple to replace there device just for a software problem. Learn how to set up your own device for your own usage before complaining!

          Jeff I am not easily satirised, as I said before I've had other OS's this is my first iPhone. And I said IF you really are worried about battery life you can turn LTE off. Gizmodo recommend the 4S over the 5 partly becuase of battery life and that just doesn't make sense an iPhone 5 with LTE off is still better than a 4S. Plus I haven't had any issues with LTE batter anyway and I'm a heavy user. On moderate use my iPhone 5 lasts until late afternoon (6PM), that's not so bad. Letter boxing is the closest thing iOS has had to fragmentation and it will become less of an issue every day. I don't understand why gizmodo (and you) see this as a reason not to but the iphone. Its still better than a 4S, the letter boxing will slowly go away, but the 4S you'll ways be stuck with a smaller screen. It's not refreshing to see a review like this, it's concerning

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          Exactly, the most unbiased Apple story from the apple news outlet ever. Nice work Giz.

        Google should make their app paid or subscription based for revenge

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        Gizmodo! This review is probably the worst one written. The weight and thinnest alone qualifies as better than the iPhone 4S. Also don't underestimate map making. Google had like a decade to refine its maps product. Apple had a couple of years without crowd sourcing. Yes the black one scratches. I agree that's bad, but don't neglect that the iPhone 5 has withstood many drop tests and is definitely more durable. That would have made this review a lot better. Just cause you had past conflicts with Apple doesn't mean you should compromise your writing. Good day.

        if you buy a car in which the radio doesn't work properly and the windshield brushes don't work properly, would you still rate the car as recommended? sure you can replace the radio unit yourself, and can fix the brushes youself, and sure the car is about getting the engine started and get you from place to place, but are you going to be happy to pay premium to have a car with radio defect?

        this is not about a bad review. for a well anticipated flagship release, Apple released something that is un-polished, not well-planned and with internal glitches here and there. some die-hard fans are still willing to accept the flaws just to have the new Apple gear, but it doesn't change the fact that it is a sloppy release and bad review is what it deserves.

        they make the apps seperately so you wont miss out on anything

        Just get Samsung Galaxy 3 and then you'll have nothing to moan about. No brainer

        Why, you loyalist, you! Actually, this was an objective review and a far-cry from the ones in which people simply fawn over the 5 without pointing out its flaws. Apple has fallen into the very bad habit of releasing software that is "in beta" and the company needs to be called on it. We saw it on the 4S with Siri and we see it now in iOS 6 with Apple's screwball mapping software. Furthermore, awful battery life came standard with every iPhone starting with the 4S and appears to have continued.

        By the way, I own a 4S and I'm done with Apple once my contract with AT&T is up in July. The only thing I disagree with the reviewer on is his notion that the 4S is the last great phone from Apple. I'd argue that the 4 was the last great phone (I miss mine daily) and the company is now releasing half-polished phones that pale in comparison to what the competition has out there these days.

        One more thing -- arbitrarily changing that connector was a bonehead move. I almost bought a truck a few years ago with an iPhone dock built into it. Thank God I didn't.

      no, as an iphone app developer, i can confirm, we have to develop "different app interfaces" for each device, iPhone 3-3s, iPhone 4-4s, iPhone 5, the app detects the device and shows the interface that suits the screen resolution on your device. in terms of hiding important info it will depend how good is the designer, to use the space available for each resolution. But yes its true, you get a bit more real-estate with the iphone 5, but i wouldn't hold myself from buying a 4s because of that.

        Are you really an iPhone app developer? I am - and you don 't have to create separate nib (interface layout files) for every phone version. Only one with the new constraints feature.

    completely agree, it is a really average phone (though the build quality is stunning). it has fallen behind the android devices and positioned itself as a mass market device rather than a versatile powerhouse.

      The iPhone has always been a mass market device, don't kid yourself. Apple's closed ecosystem and the fact they don't let you to customise the thing at all (not without jailbreaking it anyway) are testament to that.

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          Lol calm down. Perhaps I would like to differentiate my phone when I put it on a table with a 12y/o's iPhone and my Grandma's iPhone.

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          Actually I want to know as well, what do you really customise in Android. The layout? lol

            Mainly widgets for news/ weather. Toggle switches for airplane, wifi, blue tooth, not hidden in settings. Live backgrounds can look good. Even social media widgets scales to a size you prefer. Not just a row of boxes. You might not use it... I do and i have the option to. I find iphone prosaic and dull. That's just me (and a few others evidently)

              you can do all that on iPhone with Cydia, I have toggle switches on my notifications pull down for all those things and more. Tried widgets on my HTC desire when I was running that a couple of years ago, not a big fan so haven't loaded any on my iPhone, prefer just opening the full screen app.

            Everything from the base OS up. There is nothing on an android you cant change. There is also nothing that you cant back up to an sd card (one of those memory cards that slide into real mobile phones that let you expand the available space on the phone, you guys wouldnt have seen one of those) and then transfer across to your next phone.

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          Real mature, and btw, its fads now, they got rid of the red tip because it wasn't sending the right message to kids.

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            However, for anyone interested in what Android users ''customize'', that would include using our preferred apps to sync (other than iTunes), being able to store apps and songs and movies in our preferred locations (often, a removable memory card) , being able to view Flash on websites, etc.

            There's lots more, but the above is a start.

          Wow, "Fags". Nice one. Good strong argument there. Making the Apple users look classy.

    "Something doesn’t encourage me to turn illegally or drive through houses. "

    Or tell you that Berlin is in Antarctica

      mine dosent take me to Antarctica it takes me to Germany

      couldn't you still use whereis? which is what i did when there was google maps anyway?

        looking inside restaurants and bars is pretty cool

    Legitimate question: How do you know Apple "ditched" Google Maps and it wasn't just an expired contract that they didn't see worth re-signing as they've been working on their own solution? Sure it needs work but I wouldn't call it horrible and yes, Google's years of experience in the game leave them with a much better mapping experience.

    If it doesn't suit, I daresay it won't be long until Google releases a stand-alone app to replace it.

    Anyway, the main question is in the first line and I'm actually wondering if there was word on whether it was "ditched" or whether it was just an expired contract.

      Yes Apple ditched Google completely, it was a matter of Apple feeling betrayed by Google after Google going with android phones . So they spat the dummy and stopped supporting anything Google made. If they could block Google on their phones browsers without pissing off everyone they would do that too.

        Unless you can show proof of any of what you just said, I'm looking for a slightly better answer, thanks.

          The proof is all over the place, it has had a lot of media coverage. Read Steve Job's biography if you want it first-hand.

            I'm aware of it, but it's not the answer I'm interested in. My question is in this particular instance, did the contract expire, so they jumped over to their own mapping solution, or did they ditch Google Maps at their own chosen time to jump over to their own mapping solution.

            One answer leads me to believe there is more of a reason why they released their maps when they did, the other answer leads me to believe they may have been a bit premature on the jump.

            Either way, maps will never be perfect until they go public, but it could certainly be a bit more polished.

              I think it was more deliberate than the contract expiring: after all, they cut out the YouTube app too, so they probably just wanted to lower their dependency on Google.

              Or maybe they just didn't like the stock YouTube app, like everyone else.

              one Giz article reported that there is still one more year contract left between Apple and Google but Apple decided to ditch google early.

              go figure.

          The other thing to consider is. Every APP that uses geolocation software with Google maps was paying Google royalties. Since Apple doesn't like Google any more and can make some money out of it if done properly, then why not change? Short term if their maps are useless they piss some people off, but long term, once they get them up and running properly at or close to google map standards then they can make a fair amount of money.

          It is downright foolish to think that they dropped Google maps for anything other than political reasons. They certainly didn't do it to enhance the user experience, as anyone who has used iOS 6 will tell you.
          This article (
          Very clearly explains that apple have been trying to loose their dependency on google since 2009; but the maps usage contracts are not the reason they dropped them. Apple Knew that they would feel backlash because of their terrible product, and they decided to go with it anyway, simply because they are having a tantrum. "Google won't play nicely with me so I'm not going to share my toys"
          Like a big 4 year old.
          Google would be perfectly within their rights NOT to publish a maps app- and let people flood to android instead- as they are predicted to do.
          In the end, Apple have released sub-par and unfinished software, for purely political reasons. And that is going to cost them.

            Pretty short sighted view on this mate, Google doesn't license Turn-By-Turn, Vector Maps or 3D View. They don't, that is a fact. These are features that users expect in a phone (as is evident by Android's T-B-T) and for Apple to offer it, they had to remove themselves from Google. There is no other way around it.

            I believe they could have done the roll out in a more user-friendly manner, background data skimming, area by area roll out (would have reduced the backlash a little), better QC. But the eventual goal is pretty evident, they want to offer a better user experience in the long run that is also cheaper. While yes, it would be partly political I severely doubt it was straight up political reasoning. Apple is a stickler for good UX, they needed to get off Google quick, they want to build their own maps to improve on and to continue being a viable competitor that offers similar features some decisions had to be made. In 2 years time there will be a new mapping competitor on the market with more $$$ than most of the European nations, I'm personally excited by that.

              Google don't let you use the SDK to build your 'own' turn-by-turn, etc.

              But you can use 'theirs' if you pay. I imagine other features blocked in the ToS would be the same.

              A pretty short-sighted view on the Google Maps SDK ToS.

      two big reasons why Apple really wants to kill Google maps (and why Google should be sweating the news):

      1. Mobile ads associated with maps and location data account for about a quarter of all mobile ad revenue. That's money Apple wants and Google doesn't want to lose out on.

      2. Apple believes it can sell more mobile devices by differentiating its mapping feature from Google's. Apple also hopes to convince developers to build more original map-related apps.

      (as quoted from the WSJ - June 11 2012)

      Google made more money from licencing Google maps to apple than it did over the entire android os. It was costing them too much so they decided to develop their own.

        If I was in Apples position (listed company) I would as a shareholder have demanded that it ditch Google maps and other programs as soon as possible. Do not let a competitor gain an advantage from your efforts (platform). Google gets enough of a free ride in the marketplace as it is. Good move Apple and long overdue. As for all the huf and puf on the tech blogs, yawn!. I hardly used Google maps on any platform and for those that do not know better there are very good alternatives available, so big yawn! As for the gist of the article, pure bias, paid bias, and factually FUD.

          By your logic, Samsung shareholders should have urged them to stop making iPhone hardware years ago, because it was used in products competing with their own.

          Companies do what is best for them, which is to make money. By offering the best service and experience.

          This app is, apparently, not the best experience. Don't justify a dodgy product with a lack of knowledge. This was no 'free ride' for Google, they have one of the best map app's out because they threw a sh*t-tonne of money at it years ago, and have been adding to it ever since.

          That and Luke being bias as anti-apple? I'd have to check the Gizmodo history, but I'm pretty sure he's in love with his 4S.


        Also, they want to develop a native turn by turn app (which Google did not allow in Maps on iOS). It'll suck for a while, Apple will buy in more skills, and it will work well.

        In the interim, expect some GPS app sellers to offer sales to get you in. Oh, and Apple will make 30% on those sales too, crying all the way to the bank.

        Google - Don't be evil
        Apple - Check out our bank balance

      Youre not really paying much attention are you.

      They did release their own map app. It has already failed dismally. Hence previous comments about being driven through houses, and berlin being in antarctica.

    A good, balanced article about an iPhone.

    For a change. :)

      "For a change. :)"


        The most unbiased apple article I believe I have ever read on Giz.

      Not really, it was a shit review. He made the biggest deal about black bars and maps. I couldn't really care less about either.

        I'd be pretty pissed if some of my new phone's biggest selling points are big letdowns too, just saying.

          how are black bars selling points? lol

            Bigger Screen size = selling point
            Black bars due to new screen size = letdown

            was it really that difficult?

              Not difficult at all, yet to know I was being a little facetious seems impossible for some.

            Larger screen

              Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between someone who is being facetious and someone who is just a clueless fanboy idiot.

              You'd better use more emoticons ;-)

      Not balanced at all, unless you call (and it seems you do) confuse bias with balance. Just as an aside, I speed tested LTE (4G) on an iPhone 5 in a small country town on the weekend (Bairnsdale) and over some ten tests averaged 36 Mbps up, 9 down with Geekbench tests averaging 1680. A friends S111 was not even close. And as for navigation on the weekend it was Tom Tom GPS. I hear about a map problem, who uses maps for navigation. I tried out maps and it found all the POI's that I tested, accurately located me at all times and importantly located all my friends accurately. My experience has been good and the phone is a beast.

    I live in glebe and I got 46Mbps down on the iphone 5 4g, I can send you the screenshots if you like

    Disagree with a lot of this, black bars are no where near as annoying to me, in fact I hardly even notice them. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes the phone way more pleasant to use, especially in terms of viewing space with the keyboard on screen, and movies are much better. Charger is annoying, but that its't even close to deal breaker. Adapters change, live with it, it's not like they change every year, it's 10 bloody years old, what did you expect? The only point I agree with is the one about the maps. They look good, but really they suck, hopefully Google releases a stand alone app, the browser version of Google maps sucks.

      yeah everyones making a huge deal about the dock changing, but is it any different to when nokia went from the big plug to the small one? If I go through my box of old adapters I think I have about 10 of each now anyway, give it 18 months and there will be lightning connectors everywhere.

      You mean google maps? That was available on iTunes. Until apple made their own map app?

      GOOOOOOOOOOOD LUCK with that

    Gee I wonder if the author is a fandroid or owns Samsung stock? Your article is predujicial rubbish!

      I don't own any stock due to potential conflicts of interest. You know, because I'm a professional who likes spelling. Otherwise, my daily driver is an iPhone 4S. Must try harder.

        Would Bobby B have received irony points had he gone with prejumadicial?


            Why do i like this article?
            Because you can tell youre an iphone fan. Whos a bit disappointed with your phone. And actually being honest about what the craic is.

            Too many articles on both sides of this 'debate' (read clusterf**k) have blindly pro or anti articles on either side, and then theres invariably 50 comments pages about how this article is bullshit because... blah blah blah.

            Good to see an honest review for once.

      Why because its not all magical rainbows and kittens? This is actually a well balanced review of the new handset, more than could be expected of most tech writers... But I'm keen to read your review if you want to post a link to your completely unbiased review....

      Can't tell if trolling, or butthurt fanboy.

      Grow up, he pointed out where it excels, just as much as where there wasn't so much to like. Great article.

      LOL, I guess you don't read Giz much? Luke has a long history of being an iSheep.

        I object outright to that label. I don't associate with any brand. I associate with technology. Huge difference.

          ... and the troll ate well ;)

          But seriously, I was just kidding around. For what it’s worth I thought it was a great article.

          But in the end you can't help having some level of bias, just by being more familiar/comfortable with iOS and OSX. It is inevitable and generally very obvious (as opposed to specifically obvious in your case) to anyone who is more familiar with Windows (and probably Android). I am sure you try really hard to be objective but at the end of the day you will always be more comfortable with one thing than another. I'll give you an example - your probably find the Mac keyboard to be perfectly usable, whereas I find it misses more keystrokes than the universally vilified keyboard on my Asus Zenbook. That tells me that Mac users most likely have a different typing style, which must influence their impression of everything they review. It is unavoidable.

      Luke really can't win either way...last weeks commenters were terribly concerned (read: screeching madly) that his coverage of the iPhone 5 was blindly pro-Apple.


        We saw that, and it made me sad that the sleepless nights were barely worth it. But we'll keep doing it to the best of our ability. There'll be less Apple iPhone 5 stuff going forward because most of the madness is over. You have to expect with big products and big launches that it'll dominate the news cycle for a little while...

    I believe iPhone 5 scored 1601 in the geekbench 2 benchmark :)

    finally a true review of the iPhone 5, everyone else raves on how its the best ever but this is just poor thought into the idea of ditching Google maps and YouTube, easy scratching bezel and no "real" performance increase ie still using 3 core GPU compared to iPad 3's quad core. at least they finally upgraded the ram to 1GB considering the majority of up spec Android handsets have had it for a while. It's no longer the benchmark anymore for handsets, now its just playing catch up with Android. (and for the apple fans out there i do have a iPod Touch. and I own a ASUS Transformer TF101 and a HTC One X so i know my stuff about Android)

      Owning an Adroid phone doesn't mean you "know your stuff". Loving the comment about the 3 core GPU and no real performance increase considering the A6 (in the iPhone 5) blisters over the A5 (in the newer ipad) in benchmarls so far. It makes sens the iPhone GPU is not the same as teh iPad as the screen is about a quarter of the size in resolution. Adding more cores that aren't needed will just burn more battery. But you probably knew that, coz you "know your stuff". If you are going to comment, check your facts first please.

    Most of the issues are software related. Not a good buy for early adopters, but considering the fundamentals of the hardware, it's a no brainer as an update and I think that's what Apple are looking for.

      well sorry i don't triple check my facts but obviously you know stuff i don't but there is no need for the annoying comment i was just stating an opinion and nothing more. but owning Android phones and tablets i do know quite a bit but as not as much as you do. and of course I'm neither a isheep or a Android fanboy compared to some of the other posts. im guessing you are really into apple stuff as your the only one who has responded to my comment. and please no sarcastic replies you are lowering yourself to the level of trolls.

    So let me see - this is the worst iPhone ever because it has a crappy maps app? Really? I agree the maps app is bad but it does introduce turn-by turn which is an improvement. Anyway, when Google come out with an iOS maps app does that mean it will no longer be the worst iPhone ever? As for the black bars - are you serious? You mean it was terrible that not every single app was redesigned to remove those "ugly" black bars on the day of release. Talk about first world problems.

    I guess that means you must be really pissed at all the Android phones that don't immediately allow you to upgrade to say jelly bean on the day it is released.

    And who knew that 4G chews through the battery? Wow that was a big surprise!

    Within a month any app worth having will have released an upgrade for the bigger screen. And a Google maps app will not be far away - you can always use the web app, or iFindYou for streetview.

    I find it strange that all the Android sheeple are saying this is a balanced article!

      As a matter of fact -- I am shat to tears by the Android phones that don't ship with Jelly Bean. Well spotted. As for the rest, pay more attention next time.

        What apps do you use that specifically requires 4.1? Most apps are still being developed for 2.3.x and 4.0 still.

          This. Project Butter is the only reason for wanting JB IMO. Would be great if updates came faster from carriers and manufacturers but they get the source code around the same time as the community developers, apply their custom skin/bloat (terrible I know but they feel they have to differentiate) and do far more testing than you get on custom ROMs before it is unleashed on the public. This takes time. If you want JB really badly, root/unlock and custom ROM. Otherwise pester your carrier/manufacturer for the update and be patient.

        Nevertheless - don't buy this phone because of a couple issues with third party apps. That's your advice.

          The only reason I would ever buy an iPhone is for the third party apps, they are what make the iPhone....

            There's an app for that -- but it won't use the awesome screen! That we just told you is the entire reason for getting this phone!

        Could you please be one of those reviewers that instead of bitching about how it doesnt come automatically packed with Jelly Bean, praise the fact that with about 15 minutes of research you can upgrade it yourself regardless of whether your carrier has made it available?

    Your comments re purchasing on Vodafone are making the assumption that people live, work operate in areas that do receive Telstra or Optus 4G coverage.

    That area of coverage for me is best serviced by Vodafone, I can barely hold a call at home on Telstra or Optus. Unfortunately it is a work provided phone so I can't choose Vodafone.

      he then goes on to say that a little bit of 4G surfing will drain your battery to 10%, so sounds like you'd be better off not using the 4G providers anyway.

      Vodafone using the Optust 4G anyway? Don't make their own 4G until next year?

      Sooooo, that'd be 3G, if not below. I think you'll be right with turning off your LTE..

    Yeah complaining about the black bars and saying its a serious detraction is a bit ridiculous. Yes it's a shame apps have them, but lets give it a week, then see how many apps are not supported.

    As a side note, I picked my phone up at lunch time, and by the time I synced my phone to my home computer, (evening) Facebook had updated its app. Which is still before the phone was released in America.

    Maps is rubbish though.

    Nice review. Should silence the critics that say this site is run by Apple fans.

    My thoughts (4S with iOS6)

    I personally don't have an issue with the maps app. The business listings aren't great, but I never thought the Google business listings where very good either. I also just looked and I found heaps of train stations marked with a little purple train symbol.

    I also really don't understand how Siri is useless. In my usage she has perfectly executed every request that I have made. I look up things on Wolfram Alpha all the time and I use Siri a lot while driving.

      The maps app is not as good as google, but not as bad a people make out. Google maps in terms of businesses is pretty much useless in Australia, so Apple maps is on par with that. I corrected approx. 20 local businesses, so I'm interested to see how long those corrections take to be published. I've correct listings in Google maps and they never get fixed.

      Siri is certainly not useless. Australia suffers due to the lack of local business info, but the expanded functionality with apps certainly works really well.

        I don't know where you are that there are 20 local businesses with incorrect details but from my experience Google Maps nav is 99% spot on for me for business and residential addresses (in Brisbane area). Voice search seems to be the achilles heel of maps, it often doesn't work on unusual named streets and things like that but Google Maps itself is no where near useless.

        This is the first phone I've owned with Siri and I'm absolutely loving it. While the maps app does not have places like "Nando's" by me saying "What's the phone number for Nando's?" I'm immediately given a list of restaurants w/phone numbers and asked which one I'd like to call. Used this to book 2 meals at different restaurants over the weekend, add items to reminders, search google, send many text messages, call people, etc. The occasional glitch caused by my mummbling, but in general absolutely perfect.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      I don't think anyone that's still in school should tell someone else to "get a job". At least I'm guessing you're still in school with that spelling.

    Also. As someone who is still using the vodaphone network. If you aren't watching videos, what is the advantage of 4g? As long as the page loads and doesn't have a time out issue I'm happy. (As a side note though, I typically disable images in my browser just to safe of data costs)

    Why not turn it off if it goes through that much data?

    One of the best things about any smartphone is the ability to use it as a GPS and navigate through this world. To cripple that function with Apple Maps is mind blowing.

    Meh, i love it.
    Its so light, so quick, And put a case or skin on it if you are so worried about scratching it. Anyone with a clue about reselling apple devices would do this. The apple maps app is rubbish , so i use google maps (yes you can still use it there is a how-to on this site) Oh and i have TomTom so which is what a GPS navigation app should be. As far as the connector goes , as another poster mentioned its 10yrs old , they wont go back now.

    Three times today my wife has shared her location with me and all times I had no idea where she was travelling too simply because when I zoom out of maps the town or local name for the place does not appear. Missing Google on this one, and no satellite imagery in her area only 400kms from a major city.

    I jumped from a great Android phone to the 4S and still enjoy it very much, yet I am feeling handicapped after ios 6 and can see why those who have sacrificed some of their dignity to get the first iP5 are a little embarrassed.

    Fortunately the 4S has HEAPS of grunt and will run slick and fast for years to come, by which time my contract will be up and I can pick from a larger range of outstanding handsets that will all boast the screens, power and features once only available for certain on the iPhone.

    Apple may just become an ordinary company again if this style of product development continues.

      Symo, considering the massive urbanisation of Australia, I think you and I have very different definitions of, "only" 400 kms.

    Steve Jobs would never have let something like this through. Sigh. Cancer took him too early.

      Lol, only that clown wouldn't have allowed a bigger screen.

    Maps and the scuffing are both real issues, but there's no way I'd take a 4S over a 5 having now used one.

    Battery life I'm basically finding on par with the 4, even with LTE.

    "Te best iPhone ever" is a pretty good summary - if you like iPhones you'll love it, if you don't it won't do anything to convert you.

    It's an unrefined upgrade. Sure it has its issues but so does many new products.
    The earpods suck that is all.

    I am glad I didn't hang around for the I phone 4s (b) ...

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