iPhone 5: First Hands-On

iPhone 5: First Hands-On


It’s had people literally lining up around blocks all over the world, and now it’s finally here in our hot little hands. Live vicariously through us as we go hands on with the new iPhone 5.

The first thing you notice about the iPhone 5 is the weight. Ever picked up your current phone without a battery in it? That’s the feeling you get when you pick up the iPhone 5. It’s almost a tad disconcerting. Did Apple sacrifice a bigger battery for weight? Perhaps we’ll never know.

It’s not noticeably taller when you pull it out of the box, but when you hold it side by side with an iPhone 4S, you can see the difference.

Apple has sacrificed an all-glass back for a two-tone design which feels lovely in the hand. The aluminium back and sides are all matte finished, too, so while it feels nice to touch, get ready for scratches.

In the box you get a container with the Apple EarPods, a Lightning cable and the same old AC adapter. The EarPods are close to the ugliest looking headphones I’ve ever seen, but they’re head-and-shoulders above any pair of bundled headphones that have come before. Don’t expect to do any running with them though: they’re still as loose in your head as they’ve ever been and the slightest amount of force or pressure will see them yanked out.

The screen still has the same Retina brilliance we’ve come to expect from the iPhone, so no change there.

The camera — while it’s still boasting the same megapixels — has radically improved its low light performance. It beats the pants off both the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S III (without scene modes enabled). When the Galaxy S III has its scene mode set to night, though, the results are comparable. Check out the photo comparisons with our lovely in-office model, Rob.

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)

When you get into actually using the device, you’ll be putting up with iOS 6, which as we talked about yesterday, has both good and bad points. Check out our review of iOS 6 for more info.

One big problem you’ll notice right off the bat is the app cropping. Because the iPhone 5 is larger than any of its predecessors, all the apps are the wrong size. Holding the screen vertically means that you’ll see the app centred on the screen at the old iPhone resolution, while turning it horizontally (if it has a horizontal mode) will get you exactly the same result. It’s up to app developers to fix their apps as soon as possible, or this will be one ugly app experience.

Speeds on both Optus and Telstra 4G are blisteringly quick, we’ll bring you a full comparison of the network speeds later on this afternoon.

We’ll be bringing you more detailed coverage as the day goes on. If you’ve got any questions about the device, pop them into the comments and we’ll answer them in the afternoon impressions.

Thanks again to Telstra and Optus for sending over the iPhone 5s.
You can find out more info on Telstra’s 4G network here.