Apple iPhone 5 (GSM)

Verge Review

Ah, to review the iPhone 5; what a blessing, and what a curse. It's actually funny to think that there was a time not that long ago that the iPhone wasn't even a thing, let alone an iconic part of pop culture. A time when an Apple-made phone was just a fantasy; a blogger's fever-dream; a secret glimmer in the eye of Steve Jobs and his team of engineers and designers. But the iPhone has become very real. In fact, it's grown up, moved out, and taken over the world. Well, half the world anyhow....

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.3 inches
Weight 0.25 pounds
Form factor Slab
Screen size (diagonal) 4 inches
Carriers AT&T
Operating system iOS
Launch OS version 6.0

Recent News

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Tech Specs

Hardware

Height 4.87 inches
Width 2.31 inches
Thickness 0.3 inches
Weight 0.25 pounds
Form factor Slab
Color White / Silver, Black / Gray
Loudspeaker Mono
Noise cancellation Hardware (multi-mic)

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 4 inches
Technology IPS LCD
Pixel arrangement RGB
Resolution (Y) 1136 px
Resolution (X) 640 px
PPI 326
Touchscreen type Capacitive

Connectivity

Carriers AT&T
GSM Yes
GSM frequencies supported 1900, 900, 850
UMTS / HSPA Yes
UMTS frequencies supported 900, 2100, 1900, 850
LTE Yes
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
802.11n frequencies 5GHz, 2.4GHz
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.0
Tethering / mobile hotspot Yes
Media streaming AirPlay

Processor

Manufacturer Apple
Model A6
Clock speed 1 GHz
Number of cores 2

Memory

RAM size 1 GB

Storage

Internal size 64 GB, 32 GB, 16 GB
External No

Front Camera

Resolution 1.2 megapixels
Video resolution 720p

Rear Camera

Resolution 8 megapixels
Flash LED
Focus type Autofocus
Video resolution 1080p
Video framerate 30

Software

Operating system iOS
Launch OS version 6.0

Interface

Video out Yes
Headphone jack 3.5mm
Other ports Lightning

Sensors

Sensors Compass (Magnetometer), Proximity, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer

Battery

Removable No

Recent News

No recent news about Apple iPhone 5 (GSM).

8.7

Average User Review

of 84 total reviews
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  • 10
  • Design 9
  • Display 9
  • Camera(s) 9
  • Reception / call quality 9
  • Performance 10
  • Software 8
  • Battery life 8
  • Ecosystem 9

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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by photograph (Currently owns)

    If you've wanted an iPhone lately, you've had three choices. The iPhone 5s, the 5c, or the 4s. But some might want the beauty of the 5s but in a less expensive package, so they have turned to eBay to get the older model, the iPhone 5. Is the iPhone 5 still a good deal after many months of use? Let's find out.

    The design of the phone is virtually identical to the 5s, except for the single LED flash and the black model instead of the slate grey. It still is a great phone, but do keep in mind if you use it without a case it is prone to scratches and scuffs, particularly on the black model, which I have. Even with the scuff troubles, Apple's design team did a great job, it still looks like one of the best phones out right now.

    The display is the same display used on the 5s and the 5c, the 4-inch Retina display. Colors were great, and with a pixel density of 326 ppi it would be tough to discern individual pixels. It might be too small for some, but for me, it's a great display.

    The camera is great too. It takes great pictures, with good clarity and sharpness. The single-LED flash still works great even with the dual LEDs on the 5s.

    Even with an A6 chip, the 5 flies through tasks. Browsing the web is stutter-free, and overall daily operations go on without lag.

    The operating system, iOS 7 has a completely different look than before. Some may like it, some may hate it. If you like the look, then good for you. If you don't, make sure if you're looking for a 5 on the market it has iOS 6 since you can't downgrade back. And you might just want iOS 6 because of the next reason...

    Battery life. When I had iOS 6 installed the iPhone 5 had good battery life. Not extraordinary but good, dependable battery life which can easily get you through the day. After iOS 7, many people complained (like me) about the sub-par battery life on iOS 7. I am currently on iOS 7.1 beta 5 and while it is better than the original release of iOS 7 it is still nowhere near the battery life of iOS 6.

    Well, that wraps it up. The iPhone 5 is still a great phone, the 5c with a more beautiful case. And if you want one, and still can find one, then get one. It's a dependable phone, but be aware of the battery troubles with iOS 7.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by Lalocrbz (Currently owns)

    Over all it's a great phone even though it could be much better, it's easy to use and to understand how it works. Compared to Android devices it's simpler toanage, the software is more fluid and friendly, by the other hand samsung galaxy s4 has a better camera and more functions, but functions that you're never going to really need.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 5
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 9
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 4
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by adearth (Currently owns)

    The design of the iPhone 5 is light and thin which makes it easy to hold for long periods of time. It features a 4" display which is clear, easy to reach, and allows easy one hand typing. The camera takes good pictures although it has trouble in some conditions. Call quality is good (I live in a bad service area). One of the things that I enjoy most about the phone is that it is able to go through menus with no lag, unlike android which I have found to drop frames occasionally. iOS 6 is extremely stable & lag free. I'm using iOS 7 (beta 4) now and it does not have the same smoothness, granted it is a beta so I expect improvements. iOS 7 also added much needed features to the Phone. Battery was very good on iOS 6 (always make it through a day) with the beta is it more variable. I find iTunes to be very good for syncing but find iCloud still has many problems so I avoid using it, if you have a Mac this phone works very well in conjunction with it.
    ***Will update review when iOS 7 is fully released or the beta is at the GM level***

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 9
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by erdu_ (Currently owns)

    i have owned every iPhone and i never had a doubt. its just the best phone you can get. Every phone user knows that the hardware is the best in the industry and you don't have to say much about the ecosystem. its is just the perfect experience with the iPhone. You got the best hardware combined with the best software. If you want the buy a new phone wait for the 5S because it will even be better than the iPhone 5

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by engelhardtdaniel (Currently owns)

    I have to mention, that this is my first iPhone I ever owned, but not the first I've ever used. First of all I really like the design of the new iPhone 5, it looks gorgeous! But there are also some things I don't like at the new iPhone, but I'm going to start with the things I really like at my new baby.

    I'm going to give my opinion in the "Verge Order" (Design, Display, Camera, Reception...)

    As I mentioned before I really love the way the iPhone looks, it feels and it is. The aluminium body looks really good and the glass panels on the back give the phone this special look. After the first few leaks over a year ago I was really disappointet about the design of the iPhone 5. It was really ugly and akward, that silver body frame to the black glass panels on the back looked soooo ugly... At September 21st the iPhone 5 was announced in San Francisco and I really thougt this is going to be a total flop. The iPhone is dead and Apple will soon follow.

    The Display on the iPhone 5 is really really good, also I like the fact, that it is "only" 4 inches in size. I'm not the biggest fan of supersized Displays on Smartphones, also caused by the fact, that I have really small hands.

    Next point is the Camera, I think the iPhone 5 take some really good looking pictures. I don't have a extra Camera with me, so I always use my iPhone to take my pictures. The only thing I don't like about the camera is the sapphire lens an the fact, that it is easy to get dust or dirt behind the lens. I often have the purple lens flare effects in my pictures caused by the sapphire lens. Also I have some dirt behind the sapphire lens and the bad thing is, you can see the dirt on the pictures as white or grey dots. That's really annoying...

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by ro0nilwazlib (Currently owns)

    Having been an avid Android enthusiast from the HTC Hero and onto the Galaxy S II, I turned "to the dark side" in the form of a Retina iPad last year (my boyfriend works for Apple, so I got *quite* a nice discount) and I pretty much haven't looked back since then, getting the iPhone 5 on release day.

    I was heavily into modding my Galaxy S II, just to get the latest features, and the lack of stability was a nuisance. Now I'm jailbroken, I get the same level of customisation with an amazingly stable OS. That's not even mentioning the jump in battery life!

    That said, I was tempted by the low price of the Nexus 4 as a second phone to have, so I could keep playing around with the latest Android software. I think Nexus is the only choice with Android.

    This is the best, and prettiest, phone I have ever owned. Only downside is the "halo effect" - I now have a MacBook Air, Apple TV etc. and also want an iPad Mini! I am a consumerist whore.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by aleonell (Currently owns)

    The iPhone remains the flagship of Apple’s entire product line, proof of Apple’s known obsession over details; both hardware and software. It exhibits not merely the highest degree of fit and finish of any smartphone, but the result of a single, coherently designed whole at the highest degree of fit and finish for anything Apple has ever made.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by toni.paneto (Currently owns)

    3 Months with my new iPhone 5 and i always enjoy the sound quality when I capture videos or sound.
    The only problem is that everyone walking around with the same iPhone after 3GS.. I purchased a carbon sticker from http://www.coolcasing.com
    and i don't get bored from the same exactly design over and over.

    The Breakdown

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    • 10
    • Design 8
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 7
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by Jimbo99 (Previously owned)

    I took 3 points right off the bat for software, Apple's iOS had a lead on Android, but Apple maps was a total fail that was 2 of the 3 points. Siri, well the Siri demo and what it really does in the real world one comes away with totally different impressions from the keynote and real world experience. I kept wanting to really give Apple a 4 or less for the fails of maps & the rigged Siri demo. If iOS wasn't as good as it is, I'd have no problems going lower than 7. Anyway, the apps also keep the software from going below a 7. Apple owes it's 3rd party developers a big thanks for that. Although I fail to see anything much better for Apple than I do for Android these days.

    Any of my ratings of products is really intended for what I was able to compare product for product rather than whether the product was a true 10. Let's face it if the two finalists of a beauty pageant are a 4 and a 5 on a scale of 1-10, the 5 is going to get 9's & 10's, and the 4 will get 8's & 9's. The new HTC One and the Samsung S4 are simply better hardware today. The software's base systems and for the most part the apps are a push at this point. Apple edges Android for Siri, Google voice search isn't quite the same. Android edges iOS with google maps vs Apple maps. Yeah, I know Apple finally was able to get google maps, but that was google bailing Apple out in the end because Apple wasn't going to admit they were trying to get rid of google. To be honest, I would've let Apple eat that one, but google has an implied obligation to support even Apple users.

    That's what skews these scores I guess, the difference in reviews dates. My iPhone5 review is 7 months after introduction, 7 months ago the Apple was probably 9's & 10's, but things change in 7 months and Apple even knows it.

    Anyway, the new champion is the HTC One aluminum, The S4 is around the corner, but Apple made sure they made it harder on Samsung by suing them so often.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by alldaysays (Currently owns)

    Design is amazing, as it always is with Apple and Jony Ive. However, battery life is not enough to get me through a day, (I'm a medium user) but close. The aluminum back is beautiful, but too sensitive to use without some form of case or bumper. The thinness of the phone compared to iPhones of old is second to none. It does have a tendency to feel cheap because it is so light, but one can get past that. In the iPhone 4 and 4S, the home button did not have a "click" sound and feel. This sounds petty, but hear me out. In the iPhone 4, the button went down cleanly and did not resist much. The home button in the iPhone 5 seems to be a downgrade. I hope that makes sense. A friend of mine who also has an iPhone 5, has reported lock button issues to me with her phone. Her lock button goes down and back up like normal. However, it does not do anything. So as a result, she is stuck using AssistiveTouch. As a precaution, I have begun doing the same. Overall, I would recommend the iPhone 5, but only if iOS is your thing. iOS has somewhat expired, and needs a refresh which we will hopefully see at WWDC in June.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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