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).

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  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by dougmorton (Currently owns)

    Here's the introduction and wrap up from my full review, with pictures, which can be found on my Tumblr here: http://tmblr.co/ZfFJuxUFGrNE (I won't be gaining anything from you viewing the review, it's just The Verge limit user reviews to 500 words)

    So I’m what you’d call an “Apple Fanboy.” I waited in line for 5 hours on launch day to get this device, but I’ll try to be as unbiassed as I can... Unlikely. I will however, try my best to give you my honest opinion on everything about the product. Although I must inform you my opinion is often quick to be shot down regarding Apple products.

    After a week of usage I’m more than impressed by the device. Some may see it as simply a 4S with a slightly larger screed. I can say this is most certainly not the case. I’ve been using a 4S for close to a year, and even had to go back to it when my 5 died. You really do notice a difference in speed, not only on the device, but also with data services. I can easily recommend this device to anyone currently looking for a new smartphone. It’s the top of its class in almost every way you look at it and provides unmatched performance.

    Overall I'd say 9.3. (But The Verge only allow user reviews to be whole numbers)

    (Really, I do love The Verge)

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by adamtyree (Currently owns)

    While iOS 6 hasn't grown much since iOS 5, I think the hardware is leaps and bounds ahead. The thin profile and light weight provide a dramatically different experience using this phone, compared against the 4S. The extra length actually makes the screen feels significantly bigger. Hands down the best iPhone to date.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by RoboDad (Currently owns)

    A year ago I moved from a Windows Phone to an iPhone 4S, in part because of the stellar reviews for it's 8MP camera, along with the rich and mature ecosystem.

    Once I started using it, I did find one thing lacking - the 3.5" display. It always felt cramped. So, when the iPhone 5 details began to leak, and a new 4" screen appeared to be on the horizon, I knew that I would have the opportunity to "fix" the one glaring issue I saw in my phone. The new design, faster processor, and LTE were just icing on the cake.

    Having used the phone now for a week, I can say that it is everything I had hoped it would be, except for one area. Performance is stellar, battery life is at least on par with my old 4S (which is impressive, considering the larger screen, faster processor, and thinner, lighter design). The display is a thing of beauty, and apps are getting updated to take full advantage of it at a breakneck pace.

    The only real disappointment for me is the camera. As great as the 4S camera was, and although the upgrades to the camera in the 5 are noticeable, I think that Nokia has really raised the bar with the camera in the Lumia 920, and I had hoped that Apple would have made similar strides for the iPhone. For that reason, I only gave the camera a score of 8, because all things are relative.

    Other than that (really minor) complaint, this is definitely the best, fastest phone I have ever seen, and it suits my needs very well.

    The Breakdown

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

    It was pretty much a predictable update to the iPhone 4/4S. It doesn't make it any less of a good device but it's not perfect by any means. Even if Apple had to lose Google Maps, it's still a loss. Developers are still working on getting apps updated to use the additional screen real estate. My personal phone has the "purple haze" issue.

    Still, I doubt I'll have to worry about fragmentation like I did with my Galaxy Nexus (Verizon) and I finally have a device that can realistically last a full day without the need to be topped off. And for that, I'm more than satisfied.

    The Breakdown

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

    Moving up from an iPhone 4 or 4S, the improvements that "jumped" most at me were:
    - the contrast ratio of the screen (thanks to a much improved — i.e., darker — blackpoint),
    - the quality of low-light still photos,
    - the improved rendition size of many videos (larger roughly 16:9 ratio screen), and
    - the lighter weight.

    The 4S never felt particularly slow, but with the iOS6 update, the 3D maps were clearly taxing the older device, whereas its buttery smooth on the iPhone 5. It's also noticeably smoother than the new iPad (which itself is smoother than the iPhone 4S). The improved performance is also felt throughout the system (app startup times, etc.), but it's usually fairly subtle,

    The camera's panorama mode (also available on the 4S) is very impressive from a performance perspective, and is overall eminently usable. Right now, it's just a one-swipe panning mode. I hope Apple decides to add a mode that allows "2D" panning (like e.g. Microsoft's Photosynth app) without sacrificing the performance and usability of the current mode.

    After restoring the device from a 4S backup, every "home" screen is populated as it was before, leaving an empty row just above the bottom "dock" row thanks to the taller screen. I haven't decided how to use the new space, but I suspect that once I do, it'll will be an addition to my list of most compellingly upgraded features listed above.

    Battery life has not significantly improved, and while it's still better than many other smartphones I've tried, I have at least one day of the past five hit the 20% warning before dinner time (at which point I changed my usage pattern to ensure I could get calls until I got back home). That day I had used the camera considerably more than usual, which may account for much of the consumption. (One of my kids also played some games for a while, but that's not unusual.)

    The ecosystem isn't bad (I'm particularly impressed how quickly major app vendors have updated their offerings for the new screen size), but the new connector and new device size do reduce options at this time (compared to the iPhone 4S). I'm feeling it the most right now in the lack of options for a belt case. There are some, but none yet that I like.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by GMoney2 (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 5 is pretty much what you would expect from Apple, both good and bad. Great design. I don't think that how light the phone is gets enough love. One thing I'm always doing with my iPhone is holding it. I never thought that it being so light would be such a positive thing, especially when lying down in bed and holding it up.

    The screen being taller is, I think, better than it simply being larger with the same aspect ratio. That taller screen is much appreciated when watching movies and reading, not to mention more visible favorites in the phone app.

    A negative about the phone would definitely be its susceptibility to scratching. Gotta be much more careful than with the previous model. A lot has been made of the Maps app too. It's definitely not as good as Google's version, but not a deal breaker either. With so many mapping apps available (and Google Maps usable through Safari), it's much ado about nothing for me.

    I would have also hoped for better battery life. I understand that they have already done a pretty good job, but one of these days we're going to have a phone that will go a few days without needing to be charged.

    Overall, I'm happy I upgraded. Another solid phone by Apple.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by danrigby95 (Currently owns)

    Excellent phone! Extremely light and thin, a great design, and unbelievably FAST! iOS 6 is a great addition, and I really cannot fault a thing about the phone. Battery life is great compared to other phones, and especially for how thin the iPhone 5 is.
    The bigger screen is a welcome addition, and doesn't feel too big in your hands, and the EarPods are definitely much better than the previous, headphones, not perfect, but much better.

    Would definitely recommend!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by TheJediRevan (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 5 is another example of Apple's exemplary industrial design. This is the best iPhone yet with a stunning display and super light body that I am sure the other guys will try to imitate. iOS 6 is a great OS but feels dated compared to the feature set that Android is providing but there isn't a more stable OS that iOS. I am very happy with my purchase even though I do not have LTE in my area with my provider. Can't wait to see LTE in action!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Vols_20 (Currently owns)

    The iPhone 5 is thin and light. My first thought when I took the phone out of the box was "Did they send me a phone without a battery in it?". The screen is a step up from the iPhone 4S due to the colors being more saturated. Also, the 4 inch screen is a great addition. It fits in my hands perfectly. iOS is a little dated but overall, I like some of the new features. Overall, I love the new iPhone 5, it's the best iPhone I've owned.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 9
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by rui.almazan (Currently owns)

    Hands down, the best iPhone ever made. Going from iPhone 4 to 5 was a no brainer. It definitely lives up to the iPhone we always wanted. I would never get any reception at my work with my old 4 (usually 3G or Edge if I'm lucky, and maybe 1 or 2 bars). Now I get 5 bars and LTE, to go along with grandfathering with unlimited data! The camera is also amazing and videos look even better than before. The displays looks even better than my old 4. I did a comparison and the 5 looks more crisp and deeper blacks show off nicely. That was one area I did not think Apple could top. Just overall, impressed with speed and response of the new phone.

    The Breakdown

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