iPhone 5 Review 2020 – Buyers Guide to the iPhone 5

Last Updated: July 1, 2020

Seen with hindsight it is clear that Apple chose not to break new ground with the iPhone 5, but to modify and perfect the features they had introduced on the preceding iPhone 4 handsets. Perhaps for this reason, the iPhone 5 is still regarded as one of the best phones released by the Apple brand.

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When it comes to new iPhones, all we want is an improvement on before. If a significant enough improvement has not been made, one begins to wonder what was the point of even designing such a product in the first place? We kept this question in our mind when conducting our iPhone 5 Review, as with so many entries into the iPhone family, there is now an ever-growing danger of Apple falling into a creatively stagnant state.

Is the iPhone 5 an improvement over the iPhone 4S? Or is it simply recycling the same old ideas? The answer is, yes and no, to both of these questions! Seen from the long perspective, the iPhone 5 is clearly a handset that was built to last. Check out the range of best iPhone 5 cases that are still available for all the evidence you need. Read our full review below to see our take on the iPhone 5.


iPhone 5 Review 2020

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The iPhone 5 was announced and released in September 2012. Although leaks relating  to the specifics of the product were released months previous, the iPhone 5 was a smash hit, with pre-orders exceeding the supply of devices available within the first 24-hours. Apple remarked that the number of pre-orders coming in was “extraordinary”, with orders arriving twenty times faster than any previous iPhone, amounting to over two million pre-orders within the first 24-hours.  It’s clear that this device made quite the splash into the mobile phone industry. Our team had a look back at the iPhone 5 to see what all the fuss was about.


iPhone 5 Review – Design

Applying a “thinner, faster, lighter” mantra to their design, Apple cut down the dimensions of the iPhone 5, making it both thinner and lighter, however it is longer. By making the iPhone 5 thinner and lighter, Apple created a device that feels somewhat delicate, yet quite robust somehow. The mix of Aluminium and glass is perfectly balanced to create a variety of textures and aesthetic features.

One ingenious design update Apple enacted with the iPhone 5 was increasing the screen size by making the device longer, while keeping the same general width. This preserves the one-handed nature of the iPhone, while providing more screen space.

Other notable alterations made include moving the front-facing FaceTime camera to the middle of the top panel above the screen, and the relocating of the headphone jack input to the bottom-face of the device.

A controversial move made by Apple with this design was the inclusion of a smaller lightning docking connector at the bottom face of  their device. This was largely a shock to many Apple fans out there, as it rendered all of their iPhone-compatible accessories obsolete unless they purchased a converter for £25. This move was especially controversial to many people as the lightning connection took up approximately the same amount of space that would have been taken by a MicroUSB port.

The display is largely the same of what we had on the iPhone 4S, with some slight tweaks; such as being coated in Corning’s Gorilla Glass, and using in-cell Technology which makes the screen panel lighter and brighter.


iPhone 5 Review – Performance

The A6 chipset alongside 1GB of RAM, ensures that the iPhone 5 is reasonably faster than the iPhone 4S. With iOS 6 feeling refined and powerful, there’s not more that can be asked of an operating system. Speed of gaming on the iPhone 5 is aided by the inclusion of an impressive 1GB of dual-channel memory, whereas the 4S only had 512MB, and the higher clock speed on the processor. The result of all of this is zero lag when browsing between menus, opening apps, or playing games.


iPhone 5 Review – Camera Improvement

Both cameras have been improved on the iPhone 5, with the main camera receiving a relatively small update to provide more detailed images. Images from this device look breathtaking when shot in HDR mode. The cameras on the iPhone 5 are also capable of filming 1080p video, and perform much more smoothly. A new camera mode is also introduced with the iPhone 5; Panorama. This allows you to take sweeping long shots of amazing scenery.


iPhone 5 Review – Specifications

  • Dimensions: H 123.8 x W 58.6 x D 7.6 (mm)
  • Weight: 112(g)
  • Operating System: iOS 6 (Debut)
  • System on Chip: A6 Chipset
  • Capacity:  16 GB / 32 GB / 64 GB
  • Location Services: Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Digital compass, Wi-Fi, Cellular.
  • Display: HD Retina display / 4-inch widescreen multi-touch / 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326ppi / Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front.
  • Camera: 8-megapixel iSight camera / Panorama / HD Video recording up to 30 frames per second / LED Flash / Improved video stabilisation / Photo and Video geotagging / auto focus.
  • Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery / Talk time: up to 8 hours on 3G / Standby time: Up to 225 hours / Internet Use: Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 8 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi / Video playback: Up to 10 hours / Audio playback: Up to 40 hours.
  • Colour Choice(s): Black & Slate / White & Silver.

Note: See Apple’s website for full specifications and modes.


iPhone 5 Review – Verdict

When we’re introduced to a new iPhone generation, we want to see something new, we don’t just want a polished off version of something we have already seen. Did the iPhone 5 provide something new? Well, yes and no. While the design of the iPhone 5 brought us something new with its two-toned back and new, longer size, it certainly felt different to its predecessor. However, as far as features were concerned, the iPhone 5 had little to really offer. Instead Apple decided to focus their efforts on refining how the device performed as it was, instead of adding too many new features on.

While we would have liked to see more new features, we cannot condemn Apple for deciding to focus more upon refining what they already have, as admittedly this is the wiser choice, rather than prematurely tagging a number of applications on to meet a quota.