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Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5 review

The thinnest, slickest, fastest iPhone yet

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The essential guide to IT transformation

Better LTE than never

Battery life on smartphones is often an issue. Though the iPhone is better than it was, the more it does the more you want to use it, so it discharges more quickly. However, this is not just an Apple problem. HTC has improved the battery life in its phones markedly, as has Samsung. Things get easier on big phones because you can fit a bigger cell. And in a week of testing, the iPhone 5 has a noticeably improved battery life over its predecessors, thank goodness.

Apple iPhone 5

The new software, iOS 6, is available now for the iPhone 5 and some earlier models - and it's reviewed separately, here. There are lots of neat extras here. And some users may feel there’s no need to upgrade since all the star attractions of iOS 6 work on the iPhone 4S, too. But the processor is what makes the difference here, ensuring that the phone handles the camera’s Panorama feature, for instance, with ease.

And downloading the data for the half-baked Maps app’s gimmicky 3D Flyover feature is the fast it can be – there are often delays but that’s mostly down to the speed of connection. Speaking of which, let’s remember that this is the first phone with 4G in the UK. Others will follow and anyway the only network with 4G access, Everything Everywhere, hasn’t turned it on for public use yet.

Apple iPhone 5

Vodafone and O2 users can take comfort in the fact that the fast 3G connectivity has a noticeable effect, with data speeds being faster than on previous iPhones.

Limitations? There's the much publicised lack of NFC, but even the iPhone 5 naysayers have to admit there's very little need for it now, certainly as a payment mechanism. Next year, when the iPhone 5S comes out, maybe; but not now. I can't see too many, if any, iPhone 5 users desperately wanting to initiate fileshares with other users by tapping their handsets together.

Apple iPhone 5 EarPods

The new EarPods are better than their predecessors... but that's not saying much

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll want to move on up to what is surely the classiest handset from Apple yet. Though the 4S still has lots to offer, thanks to the arrival of iOS 6, the iPhone 5 hardware is nevertheless spectacular and deeply seductive. And when 4G arrives for EE customers, it will be an even more attractive package.

Sure, there are other handsets which do as much as or more than the iPhone 5. But Apple’s ease of use, highly populated App Store and irresistibly sleek hardware design are enough to give it the edge. ®

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Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5 review

The thinnest, slickest, fastest iPhone yet.
Price: £529 (16GB), £599 (32GB) £699 (64GB) Sim free RRP

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