iPhone 5 hands-on video: it's better in real life, honest

Watch our hands-on video of Apple's fanciest, most sophisticated blower yet: the iPhone 5.

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I've just spent some time with the iPhone 5 and made this little hands-on video. Hit the play button above to watch it, or if you don't want to, here's what I'm saying.

Now some people seem to be underwhelmed, but having used the iPhone 5 for a bit, I'd say it's a lot better in person than it is on paper. It's the first iPhone to feature a new design since 2010, and the thing that hit me straight off when picking it up is that it feels a lot lighter than previous models. Apple has removed 28g of weight from the device compared to the old model, but it feels like more than that.

Thanks to some new manufacturing processes, the edges of the phone feel different too -- less metallic, somehow, although they are actually made from metal.

Once you've adjusted to the weight, the next thing you notice is the screen which is super-bright. It's 4-inches but taller than ones on previous iPhones so there's room for another row of icons on the home screen and you can fit more emails on at once. Plus if you watch a TV programme or film that's been shot in a 16:9 aspect ratio, you'll no longer get the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

On the bottom is a new connector called Lightning which is much smaller than the old one and impossible to put in the wrong way round, but the bad news is that you'll need to pay £25 for an adaptor to convert anything that uses the old plug, like a speaker dock. Another annoyance is that it needs a new size of SIM card called a nano-SIM, which will make it a bit harder to switch to other phones.

Inside is a faster processor and better Wi-Fi, but the standout feature is 4G. That's only for customers who buy it on the new EE network though, and it's very unlikely that this iPhone will ever support 4G from O2 or Vodafone, whenever that arrives.

The new version of the phone software, iOS 6, removes Google maps and replaces them with Apple's own. The mapping data has been licensed from TomTom, so hopefully it's accurate, but we'll have to wait and see if it's as good as Google's is in Britain. Other changes include better Facebook integration, the ability to share photo streams on iCloud and a cool panorama mode.

For some reason, the SIM-free 16GB version costs £30 more than the iPhone 4S did at £529, with the 32Gb and 64GB models staying at their usual prices of £599 and £699. You can pre-order from 14 September and buy it from shops on the 21st.

In the end there is nothing here to tempt Android owners away, but for iPhone fans or people that have never owned a smart phone, this is Apple's best effort yet.

 

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