CNET First Look
iPhone 5: Hands-on at CNETSenior Editor Scott Stein takes us on a tour of the iPhone 5 days before its debut.
-Hi. I'm Scott Stein. Sometimes when a tech product releases like the iPhone, we can get ahead of ourselves and get overly excited about this one particular event that comes out once a year and what this thing gonna possibly have inside it. Last year the iPhone 4S disappointed a lot of people because it looked the same even though it had a lot of improvements inside. What people were waiting for is what was announced last week, the iPhone 5. Because people were looking for 4G LTE Service and a larger screen on their iPhone. In fact, in our review we said exactly that, that's been provided here along with another redesign. Is that enough to totally transform the iPhone? Well, it looks a lot like an iPhone from the front, on the bak it looks a little bit different maybe almost like a Macbook or an iPad because there's an aluminum back that's either shaded silver or dark slate gray on the black model. So, let's talk about that screen first because this is the first time that the iPhone has gone for a larger screen. There's been a [unk] display movement that double the pixel resolution but never a larger screen that went beyond 3.5 inches and it's done here, but it hasn't really chance the feel of the iPhone although it is longer than before. It still has that iconic look and really you shaved a little bit of space on the top and bottom here to get that extra long screening. Isn't that extra long by Android standards? In fact, the 4 inches and the 69 aspect ratio is actually still falls a little bit on the small end of those hacking large surf board phones as I have to call them and the width still feels the same so that actually feels surprisingly hold the ball in the hand and doesn't really feel awkward to grab. And all of those apps mean that you have even more to choose from on your home page creating a larger red of 20 plus 4 below. The killer app for this larger video screen is video playback, because now that it's a 69 resolution, it you get less pillarboxing which creates and even larger sense of effect of space on the iPhone. You will find that on photos we're actually gonna get some pillarboxing on the sides because the photos that you take on your iPhone are not 69. But hold this 2 next to each other and you can see, yes the screen is longer but to a lot of people casually, they may not notice and that seems to be the plan. This is not really a brand new super large element of the phone. It's really a sort of gentle redesign in lengthening of the iPhone. Now, let's get the 4G LTE. Now some people don't know or care about what LTE is. Well, 4G LTE is as much faster data speeds than on 3G and it's really dramatic if you've never used it before. In fact, there's a good chance that it's gonna be faster than your home wifi and that's the case for me. In fact, when I tried using the AT&T version at home I found that LTE speeds were almost twice what I was getting on my home wifi. Maybe I have a terrible home wifi but I think it's pretty average at about 9 megabytes per second and that was getting almost close to 20 megabytes per second. This is the AT&T model I can't speak for Verizon or Sprint yet but that brings up another point. Not all iPhone flavors exactly the same this time around. Now, you can use data and calls at the same time with the AT&T version but you can't with the iPhone 5 Verizon or Sprint. Now, how does the battery hold up? That's a good question because this iPhone is actually thinner and lighter than before and you're dealing with percentages 18% thinner, 20% lighter. The thing you really going to notice is maybe not so much the thin element, but that it's light. It's really light and it makes the iPhone 4 and 4S feel much more [unk] and dense. Battery life so far, stay tune for our full benchmark test have been pretty good. I've been using it all day long or plug it 8:00 AM and use it 'til the night as much as I can and it hangs in there. It seems to be paralleling the iPhone 4S except for the fact that this is using 4G LTE. There are additions too, the camera has been tweaked a little bit, it's still 8 megapixels but there some additional features built-in and it works faster. Now, all the camera on the rear may not have had a lot of changes the front facing camera has, it's now an HD camera, 720p and it will take a lot sharper photographs and really nice crisp video probably you'd like to look at yourselves in your iPhone. Another design change you can totally see on the bottom of the iPhone 5 is that headphone connectors now on the bottom. It's like an iPod Touch, and also the speakers have been reoriented and in the middle there, that's the lightning connector. The controversial lightning connector that's because you're gonna have to change out your USB cables, your accessories to accommodate that. Now, it is a reversible connector and plugs in a lot more easily than the previous 30 pin. It's nice abstractly except for the fact that if you have all the accessories, you're gonna have to buy a 30 pin to lightning adapter which may not work with all your peripherals it will allow the audio but it will not allow video. You're gonna have to buy a separate lightning to VGA or HDMI cable separately to use it the iPhone 5. Inside the iPhone 5 is a new processor, an 86 processor which Apple claims is up to 2x faster than the iPhone 4S has 85 processor. Just like every year one of the biggest features in the new iPhone is the new version of iOS. iOS 6 will be available for owners of older iPhones but it's baked in to the iPhone 5 and there were some features, that will be really fun to use such as the new maps app that includes 3D fly-overs and passbook which is an interesting Apple created concept that you can get via other apps that allows you to use your iPhone as a mobile wallet. Now, there's no NFC or near field communication on this phone so you can't magically swipe it and have to make purchases for you. This phone though is probably not gonna have 1 particular feature that's going to make you run out and scream. Oh boy, there's a completely experience. In fact we're looking at a landscape now where there are tons of Android phones and interesting smartphones that are all creating something new to the mix. This newly redesigned and rebooted iPhone 5, may not be something from the distant future, but it's something in the current moment that happens to be an excellent device. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the new iPhone 5.