Apple iPhone 5 Review

While the iPhone 5 has not yet been officially released in the Philippines, hundreds of units have been shipped into the country lugging along a very hefty price tag. We managed to acquire our own unit to test. Check out our full review of the iPhone 5 after the break.

Announced back in September 12 (September 13, 2AM Philippine Time), the iPhone 5 is Apple’s latest smartphone and represents one of the biggest changes it has made since the first iPhone.

The iPhone 5 broke record sales in its first week so it’s not surprising it will be the biggest release of Apple yet.

We took a closer look and will break it down to see what makes the iPhone 5 the best iPhone ever.

Design and Construction

For the longest time, in the last 5 years, the iPhone has maintained its form factor at 3.5 inches. When it came out, that size was still at the top of its class.

Since then, the iPhone has maintained the same exact screen size until they launched the iPhone 5. What Apple did was to extend the height of the iPhone 5 to make way for a 4-inch IPS display.

The handset is now thinner, taller and lighter (despite the bigger size). At 7.6mm thin, the iPhone 5 is slimmer than its predecessor (9.3mm). It also weighs much less (112g) compared to the iPhone 4S (140g).

The most obvious reason for this is that the iPhone 4S uses two thick pieces of glass that sandwiched the body of the phone while the iPhone 5 no longer used a glass back panel but a thin sheet of aluminium. This attributed to the thinner and lighter profile.

The power button is found at the top side while the volume controls and the mute switch are still found on the left side. The nano-SIM slot is found on the right side while the speakers are still at the bottom end along with the 3.5mm audio jack and the power connector.

Take note that two of the major changes Apple implemented on the new iPhone is the smaller nano-SIM (you buy one or cut your microSIM) and the use of a smaller 9-pin data/power adaptor for the device.

The phone feels very solid on the hands, has that refined finish and premium appeal. What’s surprising is that the unit feels very light despite its size. The reduction of glass components contributed to that. You get the same grip as the old iPhones since the width is just the same but the height has increased a bit and ergonomics of tapping with one hand might be affected.

The back side of the iPhone is now made of a thin sheet of aluminum. It’s got a nice and smooth finish with a subtle color tone to match the white body of the handset. The top end and bottom end is still made of polycarbonate to allow radio signals to pass thru, unimpeded (which includes the cell radio, WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth).

The biggest concern with this new design is that the aluminum back panel is certainly prone to scratches. The first thing we did after we unboxed the iPhone 5 was to find a soft runner case for it.


The iPhone 5 retained its Retina Display monicker and the increase in display size to 4 inches meant that Apple had to bump up the resolution as well. At 640×1136 pixels and pixel density of the new iPhone is pegged at 326ppi. It’s an unusual resolution we have not seen in any other handset but its the natural result of increasing the height of the display while retaining the width.

The screen looks more detailed because of the larger screen and pixel density, the colors and saturation are even, and the brightness of the screen looks pretty impressive.

From experience with using flagship phones with display sizes from 4.3-inches to 5.3-inches, the iPhone 5’s display does not seem to be that far behind.

OS, Apps and UI

Nothing has aesthetically changed on iOS 6 although Apple has touted over 200 new updates and features over iOS 5 (see full overview of iOS 6 here).

The Passbook is a native app to help users keep tabs of tickets, coupons and store cards. However, this feature is only available in the US so it’s basically useless here in the Philippines.

In addition to the heavy Twitter integration from the last update, iOS 6 now comes with the same native integration with Facebook. This could prove useful if you’re a heavy FB user.

Apple is slowly divorcing its way out of its Google dependence and the latest casualty is Google Maps. Apple introduced its own mapping system with turn-by-turn navigation powered by TomTom. However, the map is riddled with lack of detail and wrong information to the point that CEO Tim Cook had to post a public apology about it. He even went as far as recommending Nokia Maps and Google Maps in its stead.

You can read more about iOS6 here.

Multimedia & Camera

This is the first time that Apple has made significant changes on the earbuds. The old one was crappy and the iconic white color is what remains with the new earpods.

The 8-megapixel camera of the iPhone 5 came with a few improvements. We noticed that the camera shoots faster, has better exposure compensation and takes better focused images and videos.

Apple did not bother to increase the camera pixel count on the iPhone 5. Instead, it added a few improvements including a better more refined five-element lens.

This gave the rear camera better clarity, faster focus and pretty even color saturation. Check out the sample 1080p videos recorded below:

The camera apps is very snappy and we noticed a little bit of difference in terms of speed from the iPhone 4S. Successive shots on the iPhone 5 proved to be a bit faster and the stills looked more focused and detailed.

Check out the photo gallery below:

[fancygallery ID=”iphone5″]

The native earphones that came with the previous iPhones were notoriously crappy and often falls off the ears due to its simple design. The new set of earpods has changed that for the better. They are now more comfortable on the ears, has a better grip and sounds way better than the previous set. They’re not really the best but we can definitely say it’s a significant improvement.

The speakers at the bottom of the phone is more prominent and the sound volume is more consistent and even (not too loud and tinny but not too soft either).

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S

We fired up both the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 to see if there are significant improvements in speed and performance.

We shot both the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S to compare boot time, load time for apps and web browser rendering. The video below shows the comparative speeds of the two.

For one, boot up time is significantly faster with the iPhone 5 — we timed around 4 or 5 seconds better boot time on the latter.

There’s also some noticeable improvements with rendering web pages and although we didn’t see any difference with loading apps, there’s some slight improvements in snappiness when doing successive camera shots.

Nevertheless, we don’t feel that this slight increase in performance is really that significant with most of common tasks done on the iPhone. If we did not placed the two iPhones side by side, we might not actually notice these differences.

You can read more about our iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S comparison here.

The Missing LTE

One of the biggest announcements that came with the iPhone 5 is support for LTE. This has excited a lot of people since there’s been a lot of local news as to the launching of LTE networks both by Smart and Globe.

However, it seems that Apple has not certified Globe or Smart in due time when it presented the supported global LTE networks. We are not sure if LTE will running on the iPhone 5 units that will be released in the country.

Based on the limited tests we’ve made on both Smart and Globe networks, we’re only getting HSPA+ speeds that’s pretty much the same as with the iPhone 4S.

Battery and Call Quality

In our week-long use of the iPhone 5, we didn’t experience any drop calls. Call quality is good — audio is crisp and clear. There were some delayed SMS but that could have been due to the network issues.

As for battery life, we did not notice any huge improvements over the previous iPhones. We managed to last exactly 48 hours on a single full charge when using only SMS and voice calls throughout the day. However, once we run a few social apps, connect to the net via WiFi for web browsing and use the camera once in a while, battery life starts to degrade much faster. We’d be luck to last one and a half days but for good measure, moderate to heavy use is only good for a single day.


At first glance, the iPhone 5 seems to be just a bigger taller iPhone 4S. Aside from the bigger screen, we could not find any strong feature that may compel us to upgrade from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5. For some, that improvement is reason enough though.

We believe the support for LTE networks is among its best selling point. However, that remains to be seen as the iPhone 5 is not yet officially released in the Philippines by Globe and Smart.

Nevertheless, the sell-ability of this handset is determined by the dynamics of supply and demand. Gray market prices of the iPhone 5 has pushed prices ranging from Php45,000 to Php60,000 each. And that is a strong indication that the iPhone 5 will sell very well in the Philippines.

Apple iPhone 5 specs:
4.0-inch IPS LCD display @ 640×1136 pixels, 326ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Apple A6 1.2GHz dual-core processor
PowerVR SGX543MP3 (triple-core)
16GB, 32GB, 64GB internal storage
DC-HSDPA 42Mbps, LTE 100Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
Bluetooth 4.0
8MP autofocus camera, LED flash
1080p video recording
1.2MP front-facing camera, 720p @ 30fps
GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS
iOS 6
112 grams (weight)
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (dimensions)

What we liked about it:
* Bigger display, same high pixel density
* Great camera
* Thin and light
* LTE support

What we did not like:
* Aluminum back panel prone to scratches
* Inferior native Maps app
* Expensive

117 Comments on this Post

  1. Richard

    Nice review sir yuga. Tks

  2. Inferior smartphone: Maps, wifi issues. Hate those. In fact I hate Apple’s pre-launch gimmicks just to tame once again those iSheeps. Blessed are the meek.

  3. Papapau

    +1 to that kevin.

    The smooth experience their boasting are being sacrificed yet still lots of people are still playing dumb, paying di birong cash for a so so phone. 5 lines na homescreen, panoramic view. Huwaw!

    It doesn’t take a genius..

    • @kevin
      I can only imagine How your life is full of hatred and jealousy. If your not happy with the iPhone then get rid of it and get a life. It’s all about personal preferences, if you find your own phone is the best, it doesn’t mean it is the best to other( look around you, those majority of consumers buying what they believe that satisfies their needs). This article is a sole review of the iPhone 5. If you have any idea that will contribute to a good conversation other than bashing the reviewer and other commenters then we appreciate it, if not, keep it to yourself or go to some thread that is relevant to the phone/gadget you are fan of.
      When it comes to fanatics, so what if people stand in lines to wait for Apple products? People also wait in line for concert tickets. So what if Apple has loyal customers? So do many other brands. So what if people choose to spend a little more money on Apple products? So do people who choose to eat at gourmet restaurants over fast food joints.

    • frenchy

      @Edu Did they bash the reviewer or other comment-ers (if there’s such a word) here? How? I think they just talked about how much they dislike the product and their reasons. It’s just normal for any popular product to have both fanatics and critics. This is a discussion area and you can’t expect to merely see praises here. You can discuss your thoughts with them about the product. You cannot let people to just keep their opinions to themselves so as to please you or to be appreciated.

    • lenovohaha

      Lenovo Lover- you obviously are not one yourself. Given your choice of phones which is synonymous to garbage and telephone para sa katulong. ha ha… grabe yung lenovo pa ang nagturo kung ano dapat sa next gen iPhone… what an irony.

      Sabihin mo yan sa Greenhills sa mga muslim traders kungdi ka na haram at pinutol yun birdo mo

  4. Selling brand new iPhone 5 white 64gb factory unlocked. Only opened box to check if complete accessories, pristine, never turned on. 55k. Call or text 09178586850. I issue receipts and 7 days replacemet for factory defects. Comes with free Otterbox defender case white. Ony 2 units.

  5. It’s so hilarious for the fact the every Apple column has Android extremists on it. Lol. What has this to do with everything ? Competition is good fellas. I’d take the One X any day though.

    • Papapau

      Yeah well some might think it’s funny, but the truth is, we’re just here to wake people up from their blind faith..

      A 50k cash-out for a just phone.. If they’ll be willing to show this kind of spending initiative to other “lot better” products like windows and android, they will be more than willing to manufacture even more generous, non-limiting devices..

      Ganito na lang, imagine if there will be an Android phone worth 50k pesos, what do you think can it do? eh 25k na Android pa lang ngayon, mas panalo na sa iphone 5 right?

      Wake up guys.. Read the news, sinasalbahe ng Apple ang mga tao. hehe.

    • @papapau
      Kung may pera siya ate, why not? Makialam ba. Walang basagan ng trip. Sayo ba galing ang pera? Hay naku.

    • Papapau

      “Wake up guys.. Read the news, sinasalbahe ng Apple ang mga tao.”

      – kung may pera ka, better spend it wisely. We’re not pushing, we’re just waking them up, making more people informed with their choices..

  6. No mention about audio quality being better or worse than the 4S! And, is a 4 or 5 second faster boot time really that significant?

  7. I like iphones, except it’s ridiculous price! :D

  8. grabe talaga attack ng mga “so called haters”, as if, they can afford to buy one! to each is own, merong preferred ang iOS over Android because kahit oldies magagamit ang phone, unlike android andaming variants, andaming version, di mo pa sigurado kung puwedeng ma update yung binili mong phone,

    • Papapau

      Seriously pre? Wow..

      You have no idea na the concept you’ve given just now is what started it all.. One word.. “ELITISM”

      Apple manufactures people like you.. You’re just saying the decade old (2007 actually) concept na.. “iPhone users are Rich, Android users are poor” right..

      Well that’s so long ago pre.. eto ang bago. “Android users are hip and cool, iPhone users are plain dumb and old.” eat that pare.

      Nga pala, i own a 7.1mm Droid RAZR (7.6mm iP5) and ready na budget ko for the Next Nexus phone. Playing wise and cool, a phone not for old people like the so-so simple, sinisirang experience ng iPhone 5. What will you be getting this Q4 again? haha!

    • whatevs

      And where did you get that assumption that android users are hip and cool? From your feeble mind who knows nothing but to call others “pre”.

      Lol! I’m an android and an iPhone user, I have a lot of things against both of them, but I forgive them for a lot of things they’re good at as well.

      You have to really use both environments(yes, touching/playing with your friend’s phone for 10 minutes doesn’t count) for you to be able to judge what phone is right for you.

      I seriously disagree that iPhone users are dumb and old. It’s like you’re living in the old era where you judge people because of what they own or what they are.

      I know you’re like that because some iOS users are acting like elitists bitches, but do you really have to go down that level of stupidity?

      From your comment that is full of ‘pre’, I can only assume that the dumb one is you.

    • @whatEBS
      Where did i get it? read some tech news pre. besides, you can feel it.

      And what’s so funny with calling someone “pre” pre? We’ve been doing that since where in kindergarten, well, unless your pretending to be one of those elitists who think highly of themselves.. sapul ba pre? sosyalero amp. What a “feeble” statement. hohoho!

      Old era?

      “I know you’re like that because some iOS users are acting like elitists bitches, but do you really have to go down that level of stupidity?” – but you said it yourself, unless your you refered this to a so long time ago event..

      Contradicting ka pre. you haven’t even have any solid proof to counter my argument.

      All you came up with is to judge my use of “pre”

      “From your comment that is full of ‘pre’, I can only assume that the dumb one is you.”

      calling someone pre makes you dumb? sablay ka ata sa lahat ng opinion mo pre. nag mukha ka lang epal. hehe.

      Eto na lang.. Imagine this, 50 thousand peso Android.. Not cool enough for you pre? geez..

    • whatevs

      LOL, I find your reply so funny and amusing.

      “We’ve been doing that since WHERE in kindergarten”
      ^Exactly, you’re the one who’s old and living in a time where calling “pre” is cool.
      Lol. I have nothing against people calling other people pre, but using it again and again in a single message to stress a point is funny. Plus, seriously, “where” ???? dude, do you know what grammar is?

      I read a lot of tech news and yep, no one said that “Android users are hip and cool, and Apple users are plain dumb and old.”
      You’re the one who concluded that, and based from your statements and incorrect grammars, why should people believe you? And seriously dude, FEEL it??? You’re funny stupid.

      And i think you misused the word feeble. If in any way, you think that using words that you don’t know makes me a “sosyalero” then I pity you. LOL.

      “but you said it yourself, unless your you refered this to a so long time ago event..” WHAT? I didn’t understand your point in this statement.
      Lol, I’m actually giving you a moral advice because clearly you have no morals. Plus dude, go back to high school and learn grammar.

      I actually made a point, and I guess you just didn’t get it, thus proving my conclusion that you are dumb. Please, don’t embarrass yourself further.

    • ma5te12m1nd

      @Pappau BURN! hahaha… wasak ka “pre” kay whatevs LOL. Stop hating, kanya kanya tayo preference.

    • Papapau

      On which part was i “burned” or “wasak”?

      The part where he continuously say irrelevant bashing against me personally with no actual point regarding sa topic. patulan pa yun is senseless.

      And ingat ka, baka yung pag gamit mo ng word na “wasak” eh he might assume your a dumb one din. tao tinitira nyan hindi discussion, too low, sablay lang patulan.. nuff said.

      Now redirecting to the main point which is iPhone is for old people and Android is the new generation. try searching this on google..

      “Samsung Next Big Thing youtube”
      “iPhone vs GS3, it doesn’t take a genius”
      “Lumia 920 vs iPhone, it doesn’t take a genius”

    • whatevs

      Actually all my bashing against you is not personal and is actually relevant. I’m just pointing out all the stupidities that you are spreading in this article. Moreover, my acts are to prove that you are not a reliable source in the Android vs iOS debate.

      “Lumia 920 vs iPhone, it doesn’t take a genius”
      Another dumb rebuttal Mister, Lumia is not android. Maybe you should stop watching youtube videos and start studying grammar and reading/hearing comprehension.

      “Samsung Next Big Thing youtube”
      “iPhone vs GS3, it doesn’t take a genius”
      I hope you know that these videos are biased and have one mission, to bash the iPhone. Marketing 101, they do this so they can sell their products and to grab the attention away from the iPhone 5. I have nothing against these videos, for I clearly support competitions in everything, however, these are not reliable materials to use for an Android vs iOS debate coz clearly they will tell you that their products are superior. For you to state it here as reference, makes you a lot more incompetent.
      However even with these strategies or videos, I didn’t see/hear anything saying that iPhones are for old and dumb people. Yes they are saying that Androids are the new generation, but where is the part where they say that android users are hip and cool (referring to your first stupid remark).
      I’m not here to tell you to stop buying android phones, but I’m also not here to discourage you in buying an iPhone. Actually, I hate participating in Android vs iOS debates because I find it pointless and endless.
      I’m just trying to figure out where does this guy get all his incorrect information? Has he recently had a major accident making him lose his comprehension and grammatical skills?
      NO ONE is saying that Android users are hip and cool, and iphone users are old and dumb. Only this guy here, who thinks he’s smart.

  9. Black or white?

  10. I still prefer an android, aside from the price. masyadong cliche ang iphone.

  11. @Abe
    Need some correction to the specifications
    >Corning Gorilla Glass 2
    >1080p Video recording

  12. chinitoguy

    For me its still worth the upgrade especially for those who one Apple iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 and 4S. Many will just find the iPhone 5 expensive for the features you will get. The Samsung Galaxy SIII blows the competition away. Its around 30k and you will get more of what you pay for. The Nokia Lumia 920 is also a phone to watch out…

    If you really want an iPhone but short on the budget, get the iPhone 3Gs. Yes! The phone is still selling and its openline when you buy at dealers like MemoXpress. Its around Php 14,990 and upgradable to iOS 6.

  13. time to settle for mcdo’s chicken fillet and jollibee’s 39ers for everyday. moreso 20-log.


  14. The uncertainty of the iPhone 5 (globe or smart) getting LTE connectivity is a deal breaker. If you have an iPhone 4S, stick with it. If you have older iPhones, time to upgrade to IP5. :-)

  15. no discussion about the purple camera halo issue for the iphone5?
    I’d appreciate it if your reviews were more in depth sir yuga. Thanks

  16. Sosyalisth

    Ay basta di ko pa rin ipagpapalit ang aking Nokia 3210 with gorilya grass and waypay. Hahaha :))

  17. jarod_0122

    The only thing I hate about the IP5 is the ridiculous price.

  18. cybrmyx

    iPhone is iPhone, It’s not about Samsung, it’s Android (Google). It’s not about speed, but functionality and useability. True that Android phones has a lot of function that you don’t use day to day, but there are a lot that you can… Whereas iPhone, weather and stock widgets…. Really? Apple is a premium brand, sure it is no question. But it’s really like having a Lamborghini that you can’t take out in the rainy season or drive in most urban places in Manila, that way I’d rather have a corolla.

  19. akosijayboy

    nakakatawa sa SG, nung weekend nandon ako.. nakapila ako to buy pearl milk tea. in front of me was a lady old na siya, she looks like she works in the food court kasi she has hair net and wears all black.. tapos gulat ako habang nagtetext siya nakita ko yung port ang liit.. tiningnan ko ng mabuti naka Iphone 5 siya! Wow!

    • komentarista

      @akosijayboy – Can you specifically tell me what’s funny about your story because I didn’t get your point .. well if you have one.

  20. Personally, I think iPhone 5 is still a great phone. But I also think that paying that much for its price tag, yet its capabilities aren’t even close to what an Android phone can do for me, it’s just not worth it.

    I’m neither saying iPhone 5 is crap and just for those who can afford it, nor saying it’s the best and not for those who can’t afford it. I just believe that there are other phones that are far more worthy, specs wise, of my 45k.

    But anyway, good review, Yuga.

  21. iPhone 5’s camera has a purple haze.

    iPhone 4S’ camera was better. please confirm in your review.

    • But according to the same blog post you mentioned, the purple haze is already present in the iPhone 4S.

  22. Did you encounter scratches out of the box? It seems like every unboxing I’ve seen suffers from scuffgate.

  23. Hmmm….. Too expensive. And yeah that purple flare is not really very pretty.

    I’m good with the Android selections :)

  24. Papapau

    Just leave this so-so phone to the old people..

    And don’t support greedy companies.. read the news.. daming nabu-budol budol ng Apple, and grabe gulangan iSheeps.

    Eto latest.. Apple is reaping a mind-blowing 93% margin on iPhone 5 memory.. tubong lugaw in any way. napaka-simple naman ng phone..

    Watch the Samsung youtube ads na “Next Big Thing..” it doesn’t take a genius. Enjoy! hehe.

    We’re young and hip and free, bring down elitism, we are the new genearation..^^

    • @papapau
      This is my response to your idea that iPhones are for the old people.
      You know your baseless uninformed knowledge doesn’t justify your arguments. It is more of proving your stupidity. I can only imagine how lifeless a Fandroid agent/vendor(or shall I say tindera?) just to convince others to buy android instead of iOS.
      Why do we believe a lifeless Fandroid who’s main mission is to sell android products with baseless information?

      The best targeting information comes from companies like comScore that focus on surveys and tracking on behalf of advertisers and publishers. In comScore’s latest data (from Aug. 2012), 47.2% of iPhone users are aged 35 years or older. So those under 35 years old actually make up the majority of iPhone users. For tablets, the iPad skews a little older with 55% of users 35 years old or older. 

      Note that the more money families make, the more likely they are to buy expensive consumer electronics, so it would make sense that iPhone/iPad(iOS) usage tends to skew older. At the same time, the largest single demographic for both iPhone and iPad usage is in the 25-34 year old range, as younger adults tend to have more disposable income and desire for the latest products. 

      Does Android skew towards a younger demographic? The numbers might surprise you. According to comScore, 52.4% of all Android users are aged 35 years or older. That is five percentage points higher than the iPhone. Near 55% Android tablets users are also older than 35.


      So, according to comScore, Android is your mother’s smartphone. It is for the majority of Lolos and Lolas like you are! The perception apparently does not match up to the reality that Samesung – and many tech pundits and uninformed Fandroids like yourself included – would have you believe. 

      You know what I thought about you? Your hatred and jealousy to iPhone users makes you blind and dumb. Knock your droid into your head till you  wake up from your hallucination Pre… Oops Mare I should say :-))

  25. Raha Sulayman

    Huwag kayo mag-away. Ganyan talaga ang mundo. May mga bumibili nga ng Sony Bravia para manuod lang nh mga iyakan gabi-gabi sa ABS-CBN. Malamang meron ding bibili ng iPhone para pang-status symbol lang.

    For the superior decision-makers, Lumia 920 o Note 2 lang.

    • Papapau

      Di naman nangaaway boss. Just against sa Elitism at the Apple’s rule of eliminating the competition..

      Its like a revolution is in progress and we are the voluntary soldiers aiming to wake the members of Apple religion up.

      Support true innovationand not the greedy companies.. Wake up guys. ^^

      “Apple store wake up protest”

Leave a Reply