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8.0
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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality Receiption seems good, at least on par with the iPhone 4S that this phone replaced. The call quality, specifically the volume, seems a little low. good
  • Display Yes, 4" is smaller than most new Android and Windows phones out there but it's an improvement over previous iPhones. Display is vivid and backs are deep. great!
  • Battery life Once again, on par with previous iPhones. Battery is very good but because it's not replaceable, I don't know if I'd ever rate it as great. good
  • Camera Camera quality is solid, the new processor makes it snappy too. Good low light performance and panorama photo's are great. great!
  • Ease of use It wouldn't be an iPhone if it wasn't easy to use. great!
  • Design and form factor I love the new design, especially the sides and the longer face; feels very good in the hand with no stepped edges of the 4 and 4S. Back is so-so though. good
  • Portability (size / weight) It's lighter and thinner than the last version, combined with the squared off edges it's also more comfortable in hand and on calls. great!
  • Media support Safari is very quick, so quick in fact I prefer websites moble / full versions over their dedicated apps. Everything just works as you'd expect it to. good
  • Durability Here's my only concern about this phone. The move away from steel and glass to aluminum shaves weight and thickness, but may have introduced new issues. so-so
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Apps are of course Great, but the new Lightning connecter is proving to be a struggle. My car no longer recognizes the phone as an iPod, or at all for example. good
Detailed review
Based on the criteria above, I gave this a 9 / 10. There is at least one more area GDGT should have included in this review which is Build Quality (as opposed to the more general Durability, or Design and Form Factor).

When you include Build Quality, at least on my phone which delivered via FedEx on Friday the 21st, and covers the Black and Slate version of the iPhone, the overall review of this phone might go as far down as 7 or 8 based on a very solid POOR, borderline AWFUL score in build quality I would end up giving it. My updated Overall rating includes my personal addition of Build quality as one of the criteria.

The 'polished' edges on my phone came from the factory with dings on the top and bottom, and a few barely visible rub marks on the back aluminum plate. If this is what a brand new phone from the factory looks like after 'normal' handling for packaging and testing, I'm extremely concerned about what this phone is going to look like after a few days or weeks in real life use. Where my primary concern with the iPhone 4S was that of breaking the screen and maybe scuffing up the steel band around the phone if I dropped it, I'm actually afraid to put this new phone in my pocket without a case..

I've seen many of the durability video's popping up and in those tests the iPhone appears to fare well, at least with regard to the screen. What isn't always clear from the videos is how well the aluminum casing is holding up - in at least one it's quite obvious how much damage will appear even with a drop from around 3 feet. In another video the frame of the phone actually bends out of shape.

In most of these videos the screen may not break, but the resale value of the phone will be impacted greatly if you ever intend on selling the phone later down the road. I would highly recommend an Apple Care extended warranty for this phone, and wouldn't be surprised if Apple drops the "2 accidental drops" clause from this contract with the iPhone 5.
review history
2012-09-24
Updated overall rating
Updated detailed review

Comments (2) subscribe to this review's comments

jakeclebo

"Based on the criteria above, I gave this a 9 / 10."

--Your rating says 8/10. You may want to update your rating or detailed review.
alkeva

Sorry I wasn't more clear in my review. Based on the scores I gave to the GDGT criteria, GDGT gave my review a 9 / 10. It's when I add my own 'Build Quality' score that I down rank the overall score. I pointed this out because I think it's an important consideration for many people.