Hands-On With The New iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 is real and nearly ready to ship and we got a bit of hands-on time with it today. The new phone is just a bit longer than the current iPhone 4S and far speedier. Maps and photos flew by and the various apps popped up in a few seconds.

It’s not as earth-shatteringly different than the iPhone 4S, to be sure. While the real benchmarks and games aren’t quite available yet, folks who haven’t used the 4S will notice a bump.

The screen is the real draw here and I’m really interested to see how it improves the experience in real-world conditions. Obviously you’re getting just a bit more real estate and the Lightning connector allows for far more room for battery and processor. Again, it’s far too early to tell right now, but if you’re looking for something in the sweet spot between monsters like the Galaxy S III and the arguably bordering-on-too-small (at this point) iPhone 4, this may be a good compromise.

Build quality is quite nice and the solid aluminum is quite unique and quite solid. Hopefully this will reduce some damage if it falls on a hard surface.

The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white at the same price points as the previous generation: $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB version and $399 for the 64GB variant.

We’ll know far more about these phones when we get to really use them later this month but until then I can report that this is a solid and interesting improvement to a solid and interesting phone. Is it a blockbuster launch? Probably not, but it is an interstitial launch that allows Apple to update the screen size and dock connector while still hiding some tricks up its sleeve.

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