Apple's iPhone 5 is the sixth version of its ground-breaking smartphone. Key upgrades from previous generations include a bigger screen housed in a thinner shell. There's a much faster processor, improved camera optics, and better connectivity - majoring on high-speed 4G cellular data. See iPhone 5 review.

The iPhone 5, ours courtesy of Vodafone, maintains the essential design of the 4 and 4S, with a bigger 4 inch touchscreen that has room for an extra row of icons. Significantly, this means it's the first iPhone with a 16 by 9 display, which makes it great for watching videos. See also Get started with the iPhone 5.

Existing apps will have to be redesigned for the new screen - in the meantime they will be displayed with black bars to fill in the spaces. Take a look at Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review too.

The screen is taller, but not wider and feels completely natural to use: you don't have to stretch your thumb to reach things. Go to iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison review.

Viewing photos on the new screen shows off the extra saturation compared with the 4S, but as photos aren't taken at the same aspect ratio, there are more black borders. However, we like the new iOS 6 panorama mode where you sweep the phone round to automatically create a panoramic photo. See How to install iOS 6.

When browsing the web, you see a little more than you did with the iPhone 5's predecessors, with the new full-screen browsing mode adding even more room for web pages.

Despite being bigger, the new iPhone feels a lot thinner and lighter than the 4S. That's quite an achievement considering the improved specifications. Build quality is supreme - no other smartphone can touch it.

Buttons and switches are in the same positions, but underneath is the new, smaller Lightning dock connector and the headphone socket. The new connector is reversible, so you don't have to worry about which way round you insert the cable.

The SIM card slot is in the same position as before, but the iPhone takes a new nano-SIM so you can't just pop in a micro-SIM from an existing device.

The back panel now has small glass inserts, but is mainly aluminium, adding durability without extra bulk or weight.

iPhone 5 video review: Performance

Apple says the new A6 processor is up to twice as fast as the iPhone 4S. In our benchmarks we found this was true. The iPhone 5 scored 1650 points in Geekbench 2, compared to the 4S's score of 632. That's over 2.6 times faster.

When it comes to gaming, the iPhone 5 ran our Egypt HD test at 38fps, which is exactly twice the framerate of the 4S's 19fps.

Browsing the web is super speedy. When tested for JavaScript rendering speed, wef ound the iPhone 5 to again be around twice as fast – scoring 903ms in the SunSpider test, against 1891ms for an iPhone 4S.

In general use, the iPhone 5 feels incredibly snappy, opening apps and loading websites quicker than ever before.

Built-in storage is limited to 16, 32 or 64GB and - as before - you can't add more. In terms of connectivity, the iPhone 5 now has dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4. And as we mentioned, it's the first iPhone with 4G for faster mobile internet.

We haven't completed our battery life tests yet, but Apple is suggesting an improvement over even the long-lasting iPhone 4S.

iPhone 5 video review: Cameras

There's been no major update to the iPhone 5's rear camera. It still takes 8-megapixel photos and 1080p video. Photos look slightly better than those from the 4S, perhaps helped by the new sapphire crystal lens.

Sound recording is improved, though, thanks to three microphones, including one next to the rear camera.

From the front, the camera can now capture HD video, and it's now possible to make FaceTime calls over cellular 3G or 4G connections.

iPhone 5 video review: Software

There are plenty of other improvements to the interface, including more options when receiving calls, more streamlined email and reminders apps, and better integration with Facebook.

Google Maps have been replaced with Apple's own Maps app. It includes impressive 3D maps of several cities, but it lacks an equivalent of Google's Street View and there are some worrying inaccuracies which we hope will be sorted very soon.

iPhone 5 video review: Wrapup

This is the first iPhone to face strong competition from Android devices such as the popular Samsung Galaxy S III. Our tests so far suggest it already shows all the competition a very clean pair of heels in raw speed. And the iPhone 5 has build quality that can't currently be matched. The iPhone 5 is a very classy act.