You have the On/Off (Sleep/Wake) button on the top, the ring/silent button on the left, and the volume up (camera shutter) and volume down buttons beneath it.

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Because the overall volume of the i Phone 5 is 12% less than its predecessor, it feels like it's gone from a short, substantial slab to a long, lithe slice.

With a chassis carved from anodized 6000 series aluminum, hardened Gorilla Glass on the front, and inlays of ceramic or pigmented glass on the back, the i Phone 5 has been compared both favorably and ludicrously to precision, luxury time pieces.

Hyperbole aside, the manufacturing process literally does have to be seen to be believed.

Hardware buttons on the i Phone 5 are laid out the same way they were on the i Phone 4S and i Phone 4.

The i Phone 5 still only comes in two colors, but this year those two colors are also two-toned. The black is Darth Vader black, and can all but disappear on a dark surface in low light.

The white is Storm Trooper white, its crystalline diamond-cut chamfers brighter and shinier than ever.

While the blackout look of the anodized aluminum on the black and slate i Phone 5 is more singular, more monolithic, it will also show chips, scuffs, and scratches more readily than the naked aluminum of the white and silver model.

Gone is the sandwich of chemically treated glass and stainless steel of the i Phone 4S and i Phone 4.

And in their place the i Phone 5 offers an aluminum unibody, accented by glassed, that houses not only a new, all-digital Lightning connector, fast LTE 4G networking, a monstrous Apple A6 processor, but for the first time, a taller, in-cell display.

The i Phone 5 doesn't offer a radically new shape, but the shape is about the only thing that's not radically new this year.

Measuring 123.8 mm high, 58.6 mm wide, and 7.6 mm deep, the i Phone 5 rises higher than the i Phone 4S but no wider. It's so light and thin that it almost feels fake, like a dummy phone at a carrier store. Apple claims it's both bigger and smaller, that there's both more and less of it. In fact, it takes a moment -- an awkward, giddy moment -- to adjust to the sensory paradox.