Last night I played my first session of 5E. A friend from work bought the Starter set and I started running the adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver, for him and his roommates. Of the four of us, I've been playing tabletops for 20 or so years, one roommate has been playing Pathfinder via Roll20 for a little bit, and two were self-proclaimed noobs. They chose to play the human fighter (archer build), dwarven cleric, and halfling rogue. I npc'd the elven wizard. I won't go into too many details about the adventures (don't want spoilers), but I would like to make a few observations.
Combat was tense. The PC's and monsters all dealt out what felt like a lot of damage for 1st level. The boss monster was dropping 2d8+2 a swing. Monsters seemed to have more HP that I expected (though they were super buff like 4E). PC's on the other hand had pre-4E hit points (though the rogue had d8 and the wizard had d6, like Pathfinder). Every combat encounter saw one of the party members being dropped to 0. Half of the encounters saw two of the four dropping. From what I've seen 5E helps you with healing (being able to "spend" hit dice to heal during short rests and regaining all HP during long rests), but from what I've seen it's needed.
The party really liked the traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws aspects of their character. Being new it, helped them get in character. Inspiration wasn't handed out much, but they're still getting into the swing of things.
Advantage and Disadvantage is cool. I prefer it to stacking endless bonuses and penalties.
There were some pretty memorable moments and everyone had a blast. We were on the edges of our seats during all the battles, especially the final confrontation of part 1.
We're planning on running through this adventure until the PHB comes out. We finished part one and are part way through part 2.
The game felt familiar, but still different. It doesn't just feel like rehashed ideas, it feels like D&D, just new.