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iPhone 5 rave reviews rollup: "lust," "it floats" and "love at first swipe"

Reviewers heap praise on iPhone 5; only eral knocks are against Maps app

By , Network World
September 19, 2012 05:23 PM ET

Network World - We don't have an iPhone 5 in our hands yet, so like many of you are living vicariously through the reviews of others. Those lucky enough to get about a week's early access to Apple's latest smartphone are tripping over themselves to dish out praise in write-ups and video reviews.

USA Today's Edward Baig anticipates feelings of "lust" for the new iPhone, which he says "should keep Apple at the front of the smartphone pack." Having said that, he doesn't concede the market to Apple, which he has plenty of competition from the Galaxy S III and other solid Android phones.

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Baig touted Safari searching zipping along over 4G LTE, though he warned that performance could vary once more users pile onto the network. He lauded the new 4-inch screen, which he says makes the phone feel just the right size. The iPhone 5's camera, audio and newly designed earbuds also satisfied.

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The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg also gives the iPhone 5 a thumbs up, calling the iPhone the best on the market, especially given its 700,000 third-party apps.

Mossberg likes the taller iPhone 5, which he says is more natural to hold in one hand than some of the wider Android models. What's more, Apple adds a sixth row of icons to the screen for added convenience, given people are growing their must-have apps list.

The Wall Street Journal columnist concurred with USA Today's Baig that the phone is faster, in part due to the new A6 processor but also because it can access LTE networks. He says that while using the phone on LTE networks in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., he experienced 10 times faster download and upload speeds than experienced on 3G networks using the iPhone 4S.

One downside of the new phone is its support for Apple's own maps app, a changeover from support for Google Maps. While new turn-by-turn navigation is a plus, Mossberg writes that the Apple Maps app lacks the groundview you get from Google Maps, and dishes you off to third-party apps for some information, such as public transit routing.

Engadget's Tim Stevens calls the iPhone 5 "every bit the device that people were asking for when the iPhoen 4S came out."

The lightness of the phone, which is 20% lighter than the 4S, is the most noticeable physical aspect of the iPhone 5, Stevens writes. Although he also gives kudos to the screen quality, citing the higher pixel density vs. the iPhone 4S.

The most disappointing physical change is not with the phone itself, but with the Lightning adapter, which replaces the venerable 30-pin adapter on earlier iPhones and other Apple devices. Stevens says the performance is slower on activities such as syncing, and notes this isn't surprising given the technology is based on USB 2.0 rather than 3.0.

On the iOS 6/apps front, Stevens compliments Apple's Maps app, though like Mossberg is critical of its lack of public transportation directions. He finds the Passbook wallet app incomplete, but is hopeful it will become more useful as third-party apps emerge.

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