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.
Macworld UK tested the iPhone 5 at the press event and came away with these thoughts: it's more comfortable/less "sharp" to hold; the screen is less susceptible to glare; and an improved camera lens for taking pictures in less than ideal circumstances (like a press conference). On the downside - that pesky $30 adapter you'll need to hook the phone to your older peripherals.
Slashgear's Vincent Nguyen writes that the physical changes to the iPhone 5, including the more resilient anodized aluminum back that replaces the glass of past models, have not "been forced for the sake of aesthetics alone." While Nguyen says he has felt a bit cramped with the smaller iPhone size vs. that of some Android phones, the slightly bigger iPhone 5 was "love at first swipe."
Apple's improved screen technology makes graphics "swim directly under the fingertop," though he says he didn't notice any big difference in touch responsiveness. The A6 processor delivered for Nguyen, who "couldn't find a single app to slow the iPhone 5 down."
Like others, Nguyen raved over the LTE connectivity, though warned pain could be ahead for those who travel internationally and could run into roaming issues with networks that aren't compatible with the Apple smartphone.
The Guardian's Charles Arthur writes that while the iPhone 5 introduction might have been met with some yawns, experiencing the actual device will perk many up. He says the phone seems to float in your hand and that you're actually touching the pixels. And perhaps overlooked: integration with iCloud is seamless, reuniting existing iPhone users who buy the new phone to all their old stuff. He also was impressed with how quickly the iPhone 5 recharges once the battery is drained.
Wrapping up the iPhone 5 lovefest, CNET headlines its photo-filled review: "Finally, the iPhone we've always wanted." The reviewer lauds the top-to-bottom design, with the main complaint about the phone being the lack of simultaneous data and voice support over AT&T and Verizon's networks (plus Apple's decision to forego near-field communications, or NFC).
CNET's Scott Stein likes the battery life, which Apple was so concerned about in earlier pre-LTE models, though does note there are more energy-efficient models out there such as the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx. He's also satisfied with the many subtle changes to the phone, including the better camera, and is not begging for more bells and whistles.
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This story, "iPhone 5 rave reviews rollup: "lust," "it floats" and "love at first swipe"" was originally published by Network World.