September 22, 2012, 7:05 AM — 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.
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."