The most awaited reviews of the most awaited smartphone of the year have started hitting the web. iPhone 5 reviews so far have been extremely positive, contrary to general perception of the phone being a boring update. One thing which every reviewer agrees with is that the iPhone 5 is significantly faster, thinner and lighter. The marginally increased 4-inch screen also gets a lot of praise, and so does the gorgeous new design. But the Maps app draws a lot of critiques.

Sadly, most reviewers seem to assume that iPhone is getting sold in a parallel universe without any competition. They seem to assume that the readers are all iPhone 4/4S users and confused about to upgrading to iPhone 5. What about Galaxy S3 or HTC ONe X users? What about those waiting for Nokia Lumia 920? Should they switch to iPhone 5? No one bothers about addressing such users.

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iPhone 5 Reviews Roundup

Walt Mossberg, WSJ & AllThingsD

  • I still consider the iPhone the best smartphone on the market, especially with its staggering 700,000 third-party apps and a wealth of available content.
  • the new iPhone screen much easier to hold and manipulate than its larger rivals and preferred it.
  • It’s so much lighter that you wonder if it’s a demonstration mock-up, not the real thing.
  • Perhaps the single biggest functional improvement in this iPhone is speed. LTE is blazing fast and unlike on some early LTE models, the cellular technology doesn’t decimate the battery life on this phone.
  • The iPhone 5′s battery lasted between 9 and 12 hours every day, in mixed use.
  • Siri is still in beta and still unreliable.

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The biggest drawback I found is the new Maps app. The free, voice-prompted, turn-by-turn navigation is a big plus, but the app is in other ways a step backward from the familiar Google app.

Scott Stein, CNET

  • The new design is flat-out lovely, both to look at and to hold. The iPhone 5 is at once completely rebuilt and completely familiar.
  • The new display feels like a natural, so much so that to the casual eye, the iPhone 5 doesn’t look entirely different with the screen turned off.
  • Data access via 4G LTE is stunningly fast.
  • Finally, the iPhone we’ve always wanted.

  • Callers I reached via speakerphone noticed a crisper, clearer call on the iPhone 5 versus the iPhone 4S.
  • The new iSight camera takes pictures faster than the iPhone 4S. Snaps are lightning-quick, and I was able to fire off multiple shots with quick tapping.
  • After a 20-minute FaceTime call over LTE, the metal back became very warm, but not hot.

David Pogue, NYTimes

  • Three factors define iPhone 5 – single coherent design, superior components and compatibility.
  • The phone itself runs faster. Its new processor runs twice as fast, says Apple. This one certainly zips.
  • The camera is among the best ever put into a phone. Its lowlight shots blow away the same efforts from an iPhone 4S.
  • Lightning connector doesn’t fit any existing accessories, docks or chargers. That’s not just a slap in the face to loyal customers — it’s a jab in the eye.

If you have an iPhone 4S, getting an iPhone 5 would mean breaking your two-year carrier contract and paying a painful penalty; maybe not worth it for the 5’s collection of nips and tucks.

Tim Stevens, Engadget

  • The iPhone 5 is a clear evolution of the stark, industrial design introduced two years ago with the iPhone 4.
  • Lightning connector is infinitely easier to connect. It’s nearly 20 percent faster than 30-pin connector.
  • Two times faster? Twice the graphics performance? Better battery life? Actually, yes.
  • iPhone 5 managed a hugely impressive 11 hours and 15 minutes. That’s just 10 minutes shy of the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx.
  • in general we found Maps beautiful and fast, a smooth and very aesthetically pleasing way to get from place to place. But, it isn’t nearly as comprehensive as Google’s offerings on Android.

The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, except for the OS, which is beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age.

MG Siegler, TechCrunch

  • I really do believe this is the best iPhone upgrade that Apple has done yet. As such, it’s the best version of the iPhone yet. By far.
  • the LTE is so fast that it’s faster than my home WiFi. The only downside I can see to Verizon is that you still cannot talk on the phone and use data at the same time. The same is true for Sprint. AT&T does allow this.
  • Speaking of the phone, the voice quality does appear to be better than ever. Apple added a few new noise-cancelling microphones to the iPhone 5 to help with call clarity.
  • Maps, I don’t think they’re as good as Google Maps, but they’re not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

If you’ve been debating getting the iPhone 5, I suggest you make the jump. Even from the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 is a big, noticeable improvement.

PHOTO CREDITS: CNET
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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp