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A whole week has already passed since Apple gave the world its first (official) look at the iPhone 5, and with the past seven days in tech having been almost solely dedicated to the Cupertino’s latest must-have smartphone, the reviews from Apple’s select few have just been released.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop concludes the iPhone 5 is a collection of small improvements in almost every department, rendering the entire experience vastly-improved:

That has been my takeaway from the design of the iPhone 5 – small design changes that make for big user experience improvements. It’s important to remember that while the changes on the outside may be small to the naked eye, the changes on the inside are huge. Every major component of the iPhone has been changed in one way or another.

iPhone-5-splash

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal is full of praise for the new display, and believes it’s much more comfortable to use than larger-screened rivals:

I found the new iPhone screen much easier to hold and manipulate than its larger rivals and preferred it. In my view, Apple’s approach makes the phone far more comfortable to use, especially one-handed. It’s easier to carry in a pocket or purse and more natural-looking when held up to your face for a call.

iPhone-5-retina-display

Mossberg goes on further to add:

While this new model isn’t a radical redesign, it offers a much bigger change than the current iPhone 4S did when it was launched last year. The minute you pick the iPhone 5 up you notice it’s much lighter—20% lighter, in fact. It’s so much lighter that you wonder if it’s a demonstration mock-up, not the real thing.

2012-iphone5-gallery1-zoom

Regarding LTE:

Using an iPhone 5 on the Verizon LTE network in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., I averaged almost 26 megabits per second for downloads and almost 13 megabits per second for uploads. Download speeds peaked at 42 megabits per second. These speeds are more than 10 times the typical speeds I got on an iPhone 4S running Verizon’s slower 3G network and are faster than most Americans’ home Internet services. While LTE affects only data, voice calls I made on the iPhone 5 were clear, better than in the past. I had no dropped calls.

iPhone-5-wireless

Tim Steven’s of Engadget:

The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch on the ‘disappointing’ iPhone 5:

Those worried about the talk of “disappointment” surrounding the iPhone 5, I suggest you simply go to an Apple Store starting on Friday and try it for yourself. My guess is you’ll immediately recognize just how ridiculous all that bluster actually is. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.

Of course, it’s an expensive gig whether you buy it outright or go the contract route, and if you can afford it, then it’s a solid (although not wholly essential) upgrade. But while the hardware has been bumped up in every corner, it’s still worth pointing out that the iPhone 4S is a great smartphone which will, for the majority, still keep ticking over if you’re thinking of sticking with what you have. Furthermore, even if you’re not a current iPhone 4S owner, the price will be dropping, and with a dual-core A5 and impressive 8-megapixel camera, will not be overawed by the iPhone 5 or its main rival – the Samsung Galaxy S III.

In short, if you’re happy with your current smartphone and it performs at a level you’re comfortable with, then upgrading is not essential, despite what Apple – or anybody else for that matter – might tell you. That said, if you’re shopping for a new, high-end handset and are looking for one of, if not the best, then it seems you’ll have to look incredibly hard to find anything better than the iPhone 5.

Oh and yes we at Redmond Pie will be getting our unit on September 21st, and needless to say, we will have all the hands-on videos and comparisons up for you the same day. Stay tuned for that!

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