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iPhone 5 reviews: The verdict on the new Apple smart phone is in

The Apple iPhone 5 officially launches on Friday. So how good is this new iPhone, anyway? 

By Matthew Shaer / September 19, 2012

The iPhone 5 is here.

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Friday marks the official launch of the iPhone 5. Expect long lines at Apple stores, a throbbing hurricane of media hype, and probably another boost to Apple stock, which earlier this week topped $700 per share – an all-time high for the Cupertino tech titan. But just how good is the iPhone 5, exactly? Well, according to a range of reviews posted to the Web today, it's very good indeed. 

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"On balance," Walt Mossberg writes at The Wall Street Journal, "I still consider the iPhone the best smartphone on the market." Mossberg singles out for praise the snappiness of the device: "Apple has finally connected the iPhone to the fastest cellular data network, called LTE, and data downloads and uploads just fly, even when you aren't on Wi-Fi," he writes. "Also, the processor now has twice the previous speed." 

Of course, as we've noted, the iPhone 5 is not an aesthetic leap forward for the Apple smart phone. It's got an aluminum back, instead of glass, but it retains the boxy look and hard edges of the iPhone 4. Still, Henry McCracken of Time is fine with the looks of the device, which he calls a "refinement." Despite the taller screen, he writes, the iPhone 5, is an "exemplary one-handed phone: You can cradle it in your palm and use your thumb to type." 

About that screen: Does the added half-inch yield a radically new experience? 

"It’s a nice but not life-changing change," answers David Pogue of The New York Times. "You gain an extra row of icons on the Home screen, more messages in e-mail lists, wider keyboard keys in landscape mode and a more expansive view of all the other built-in apps. (Non-Apple apps can be written to exploit the bigger screen. Until then, they sit in the center of the larger screen, flanked by unnoticeable slim black bars.)" 

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