This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2012-09-18 at 7:13 p.m.
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iPhone 5 Review Roundup

by TidBITS Staff

The early reviews of the iPhone 5 from technology outlets whose reviewers received pre-release models appeared on the Web shortly before the device was released. For an iPhone that some called “boring” before anyone had laid hands on it, reviewers seem rather pleased with it.

Most notably, reviewers found the iPhone 5’s taller screen immediately useful, and didn’t feel that the extra height got in the way of using the iPhone one-handed. Some critiqued the “small” screen size by the standard of large Android mobile phones, something we don’t see as a problem.

Others noted the omission of NFC (Near Field Communication) support, found in many new Android phones, but which has little real-world utility as yet. (Harry McCracken noted, “Judging from the week I spent using an NFC-equipped phone to pay for stuff, there’s no particular reason to get excited about NFC’s tap-to-pay capability just yet.”)

A legitimate criticism leveled at the CDMA activation of the iPhone 5 several times (including before reviews appeared) is the inability to talk and use mobile data at the same time, even though other LTE-capable phones on the market can do so. Apple chose a radio design that allows only a single cellular connection at once.

Reviewers also pointed out that the new eight-pin Lightning connector renders obsolete lots of existing dock devices, and requires a $29 adapter to use with equipment into which an adapter could fit. (Some audio docks don’t have the angle or space, for instance. Apple also sells a $39 adapter that is a short cable instead of just the connector.) New Lightning USB cables cost $19, are available only from Apple, and won’t ship for several weeks.

iOS 6, the version that comes with the phone, came in for a few knocks about the Maps app, awkwardness, and signs of age that will be true for any device running the upgrade.

Here’s a summary of initial reviews; some outfits like Macworld didn’t receive a review unit this time around, and will post their reviews this week: