“I’ve been testing the new iPhone for nearly a week and I like it a lot and can recommend it, despite a few negatives, such as a new maps app that has one big plus, but other big minuses,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal. “On balance, 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.”

“In increasing the iPhone’s screen size, Apple took a different approach than competitors. It kept the same side-to-side width, yet added height to grow the screen from its previous 3.5-inch size,” Mossberg reports. “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.”

MacDailyNews Take: …than a piepan-sized POS Samsung Duplophone.

“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,” Mossberg reports. “Yet unlike many competitors, this isn’t a plastic, insubstantial-feeling device. Although Apple claims it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone — 18% thinner than the prior model — the iPhone 5 retains Apple’s trademark, solid-feeling, metal construction, with an aluminum back this time, instead of a glass back. Like many Apple products, it’s gorgeous.”

Mossberg reports, “Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall. Consumers who prefer huge screens or certain marginal features have plenty of other choices, but the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice.”

Much more – including what Walt likes and doesn’t like about Apple’s Maps – in the full review here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers "Fred Mertz" and "Dan K." for the heads up.]

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Pocket-lint reviews Apple’s iPhone 5: ‘This really is product design at its finest’ – September 18, 2012