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The iPhone 5 is out on Friday, here's what you need to know

Bigger screen, even lighter and better battery life, here are a few pros and cons of the latest Apple smartphone.

Image: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AHEAD OF THE release of the iPhone 5 in Ireland on Friday, Business Insider’s Kevin Smith takes us through a few things you might want to know if you’re planning on getting it.

First things first. The iPhone 5 is fast. And I’m not just talking about LTE. The phone is significantly faster than the iPhone 4S and even the new third-generation iPad.

I have push email set up on all three devices. The iPhone 5 consistently alerts me of new emails two times faster than the new iPad, and 3 times faster than the iPhone 4S.

LTE, the 4G cellular technology that provides data speeds about as fast as your cable DSL modem, is truly lightning fast (Note: this will not be available in Ireland for the foreseeable future). Much faster than my internet at home. The only issue I have with LTE is that I’m not sure my current data plan will be able to support the faster speeds. I’m gonna burn right through that 3 GB.

1. LOVE: It’s insanely light, yet still sturdy

The iPhone 5 weighs in at 3.95 ounces or 112 grams. While this may not seem like much was removed you can feel it once you pick up the phone.

There have been several times when I’ve slipped the iPhone 5 into my pocket and forgot it was there. Despite this weight loss, the phone still feels substantial in my hand.

Its easier to text with one hand, and when I go to text on my iPhone 4S it’s noticeably heavier.

2. LOVE: The design is striking

Everywhere that the 4S fell short (not too many places) the iPhone 5 steps in.

The iPhone 5′s shape isn’t too much different from the iPhone 4S, but the refinements are easily noticeable.

Initially, the aluminum backing feels more fragile than the 4S’s glass back. This could be because the phone is still new so that I am still treating it more delicately, but I’ve been extremely paranoid about scratching the precious metal.

Aside from the fragility the new glass touchscreen is far more responsive, the FaceTime HD camera is clearer, and rear camera is more polished.

The buttons feel sturdier, the speaker is louder, calls sound better. The 5 is an improvement in almost every area.

3. LOVE: The screen is actually the perfect size

Apple put some thought into the size of the phone.

Instead of just giving us a gargantuan screen (I wouldn’t have complained), it made the screen taller. I thought this was foolish until I actually held the iPhone 5 in my hand.

Holding the phone in one hand is still comfortable. I can reach the top of the screen with my thumb and the bottom of the screen too.

After I saw this ad explaining why they made the phone taller instead of wider it all made sense. While this is probably just excellent marketing on Apple’s part, it does make sense.

See for yourself:

4. LOVE: Battery life is drastically improved, for me anyway

I charged my iPhone 5 yesterday at around 6 p.m.; it was fully charged by 10 p.m. (could have been sooner but that’s just when I checked).

I pulled the 5 off the charger and used it lightly, only to check a few emails and scroll through Instagram.

I left the phone alone around 11 p.m. (it was still at 100%). When I woke up this morning, the it was still at 100%. I listened to 3 songs on my subway ride to work, have push notifications turned on for Twitter and Mail, and used it to test Nokia Maps.

My iPhone 5 battery is at 87% at 12:45 p.m. Wow.

As a reference point. I pulled my 4S off the charger at around 7 a.m. and used it very lightly and it is currently at 79%.

While this may seem like a hair brained reason for improved battery life, the proof is there. For me at least.

5. HATE: Apple Maps are a step backwards

This is really my biggest gripe with the phone. Maps stink, and there’s not clear fix in sight, at least in the short term. The release of Apple’s map seems very uncharacteristic. Apple is a perfectionist, and its weak maps offering shows its Achilles heel.

The maps are laughable. Many of the locations Google has indexed into its excellent service are no where to be found.

Apple’s Maps has left people lost, turning in the wrong direction, and just frustrated in general.

Despite this huge oversight, I’ve found a few temporary solutions for you:

6. HATE: The Lightening Port is making me get all new cords

If anyone wants to take advantage of their older speaker docks, car chargers, and other accessories, you’ll need to replace them with new ones or get that pesky adapter. Major negative.

The Lightning port is ridiculously small. The smaller size allowed Apple to cram more into the insides of the phone, but the lightning port is an overall fail because now I have to spend even more money.

7. HATE: All my apps weren’t ready

This is half Apple’s fault and half developers faults.

Because Apple is so secretive, it didn’t alert developers in advance of the iPhone 5′s release, so many apps could be optimized for the larger screen in time for launch.

The developers could have guessed that the screen increase was going to happen. There was evidence in the iOS 6 beta for developers. More preparation on the developers part could have provided a seamless transition from iPhone 4S to iPhone 5 for consumers.

The good news is, I’m sure developers will be able to push out updates quickly in the coming weeks.

8. HATE: The aluminium is susceptible to scratches

In tests, some outlets have discovered that the aluminum back of the iPhone 5 is very prone to scuff marks. Be careful!

So much for that beautiful back standing the test of time.

9. OVERALL: Apple delivered on its promises

Apple promised better battery life, a bigger screen, and a faster phone.

I got all of that.

The phone is ridiculously light and a bit taller, both things I didn’t need but appreciate Apple adding.

If you’re on the fence about getting an iPhone 5, hop down, and walk to your nearest Apple Store. You’ll find that actually holding the phone is a great way to judge if you should upgrade. I believe the upgrade is well worth it, especially if you’re on an iPhone 4 and below. 4S users will also notice and appreciate the changes.

Overall, I am pleased with the iPhone 5 and enjoy the refinements. I’m sure that as time goes on I’ll find more things to love and less to complain about but for now, the iPhone is still the best phone on the market.

Read: iPhone 5 available in Ireland from September 28

Read: Sarcastic Tumblr of the Day: The Amazing iOS 6 Maps

Oh dear: Apple Maps has made some pretty big mistakes in its Ireland maps

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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