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Ready to get in line for the iPhone 5? This might influence your decision.

Early reviews of the new phone are trickling in from tech reviewers around the country, and the consensus is that it’s a strong upgrade from Apple — considerably faster and lighter than the iPhone 4S, providing a larger screen and stronger connectivity without taking a toll on battery life.

Quibbles include the smaller connector, which requires an adapter to work with existing accessories. Reviewers are also mixed on the new Maps feature in iOS6, which replaces Google Maps as the default in the new device. Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, for example, likes the turn-by-turn navigation but notes that Apple Maps is missing some of the basic functionality of Google Maps, such as built-in public transit schedules and routes.

Mossberg’s bottom line: “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.”

The lighter weight of the device is also getting lots of comments from reviewers.

Scott Stein writes for CNET: “What I really noticed is how light it is. I still feel weirded out by it. The iPhone 5’s 3.95-ounce weight is the lightest an iPhone’s ever been. The iPhone 4S is nearly a full ounce heavier at 4.9 ounces. The iPhone 3G was 4.7 ounces. The original iPhone and iPhone 4 were 4.8 ounces. This is a phase-change in the nearly constant weight of the iPhone — it’s iPhone Air.”

Also see reviews by David Pogue of the New York Times, Edward Baig of USA TodayRich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg News, and Harry McCracken of Time.

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