Apple's iPhone 5 has been ranked as "one of the best smartphones" and the "best iPhone yet" by none other than Consumer Reports.
CR also concluded that despite widespread criticism, Apple's new Maps app is "competent enough" - even if it falls short of what's available for free on many other phones.
"A larger, 4-inch display; a thinner and lighter profile; 4G LTE access; and a host of innovative features all helped the iPhone 5 move up in the ranks, surpassing not only the previous iPhone 4S but also a number of other new Android-based smart phones," explained Consumer Reports spokesperson Mike Gikas.
"The iPhone 5 also improved on areas that the iPhone 4S did well, boosting the range of functions controlled by its Siri voice assistant, and making the already top-notch iPhone camera even better. Excluding the phenomenal 41-megapixel camera we tested on the Nokia 808, the iPhone 5's 8-megapixel camera is the best we've seen on a smart phone."
According to Gikas, iOS 6 offers iPhone users a free feature long enjoyed by Android-phone users: GPS navigation with spoken turn-by-turn directions and automatic re-routing.
"[Yes], the new Apple Maps app has drawn much criticism, and our initial impressions concluded that it fell short of the best third-party navigation apps," he said. "
Now that our auto experts have completed their tests, including some carried out some days after the launch, they describe the app as relatively streamlined, and concluded that it generally provides clear guidance, including voice and on-screen directions."
Nevertheless, Gikas acknowledged that the Apple Maps app lacked the details, traffic data and customization options offered by the free Google navigation app found on Android phones.
"Despite instances of 'melting' buildings, bridges, and other landmarks in 3D mode, more often than not, our testers found Flyover delivered rather intriguing 3D representations that bring a map to life... As Apple has recently apologized and promised to fix these and other map glitches, we expect the Map app to improve in time," he added.