I have discussed the benefits of using a smartphone for business, and as promised here is my first report on the iPhone 5.

I was lucky enough to be able to get mine within a couple of hours of them going on sale. There weren’t long lines in the shops when I looked, so I think most people made the sensible decision just to pre-order them this time. Indeed, most news reports of people queuing seemed to be companies using it to promote their businesses.

Getting my phone was somewhat of a challenge, I was away from the office on launch day so had to arrange to pick it up from a local Vodafone shop. Unfortunately my nano sim was delivered separately to my office! Luckily they had some available in the shop, previously with the micro sim they were in short supply.

Initial impressions are very good, the phone doesn’t feel that much bigger and side by side with my old iPhone 4 they look-alike. But, with the larger screen the user experience is much improved. As I spend a lot of time using my iPhone when travelling it’s an important point. The phone is lighter, and makes the iPhone 4 appear quite heavy.

The speed of use is a great improvement, apps load very quickly and I’m sure it will save me a few hours in total every month. Of particular interest to me is the speed of the camera, as I use mine a lot to capture shots of networking events and seminars. With the iPhone 5 it loads and takes pictures very quickly, when before it took several seconds. The quality is much improved, I trialled it with indoor shots in variable lighting and the performance was good.

If you are posting blogs, pictures help to illustrate your points so being able to shoot them quickly instead of hanging around will be a useful addition – in the past by the time the app had loaded & taken the picture people had realised, when I wanted to shoot a candid shot.

The new panorama mode is useful too, enabling you to capture a room full of people in one picture. It’s fast as well with the camera being able to shoot them quickly.

The new lightning connector is tiny, much smaller than it appears on the photos. It is a pain having a new connector, but in my own case I only need it for charging and the occasional sync to desktop as other uses are carried out wirelessly. For using the phone with sound docks or with car speakers, it is easy to use the headphone socket to connect instead of the lightning connector.

I’m looking forward to trying out the new HD FaceTime camera for shooting occasional video blogs, as it means I will always have a video camera with me where I can see when I am recording myself. One of the issues in the past has been wind noise affecting the audio, so I will see if this has been improved.

The audio quality on telephone calls is improved over the iPhone 4 and also appears slightly louder, which is useful.

Charging the phone appears quicker too, the battery life for the iPhone 5 is supposed to be good so I will be trying this out. In the past I’ve had to use an external battery pack occasionally with the iPhone 4, as I’m an extensive user of social media I was able to run down the internal battery in under a day.

The only downside at the moment is the maps app, with missing town names and strange satellite images. One town I was visiting wasn’t listed, even though it is on many other maps. When I found it manually, the satellite image showed it covered with cloud! As maps are delivered online, it’s easy for improvements to be made. The loss of google street view is a negative too, I use it frequently when I am going to visit new clients, as it is useful to see exactly where you are going and also spot parking places.

I’ll be posting further reports in the coming weeks.

If you are considering a new smartphone, I do recommend the iPhone 5.