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Apple iPhone 5s

£N/A
design
features
performance
compatibility

4.5

5

Overall

The Apple iPhone 5s is the kind of piece of shiny technological magic that deserves to be flaunted. No great leap onwards from the iPhone 5, it's still a superb phone in its own right.

User Rating (16 votes)

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Sam Applegate

23rd October 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


If you're a successful technology company whose gadgets have made their way into the lives of millions of people around the world, how do you keep beating your own high standards? Apple's answer is to release a phone that's usually just that little bit better than the previous model. It's true that sometimes the difference can be massive, but frequently we find that new model is just that much better than the previous one.

So it is with the Apple iPhone 5s. Is it better than than the iPhone 5? Yes. Is it miles better? No. Is it still an absolutely exceptional phone? You bet. Let's take it through its paces.

All That Glitters Is Gold?

Physically the 5s looks extremely similar to its immediate predecessor, except that it's available in space grey, silver and gold. The latter shade has proved very popular! In contrast to many Android smartphones on the market today, the Apple iPhone 5s is a fairly compact device, with a 4 inch display. Depending on your own personal dimensions, that means that you'll either find that it suits you perfectly or that it looks minuscule in your hands (even though it's still easy to hold and use).

With a display of 640×11306 pixels and a PPI of 326, it looks extremely crisp. You'll not find anything much better out there.

In contrast with the recently released iPhone 6 Plus, there aren't any build issues, either. Whilst the 5s looks and feels like premium product with its trademarked aluminium and glass finish, it's actually really rather robust. There's no creaking or wobbliness here. The only build criticism when compared to with some Samsung and Sony phones is that it's still vulnerable to a watery death if you're careless. It's definitely more vulnerable than other phones out there on that front.

It's All About How You Use It

On the face of it, the Apple iPhone 5s' vital specs aren't particularly impressive. With a processor speed of 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, a minimum storage of 16GB and an 8MP camera, the numbers don't set the world alight.

You'd never know that without checking, though, because in reality the Apple iPhone 5s is a quick and powerful phone. Perhaps it's the resource-efficient design of IoS 7 that makes it all possible or the A7 chip. Do Apple make sure that app developers design lean, mean programs that Google don't bother to vet? I don't know. All that can be said is that the 5s will do pretty much everything you want it to with the responsiveness of a sports car. The 5s is extremely well optimised.

The camera is another example. On the face of it, the 8MP rear camera pales into comparison with bustier performers. In reality, it simply takes extremely good pictures in a highly user-friendly way. The camera is fast, performs well in low light conditions and can record in 1080p at 30 FPS and 120 FPS in 720p. It does everything you could want it to do.

Touch Me!

The most original feature on the Apple iPhone 5s is the inclusion of Touch ID. Effectively this turns your traditional circular home button at the bottom of the display into a biometric security device that reads your fingerprint, permitting or denying access depending on whether your skin pattern matches up.

It's not 100% accurate, so you'll probably end up having to re-try on occasion, but anyone who's had to tap in a security code or swipe a pattern will recognise that this issue is by no means unique to Touch ID security.

Revolutionary? Probably not, but it is fairly cool and presumably offers stronger protection against mischievous friends or those with more sinister intentions. With a grace and ease that we've come to expect from Apple, it's also extremely simple to set up and use. A few taps will get it into place and its position on the home button means that it's ideally located. Dead easy.

One area you shouldn't touch or cover, though, is the right hand speaker slot, as despite appearances there's only one speaker driver positioned at the bottom of phone. The quality of sound that a smartphone is able to provide has yet to become a true mark of differentiation, largely because they all sound fairly tinny, but the 5s has enough volume to play your ringtone and even your tunes if you're feeling desperate.

The 5s also uses IoS 7 as a minimum; obviously IoS 8 has now been released. Personally I like the lack of clutter you find on Apple's system, but if this is something that concerns you'd then I'd recommend searching out a review of the OS. Oh, one extra major innovation. Do you like talking to the woman in your phone? Well, Siri can now be a boy. Hurray for that.

Staying Power

Perhaps the single biggest critique of the Apple iPhone 5s is that its battery life is, if anything, slightly worse than that of the iPhone 5. With a 1570 mAh battery, you're going to get a day's moderate usage out of it at best, so expect to spend a lot of time using that lightning charger.

If you need your phone to be able to hold the course for long periods, say as a safety device for outdoor activities, the 5s is definitely not up to the job, even though it does tend to hold charge fairly well in standby mode. For normal stuff, you'll manage- just make sure that you keep a charger in the car and take one with you on the go. It's definitely an area that Apple need to improve upon.

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To read more on this model, check out the Apple iPhone 5s homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • The 64-bit A7 chip delivers fast CPU and graphics performance. And the M7 motion coprocessor handles specific tasks to make iPhone 5s power efficient.
  • A large sensor and wide ƒ/2.2 aperture. True Tone flash. Burst mode and slo-mo video. The 8-megapixel iSight camera makes it easy to get a great shot.
  • iPhone 5s supports fast 4G LTE bands around the world.
  • iOS 8 has incredible new capabilities that will change the way you send messages, share photos, keep track of your health and more.
  • Apple EarPods with Remote and mic
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • 5W USB Power Adapter

Model

Screen Size (inches)

Storage (gb)

Processor

Operating System

Rating

Price

Apple iPhone 5s

4

16

Dual-core

IOS 8

£N/A

Motorola Moto G

4.5

8

Quad-core

Android Kitkat 4.4

£109.00

Nokia Lumia 520

4

8

Dual-core

Windows Phone Os

£60.00

Nokia Lumia 630

4.5

8

Quad-core

Windows Phone Os

£74.95

Nokia Lumia 635

4.5

8

Quad Core

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1

£64.91

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

4.3

8

Dual Core 1.7 Ghz

4.2.2 Jellybean

£139.99

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

4.5

16

Exynos 3 Quad 3470

KitKat 4.4.2

£234.50

Sony Xperia M2

4.8

8

Quad-core 1.2 GHz

Android OS V4.3 (Jelly Bean)

£119.99


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