iPhone 5S review

Faster, new camera and a clever fingerprint reader. But is it enough of an upgrade?

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Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 64 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 10 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1136 x 640
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Powerful core
  • Touch ID is a real step up
  • Excellent camera

Against

  • Expensive
  • No screen tech change
  • Battery slightly suspect

The iPhone 5S: a phone that looks like the iPhone 5, but goes so much further under the hood. Is that going to be enough to impress the baying hordes?

We've been here before: the iPhone 'S' conundrum. The new phone comes along, taking the shell of the previous model, adds some new bits and pieces, and then claims to be an entirely new phone.

Scores in depth

Design

Features

Performance

Usability

Value




Which it is, of course. But also isn't. But mostly is. It's a move that only Apple can pull off with any kind of conviction: the notion that it can take the same chassis, have a little tinker, throw in a new CPU, slightly better battery and camera, and call it an all-conquering device.

But then again, such is the clamour to know all about it, is that such a bad move? There are literally millions of people the world over who can't wait to see what the next handset from Apple will be, and there was no surprise with the iPhone 5S.

There are a few who question whether it's 'fair' to launch a phone and then append an 'S' to the same thing a year later - Apple's response would likely be that nobody is forcing you to buy the new hardware. And that's a fair point too: yes, this is a phone that bears far too many hallmarks of its predecessor. And yes, this is the third time Apple has done this.

It's also managed to try to pop it onto the market complete as one of the most expensive smartphones out there, even on 3G plans. You'll be looking at post $80 a month to get one without handset repayments in Australia, and $869 will be the price if you want the low end model, pushing all the way up to $1,129 for the 64GB variant.

iPhone 5S review

But if it was such a bad business move, if the market wasn't willing to accept such a thing, then Apple would have folded as a smartphone brand years ago... or at least been lagging behind the competition.

That said, times are changing in the smartphone landscape. Where before Apple was able to just create the phone it wanted, and forget the competition in the knowledge that it wasn't going to have to worry about losing consumers to a competitor, now it's been forced to realise that there are at least four decent options for a consumer to think about if they want to get a really good handset.

Apple is obviously aware of this change, be it the aluminium unibody of the HTC One (and now the even more impressive HTC One M8) the new fight into low light cameras or the need for a strong processor as a headline to shout about, and it's addressed these needs to some degree or other on the iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S review

Be it the all new Touch ID home button (which is excellent, more on that later), the huge jump in CPU power or the fact the camera has, once again, been improved no end, the new iPhone is clearly Apple's attempt at bringing as much as it can to the party without having to re-design the whole concept all over again.

There are many that think that releasing the same design twice is cheeky, and there are others that realise that sometimes there's no need for change. It's easy to fall into the former camp, and while Apple will happily point out it's not forcing anyone to buy its phones, its acutely aware the competition is now scarily strong and it needed to bring its best to stay relevant.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBNo
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory64 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyiPhone 5s
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourSilver
Operating SystemiOS
Brand NameApple
Battery Talk Time10 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution1136 x 640
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)112 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerApple
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating System VersioniOS 7
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, iMessage
Pixel Density326 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.2 Megapixel
Height123.7 mm
Width58.7 mm
Depth7.6 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time250 Hour
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameiPhone 5s Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Product LineiPhone 5s
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Fingerprint Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberMF359X/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

Unrealized until now. Indispensable from now on.

A chip with 64-bit architecture. A fingerprint identity sensor. A better, faster camera. And an operating system built specifically for 64-bit. Any one of these features in a smartphone would make it ahead of its time. All of these features in a smartphone make it an iPhone that's definitely ahead of its time.

The gold standard. Also available in silver and gray.

iPhone 5s is precision crafted down to the micron. And it's evident throughout. The beautiful aluminum housing. The sleekness of metal and glass. Sapphire crystal in the Home button. And more sapphire crystal protecting the iSight camera. Design and construction of this level is unmatched. As a result, iPhone 5s looks and feels unbelievably thin and light. And it's available in three elegant expressions: gold, silver, and space gray.

Package Contents
  • iPhone 5s Smartphone
  • EarPods with Remote and Mic
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • 5W USB Power Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year