iPhone 5S review

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

iPhone 5S review
A phone that's so much more than a iterative update

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For the first time in its history Apple launched two smartphones at the same time, and thus introduced a new tier to its iPhone range with the mid to high-end iPhone 5C joining the premium iPhone 5S.

But how do the two handsets differ? Well in simple terms the iPhone 5C is just 2012's iPhone 5 repurposed in a slightly chunkier, fully plastic body, while the 5S keeps the design of the 5 and adds a couple of new features.

If you fancy a more in-depth comparison check out our full iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C feature, but here's a quick breakdown of the main differences.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Build

This is easy - the 5C is plastic, the 5S is metal and thus feels far superior in the hand.

The 5S is thinner, lighter and generally much more attractive than its colourful, yet rather toy-like plastic clad brother which ends up feeling a lot cheaper than it is.

The iPhone 5S measures a svelte 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and tips the scales at 112g, while the porky in comparison 5C comes in at 124.4 x 59.2 x 9mm and 132g.

iPhone 5S review

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Processor

The iPhone 5S treats you to Apple's fancy new 64-bit A7 chip which has been smashing its way through benchmarks.

That's not to say the A6 chip found inside the 5C is a poor offering - it runs iOS 7 just as well and it be honest in day to day usage there's little to choose between the two in terms of performance.

Where the 5S steps up is in graphically intense tasks, such as 3D gaming, where it's able to render a lot more and the addition of the M7 motion co-processor means all the sensors on the iPhone are kept in check.

iPhone 5S review

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Camera

Both handsets sport an 8MP rear facing camera capable of 1080p video recording and front facing 1.2MP snappers with 720p video.

The 5S has a slightly larger sensor, dual-LED flash on its rear as well as a slo-mo video recording mode, while the 5C makes do with a single flash and no fancy slow motion capture.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Security

One of the biggest new features unique to the iPhone 5S (the 5C misses out here) is the TouchID fingerprint scanner hidden under the home button.

It allows users to register a number of prints with the 5S which you'll then be able to use to unlock the phone and authorise iTunes purchases without having to enter your passcode.

iPhone 5S review

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Storage

You can pick the iPhones 5S in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, while the 5C only comes with 16GB and 32GB options.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Price

Aside from the design, the biggest (and most noticeable) discrepancy between the 5S and 5C is the price.

The iPhone 5S starts at $869 for the 16GB model, rising to $999 for 32GB and $1,129 for 64GB. The 16GB iPhone 5C can be picked up from $739 with the 32GB version coming in at $869.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.