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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The internet browser on the iPhone 5S is one of the most improved elements when it comes to looking at the way iOS 7 has been integrated into the device. The overall UI is more sleek than ever, and there are some dynamic touches that make trotting around the world wide web much easier.

One of the biggest changes, and simultaneously the smallest, is the fast the URL bar will shrink and grow as needed. Go to the top of the page where the URL bar used to be and it will expand to offer full functionality. Start scrolling and you'll see it move away, but still give you the information you need to check on where you actually are on the net.

iPhone 5S review

The Retina display is still sharp enough for general browsing, but you'll need to double tap more than you might on other phones to zoom in as text isn't as legible on some of the Full HD phones out there when viewing a web page from afar.

However, the A7 processor is adept at not only rendering web pages with panache, but also making sure that web elements are loaded properly and don't detract from the overall zooming experience. It's fluid without being fast, which is a trait of iOS 7 overall.

iPhone 5S review

We like that Apple has also included the search bar in with the URL entry area, as it means that more screen real estate can be used for browsing, rather than all being crushed at the top. There's no need for it to be any other way, and it makes things more integrated too.

You get icons on the home landing page which you can set as your most-used apps, and this is a nifty feature that solves the fact that Apple's bookmarking system can be a little convoluted, The icons at the bottom of the screen can be a little harder to work out on the first viewing, but do work nicely nonetheless, with the tabs page allowing you to simply swipe away the open web pages you don't want.

Airdrop is integrated here too, if you want to share web pages with people around you easily, as well as the ability to share it to Twitter, Facebook or other installed apps. Of course you can always lock it in an app like Pocket, but with the ability to add these things to the reading list for easy access later on, that's not really as much of a necessary option.

iPhone 5S review

The reading mode has also been given a tweak that means that it no longer takes up as much of the URL bar, with a simple 'lines' icon signifying when you can enter the cleaner, more stripped down version of the page. This is most useful when using the Twitter functionality, which we really like.

If you're signed into Twitter on your iPhone, then it can parse through your feeds and present you with a list of Tweets with embedded links, which you can scroll through at your leisure, with the bottom of each web page passing on to the next one Tweeted.

It's a nice way to browse through what your friends are sharing, and will perhaps encourage reading on a wider range of subjects.

Apple was in danger of making Safari too complicated with recent iterations, and on the iPhone 5S the cleaner, more simple look is held up nicely by the processing power. We're fans of this method of browsing as it allows users to get to the stuff they really want with the minimum of fuss, and share it easily too.

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.