Apple iPhone 5s Review
Apple’s lion share in the smartphone space has been slowly receding in the last couple of years, as competition from Android smartphones has been whittling away at the iPhone – to the point of not only matching its level of prestige and superiority, but even surpassing it. Frankly, the iPhone 4 was arguably the last smartphone in the company’s storied history to prove itself as a specs beast, seeing that the Retina display’s resolution was something that was thought of as being so ahead of its time. Despite the lessening gap between it and the rest of the competition in the field, its most recent flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5, has been able to retain its position in the industry as the most popular smartphone in the last year.
iPhone 5s brings forth a fancy schmancy new fingerprint scanner called Touch ID, a first of a kind 64-bit based Apple A7 mobile processor, and an updated iSight camera with larger sized pixels. Beyond the hardware goodness in tow with the iPhone 5s, it’s also sporting Apple’s biggest undertaking yet, iOS 7, which has been a long time coming.
With so much on the line, it’s still amazing to know that the iPhone 5s is going to be Apple’s flagship smartphone for the next one year. Knowing that, we bet you’re all curious to know how this latest endeavor will pan out – even more when there are a host of Android smartphones that push the boundary in the specs department. Is this going to be able to fend off the competition for the next year? Will it continue to stay at the head of the class? Does it even have the staying power anymore? Prepare yourself ladies and gentlemen! Let’s all find out, shall we?
The package contains:
- Lightning cable
- Wall charger
- Apple sticker decals
- SIM Removal Tool
- Get Started Guide
Heck, even the overall styling and design hasn’t changed too, which can be seen as both a good or bad thing, depending on who you talk to of course. Employing the same iconic design as before, everything that made the previous handset is here again – like its chamfered beveled edges, uniform flat front & rear surfaces, button placements, and premium brushed aluminum rear casing. There's a slight change in the color scheme, as the black version now has “Space Gray” metal body, which is slightly lighter than the dark gray on the iPhone 5. And now, a new, third color is added – Gold.
No doubt, there’s still that premium attachment with the phone, which few smartphones in the space can match. Needless to say, the iPhone 5s’ construction is expectedly solid, with no creaks or hollowness found with its build quality. It’s able to withstand the usual wear and tear that smartphones are accustomed to experiencing, however, we find it unlikely to endure something more serious – such as lengthy drops.
Visually speaking, we’re not enamored by the iPhone 5s, rightfully so, seeing that it’s a recycled design. Despite that, though, it remains to be one of the more premium looking and feeling smartphones on the market.
Checking out the same metal banding that's hugging the iPhone 5s, all the same ports and buttons from before are once again here. On the left side, we have the silent switch and separated volume controls, while on the right, the slot for the handset's nanoSIM slot. Up top, the same power button sticks out ever so much from the surrounding area, and right on cue, it’s springy as we've come to expect. And lastly, the iPhone 5s' proprietary Lightning docking port, microphone, and internal speaker are lined in unison on the bottom edge.
In a landscape dominated by behemoth sized cameras, like the 41-megaixel beast in the Nokia Lumia 1020, the iPhone 5s is still packing the same 8-megapixel snapper from before, but it’s simply stuffed with even juicier internals. Everyone seems to think they have the correct recipe with their respective fancy termed camera technology, like HTC’s “Ultrapixel” or Motorola’s “Clear Pixel” cameras, but who says that Apple has is correct with the iPhone 5s? Right? Maybe they do, but one thing’s certain – the 8-megapixel iSight camera here benefits from a larger pixel size and aperture.
Specifically, pixel size this time around jumps up to 1.5µm, up from the iPhone 5’s previous 1.4µm size, which is supposed to improve with low lighting situations. Combined with an f2.2 aperture lens, it is said to see an increase of 33% with light sensitivity. Other neat features include a backside illuminated sensor, digital image stabilization, dual-LED flash (white & amber colors), HDR, panoramic, 1080p video recording, and slow-motion recording. Oh yeah, there’s also a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, which also employs a backside illuminated sensor, larger 1.9µm pixels, and 720p video recording. We’ll talk more about quality a bit later, seeing all of this mumbo-jumbo won’t matter if it can’t snap GOOD looking photos.
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123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
3.95 oz (112 g)
129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
In part of keeping its iconic design, the iPhone 5s continues to flaunt a circular sized, recessed home button beneath its display. Indeed, the springiness is here yet again, however, as we closely inspect it with our eyes, there’s an apparent difference this time around. Low and behold folks, the home button that we all know and love now incorporates a biometric fingerprint sensor, which is protected soundly by sapphire crystal glass. It’s not the first time we’ve seen fingerprint scanner on phones, as the Motorola ATRIX 4G and older Windows Mobile phones like the LG eXpo featured fingerprint scanners of their own.
Unlike them, Apple’s take with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner relies on capacitive technology – whereas with the aforementioned devices, we were required to swipe our finger multiple times over their scanners to register. Setting it up is a breeze on the iPhone 5s, since it requires us to tap various regions of our finger over the sensor until it’s able to map out a good portion of it. Once completed, we’re able to unlock the iPhone 5s from the lock screen by merely placing our finger over the sensor. And it works flawlessly! Besides unlocking the phone, it’s used to confirm purchases, which helps to minimize the step of inputting our password. Concerned about privacy? Well, Apple specifically mentions that fingerprints are stored locally in the iPhone 5’s new A7 processor – as opposed to being stored in the clouds. So there’s no cause for alarm just yet, right?
Apple loves to think differently, but seriously, Touch ID isn’t necessarily an innovative thing. At the end of the day, its purpose is mainly reserved for unlocking the iPhone 5s – a neat gesture no doubt, but hardly something we’d consider profound. Just like other unlocking alternatives, such as Android’s face unlock, some people might view it as a novelty feature.
Who knows if Apple will ever reclaim the bragging rights to having the most detailed smartphone display, but one thing is for sure – it’s certainly not the iPhone 5s. Donning the same screen as before, the iPhone 5s sports a 4-inch Retina Display that keeps its resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels – a figure that may not look so impressive on paper, but still delivers the pretty reasonable 326 ppi pixel density. Because of this, image clarity may not be as superb as on those 1080 x 1920 pixel displays out there, but in most cases, you'll never have an issue reading the new iPhone's screen.
The iPhone 5s' IPS-LCD based display continues to produce colors that are incredibly accurate in tone. It's probably the most accurate display on a smartphone, with nicely saturated, yet realistic colors, along with eye-catching, contrasting look and gamma that is close to perfect. Thankfully, its brightness output is also excellent, allowing for easy and comfortable viewing when outdoors. Oh, and did we mention that viewing angles are also superb? Yep, they certainly are.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Apple iPhone 5s||587
|Samsung Galaxy S4||289
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||58.5%
|Apple iPhone 5s||86.7%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. Xavier1415 (Posts: 22; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
this phone is trash and apple fanboys will buy anything thats apple smh
5. JDogg5281 (Posts: 50; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
I wouldnt say it is trash...just a little boring the design hasnt really changed since....ever. Same thick box look.
64. promise7 (Posts: 224; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
Thick? It's one of the slimmest and lightest smartphones available.
127. Samsungadroidrules (Posts: 104; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)
Galaxy S4 has 5 inch screen and yet it is Slim and Lightest. Nit to mention its Advanced features. Unlike this Outdated, Boring Over priced iPhone again.
132. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
This comes with touch id fingerprint sensor
Does ur dandroid comes with it?
136. realnic55 (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Sep 2013)
If you're buying a two year old Atrix it does.
151. rightcue805 (Posts: 55; Member since: 08 Jul 2013)
oooooo it was hacked in the first 3 days.
180. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
And "was" updated in the next 3 days
186. Neo_Huang (Posts: 116; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)
That's just a gimmick, and probably just a way for the NSA to get your fingerprint. Besides, haven't you heard of the Vivo Xplay 3s? Or the HTC One Max? Or even some 5 year old phone? Get your facts straight before posting.
181. Alexs21 (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)
He didn't say it was thick he said it looks thick.
100. Leo_MC (Posts: 394; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
If Rolls Royce lines are borring, than iPhone's are too.
133. CtK4949 (Posts: 15; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Rolls Royce are boring as hell!! Just like the crraple phone!!
7. bucky (Posts: 1222; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Really? What's trash about it?
Camera? Screen? AppStore? Sound? Speaker? Support? Updates? Software optimization? CPU? Gpu?
I don't get it...
91. saffant (Posts: 185; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Screen size, and originality (or lack thereof rather).
108. Leo_MC (Posts: 394; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
Yeah, I carry my 55" plasma; I find 5.7" Note to be sooooooooooo small...
But I'm a 2.5 m giant with 20 cm long fingers so I can easily use the Note, unlike average 170 cm Joe which would have to use 2 hands.
170. saffant (Posts: 185; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Get a S4 then, or a HTC One/ Nexus 5 etc.
iPhone's 4" screen is a bad.. bad joke.
169. saffant (Posts: 185; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Sure it is. That's two BIG reasons. See how people flamed the S4 when it came out cuz it looked to similar to the S3. Well the 5S looks IDENTICAL to the 5.
Also, this is 2013.. 4" screens are dead. In this multimedia age, everyone wants a bigger screen.
122. sabres0809 (Posts: 13; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)
No originality. Just a finger print scanner and a processor that won't be relevant because everything is made to run on old processors
152. rightcue805 (Posts: 55; Member since: 08 Jul 2013)
ALL OF IT! The fact that you guys still don't have a removeable battery, no expandable memory. SUPPORT? HA
9. PAPINYC (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
Did we expect anything less from iLovers??!!
NO!!!! So, take this review and the content herein as biAsed and, therefore, iNvalid since the reviewer (s) have completely disregarded alllllllllllll of the short-comings with this phone and its' lovely lavender-laced iCon operating system. Nevermind the fact that there are at least 100 things that Android can do that iOS/iDudz CAN NOT. Enjoy the fabriCated review as a TMZ article and nothing more. I'm waiting for the reviews for Galaxy Note 3, HTC One Max and Nokia 1520 (Verizon) to seehow they iSpin their reviews in comparison to this quasiPhone review.
49. greathero1 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
At some point you are going to have to change it up a bit and kill the silly stuff. You ought to get tired of saying the same cheesy stuff everyday. The phone has reviewed well across numerous tech sites so everybody is wrong but you........get over yourself and calm down. The Note will get a 9.5 so you can claim supremacy again in a couple of weeks.
143. darkkjedii (Posts: 9280; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Shhhhhhhhhhh, oh yeah PA already shushed you.
18. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)
If it's trash, then what would you call all the phones that it beat in benchmarks? Poop? Sh**? Dung? hahaha
57. illusionmist (Posts: 81; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)
apple haters will hate anything thats apple smh
63. Slammer (Posts: 817; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
I don't hate Apple. But, I've learned long ago that I demand more from a company I spend good money on. None of this incremental upgrade stuff. Apple makes a good product. But, it also uses carrot bait tactics to spend as less as possible and charge more while hyping its products as something competely new and exciting.
I can get much more from another platform without signing my life away. It's just a freakin phone. Nothing more, nothing less.
65. promise7 (Posts: 224; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
Well it was a "S" version so I wouldn't have expected anything groundbreaking. I do however fully expect the iPhone 6 to up their game. They have to introduce a bigger screen at the very least.
67. Slammer (Posts: 817; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
The problem as I see it through ny friends and colleagues, is they get so damn excited about EVERY iPhone launch regardless of an "S" edition or not and yet complain that thier wish lists were not answered again after the past two iterations. Who's fault is that? If you want a larger than 4" screen, either demand it or walk away. Again, it's only a phone. The only thing that is happening here, is Apple getting richer and richer by holding back as much as they can.
109. Leo_MC (Posts: 394; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
If people would have wanted bigger iPhone screens, they wouldn't have bought the 5s but they have bought more than they did with 5; more people bought 5s than people that wanted bigger screens and chose S4s.
That's got to say that, somewhere, your logic is faulted.
I sell services; I produce nothing and my profits are about 90-100% all the time. That means I don't have the right to get richer and my clients get nothing in return of my services?!
104. Dr.Tom (Posts: 46; Member since: 11 May 2013)
Should have upgraded the resolution to Full HD! Its not even 720p! The screen is just tiny at 4" and next year is a really long time to wait for a product that should have arrived last year!
23. special4u (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 May 2013)
Iphone has the most responsive experience ever, even iphone 4 is much more reposive than galaxy s4
since fandroid like to brag about benchmark, iphone 5s and beat every phones out there
26. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6623; Member since: 14 May 2012)
No device is responsive when running iOS 7. I've even seen the 5S lag with it's A7 chip. I've tried every iPad and iPhone and can confirm responsiveness is there 50% of the time.
31. msa1988 (Posts: 407; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
Not sure what your using that makes it lag. I have iOS7 on my 4S and it runs perfect.
32. greathero1 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
Sorry but my iPad is just as responsive as it was before. I have a 3rd generation model and for the most part has been issue free. No more than the every now and then lag that I experienced before.
45. PAPINYC (Posts: 2044; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
You go Smurf, make them 'sees the
light' on that sloooow-ass, yet colorfully rAinbow BriTe, iPhone 4S++
74. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)
5S lags? Lol. I've checked almost 20 reviews and hands on videos of the 5S on YouTube, and from what I see - It's a buttery smooth experience.
Oh, but then again, you're a fandroid so the 5S would definitely lag. Haha, douchebag.
76. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6623; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Want some cheese with that whine?
Why do you base your judgement on reviews from the internet instead of real life scenarios? Glad to know no one can say anything negative about Apple, especially when they sport a Mac.
What else do you got, douchebag?
77. sniper1087 (Posts: 310; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)
Not only that it also scored the best score possible in the sunspider test at 400 where lower is better. I like android dont get me wrong just the browser on the iphone is the best there is and yes I have used chrome, still prefer webkit on the iphone/ipad. The lowest I have seen an android score on sunspider is around 1000, so definitely is an improvement.
81. Eonnaydra (Posts: 185; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)
What a liar!
One of my best friends has the iPhone 4 and it runs smoother than S4 or any other Android with NO lag.
82. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6623; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Lol stop lying to yourself. iPhone 4 is a brick running iOS 7.
150. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Smurf you are too little for it get lost
138. rezzy (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)
I created this account just for you. I've been reading your comments for a bit - as I found them interesting, funny, insightful and at times ... actually correct.
Then this. What a let down. You clearly don't know what you're talking about - but at least you're still funny.
Keep up the good work.
139. rezzy (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)
BTW: in case it's not clear - I'm talking about this:
'I've even seen the 5S lag with it's A7 chip. I've tried every iPad and iPhone and can confirm responsiveness is there 50% of the time.'
187. Neo_Huang (Posts: 116; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)
That's not "every phone out there", and you really trust those benchmarks?
39. joey_sfb (Posts: 1973; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Xavier troll iPhone to baits you guys. And here we go again. Never ending mine phone is better than your phone. Really..lol.
43. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 258; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
This is how a fan is seeing this new iphone:
- It's Apple
- Almost equal to the predecessor, can't be bad
- iOS7 colours remind me that it's magic
- Different home button after 7 years
- Too many colours, need to buy'em all
"Rest? I don't care"
118. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
"Almost equal to the predecessor" Really? Usually new phones are supposed to be big improvements over the predecessor! The new iOS7 feels like it wasnt finished - like it was rushed to market because everyone was complaining about OS6 lagging behind!
50. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
This one is better than ur hell(phone)
71. Kal-el (Posts: 87; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)
....SOOOooo basically the atrix is 9.3 rating....coool
2. android_hitman (Posts: 587; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)
such a high score.... hmmm.. for:
same screen, same design (except the mid button) and the same battery
but then again, PA is known to be a little apple oriented
10. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1433; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
SMH... PA, will give good score, to phones that, arent even great, and low scores , to good phones
102. AAABall (unregistered)
Why no mention of non proprietary lightning cable, or the lack of lack of memory expansion? This is a con on every other phone PA reviews?
105. Dr.Tom (Posts: 46; Member since: 11 May 2013)
The screen isn't even 720p! But it is the brightest screen in the market! Too bad its soo SMALL. PA doesnt like to talk about the size or resolution or the fact that 326PPI is only average by flagship standards. Instead they use all these technical terms to try and hide the truth! With flagship phones pushing 441PPI, retina display is now a thrid class quality!
188. rohitknhs (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Mar 2014)
Screen size is a preference,so shut up! Even Samsung phones have almost same design,but no one complains because they are fanboys.
3. chunky1x (Posts: 121; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
I don't see something special to this phone. This looks and feel the same.