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Apple iPhone 5s Review

Apple iPhone 5s 9.3


The stock Camera app has gotten a decent upgrade as well – it allows you to choose from a set of 8 photo filters, and it also sports a new 'square' photo mode, for those of you who would enjoy snapping square photos. The panorama picture option is once again here, of course, and so is HDR. If you've been hoping for some more advanced options, such as ISO, sharpness and so on, you're in for a disappointment, because the camera app is just as simple as before. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it's incredibly fast and easy to use. If you'd like a more "manual" experience, well, you'll surely find an app for that. Although it’s not something entirely new, the iPhone 5s now offers the useful mode of burst shooting, which is accessed by merely pressing and holding onto the shutter key.

Alas, we now come to the point where shutterbugs are bound to know for sure if the iPhone 5s is indeed an improvement over the iPhone 5 in terms of picture quality via its updated 8-megapixel iSight camera. So what’s the final verdict on this one? Well, we can certainly say that it’s a valid claim, but its superiority is mostly reserved to low lighting quality. In fact, as we compare samples taken by the iPhone 5, we’re unable to actually tell the two apart with their outdoor quality. It’s not a bad thing honestly, seeing that it’s rich with sharp details and warmer toned colors to continue making it one of the best in its class. Also, it handles dynamic range fairly well too, as both light and dark areas are well exposed.

The true telling, however, is most evident with its low lighting quality, which is attributed due to the combination of its backside illuminated sensor, larger aperture f2.2 lens (f2.4 for the iPhone 5), and larger sized pixels (1.5µm vs 1.4µm) thanks to the 15% bigger sensor (from 1/3.2” in the iPhone 5, to 1/3.0” in the 5s). Not only are images brighter in tone in lower lighting situations, thus, exposing more details than the iPhone 5, but there’s also less blurring and haziness too. Essentially, it translates to images that rival the sharpness and clarity of outdoor shots – though, details of course, are a smidgen softer looking. With this new model, it’s sporting not one, but two LED flashes. Through the combination of its white and amber colored LED flashes, the iPhone 5s composes images that have a more balanced look with colors. And yes, it’s extremely potent as well, enabling it to light things up as far as 7 feet away!

Packing an HDR mode as well, images clearly make good use of the various exposures that the iPhone 5s snaps up. Naturally, dynamic range is handled exquisitely in HDR mode, seeing that the handset does a bang up job of performing its post processing effects to get the best result.

Image size:
Use our samples comparison tool to see photos from more phones

Previewing its 1080p video recording quality, there’s not a whole lot different here that jumps at us. Certainly, it produces videos that are most pleasing to the eyes, as it’s filled with plenty of visual eye candy – like its sharp details, accurate colors, smooth recording, progressive exposure adjustment, and clear audio recording. Sure, there are a few instances of artifacting that’s evident every now and then as we pan quickly, but it’s hardly a distracting element. One of these days Apple is going to get it right, but alas, we’re only presented with touch focus yet again.

Mixing things up, the iPhone 5s has a neat-o high definition slow motion recording mode as well. Specifically, it shoots the video at a blazing fast rate of 120 fps, enabling us to select when to apply the slow motion mode by merely adjusting the cropping marks in the video timeline. Without a doubt, it’s a pretty cool and slick feature, especially when the audio also receives the same slow motion treatment as well. Depending on the action that’s being shot, you can seemingly get a cool Matrix-like effect with this particular mode.


It might not sport fancy looking 3D visual effects, but the Photos app of iOS 7 also gets its long deserved update. Running the app, we have quick access to looking through photos stored locally on the iPhone 5s, and others stored in the cloud via Photo Stream. Everything is once again presented in the customary 2D scrollable view, but the organization of content has been improved considerable – as we can view them according to date, album, or location. Not only do we have quick sharing via the usual portals (Messages, Mail, iCloud, Twitter, Facebook, & Flickr), we can also share then through iOS 7’s new AirDrop feature.

Say it ain’t so?? The music player is no longer carrying the app’s usual flare in its cover-flow mode! Yes, you heard that right folks, cover-flow mode is no longer seen with the music player, as it’s been replaced by this resizable album cover grid layout when tilting the phone sideways to landscape. Seriously, it’s not as flashy! Despite the omission of cover-flow, the functions of the music player are intact. As for the presentation, it boasts the same lovable visual improvement we see throughout the platform, but for the most part, it’s still rather conventional looking – it doesn’t try to be flashy.

However, we do appreciate the addition of iTunes Radio, which is Apple’s new streaming music service that’s similar to Pandora. When it comes to audio output from its internal speaker, we can attest that it doesn’t differ whatsoever from what we’ve seen with the iPhone 5 already. It’s potent, but nothing earth shattering.

Copying videos to the iPhone 5s continues to be a process of its own, mainly due to the requirement of having us to convert them to properly load. Regardless of that, the smartphone is a decent offering when it comes to watching videos. Why only decent? Well, we’ll point out that high definition videos play flawlessly and without any hitches, but considering that larger screens prove to be more suitable for the experience, the 4-inch Retina Display seems rather quaint when compared to its rivals. Still, it suffices for the occasion.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 1
Samsung Galaxy S4 0.38
LG G2 0.29
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 74
Samsung Galaxy S4 77
LG G2 66
View all

  • Options

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:14 49

1. Xavier1415 (Posts: 28; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)

this phone is trash and apple fanboys will buy anything thats apple smh

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:18 35

5. JDogg5281 (Posts: 73; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:27 18

7. bucky (Posts: 2982; 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...

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:27 22

9. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:34 16

18. Ninetysix (Posts: 2537; 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


posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:41 5

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

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:43 9

26. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:49 8

31. msa1988 (Posts: 418; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)

Not sure what your using that makes it lag. I have iOS7 on my 4S and it runs perfect.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:49 7

32. greathero1 (Posts: 568; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:53 2

39. joey_sfb (Posts: 6402; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:56 7

43. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 259; 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"

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 07:57 6

45. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

You go Smurf, make them 'sees the
light' on that sloooow-ass, yet colorfully rAinbow BriTe, iPhone 4S++

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 08:01 7

49. greathero1 (Posts: 568; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 08:07 1

50. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)

This one is better than ur hell(phone)

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 08:20 4

57. illusionmist (Posts: 157; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)

apple haters will hate anything thats apple smh

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 08:54 15

63. Slammer (Posts: 1515; 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.

John B.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 08:56 15

64. promise7 (Posts: 888; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)

Thick? It's one of the slimmest and lightest smartphones available.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 09:00 3

65. promise7 (Posts: 888; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 09:15 6

67. Slammer (Posts: 1515; 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.

John B.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 10:05 4

71. Kal-el (Posts: 93; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)

....SOOOooo basically the atrix is 9.3 rating....coool

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 10:19 7

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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 11:15 5

76. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; 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?

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 11:16 2

77. sniper1087 (Posts: 529; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 12:02 3

81. Eonnaydra (Posts: 217; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 12:11 6

82. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Lol stop lying to yourself. iPhone 4 is a brick running iOS 7.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 13:16 9

91. saffant (Posts: 274; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)

Screen size, and originality (or lack thereof rather).

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 15:00 3

100. Leo_MC (Posts: 2225; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)

If Rolls Royce lines are borring, than iPhone's are too.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 15:52 4

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!

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 17:05 3

108. Leo_MC (Posts: 2225; 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.

posted on 23 Sep 2013, 17:12 2

109. Leo_MC (Posts: 2225; 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?!

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Display4.0 inches, 640 x 1136 pixels (326 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz, Cyclone ARMv8 processor
Size4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches
(123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm)
3.95 oz  (112 g)

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