There’s been a tone of Apple hype lately, with the release of two new phones and the highly anticipated iOS 7 operating system last week. The new 5c, a colorful and (slightly) cheaper iPhone to replace the 4 and 4s, is basically devoid of upgrades, and iOS 7 is included on all new devices. So to take a real look at how Apple’s upgraded its mobile line, here’s our review of the iPhone 5s, step-by-step.
Storage & Price
The 16 GB phone is $199, and the 32 GB is $299. The 64 GB option, by far the most capable in terms of storage capacity, will cost $399.
Casing & Finish
One thing should be made clear: despite many reports to the contrary, there is no standard black iPhone 5s available. The phone will come in “silver” (mixed with white), “space gray,” a sleek dark metal mixed with black borders, and “gold,” a champagne hue also mixed with white. All three are incredibly sleek looking options.
The Apple A7 processor included in the iPhone 5S is extraordinarily powerful – twice as much so as the A6, according to iFixit. This makes for a very smooth and capable smartphone performance that manifests in various ways. But the bottom thing is, everything looks a little bit sharper, and works a little bit faster. The Verge notes “Infinity Blade III,” a gaming app that prides itself on console-like graphics, as a strong barometer for comparing the 5s image capability to the 5.
The new fingerprint scanner on the home button has gotten a great deal of publicity, and the truth is it works nicely. The security of the scanner appears sound, and can be reassuring. However, we’re still waiting to see the practical applications of this technology that may be on the way in the future.
The camera has been upgraded in multiple ways. To begin with, the phone’s included True Tone flash, burst mode, and autofocus all make for a naturally improved camera quality. Additionally, improvements within iOS 7 – square photos, included filters, and easy transition between modes of image capturing – make for more convenient use.
Technically, the 5s comes equipped with a larger battery than the 5, but the phone’s capabilities also use up battery a bit faster in some cases. This means that everything basically evens out, and the battery life is about what iPhone users are used to.
This is a much discussed topic in mobile devices, as different multitasking styles offer different advantages. The iOS 7 version, however, seems quite adequate for enjoying multiple activities. The smoothest example to test is playing a game and chatting with a friend. Consider a game that demands particularly close attention. For this example, we’ll use the Bingo at Betfair, which is a live casino game that you play online. For the most part, it plays like any other bingo experience, with the important distinction that real money from your Betfair account is on the line! Naturally, playing a mobile game that involves cash gambling requires efficient multitasking (if you’re going to multitask at all), as you can’t exactly step away from this sort of game for long. Thankfully, with iOS 7, it’s quite quick and simple to flip back and forth between your bingo application and a conversation with a friend. It still isn’t quite split-screen
multitasking, but it’s ultimately fairly satisfying, and helpful in instances like this example.
There has been a good deal of discussion about advantages in iOS 7’s version of Siri. Specifically, Siri can now use Twitter, Bing, and Wikipedia to search for information, and can also be turned into a male voice (instead of the standard female tones). Ultimately, though, you’ll only truly notice these changes if you’re a regular Siri user.
Ultimately, deciphering the iPhone 5s in its entirety takes a great deal of space and time. The main features are relatively easy to describe and define, but the truth is this is a fairly major overhaul for Apple. And the result of the new 5s, combined with iOS 7, is a clear and fairly impressive improvement.
Some features still need work. Not all of the popular apps are designed for 5s yet, and that makes some a bit strange to use for the time being. And, as mentioned, the fingerprint scanner has yet to reveal its full potential. Additionally, some believe that Apple may have made a mistake by refusing to enlarge the phone, which is practically identical in size to the iPhone 5. But all in all, the 5s represents an intelligently thought out and very impressive upgrade.