Apple iPhone 5S Review

Bottom line

The fast and powerful performance, the beautiful design as well as a large number of amazing new features all make the Apple iPhone 5S a great model. If it’s the due date for upgrading your phone based on the contract, this phone is really worth your consideration. Especially, if you love the photography, I think that the iPhone 5S is certainly the best option among a wide variety of smartphones.

If you have to spend an early fee for upgrading the phone (for example, if the full price for purchasing the device is around $300, which is higher than the subsidized price), it will be a little bit hard to make the decision. The additional features are great here, but the price may be still too high for all of the phone offerings. If the price is $500 or even higher for the iPhone 5S, you may consider waiting for the coming iPhone 6 that may have more updated features as well as at the same time save you more money.

Overview of the Apple iPhone 5S

The Price

The price is $199 for the 16GB model

The price is $299 for the 32GB model

The price is $399 for the 64GB model

The phone is only available in a two-year phone contract

When looking at the iPhone 5S and comparing it to the previous version, the iPhone 5, you won’t see many significant differences. It even seems to be pretty similar to the sibling model, iPhone 5C that was released at the same period.

However, don’t let the first glance deceive you. There are a lot of major under-the-hood improvements, among which the camera improvement has been the most highlighted. With these improvements, someone certainly wants to upgrade the iPhone 5S. Meanwhile, the upgrade may be just optional for some others when they consider the above improvements.


  • The phone camera is amazing
  • Touch ID is a great new feature and this is a potential technology
  • 64-bit A7 chip and M7 chip are very nice
  • There are many color options with the phone


  • In terms of the speed, the 5S is not much faster than 5C
  • There are not many new features as expected
Apple iPhone 5S Review Buy

Apple iPhone 5S Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Apple iPhone 5S

Similar and Different Aspects

There are many similar elements between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5. The first one is the Retina Display Screen which has the same 4-inch measurement. The form and the weight (both measuring 3.95 ounces) are also the same. However, you can also find some differences between the 2 versons. With the iPhone 5S, the battery life for the talk as well as web browsing time is about 20% higher. Instead of only two traditional color options, you can select one among three colors when buying this phone: gold, gray and slate.

Because the previous version was already an excellent phone, the above features as well as similarities are a nice starting point of the iPhone 5S. However, to become an outstanding model, the iPhone 5S needs other major additional features.

The Camera and Touch ID

The new features are divided into two types: the currently fully functional features and the ones that are to be completed in the future.

Among the new features of the iPhone 5S, perhaps the Touch ID is the most highlighted in which you just need to touch your finger to have the phone unlocked thanks to a fingerprint scanner which is added to the Home button. You will find a better security with this technology than with a traditional passcode, because a fingerprint is required to crack the security.

It is simple to set up the Touch ID and in comparison with passcode, the Touch ID helps you save time in unlocking the phone. You can also make use of the Touch ID instead of passwords for entering iTunes and App Store. This great technology certainly becomes the starting point for various mobile application, especially mobile commerce with the surprisingly simplicity and the good security (though certainly not ironclad).

Another important new feature comes with the camera. When looking at the phone camera for the first time and comparing it with the cameras of the 5C and 5, you may not see any difference. The resolution for still images is 8 MP and the HD video capability is 1080p. However, these are not all about the camera of the iPhone 5S.

You’re going to achieve the better image quality and video quality with the iPhone 5S versus other previous iPhone versions thanks to the various subtle features. The photos shot with the 5S camera have the higher pixels number and there are two flash units on the camera in the back. With the above changes, the photos produced with the 5S are of higher accuracy and realistic colors. When you compare images quality of the 5S and 5C, the results with the 5S are more precise and more attractive.

In addition to the improvements on the image and video quality, there are some changes on the functions which makes the iPhone 5S become more similar to even high-end cameras (although it can’t be the same as a professional one). The first change is the addition of a burst mode in which you can shoot up to ten photos in one second and you just simply need to tap and hold the camera button to perform this mode. The photography with the iPhone 5S becomes much better with this option and even this is true for some earlier iPhone versions in which you just can shot one photo at a time.

The second change comes in the movie shooting feature in which you can shoot slow motion movies. The usual frame rate is often 30 frames per second, but the maximum number of the iPhone 5S is up to 120 frames per second. Therefore, your movies can be more detailed and ethereal. These types of slow motion movies are expected to appear on YouTube as well as other movie-sharing websites in the very near future.

If you are just an user at the average level, it will be nice to have the above improvements. Especially if you are a photographers, you will find these additions very important.


There are a number of additional features which are available in the iPhone 5S now but will show their better usefulness later.

First, Apple includes the A7 processor in the center of the iPhone 5S. This chip has the storage capability up to 64 bit, which means that the phone can address a higher number of data a single chunk compared to the one which only has the 32-bit storage capability. Of course, it does not mean that the speed of the iPhone 5S will be as twice as fast (actually not; through my testing, the 5S is about 10% faster than the 5C or 5 in most situations) but this processor will be better for performing processor-intensive tasks. However, there still remain two downsides: you need to have a software for getting the best benefits from this chip and a larger memory is needed.

Until now, there is only a very limited number of 64-bit iOS apps. You can find the iOS as well several major Apple apps with the 64-bit chips, but till the time of updating all these apps, you may not consistently see the improvements. In addition, to take the advantage of the 64-bit chips, your phone is required to have the 4GB or higher storage capacity. The memory space of the iPhone 5S is limited to 1GB, so the phone cannot take the full advantage of the available processor.

Another feature that will become more useful in the future when it can be adapted with third parties is the second co-processor, known as the M7 motion processor. This processor is specialized to handle data coming from motion as well as activity-related sensors including the accelerometer, compass and gyroscope. With the M7, the phone apps can derive more useful data, then used in more advanced apps. Obviously, without the support of the M7 motion processor, this will not be possible, but when this processor performs this, the physical interaction will become much easier with the iPhone 5S.


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