iPhone 5S – key features and price [video]
The iPhone 5S is Apple’s brand new flagship phone featuring iOS 7, an improved camera and a fingerprint scanner. It’s a subtle step up from the iPhone 5 with ambitions to take on the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z1.
It’s priced at £549 for the 16GB SIM-free model and is available in stores now. Read on for our guide to the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 5S – five key features
A fingerprint scanner – forget about setting up a passcode for your iPhone 5S, Apple’s Touch ID will use your fingerprint instead. It’s built into the iPhone’s home button for added security but strikes us as a bit of a gimmick. Hardly an essential bit of innovation.
Bigger camera pixels. Better photos? – Apple has upped the size of the pixels in the iPhone 5S’ camera to 1.5 microns so that they can capture more light and, hopefully produce better photos. It’s also added a second LED flash to produce a better colour balance in low light. This could prove an impressive combination when we get the 5S into our test lab.
A superfast processor – powered by Apple’s new A7 processor, the iPhone 5S is twice as speedy as its predecessor. Its 64-bit chip is claimed to be the first used in a phone, but what really matters is that power-hungry 3D gaming apps won’t slow down or stutter when you’re playing them. As for everyday tasks like note-taking and internet browsing, you’ll barely notice the difference.
A respectable battery life – according to our battery life testing, the iPhone 5 offered just under nine hours of call time. The iPhone 5S claims to offer 10 hours. This isn’t a huge improvement, but it’s worth remembering the 5S is a smaller handset compared to the Samsung Galaxy S4; so Apple has less space to squeeze a bigger battery.
Three colourful cases – You could already get the iPhone 5 in slate and silver variations. The iPhone 5S is available in an additional champagne gold colouring. This makes makes no difference to its performance, but looks very nice indeed.
Which? expert verdict – ‘An underwhelming iPhone update’
Housed in the same case as the iPhone 5 with a new processor, better battery life and a fingerprint scanner, the iPhone 5S really doesn’t offer much to get excited about. In a year that’s seen the stellar Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z1, it feels like just another phone.
The iPhone 5S’ key innovation is its fingerprint scanner. This takes around two minutes to step up and, compared to a passcode, it’s a much more convenient security feature. Unfortunately, you can only use it for unlocking your phone alongside buying apps and music.
Thanks to its dual LED flash and bigger pixels, the 5S’ camera appears to perform better in low light compared to the iPhone 5′s. In truth, I had more fun using its slow motion video camera capturing a colleague doing the moonwalk. This is something you can already do on the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The iPhone 5S’ also comes with iOS 7 pre-installed; a free software update is available for previous iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners too. It borrows a lot of features that have been kicking around Google’s Android operating system for a while (e.g. an easy-to-use settings menu) and offers them in a typically attractive package.
Since Apple’s App Store features the most innovative downloads, which are updated more frequently than their Android counterparts, the iPhone 5S remains an appealing handset.
Would I buy one? No. Now mobile phones seem to have reached parity in terms of design and specs, there are some great deals to be found with mid-range handsets.
That said, I much prefer the iPhone 5S to Apple’s cheper iPhone 5C. For me, aluminium trumps plastic every time.
Rob Leedham – online writer
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