* Prices may differ from that shown
I was excited to get my mitts on the new iPhone 5s, having had a 4s for two years. Upon receipt of the item, the usual slick Apple packaging is present,. I forgot how to put the SIM card in, so had to call for assistance! you don''t really get instructions in the box, you are expected to go online for these which could be frustrating if this is your only internet accessible device. You have to use a small and fiiddly tool to poke into the side and a little tray then emerges for you to put the SIM card in. The rest of the set up process was similar to the 4s and the phone screen walks you through the process. Looks wise, the phone is lovely, thinner than the 4s but slightly longer. Screen is glass so best to buy a screen protector for safety. Functionality again is quite similar. I have noticed performance to be less reliable as the phone crashes quite frequently., this may be down to the version of the operating system. Touch screen is very responsive and user interface the same as with all apple iPhones or iPads. It is pretty intuitive to be honest so I think even those scared of technology should find it accessible. I haven''t noticed a difference in the quality of the camera between the 4s and the 5s which has disappointed me somewhat as I use this feature regularly. The fingerprint sensor was a bit unreliable and annoyed me so I took it off and just use a pin code. Siri is a bit of a novel feature - as your personal virtual assistant but not that useful! I would recommend the phone but if there is a vast different in price, I would suggest going for the 4s as the features are not that different to warrant a huge price difference.
Now I have to admit I was always a Blackberry fan, I loved the Blackberry and I especially loved Blackberry messenger as most of my friends were on it. I used to have big heated discussions with iPhone lovers about how I would always stick to a Blackberry...well until about two years ago that is. The Blackberry was starting to die out, friends were switching over to the iPhone and they weren't bringing any spectacular new devices out, it all got a bit boring. So when it got to upgrade time I got offered a good deal on the 4s and decided to give it a go....and I fell in love and understood why so many people love the iPhones. I had been converted. Recently it was time again for an upgrade so off I went and got a brand new shiny iPhone 5s.
The Technical bit:
The iPhone 5s measures 4.87 inches by 2.31 inches, so slightly longer than my 4s but only 7.6mm in depth and weighing 112 grams so noticeably lighter. It has a retina display which basically refers to the screen having pixels that are so closely packed that the human eye won't be able to make out individual pixels which makes viewing liquid clear.
What's new with the 5s is that it has an inbuilt A7 chip that gives you CPU and graphics performance up to two times faster than the A6 chip. The A7 chips also makes the iPhone 5s the first 64 bit smartphone in the world. The 5s also has a new M7 coprocessor which is designed to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass so it knows when you are walking, running or driving. The 5s new features also include a fingerprint sensor on the home button that you can set up to use when unlocking the phone or to purchase items from the Apple Store.
The camera hasn't really improved much from the 4s, it still has an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording. The only new features are the new true tone flash, sapphire crystal lens cover, image stabilisation and burst mode and when you video there is now a 3x zoom. The front FaceTime camera has slightly improved now producing 1.2mp photos and 720p HD video recording there is also a new backlight illumination sensor.
Of course the 5s still has Siri, and with the new iOS 7 it features a redesigned interface and fades into view on top of whatever is on your screen. Its faster at answering questions and checks more sources to find what you're after. Siri takes on extra tasks, like returning calls, playing voicemail and adjusting the screen brightness.
The battery life has slightly improved with up to 10 hours talk time on 3G and standby time is up to 250 hours.
What's in the box?
* iPhone 5s with iOS 7
* Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
* Lightning to USB Cable
* USB Power Adapter
I quite like the 5s, when I first picked it up it felt lighter and looked a little more impressive than my previous 4s and as with all new phones I wanted to make sure it didn't get scratched or broken so went out and brought a case and it still looks nice and smart even in the case. Although the phone has scratch resistant sapphire glass to prevent small scratches, if you are keeping it in a bag or pocket with keys and coins it could still scratch the screen also buying a case or bumper will help if you accidently drop it. After all, the phone is worth around £500 so best to protect it as much as you can!
I like the new operating system, iOS7, its looks more colourful and the control centre which you get by swiping your finger up from the bottom of the screen, is really handy as you can access the flashlight, timer, calculator and camera easily as well as AirDrop which allows you to quickly share photos etc from any apps with a share button and whatever you share is encrypted so its secure. I have used this feature once and found it very handy instead of having to go through messaging or email services. The control centre can be used when your phone is locked or when you are on other apps and want to access one of the features quickly. I have to say, the control centre has been the most useful thing for me on iOS7. It was also easy to navigate around the screen and you can make your own folders to store different types of apps which is helpful.
Although the camera is still 8 megapixels I have found pictures come out slightly better than the 4s although the flash blinds people a bit! FaceTime is clearer too, before it looked quite low quality but now you can tell there has been an improvement and it has resulted in a clearer image.
I found it easy to set up the iPhone 5s, I had already backed my 4s up on the iCloud. When you first receive the phone it already has some charge which is handy and then you go through the step by step set up instructions which is simple enough. If you have backed up information from an older model there is an option to restore this. Once restored all my information and apps were there I just needed to sign into the apps again. I'd never used the iCloud before this but found it very simple and a great feature.
The only slightly annoying thing is that the cable has changed from my 4s so these are now redundant and I will need to purchase the new cables for the car and work. No big deal though. All in all I really like the 5s, whilst not too much of an improvement from my previous 4s, it looks great, works well and is easy to use.
Now before you read I have to admit that I am an apple addict. I look forward to the latest releases with much anticipation and I will be the first to admit that Apple can probably do no wrong in my eyes. This is where a big 'but' should come in but to be honest I can't find any faults in the latest iphone. I have had this phone since November and still love it. The colour is really nice, not very strong but I think that is a bonus as it could look tacky otherwise. I have dropped it a couple of times since I have had it (I don't have a case) and there are a few small marks on the phone but I think they are what you would expect from dropping it!
The battery life isn't great if you use your phone a lot, sometimes I can end up charging my phone most days but I do use it quite a lot (5 hours a day sometimes). The finger sensor is great! I think it's such an added bonus and a nice easy way to unlock your phone! Sometimes I do have to move my thumb a few times for it to recognise my finger print but this is rare.
I won't go into details about the features because they are just the same as all the other iPhones, or at least I haven't noticed much difference!
A lot of people expressed disappointment when the new iPhone was revealed. It was hardly any advance over the previous iteration, they claimed. The main difference was the new operating system - iOS7 - also available for earlier iPhones.
It's true that many of the improvements are incremental, so that the 5S is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary; but where changes have been made, they are generally for the better. Since I upgraded from an elderly 3GS straight to a 5S (bypassing the fourth generation altogether), perhaps the improvements were more obvious to me. Either way, the 5S is still a great phone.
The size of the device - already fairly compact - has been further improved, so that the new iPhone looks even better than its predecessors. It's slightly taller than my old 3GS (approaching 5 inches), but that space has been used to good effect to incorporate a slightly larger screen. This is also of a higher quality, making the display even more vibrant and apps more usable.
Elsewhere, the phone has been shrunk further. It's just over 2 inches wide and almost impossibly thin (0.30 inches!). For such a powerful piece of kit, this makes it very light and compact to carry around. It's also comfortable to hold and use (whether as a phone or a computer) for long periods without causing your hand to ache. Buttons are placed in sensible locations so that you can easily access them
One thing you do need to watch out for is how fragile some elements of the phone are - particularly the screen. Have a look around: it's not uncommon to see iPhone's with screens that are almost completely smashed or have large cracks across them. The slimline nature of the phone does mean that it is rather susceptible to damaged when dropped. Some form of case is essential, and this can ruin the sleek, slim lines of your lovely phone.
The real difference, though, comes in the speed. The 5S is blisteringly fast, particularly when benchmarked against my old 3GS. Apps load incredibly quickly and work without any stuttering or glitches. Games look stunning and run at a lightning pace. Even when multiple apps are running (thanks to Apple's lazy implementation of multitasking), there is no noticeable slowdown. Of course, like any computer (which is effectively what the 5S is), there will be some slowdown over time but out of the box the 5S is one of the fastest phones I've ever seen.
Storage wise, the phone comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours. As with all iOS devices, the 5S doesn't support any sort of external memory card, so you can't expand this, which is frustrating and making it all the more important that you select the right one for you. This will obviously depend on how you use your phone. If you download tons of music or films then you are going to eat into 16GB very quickly. Personally, I tend to be more app heavy, so experience has shown me that the 16GB model is fine.
One of the major disappointments for the 3GS was its operation as an actual phone. Call/sound quality was not always great, and could cut out mid-way through a conversation. I also used to find that reception could be seriously patchy - it was not uncommon for calls to suddenly disconnect due to loss of signal, even though you hadn't moved or to lose signal for large periods of time in places where friends on the same network had full reception.
This issue has been rectified with the 5S. Sound quality when making/receiving a call is far better with clearer speakers and sound reproduction, whilst reception has also been improved. The No Signal/Searching... message appears more infrequently, and places where I was previously unable to get any reception now yields 3 or 4 bars, making the phone much more reliable.
Battery life is still an issue (as with most smartphones). How long you get from a single charge will depend on how much you use your phone and for what (some apps are very power hungry). Even relatively light users will need to charge the phone at least once a day though; heavier users will need to do it more often. Battery life also degrades over time (again, common with most phones), so the frequency of charging will become more regular as the phone gets older.
Which brings us onto another grumble: Apple have changed the socket on the end of the charger to a mini connector, which is a real pain. I used to have to remember just one charging lead that would fit both my iPad and my iPhone. Now thanks to Apple, I have to take two. OK, so they're not exactly heavy, but it's one extra thing to have to remember and one extra lead to get tangled around other things in your bag.
Of course, the major downside for the 5S comes with the cost. To buy the 16GB version outright costs well over £500; taking a typical contract will cost £1,000+ over the lifetime of a two year contract. If you plan on keeping your phone for a while (I kept my last iPhone for 5 years), it becomes economically more justifiable, but it you have to upgrade every time a new model is released, it's going to prove very expensive.
So, yes: those people who claimed the iPhone 5S was not a massive step forward have a point. It's iOS 7 that is the real innovation behind the phone, rather than the hardware itself. If you are upgrading from a more recent phone, the improvements are important but incremental. If you own an older iPhone, the changes are more dramatic. It might be losing market share to some of its Android rivals, but the iPhone 5S shows that Apple still know how to make a great smartphone.
© Copyright SWSt 2013
I know many, many people have been iPhone aficionados for a long time now, but I was very hesitant to leave my Blackberry behind. So, bear that in mind when reading this review - I am not well placed to comment on how this version of an iPhone compares to previous ones, but rather that I might be able to give some insight from someone like me who feels increasingly pushed into making The Switch!
My reluctance to make the change comes from my love of the buttons... my ability to type at speed and without looking at my keypad had become invaluable to someone using her phone for work, and as a keen texter! There's no doubt about it that the iPhone keyboard is very intuitive with it's predictive text, but it is definitely harder to type. One handed typing is pretty much out of the question. So bear that in mind if you were a Blackberry multitasker!
There's a lot of things about an iPhone that are quite intuitive and a lot less convoluted than a Blackberry. Navigating through screens, bringing up apps, editing settings... a lot of it comes very naturally and is self explanatory. Another reason for wanting to make the switch is that Blackberries just no longer compete on any serious level with apps. Whilst common place apps such as Instagram always seemed to be "in the works" for Blackberries, they never seemed to actually be just around the corner. Social media integration is fantastic and simple with an iPhone.
At the time of writing this, I have had the phone for 2 weeks or so, and haven't run into any problems as yet. I use it primarily for texting, email, facebook, photos (the camera is great) and to my great shame... a new found compulsion to play Candy Crush Saga.
The phone itself is very good looking. The casing is sleek and smart - but I suspect would be prone to scratches and marks (so I invested in a cover for it), and the finger print technology is fantastic. It makes purchases from the app store and so on very swift and effortless (be careful not to get carried away).
On balance, the iPhone is far superior to the Blackberry I was using previously. I know a lot of people will likely be rolling their eyes at me stating the obvious, but it's true! And for anyone having the same worries as I was, there's no question that the typing style needed for an iPhone is very different to that on a Blackberry, but the overall user experience is vastly improved.
The 5S takes everything apple have done before and amplified it drastically, once again, to give you a phone that could easily last years to come. The 4 inch retina display is just as crisp as it always has been, the colours practically jump out and hit you in the face with their vibrancy. They make a good point about something being easy to hold in your hand. I feel phones these days are becoming too much like their tablet counterparts, samsung being a prime example with their massive Galaxy range.
The 5S is an absolute joy to hold in your hand, the now bevelled edges feel smoother in your hand and the weight difference between the 5S and the 4S is so obvious, you notice it straight away. It's hard to think that they've been able to make a phone that was already in the realms of perfect to begin with even better.
The camera is just as good as it's recent predecessors, the image quality off of it is gorgeous added with the numerous photo editing apps out there you have yourself a winning package. Apple have now added in a slow-motion feature with the 5S which is, like with their panorama feature added not too long ago, amazing. You simply touch the screen whenever you want it to slow down and release to speed it back up, couldn't be simpler.
Coming from the 4S rather than the 5 there are other features I noticed such as the fact that the headphone jack is now at the bottom as well as the charger port. Because these are both at the bottom it helps when you might be walking with headphones in as taking it out of a pocket or a bag is easier with the cables all coming from the same end of the phone. I remember with my 4S if you were charging and listening to music you were limited as to where you could put your phone because either the charger cable or the headphone cable got in the way. That problem is no more.
The battery appears to have improved once again. The battery has always come under some criticism with apple's devices as being short-lived and not good for regular use but this time round I think they've really got it right. I use my phone pretty heavily all day and can use it from about 10am to 7 or 8pm and still have 20% remaining. This is a major improvement for those wandering about with a dead phone wondering what's going on in the world and feeling disconnected.
The main innovation of the 5S shone through as being the Touch ID, a new feature apple have launched, in which one can unlock their iPhone with the touch of a finger. From using this for over a month now I have no doubt that it's a brilliant feature that should be rolled out to all of their handheld devices, iPads included. It just works, most people might still be a bit apprehensive but I must get the 'try again' message maybe once or twice in a day and I must unlock my phone well over a hundred times in any normal day. It's a brilliant feature and should definitely be a major selling point.
Even the slate grey colouring (the one I bought) is sublime. It's lighter than the 5, which I feel makes it stand out but in a subtle way, not in a 'look at me I scratch easy' kind of way. Scratch wise I've had it for a month and haven't had any trouble. The screens apple dish out now are pretty resistant to any kind of scratching, pretty wonderful really.