Apple decided to split its iPhone offering into two ranges at the recent launch, unveiling the 5C for the slightly lower end of the market, and the 5S as the premium model.
On the outside, the 5S is pretty much identical to the iPhone 5, but Apple has added a few features and made some tweaks to try and entice a whole new generation of iPhone users, or convince those using older models to upgrade (we’ll be comparing the 5S with the iPhone 5 in a separate head-to-head review, so check back on V3 for that soon).
Design and build
The iPhone 5S has an aluminium case and glass screen. It’s comfortable to hold as it’s very thin and light, measuring 124x59x7.6mm and weighing only 112g. The 5S certainly retains the premium Apple look and feel we’ve come to expect from the brand. However, users new to the iPhone may find the edges of the device a little too square and jagged when holding the 5S for long periods.
On the top, the iPhone features a power button, with a SIM card slot on the right, a ringer on/off button and volume controls on the left (the plus button can also be used to take pictures from the camera app), and a headphone jack, microphone, Lightning charging port and speaker on the bottom of the device. The 5S is available in three colour choices: gold and silver backs with a white front; or with a grey back and a black front.
The iPhone 5S features a 4in Retina display with a 1136x640 resolution at 326ppi. The colours on web pages, games and video were bright and vibrant, while text was clean and crisp. The high-quality in-plane switching (IPS) panel is also evenly lit and the impressive viewing angles mean you can see what's on screen whether looking down from the top, up from the bottom, front or side on, or anywhere in between.
However, some users have complained about the new fonts, which are thinner and smaller, and the removal of boxes around menus, making text hard to read for those with visual impairments.
Those used to the larger screens offered by devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has a 1920x1080 resolution offering 441ppi on a 5in screen, might also find the iPhone 5S screen too small, so while the quality on offer from Apple is comparable to its competitors’ displays, the size might make a difference here.