Apple iPhone 5S Review – A New iPhone Flagship Model

Apple iPhone 5S Review: Released in 2013, the iPhone 5S was the successor to the iPhone 5 and in total, the seventh iteration of the iPhone series. The numbers mismatch, as from early on Apple initiated an ‘S’ variant to their phones, perhaps denoting only subtle change rather than a radical overhaul in the design. And so it proves with this model – with the same screen size and dimensions of the iPhone 5, it is almost identical in terms of look.

The 2013 release was also interesting as for the first time a cut-price model was announced. The Apple iPhone 5C was also the first iPhone to be released in bright colours instead of the metallic ones seen on previous iPhones. Cut-price in terms of Apple still means expensive, and the phone was still extremely high-specced for the market and in fact pretty close to what the iPhone 5S was.

The improvements to this phone are fairly small. A fingerprint sensor was added for unlocking. There were improvements to the camera and battery life. Although outdone by other competitor handsets on almost every technical spec, the main selling point of the system was its premium quality operating system. This was very easy to use for almost every segment of the market.

Full specifications here.

Unsurprisingly, this model was the go-to top seller as all previous iPhones had been. The metallic design of the iPhone was considered to be one of the best yet, and nothing was changed here. The biggest change since the iPhone was release was to come with the iPhone 6, as the main display expanded to 4.7 inches.

Apple iPhone 5S Review Pros:

  • The build quality of the phone was exceptionally good. Very little was changed over the iPhone 5 in this regard and for good reason. The phone had a great combination between being compact and feeling like a premium phone.
  • Touch ID now comes to the phone in the form of a fingerprint sensor built into the home button. This was more than just a gimmick and had many practical uses as apps such as banking could use a fingerprint instead of a password.
  • The camera was improved with the addition of a dual LED flash. Video recording quality also improved with the addition of a new slow-motion recording mode which captured at a high 120fps.
  • Battery life was a bane of the iPhone since release. Here there was a small increase in capacity to 1560mAH and combined with software tweaks leads to a slight improvement in real world use.

Apple iPhone 5S Review Cons: 

  • The display which was once a strong point was not so this time. The size and resolution was unchanged from the iPhone 5 at a time where other manufacturers were improving theirs rapidly. Even in 2013, 4 inches was a little on the small side for a top-end smartphone.
  • The phone omitted NFC which proved to be a bit of a pain one year later when Apple Pay was released, as this phone would not be compatible with it.
  • The usual downsides for Apple phones persisted here: changing batteries was not easy. There was no additional storage options on the phone and buying a bigger capacity was pricy.
  • To be expected, the phone was up there with the most expensive models, but there was not too much difference between this and the iPhone 5 which could now be picked up at a much cheaper price.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects: 

The phone is of great quality and could still be in use today although many of the latest apps will not run as operating system support has been discontinued. Apple products hold their value better than most, and whilst prices for these models may have dropped to modest levels there will always be interest.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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