To us, the iPhone 5s is a marvel. In our Smartphone Shootout we ranked it number one amidst all the holiday competition. Today we finally got our hands on one. Can it live up to the hype? Or is it as gimmicky as skeptics would have you believe?
The iPhone 5s
To be honest, first impressions were not particularly impressive. It feels exactly the same as the iPhone 5, and even though the home button is now a sophisticated thumbprint scanner, it feels flimsy, even more so than previous models. The metal ring gets in the way of quick navigation, and the screen is way too small.
I was looking for something to ‘wow’ me, a feature which would immediately compel me to sink close to a thousand dollars right there and then. However, the only thing I could think of was testing touch ID, which worked brilliantly. There was nothing which stood out, nothing which screamed ‘buy me’.
What was immediately apparent though, was that everything was butter smooth. The internet browser opened with no lag, the camera opened seamlessly, multitasking was as brilliant as always, and there was not even a hint of the slightest lag.
Additionally, it was a welcoming experience because iOS 7 never fails to look refreshing and beautiful.
We could not comment on the processing power because there were simply no apps available to push the new A7 chip to its limit, but we could tell that the phone was a powerful device. Never before has any gadget felt this smooth.
So, where does the phone deserve the hype it has gotten? In a word, Yes. Being typically Apple, there was no laundry list of features to test out. However, the phone worked just as it should. The user experience was perfect. The camera snapped great pictures, and the feel was just superb. Touch ID was simple to set up, read my fingerprint instantaneously, and worked regardless of what angle I placed my finger. So even if you somehow need to use your phone upside down for a day, you could. Don’t worry, we won’t judge.
The iPhone 5s is a showpiece of the marvelous iOS7. You get the wide range of apps, newly designed stock applications, the whole iWork Suite out of the box, and all the settings you need to snap a great picture. In short, if you buy an iPhone 5s, you would get exactly what you expect. A great phone all around.
How about the iPhone 5c?
We managed to get our hands on to that as well. We were expecting it to feel cheap, a plastic rip-off of a stellar phone that Apple discontinued to extend its profit margins. Surprisingly, it felt as solidly built as any Apple product we have ever laid our hands on. Sure the back was smudged with fingerprints after 5 minutes of use, but it felt sufficiently premium nonetheless. The colours also add a touch of a playful vibe to what would otherwise be a blend monochromatic fusion of metal. If you do not intend to play Infinity Blade III or push the phone to its limit, and do not much care for a fingerprint sensor, the iPhone 5c remains a strong option.
To be perfectly honest, the performance difference between the iPhone 5c and 5s were not significant even when we put both through their paces. Both will deliver a stellar user experience for anything that is not extremely power intensive. So if you would like to save a hundred dollars, you would not regret the 5c. The only problem is, you would be spending 800 dollars on a device the world recognizes as cheap. And no one likes to be called a cheapo.